Print this pageHistorical Text Archive © 1990 - 2014
by Emily A. Wells
Manuel Gómez Morín was a revolutionary who changed the face of Mexican politics for the better. From his youth, he received the best educated his mother could afford. Gómez Morín realized the power of an education and used it to his advantage. From that advantage, Gómez Morín propelled himself in a successful business career in law, finance, and politics.1 Gómez Morín was the founder of the Party of National Action (PAN).1 This political party was founded on his unselfish desire to give the Mexican people and choice and a hope for a democratic future. Manuel Gómez Morín tactically used his intellect, political position, and help from associates to press forward into Mexican politics.1
Gómez Morín's beginnings and education forged the initial path of his career. In the year 1897, he was born in Batopilas, Chihuahua Mexico. His mother was a native Mexican from Parral, Chihuahua and his father was a Spanish immigrant from Santander.3 His father died when he was young, but left his mother with enough money to support her and her son and provide him with an excellent education.1
Gómez Morín attended the National University. There he began to mark out his place in political history. He was one of the elite "Seven Sages," which was a politically and philosophically minded group of intellectual students at the university.3 Many of Gómez Morín's most influential contemporaries were apart of this young political group.2 At the National University, students expressed their political angst against the university, mainly because the university served as an extension of the government.1 Gómez Morín, other students, and faculty members fought for university autonomy in order to protect it from a seemingly unrighteous governmental control.2 Gómez Morín graduated from the National University in 1918 and started his professional career at the university directly afterward.1
Gómez Morín had a collage of successful careers. In 1919, he served as the Under-secretary of Finance in Mexico.1 Gómez Morín taught in the School of Law at the National University and co-wrote the first Mexican income tax laws, the organic law of the Bank of Mexico, and the first agrarian credit law.1 Gómez Morín was the director of the bank of Mexico from 1925 to 1929.1 Internationally, he advised the United States in its financial affairs with Ecuador. Served as a consulting attorney to the Soviet Union.1 Despite his involvement elsewhere in Mexico and other parts of the world, Gómez Morín always remained heavily involved with the university.1 He taught intermittently there twenty years and served as rector to the University from 1933 to 1934.3 In this time period, he defended the National University from he thought to be a Marxist regime mounting in Mexico.
Manuel Gómez Morín's political participation Mexican politics was sparked in college, but ended up being the fire throughout his entire life. While Gómez Morín was still in college, Russian Marxism intrigued him. The people surrounding Gómez Morín, such as philosopher, humanist, and university professor Antonio Caso, heightened his interest.1 Fellow sage, Vicente Lombardo Toledano was the Marxist, founder the Popular Socialist Party.3 Albeit, Gómez Morín related to some of the socialist philosophical viewpoints, but he later leaned toward the conservative side of the Popular Socialist Party more and more and soon disassociated himself from the party altogether.1 As an educated economist, he undoubtedly identified the flaws that existed in the Marxist regime concerning the economy and the welfare of Mexican markets within a Marxist country. Gómez Morín also gave attention to the de la Huerta rebellion, but again quickly recognized that it would be short-lived and returned back to the political safety of the Sonora Dynasty of Alvaro Obregón and Plutarco Calles.1
Manuel Gómez Morín seemed afraid and power hungry. It appeared that he was looking for a quick way to the top and the moment he realized that regime was no longer on its way up he jumped back across the dividing lines and in 1929, left the revolutionary camp.1 He appeared politically indecisive and tactfully cowardice, but this was not the case. He believed that his generation would have a key role in the building of a stable Mexico and self-preservation was important to ensure his role in the new government. Gómez Morín shifted his support to the opposition under the leadership of José Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos obtained a political base much stronger than Gómez Morín and he recognized an opportunity to make his political move under Vasconcelos as his campaign treasurer hoping to secure a place for himself in a new Mexican government. Under the advice of Gómez Morín, Vasconcelos ran for public office and was defeated.2 Vasconcelos and Gómez Morín went in to exile.1 There Gómez Morín did not give up. He knew that he would never have the possibility of being a Mexican president, because his father was a Spanish immagrant.1 He continued to insist that Vasconcelos should charge back into Mexico and raise a new permanent opposition party.3
Through Vasconcelos refusal, Gómez Morín's motives were now clear. He determined the only way to make a difference in the then corrupt government a permanent party would have to be raised. This would give the people an alternative voice and a voting option. Gómez Morín was afraid that he himself would not be politically strong enough to raise a permanent party, but soon realized that he would have to be the one to take the initial stand in starting a new opposing party.1
In 1939, Manuel Gómez Morín founded the Party of National Action (PAN). PAN was originally founded to counter act ideals not held by Gómez Morín, such as anticlerical sentiments toward the Catholic Church, the governmental collectivization of property, and Marxism.1 Men quickly jumped on the PAN bandwagon because of fear or dislike of looming regimes of Nazism and Fascism that could eventually make its way unto Mexican soil.1 Gómez Morín offered an alternative. PAN blended democracy with Mexican traditionalism. Gómez Morín's political views expressed a desire to hold traditional views close.1 Gómez Morín considered family, organized labor groups, religious communities, and interest groups a method of promoting action in Mexican democracy.2 The groups, by remaining together, spurred community and could work as one to receive political action in their favor and economic stability. Gómez Morín believed that group action and political quickness to correct wrongs would be Mexico's best means to achieve social justice.1 Gómez Morin's views on land holding were in between the extreme right wing latifundios and the nearly communist ejido. Latifundios were large land holdings, usually held by the extremely wealthy and the church, which are nearly synonymous. Latifundios allowed not room the common peasant to grow out of poverty. Ejidos were collective based farms. Ejidos did not did not give ownership to peasants and were also used as a controlling method by the government. Gómez Morín preferred family farms, which again emphasized his views of group action to achieve social justice.1 As a true economist, MGM believed that the Mexican government should take a hands off approach to the economy. He knew that a citizen controlled Mexican economy would stabilize itself and be more fruitful in the end. An independent economy would balance itself, unless market failure occurred and then government intervention would be necessary.1
Supporters of PAN mainly came from three people groups: Catholic activists, professionals and intellectuals from the National University, and Mexican businesses that connect with Gómez Morín on an economic level. This pool of supporters was also proportional to the beliefs of Gómez Morín.1 He mixed his Christian beliefs, formal economic education, and law education and experience to successfully form a lasting opposition party. Ten years later he commented that PAN achieved its goal.1 PAN may have not made a huge difference in putting people in office, but it spurred the thoughts of the Mexican people with different views and opinions of the way things should or could be.1
1 Mabry, Donald J., "Manuel Gómez Morín," in Revolutionaries, Traditionalist, and Dictators in Latin America edited by Harold E. Davis. Cooper Square Publishers, Inc. New York. 1973.
2 Mabry, Donald J. The Mexican University and the State. Texas A&M University Press. College Station. 1982
3 Mabry, Donald J. Mexico's Accion Nacional a Catholic Alternative to Revolution. Syracuse University Press. 1973.050603