The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico


The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico

Revolution, Reform, and Repression

Jürgen Buchenau

Confluencias Series

422 pages
20 photographs, 2 illustrations, 2 maps, index


November 2023


$99.00 Add to Cart

November 2023


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Two generals from the northwestern state of Sonora, Álvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles, dominated Mexico between 1920 and 1934, having risen to prominence in the course of the Mexican Revolution. Torn between popular demands for ending the privileges of wealthy foreign investors and opposition by a hawkish U.S. administration and enemies at home, the two generals and their allies from their home state mixed radical rhetoric with the accommodation of entrenched interests.

In The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico Jürgen Buchenau tells the story of this ruling group, which rejected the Indigenous and Catholic past during the decades of the revolution and aimed to reinvent Mexico along the lines of the modern and secular societies in western Europe and the United States. In addition to Obregón and Calles, the Sonoran Dynasty included Adolfo de la Huerta and Abelardo L. Rodríguez, four Sonorans among six presidents in less than two decades. Although the group began with the common aims of nationalism, modernization, central political control, and enrichment, Buchenau argues that this group progressively fell apart in a series of bloody conflicts that reflected broader economic, political, and social disagreements. By analyzing the dynasty from its origins through its eventual downfall, Buchenau presents an innovative look at the negotiation of power and state formation in revolutionary Mexico.

Author Bio

Jürgen Buchenau is Dowd Term Chair of Capitalism Studies and a professor of history and director of capitalism studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Mexico’s Once and Future Revolution: Social Upheaval and the Challenge of Rule since the Late Nineteenth CenturyThe Last Caudillo: Alvaro Obregón and the Mexican Revolution; and Mexican Mosaic: A Brief History of Mexico.


The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico is a major contribution to the field. As Jürgen Buchenau points out, the Mexican Revolution, in contrast to other modern revolutions, had no overriding ideology, though it did produce a progressive, nationalist constitution. That meant that the priorities of Mexico’s leaders during the 1920s—the crucial period of reconstruction following a bloody ten-year civil war—would determine what ‘the revolution’ meant as they selectively enforced or disregarded the provisions of the constitution. Understanding those priorities is vital to understanding the modern history of Mexico. Buchenau illuminates that theme in an insightful and compelling narrative.”—Timothy J. Henderson, author of The Mexican Wars for Independence: A History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Part 1. The Sonorenses in the Revolution, 1910–1915
1. The Making of a Faction
2. The School of War
Part 2. The Road to Power, 1915–1920
3. Inside the Revolutionary Regime
4. The Triumph of the Sonoran Alliance
Part 3. The Sonoran Triangle, 1920–1924
5. The Sonorenses in Power
6. The Triangle Broken
Part 4. The Duarchy, 1924–1928
7. On Trial before the World
8. Almost Porfirio
Part 5. The Maximato, 1928–1934
9. From Caudillos to Institutions
10. The End of an Era

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