José Vasconcelos

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Vasconcelos, José


Born Feb. 28, 1882, in the city of Oaxaca; died June 30, 1959, in Mexico City. Mexican historian, philosopher, and statesman.

During the period of the Mexican Revolution (1910-17), Vasconcelos was on the side of the constitutionalist bourgeois movement. From 1920 to 1925 he was rector of the National University of Mexico. As minister of public education during the years 1921-23 he promoted the development of the Mexican school system. In 1929 the most reactionary elements in the country rallied around the candidacy of Vasconcelos for the presidency of Mexico. After suffering defeat in the election, he attempted to lead an insurrection and then fled abroad. After returning to the country in 1940, Vasconcelos became rector of the University of Sonora and then director of the National Library in Mexico City. A conservative sociologist and philosopher with clearly expressed Roman Catholic sympathies, Vasconcelos was the author of works on philosophy, aesthetics, and history. In his books on history he praised Spanish colonialism, was an opponent of radical social transformations, and condemned mass popular movements. Vasconcelos was also critical of the USA’s policy in Mexico and other Latin American countries, considering it to be bloody, profiteering, and self-serving.


Breve historia de México. Mexico City, 1956.


De Beer, Gabriella. José Vasconcelos and His World. New York, 1966.