The Mexican Revolution has most often been characterized as the revolt of the oppressed rural masses against the conservative regime of Porfirio Díaz. In Ranchero Revolt Ian Jacobs challenges this populist interpretation of the Revolution by exploring the crucial role played by the rural middle class—rancheros—in the organization and final victory of the Revolution.
Jacobs focuses on the Revolution as it developed in Guerrero, the rebellious Mexican state still frequently at odds with central authority. His is the first account in English of the genesis and development of the Revolution in this important Mexican state and the first detailed history in any language of Guerrero in the period 1876 to 1940.
Stressing as it does the conservative tendencies of the Revolution in Mexico, Ranchero Revolt is a major contribution to revisionist history. It is a striking example of the trend toward local and regional studies of Mexican history that are transforming much of the conventional wisdom about modern Mexico.
Among these studies, however, Ranchero Revolt is unusual in its chronological scope, embracing not only the origins and military struggle of the Revolution but also the emergence of a new revolutionary state in the 1920s and 1930s. Especially valuable are Jacobs' descriptions of the agrarian developments that preceded and followed the Revolution; the vagaries of local factions; and the process of political centralization that took place first under Díaz and later under the revolutionary regimes.