Vaughan Discredits Historical Myths of Mexico

Mary Kay Vaughan explained the history of Mexico as an independent nation, including its relation to the U.S. (Photo by Dave Chase).
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Mary Kay Vaughan, Professor of History at the University of Maryland, gave a lecture entitled “Myths about Mexico.”

This lecture was the second given in The Alice Fenwick Fleury Zamanakos Endowed Lecture Series in History. “Arthur Zamanakos endowed this lecture in loving memory of his wife,” said Professor Christine Adams, chair of the history department. Several members of the Zamanakos family attended the lecture.

After the overview by Adams, Professor Adriana Brodsky took the podium to talk about the visiting lecturer, Professor Mary Kay Vaughan. Vaughan is a leader in Latin American History and has published several books about the history of Mexico. “Mary Kay Vaughan has devoted her career to the revolutionary state and its citizens through education,” said Brodsky.

Vaughan began the lecture by speaking of how nice it was to be at St. Mary’s and “wonderful to be in a small classroom.” She then began her lecture speaking about how she would be focusing on the history of Mexican and American relations during the Mexican Revolution. She spoke of the American ambassadors’ trips to Mexico during the time and the relationship they had with Mexican government officials.

“In 1910 our greatest investment in Mexico was oil,” said Vaughan. She came back to this idea very often when speaking about politics in Mexico, constantly reiterating the point that oil was a major concern of the U.S. relations with Mexico.

Vaughan not only spoke of Mexican-U.S. political relations, but also of their relationship culturally. Mexico had a renaissance that fascinated many Americans. “Independent things happen in Latin America when the U.S. is elsewhere,” said Vaughn.

Vaughan also discussed art in Mexico during the Revolution. She spoke of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. “U.S. artists and intellectuals flocked to Mexico,” said Vaughan.

Vaughan ended her lecture by returning to the topic of politics and oil in Mexico. She spoke of how Mexicans banded together and bought back their oil from the U.S. so that they were the sole proprietors of their most precious export. “Mexico came of age. Never had the country been so united,” said Vaughan.

After the lecture was completed, students where able to ask Professor Vaughan questions about her lecture. “I thought it was very informative, but she went a little fast so I missed some of it,” said sophomore Anna Weaver.

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