A Revolution Unfinished


A Revolution Unfinished

The Chegomista Rebellion and the Limits of Revolutionary Democracy in Juchitán, Oaxaca

Colby Ristow

The Mexican Experience Series

312 pages
2 figures, 5 tables, index


November 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart

November 2018


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2018


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In October 1911 the governor of Oaxaca, Mexico, ordered a detachment of approximately 250 soldiers to take control of the town of Juchitán from Jose F. “Che” Gomez and a movement defending the principle of popular sovereignty. The standoff between federal soldiers and the Chegomistas continued until federal reinforcements arrived and violently repressed the movement in the name of democracy.

In A Revolution Unfinished Colby Ristow provides the first book-length study of what has come to be known as the Chegomista Rebellion, shedding new light on a conflict previously lost in the shadows of the concurrent Zapatista uprising. The study examines the limits of democracy under Mexico’s first revolutionary regime through a detailed analysis of the confrontation between Mexico’s nineteenth-century tradition of moderate liberalism and locally constructed popular liberalism in the politics of Juchitán, Oaxaca.

Couched in the context of local, state, and national politics at the beginning of the revolution, the study draws on an array of local, national, and international archival and newspaper sources to provide a dramatic day-by-day description of the Chegomista Rebellion and the events preceding it. Ristow links the events in Juchitán with historical themes such as popular politics, ethnicity, and revolutionary state formation and strips away the romanticism of previous studies of Juchitán, offering a window into the mechanics of late Porfirian state-society relations and early revolutionary governance.

Author Bio

Colby Ristow is an associate professor of history at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.


"Ristow’s new work is an engaging, eminently readable investigation of the brief period when many revolutions seemed possible. He illuminates the continuities in elite political ideology, if not elites themselves, across the revolutionary divide while emphasizing the new impossibility of ignoring popular mobilization."—Casey Marina Lurtz, Hispanic American Historical Review

"[A Revolution Unfinished] is a compelling and convincing read and represents a significant contribution to our understanding of Mexico’s modern political history."—Thomas Rath, H-LatAm

“A perceptive ‘micro-history’ that also tells us a great deal about the macro-history of the Mexican Revolution.”—Alan Knight, author of The Mexican Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

“[A] carefully considered investigation. . . . Ristow clearly has a talent for historical narrative.”—Francie Chassen-Lopez, author of From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca: The View from the South, Mexico 1867–1911

“Extremely original and innovative. . . . There are no books that flag the mechanics and paradoxes of Juchiteco politics in such an elegant, fine-grained, and sharp manner.”—Benjamin Smith, author of The Roots of Conservatism in Mexico: Catholicism, Society, and Politics in the Mixteca Baja, 1750–1962

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Introduction: The Chegomista Rebellion and the Limits of Revolutionary Democracy
1. The Barrio de Arriba and the Barrio de Abajo: A Tale of Two Cities in Porfirian Juchitán
2. “The Rebirth of an Old Political Party”: Liberal Politics and the Rise of the Chegomista Movement
3. “They Imagined That the Horse and the Rider Were One”: The Chegomista Rebellion
4. “It Is Not Possible with the Stroke of a Pen to Suppress the Jefaturas”: State Sovereignty and the Peace Process in Juchitán
5. “More Ignorant Than Guilty”: A “Counterinsurgent” Narrative of the Chegomista Rebellion
Conclusion: Political Assassination and the Limits of Revolutionary Democracy

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