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The government’s decision to try José de León Toral provoked suspicion in many sectors. The previous summary executions of Catholic activists, a Catholic newspaper noted, “contrast[ed] sarcastically with the legalist meticulousness of which Calles and his friends continually boast.”1 Precisely because of such views, authorities had abundant reasons to air the case, and as publicly as possible. Two years into a Catholic rebellion and in the final month of his term, President Plutarco Elías Calles found in the trial the opportunity to show that, under his guidance, the revolution had yielded a nation of laws and not a godless tyranny. Since assuming the presidency in 1924, Calles claimed that his administration had embarked on the “governmental phase of the Revolution.” He had transformed a “government of caudillos” into “nation of institutions.”2 The trial of José de León Toral and his codefendant, Concepción Acevedo de la Llata, was to be proof. The trial had to be exemplary. The defendants had access to a skilled defense team. The Catholic activists summoned as witnesses were able to speak freely before citizen jurors. Local and international journalists produced verbatim, front-page coverage, cameras filmed the proceedings, and radio transmitters broadcasted them live.3 This model of transparency and due process would showcase the bureaucratic rationality of the secular state. It would also demonstrate that the violence inflicted by the state was justified and legitimate.4
As Agent 15 of the judicial police made his way home for lunch, a tissue-paper balloon floated by in the Mexico City breeze. He rushed up to his “observatorio” on the rooftop of his apartment building, from where he spotted a girl, around fourteen years old, wearing a lilac-colored dress and holding a string. Certain the balloon had been released from the nearby roof where the girl stood, he ran down the stairs, and, while crossing the street, looked up to see yet another balloon.1 Since that morning in December 1926, so many balloons had been drifting through the sky that police struggled to find where they were coming from.2 When the balloons popped, leaflets tumbled down calling on Catholics to protest government anticlericalism by adorning their houses with yellow and white stripes in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe on her upcoming feast day.3 Searching the rooftop, Agent 15 found a stick with four strings, enough evidence to detain two men and the girl. Agent 15 was obeying orders sent by the Interior Ministry, the department of the federal executive branch that oversaw the enforcement of the nation’s laws. The ministry ordered Mexico City police agencies to “prevent the execution of the launch of six hundred balloons” that contained “anti-government propaganda.”4 Agent 15 and the rest of the police had become enforcers of the values and objectives set out by the revolutionary government.
The diverse reactions to the trial and the execution of José de León Toral show that prosecutors were unable to impose any unified message of secularism over fanaticism, revolutionaries over reactionaries, bureaucracy over individualism, or legitimate mechanisms over outbursts of violence. The preceding years of activism had generated a series of narratives about Mexico’s history, culture, and divine purpose that directly opposed the rhetoric of the revolution and the state, such that, for many people, killing Obregón appeared to be a moral and necessary action. On the day of León Toral’s execution in February 1929, snipers stood on the roof and police formed a wall around the penitentiary; this was, doubtlessly, a show of force – but by diverse actors. The armed presence aimed to prevent disturbances from the thousands who gathered outside the Lecumberri prison.1 Later, in defiance of a government ban, thousands crowded into the Santa María neighborhood during León Toral’s wake and then around the Panteón Español cemetery for his burial. Rocks rained down on police from roofs; firemen shot jets of water at the masses of people. Thirty-four people were arrested, thirty more were injured, and one died.2 In such convulsion, Palomar y Vizcarra saw hopeful presages. Right now, he speculated, León Toral is asking God to fulfill the Kingdom of Christ in Mexico.3 José’s specter did extend beyond his earthly life: customs agents scrambled to confiscate vinyl records with the “Ballad of Toral” produced in Texas, and police in Tamaulipas fined poets for selling their odes to Obregón’s assassin in public plazas.4
Attacks against the church could bring spiritual benefits. “Pain and bloody trials are the shapers of peoples and nations,” wrote League pamphleteer Horacio. “Now that the captivity of pain has penetrated the depths of our national being, we await Mexico’s shining and glorious future.”1 Pain was righteous, cleansing, and redemptive. The weight of persecution connected the spiritual pain of individual Catholics to Mexico’s collective crisis. If suffered appropriately, this pain could elevate the nation toward heaven. Pleasure, though, posed different problems. While pain fortified the spirit, pleasure debilitated and distracted Mexicans from the nation’s trials. It enabled anticlericalists to persist in the destruction of the church. When Catholics felt most besieged, scores of young urban Mexicans were undulating their bodies in a curious new dance known as the Shimmy. They also danced the Foxtrot, the Charleston, and other African American–inspired dances that made their way to Mexico City. The end of the revolution coincided with Hollywood’s boom, and cosmopolitan youth culture burgeoned in the 1920s. Movies, vaudeville acts, and traveling cabaret shows spread dances. They also popularized new music, fashion, and even certain poses and ways of laughing. These expressions robbed the youth of their faith and made them into católicos de azúcar – “sugar Catholics.” Public events known as dancings showcased sexuality in ways that threatened to undermine authority, respectability, and strength. Women lost their virtue; men became frivolous bailarines (dancers). Personal, individual sinfulness was perilous, of course. But these foreign trends were also a national threat. According to Catholic activists, they were part of a deliberate assault on the integrity of Mexico.
José de León Toral hiked up Chiquihuite Hill near the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in June 1928. He placed a newspaper against a ridge and stepped back fifteen paces. Aiming the revolver borrowed from a friend from his prayer circle, he shot six bullets. Not one hit the newspaper. He reloaded, took five steps forward, and shot again: nothing. He got closer still. Five paces from the paper, he emptied the revolver. All shots missed.1 The young Catholic activist who killed revolutionary caudillo Álvaro Obregón in a Mexico City restaurant a week later could not have hit the side of a barn. Religious militancy was not new. The Cristero Rebellion had been roiling the countryside since the enforcement of anticlerical laws began two years before. But fighting was far from the urban, middle-class world of a church mouse like José. Even those close to him wondered, why did he kill Obregón?
Catholic partisans and revolutionary anticlericalists alike traced their struggle to La Reforma, a series of laws enacted by the governing liberals in the mid-1800s that restricted the scope of the Catholic Church. Conservatives responded with a war that they lost. Half a century later, La Reforma remained Mexico’s “original sin” that attacked the nation’s bond with God.1 The failure to rescind the laws weighed on Catholic partisans after the revolution. Decades of complacency toward the La Reforma, they argued, had opened the way for the revolution’s more forceful attack on religion. For revolutionaries, in contrast, enforcement of the Reforma laws had not gone far enough. The expansion of religious activities and the clergy’s interference in politics proved that the state needed to restrict the church further to its proper, spiritual domain. Of course, decades had passed; new ideals and grievances animated both sides. Still, many revolutionaries considered themselves successors to the liberals just as many Catholics identified with the vanquished conservatives. For both, the clash in the 1920s was the result of unresolved historical battles.
Why were Mexicans unwilling to stop going to movies? The question compelled activists to reevaluate the state of Catholicism. They concluded that the previous generation had succumbed. Porfirio Díaz had permitted the return of religious orders, church-affiliated charities, and public processions. But he did not rescind the Reforma laws, the nation’s “original sin,” and other essential features of liberalism. This gentler stripe of secularization had lulled the faithful into submission. Instead of fighting, they settled for accommodation. Now, the church was vulnerable to the revolutionary attacks.
After the Chapultepec attack, the quiet ACJM activist José de León Toral asked himself, “How could someone who kills be a martyr?”1 Posed as a criticism of Luis Segura, who had led the attack, the question became a riddle that León Toral struggled to resolve in the weeks following the executions. Despairing at the state of the Catholic movement, less than a year after the announcement of the so-called Calles Law, he pondered why actions thus far had failed. The sorrowful spectacle should have reminded Catholics that the church’s pain was their own. As parishioners walked past shuttered parishes, women crossing their chests and men doffing their hats, did they not understand that the government had forced the closures? That the only way to reopen the churches was to combat the government? The everyday privations urged by the boycott had sought to make palpable the nation’s spiritual anguish. The resulting asceticism should have pushed back the anticlerical wave. But these collective actions had fallen short. Catholics remained fearful or indifferent. Instead of confronting the nation’s spiritual crisis, they went to movies and dance halls. Lack of devotion, León Toral concluded, had betrayed the Ajusco adventure, the Celaya trip, the bombings, and other actions by Mexico City militants. The Chapultepec attack was different. Poor planning, imprudence, and perhaps cowardice had foiled the assault. Still, indignation at the executions and the somber celebrations at the burials had sent thousands into the streets. This mass exuberance, coupled with militants’ failures, pointed León Toral toward a simple truth. Most Catholics, devout as they may have been, celebrated martyrdom but were afraid of death. Only the willingness to die, the ultimate manifestation of love for Christ, could redeem the nation and bring on the Kingdom of Christ. Months of quiet deliberation made him understand that he had to kill Obregón.
High inductive helical support provides a solution to controlling the alignment error of inner electrodes in magnetically insulated transmission lines (MITLs). Three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations were performed to examine the current loss mechanism and the effects of structural parameters on electron flow in an MITL with a helical inductor. An empirical expression related to the ratio of electron current loss to anode current and the ratio of anode current to self-limited current was obtained. Electron current loss caused by helical inductor with different structures was displayed. The results indicate that the current loss in an MITL, near an inductive helical support, comprises both the inductor current and the electron current loss. The non-uniform structure and current of a helical inductor cause an abrupt change in the magnetic field near the helical support, which leads to anomalous behavior and current loss of electron flow. In addition, current loss in the inductive helical-supported MITL is negligible when the inductance of the support is sufficiently high. This work facilitates the estimation of electron current loss caused by the inductive helical support in MITLs.
Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis) is an endangered species, listed as a Grade I protected animal in China. The females rarely successfully develop their gonads from stage II to III in captivity, which handicaps the propagation of cultured Chinese sturgeon. The current study aimed to understand the effects of dietary lipid level on the ovarian development and the related regulation mechanism in female Chinese sturgeon. A 24-month feeding trial was conducted with 10-year-old Chinese sturgeons with ovaries at the developmental stage II, with three experimental diets containing 10, 14 and 18% lipids. Ovary, muscle and serum samples were collected at four time-points (6, 12, 18 and 24 months) for further analyses. Serum metabolomics and ovary transcriptomics analyses were conducted at the 18 months. Results showed that only the 18% lipid diet promoted ovary development to the stage IV. Oocytes at stage II in this group also exhibited higher diameter and more lipid droplets. Serum triglyceride content in the 18% group was significantly higher than in groups 10 and 14% (both at 12 and 18 months). Estradiol content in the group 14% was significantly higher than in 10 and 18% groups, except at 24 months. Metabolomic and transcriptomic results indirectly indicated that 14% of dietary lipids benefited steroid hormone synthesis, while 18% lipid facilitated arachidonic acid metabolism, cholesterol biosynthesis and vitellogenesis, although serum cholesterol content did not vary with the dietary lipid level. In conclusion, 18% dietary lipid is the optimal level for improving gonad development of female Chinese sturgeon.
We investigate the conditions that determine the detachment of a water drop from different vibrating textured plates by using vertical vibrations. The plate surfaces were patterned by a lattice of pillars of different shapes with different geometrical arrangements. The acceleration threshold for the water droplet to bounce off the surfaces was measured as a function of the excitation frequency. In each case, the acceleration threshold presents a minimum at the natural frequency of the droplet. The minimum acceleration required for the take-off is larger for small droplets than for large droplets. Namely, one finds that the value of the threshold depends on the size of the droplet and on the maximum apparent contact area between the droplet and the substrate. The theoretical model takes into account the energy necessary to break the capillary bridges between the droplet and the pillars of the surface. This model captures the main ingredients explaining the drop size dependence of the acceleration threshold for the take-off.
Why did José de León Toral kill Álvaro Obregón, leader of the Mexican Revolution? So far, historians have characterized the motivations of the young Catholic militant as the fruit of fanaticism. This book offers new insights on how diverse sectors experienced the aftermath of the Revolution by exploring the religious, political, and cultural contentions of the 1920s. Far from an isolated fanatic, León Toral represented a generation of Mexicans who believed that the revolution had unleashed ancient barbarism, sinful consumerism, and anticlerical tyranny. Facing attacks against the Catholic essence of Mexican nationalism, they emphasized asceticism, sacrifice, and the redemptive potential of violence. Their reckless enthusiasm to launch assaults was a sign of their devotion. León Toral insisted that 'only God' was his accomplice; in fact, he was cheered by thousands who dreamed of bringing the Kingdom of Christ to beleaguered Mexico.