Imagining a National Elite: Officer Professionalization and the Guatemalan Liberal Revolution, 1871-1885

Dr. Douglas R. Keberlein Gutiérrez
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Following the 1871 Revolution that ended three decades of Conservative rule in Guatemala, Justo Rufino Barrios and Miguel García Granados, the revolution's principal leaders, embarked upon a nation-building project rooted in traditional liberal-positivist policies with respect to the Church, the Indian population, immigration, and the modernization of production, transportation, communication, and education In addition, shortly after coming to power, the Liberal government founded a military academy Named the Escuela Politécnica, it first opened its doors on 1 September 1873 and continues in operation today This paper uses military archival records and government legislation to explore the role that Liberal leaders envisioned for the Escuela Politécnica within their scheme It argues that while obvious military strategic goals and political imperatives inspired Barrios and García Granados to create the Escuela Politécnica, the form and function of the school reflected the activist vision of a state that wanted to maximize the modernizing potential of a professional officer corps In short, academy graduates would not only defend the modern nation-state Liberal leaders wished to create, but assist with its construction and development as well.

Keywords: Guatemala, Liberal Revolution of 1871, Escuela Politecnica, Military Professionalization, Nation-building
Stream: History, Historiography
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: The Guatemalan Liberal Revolution of 1871 and the Founding of the Escuela Politécnica

Dr. Douglas R. Keberlein Gutiérrez

Assistant Professor, Department of History, American Studies and Social Science, Dominican University

Ref: H05P0246