Salinas and Social Liberalism in Historical Context

  • Alan Knight
Part of the Latin American Studies Series book series (LASS)


There are two basic attractions to history — as opposed to politics — which might be called the misanthropic and the methodological. First, history involves a cloistered existence in libraries or, better still, archives, in which the historian communes with dusty tomes rather than real live people. Second, and more important, history does not get regularly upstaged by recent events. Of course, historical interpretation changes — sometimes quite dramatically — and change is often related to contemporary changes in the ‘real’ world. E. H. Carr explained the renewed emphasis on chance evident in the work of early twentieth-century British historians in terms of the ‘mood of uncertainty and apprehension which set in with the present century and became marked after 1914’ (Carr, 1964: 100). Cuba and Vietnam helped stimulate a fresh interest in revolutions and peasant studies in the 1960s. However, these are shifts of glacial lentitude compared to the sudden upheavals experienced by students of contemporary politics — especially students of Mexican politics who, since 1982 (if not 1968), have ridden a rollercoaster of crisis, speculation, re-evaluation and recantation. Basáñez enumerates four crises — one political, three economic — between 1968 and 1987, to which we may add three more: 1988 (political), 1994 (political) and 1994–5 (economic) (Basáñez, 1990: 9).1


Historical Context Social Conscience Future Historian Social Liberalism Consolidate Democracy 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • Alan Knight

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