By the end of the nineteenth century the cattle industry in northern Mexico was thriving. Large haciendas, based on the peonage system and many of them foreign-owned, produced hundreds of thousands of head of cattle that enriched hacendados and filled ranges in both Mexico and the United States. But the Revolution of 1910 overturned Mexico's social and economic structure, and by the 1920s large holdings were being broken up and almost 70 percent of the vast herds were gone. Machado examines the devastation of the revolutionary period, when herds were slaughtered to feed armies or appropriated for sale to finance arms and munitions; the slow climb back after the Revolution when changes in land tenure and limits on herd size made reinvestment risky; and more recent problems with disease control, which required and eventually received cooperation between Mexico and the United States. The conflicts and compromises between agrarian radicalism and the basic conservatism of the norte o cattle industry, between institutionalizing reform and independent enterprise, and between Mexican nationalism and close economic ties with the United States are thoughtfully delineated.
The North Mexican Cattle Industry, 1910-1975
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