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The Mexican Revolution

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❶University of Nebraska Press, ; Christopher R. On March 9, , he led his few remaining men in an attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico.

The Mexican Revolution Essay Sample

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Causes of the Mexican Revolution

It was ironic, but not surprising that General Huerta finally conspired in the defeat of the Madero government. Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. The governors of the northern states of Coahuila and Sonora denounced the coup, as did Pancho Villa. The three rebel units joined forces in the Monclova Convention, supported from afar by Emiliano Zapata, who had not stopped fighting since taking up arms against Madero sixteen months prior.

Initially, Huerta held firm against the rebels, and he enjoyed the backing of many state governors, members of the old Porfirian oligarchy and the high clergy, foreign investors, and all of the European Great Powers. In the absence of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, the rebels managed to turn the area of their greatest strength into an effective supply zone.

On the border, rebel troops attacked federal garrisons and claimed large swathes of territory, including several border crossings. Immortalized in popular music and art, women soldiers, or soldaderas , played an active role in the fight against Huerta. The coup de grace of the Huerta dictatorship came when U.

Unfortunately, the war against Huerta had still not forged any kind of consensus among the rebels beyond overthrowing another dictator. The principal revolutionary leaders expressed rancor toward one another, and relations between Carranza and Villa were particularly fraught with conflict. In October , the four primary factions convened a meeting of military officers in the city of Aguascalientes, with each faction represented by a number of delegates that corresponded to its numbers in the field.

Zapata allied with Villa. Four factions merged into two: This final phase of the civil war marked the bloodiest year in modern Mexican history.

Although it would be simplistic to reduce the complex alignments to a few salient differences, the war pitted a rural-based alliance that sought a weak central government against a city-based alliance with clear plans for a strong national government. These laws earned the Constitutionalists the support of the Red Battalions, armed workers who had played an important role in defeating the Huerta regime. While the Constitutionalist victory at last put an end to the worst of the fighting, it would take fourteen more years to banish the specter of large-scale rebellions.

The following two years saw the Carranza government slowly but surely extend its authority, an endeavor hindered by the activities of Villa and the U.

On March 9, , he led his few remaining men in an attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico. This attack led to the last U. The invasion force failed in this objective and only managed to enhance the prestige of its target. In addition, it led to an upsurge in nationalism that proved of decisive importance in the formulation of the new revolutionary constitution.

Not surprisingly, Wilson withdrew the expedition after the U. The victorious Constitutionalists understood that reconstruction would need to transcend the narrowly political realm. For example, their alliance with the Casa del Obrero Mundial had promised assistance to labor unions, and in January , Carranza had proclaimed his support for a comprehensive land reform.

The Constitutionalists had made more concrete promises than Madero, and their rank and file expected fulfillment. The convention was composed of Constitutionalist delegates from all states, including many civilians with university degrees but also representatives of the lower classes. Carranza charged the convention with updating the liberal constitution of and to codify his presidency before general elections could be held.

The Jacobins sought to provide guarantees for workers and campesinos while abrogating the privileges of the Catholic Church and foreign investors. For example, a revised Article 3 forbade the political role of the church and even individual clergy ; Article 27 proclaimed land and the subsoil the patrimony of the nation, for use by foreigners only upon application to the federal government, and Article guaranteed the right of collective bargaining.

Approved on February 5, , the new constitution was the first in the world that codified social rights. Implementing Article 27, for instance, would antagonize foreign investors and Mexican proprietors, and threatened serious discord with the U.

These difficulties aside, Carranza was not interested in making powerful enemies at a moment when his government remained too weak to defy the warlords who had taken advantage of civil war to carve out independent spheres of power.

On April 10, , Carrancista allies cowardly assassinated Zapata at the hacienda of Chinameca, Morelos. In April , Carranza sent a military expedition to Sonora to quash the faction that had delivered triumph to him in In doing so, however, Carranza provoked the last violent overthrow of the national government. Accompanied by a vast entourage, Carranza fled by train in the direction of Veracruz. But the rebels had blown up the track, and the group had to disembark and continue the trip on horseback.

In the wee hours of May 21, , unidentified assassins killed Carranza in a mountain village. It was the last murder of a sitting Mexican president. The three leaders were the most notable protagonists of a dynasty that dominated the national governments of the s and early s. Their task involved nothing less than coming to terms with the U.

Like Zapata and Villa, their erstwhile enemies before they turned on the older Carranza, the three Sonorans were born in the late s or early s. All of them came of age in the Porfiriato and entered the revolution in full adulthood. While many of their members fell victim to assassination and ongoing violence, starting with Zapata in , this generation constituted a disproportionate share among the political leadership in the s.

The Sonorans and their peers faced a momentous task. The violence had destroyed haciendas, mines, roads, railroads, and port facilities. Much of the country lay in ruins; and ongoing banditry and violence made overland trade difficult even where rebels had not blown up the infrastructure. As inhabitants of a border state that had experienced rapid demographic and economic growth rapidly during the Porfiriato, the Sonoran leaders intended to reform rather than eliminate the capitalist system.

National reconstruction was their priority, a project that included the centralization of power, the taming of the revolutionary military, the repair and expansion of infrastructure, and the provision of basic education to rural Mexicans.

As an important part of this project, they desired to forge a new national consciousness and counteract the pervasive influence of the Catholic Church, which the Sonorans regarded as a foreign-led, reactionary institution.

They aimed to implement Article 27 of the new constitution to put Mexicans on an equal footing with foreigners, as well as to foster the growth of a salaried urban middle class. As part of their strategy to weaken their enemies and to reward their supporters, they pursued agrarian reform in areas where either objective could be achieved by means of redistribution.

But—crucially—they did not intend to implement the constitution to its fullest extent, which would have amounted to significant limits on the private property ownership they espoused. The first Sonoran president was de la Huerta, interim president from May to November During his brief tenure, de la Huerta strove to make peace with the remaining insurgent leaders.

Most importantly, he negotiated an end of the conflict with Pancho Villa, who agreed to disarm in exchange for the grant of a hacienda in his native state of Durango. In the end, the status quo prevailed. In August , the president won recognition from the U. Harding in exchange for a promise not to apply the constitution retroactively to U.

By that time, jockeying for the presidential succession of was already in full swing, focusing attention on Calles, the third major Sonoran leader. The scion of a once-wealthy family, Calles spent his early adulthood trying his hand at a variety of occupations, serving as a teacher, hotel manager, farmer, and mill operator.

Yet he faced opposition from two powerful groups: In November, de la Huerta resigned from his post, and in December, he headed a rebellion that included almost 60 percent of senior officers in the army. In May, the government vanquished the rebellion, and two months later, Calles won election with more than 82 per cent of the vote.

With the benefit of U. The Calles government also dramatically increased spending on public health. Other reforms sought to enact some of the reforms promised in the constitution. For instance, new legislation forced the foreign-owned oil companies to apply for confirmatory concessions to renew their drilling rights, as well as to accept higher taxes.

Calles also redistributed more land than his predecessors combined and struck a strategic alliance with labor boss Luis N. Morones, his Secretary of Labor who had authored the new Petroleum Law.

Historians primarily remember the Calles presidency for its campaign against the Catholic Church. Indeed, Calles hastened to apply the anticlerical provisions of the constitution even as he displayed less enthusiasm for implementing its social programs. The government struck back with the Calles Law, which required all priests to register with local authorities and limited their number to one in ten thousand inhabitants.

On July 31, , the Church retaliated by suspending all masses and sacraments. This escalation brought about the Cristero War, the bloodiest conflict of the s and s. The Cristero War constituted only one facet of a multifarious crisis besieging the government. A protracted war against the Yaqui in Sonora forced the army to put more than half of its troops in the field.

Finally, the price of silver and other export commodities plummeted, thrusting the nation into a serious economic crisis two years before Black Friday would inaugurate the Great Depression on a global scale. The government assassinated both of these challengers. Born in , the only other Sonoran leader of significance, General Abelardo L. They entered the revolution as minor officers and enjoyed far closer ties with their subordinates than their superiors.

They made their most important contributions as state governors, military leaders, or cabinet ministers in the s. In February , Calles and his allies founded a new ruling party, the Partido Nacional Revolucionario PNR, or National Revolutionary Party , which combined the many small revolutionary parties in existence.

This party would rule under three different names until the end of the century. The notion of the revolutionary family implied a unified purpose of the revolution that had never existed, and it claimed that the PNR and its leaders represented this purpose. Revolutionary art told a different story from that advanced the PNR.

Rivera adorned the interior of government-owned buildings with colorful murals that depicted a revolutionary vision of Mexican history. In the s, he painted his most grandiose work inside the National Palace, a historical canvas from the Aztecs to the 20th century. The mural provided adult education to Mexicans, many of whom could not read and write.

The work of Frida Kahlo constitutes another example of revolutionary art. The victim of a crippling accident at age seventeen, Kahlo drew on religious folk art. The paintings—many of them self-portraits—display fractured and broken human bodies. Her work rejected traditional notions of gender in challenging the idea that women must bear suffering silently. Fulfilling revolutionary promises became ever more difficult during the Great Depression — This implosion of the U. In Mexico, the crisis aggravated an already dire fiscal situation.

Between and , federal revenue dropped 25 percent in real terms. Real wages fell dramatically, producing hundreds of wildcat strikes in a country in which the Sonorans and the CROM had long managed to quell labor discontent. The Great Depression coincided with a low point of the revolution, as Calles and his allies confronted the crisis by means of repression, while flaunting their own fortunes. The great heroes of the revolution were dead, and those who had survived had amassed great wealth.

Calles himself bought a swanky mansion and steadily moved toward the right. In , he announced that land reform had failed and that the party needed to embrace commercial agriculture rather than collective farming. In , the party adopted a Six-Year Plan promising to bring greater benefits to campesinos and workers and also picked a presidential candidate for the period — The president responded by purging his cabinet of all Calles supporters.

He redistributed more than 49 million acres of land to campesinos; more than twice as much as his revolutionary predecessors combined. The ejido structure paid instant dividends in the form of a rapid increase in food production. Among projects that failed to come to fruition during his tenure, his government also sought to give women the vote.

The Cardenista system was a corporatist state in which the president played the role of arbiter of social conflict. So far, the ruling party had been a confederation of regional parties. Thus workers found many of their goals realized in official policy, but they also failed to gain the independence in collective bargaining that they desired. The result of these policies was an increase in the standard of living for many workers and campesinos at the price of co-opting their organizations.

Yet Cardenismo was not a radical break from the past. Most of the workplace laws came from the Maximato, during which time the government had chosen to ignore the legislation it had approved. Finally, the president willingly entered into alliances with more conservative political leaders. The rise of U. To be sure, the oil expropriation had eliminated one particular area of foreign influence, and the government had also succeeded in limiting the privileges of foreign residents, many of whom had long been able to count on the protection of their embassies in order to obtain preferential treatment by government authorities.

Even more important was the growth of U. Hollywood exported its films south of the border, and Mexicans built cinemas to view them. In turn, Mexico developed its own movie industry, which entered its golden age in the s. The presidential elections of took place against this backdrop, accompanied by the rumblings of World War II from distant Asia and Europe.

Three generals vied for power, each with a different power base. Finally, Manuel Avila Camacho from Puebla appeared the middle-of-the-road candidate. Of the three, Avila Camacho enjoyed the best connections in the form of his brother, Maximino, the strong man of Puebla and one of the wealthiest and most corrupt men in the country.

The victorious Avila Camacho immediately portrayed himself as a moderate who would attempt to mend political divisions. In response to these signs that the government was swinging back to the right, the U. Five months later, German submarines sank two Mexican tankers, and the president responded by declaring that a state of war existed. Thereafter, the government focused on collaboration with the United States and political centralization.

The reference to institutionalization marked the transition from process to memory and coincided with the passing of the torch to a new generation. The participants had retired for good, and a new generation—the postrevolutionary generation—had arrived on the scene. Most of this scholarship derived from Mexico and the United States, although European historians have also made important contributions to the debate.

We can distinguish among several different historiographical stages, and, in these pages, will only have space to discuss some of the most important English-language works. Historiographical surveys of the revolution in its various phases include David C. Wiley-Blackwell, , — We can divide the historiography of the Mexican Revolution into three broad phases.

The first phase, the populist historiographical tradition, combines the works from the s to s that view the revolution as a broadly popular and ultimately successful uprising. For example, historians who studied the revolution at the regional level found vast differences. To mention just some of the most notable monographic work: Joseph, Revolution from Without: The Revolution began with the aims to overthrow Diaz, but the Revolution had a pronounced effect on the organization of Mexico's government, economy, and society.

Porfirio Diaz was the president of Mexico when the Revolution broke out. He was elected in , and although he swore to step down in , he continued to be reelected until He claimed that he was justified in this because he brought stability to Mexico. However, this was hardly the case. Diaz's regime aimed to industrialize Mexico, and foreign investors such as the United States and Britain were eager to support the industrialization.

Diaz's policies were so accommodating to foreigners that it angered the Mexican people. While the foreign investments were a source of heated debate, Diaz's land policy was even more questionable. There was a concentration of land power in the hands of the elite, and there was a huge disparity between the poor and wealthy in Mexico during Diaz's regime.

Also, a law passed in allowed private companies to survey the land, and these companies controlled nearly 20 percent of the land in Mexico. Also, Diaz was allowing foreign people to take the communal land away from the indigenous peoples.

The indigenous people were poverty-stricken and had less land than ever. The one good thing was that Mexico was exporting industries like sugar and coffee to overseas trading partners, yet Mexico could not feed itself; it needed to import many foods like corn. The money in the hands of the elite was a major cause of the revolution in Mexico.

The election of was the controversy that marked the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. Madero decided to run against Diaz as a candidate in the election. Diaz allowed Madero to run, thinking that it would make the process look more democratic. However, when Madero became popular and the rallying point for many anti-Diaz forces, Diaz had Madero thrown into jail until the elections were over.

After Diaz had won by a landslide, he released Madero from prison. Madero promptly fled to San Antonio, Texas to plan a revolution. There he wrote the Plan of St. Luis Potosi, which said that the election was fraudulent and that he was the provisional president of Mexico. The plan was purely political and Madero planned to have a completely democratic government.

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- The Mexican Revolution There was a huge revolution in the country of Mexico that started in the year , led by Porfirio Diaz, the president of Mexico in In the ’s Diaz was important to Mexican politics and then was elected president in

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Sep 19,  · The Mexican Revolution Essay The Mexican Revolution was a violent political and social upheaval that occurred in Mexico in the early 20th century. The revolution began in November as an effort to overthrow the year dictatorship of Porfirio Dнaz.

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The Mexican Revolution Essay example Words | 3 Pages The Mexican Revolution The prevailing concern of the Mexican revolution was the welfare of the common Mexican worker, be he a farm worker on a Southern hacienda, or a rancher in the North. The Mexican Revolution The Mexican Revolution was the culmination of a mass of political, economic, and social tension that accompanied the regime of the dictator Porfirio Diaz.

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The Mexican revolution, beginning in and officially ending in , was a time of constant bloodshed for the Mexican people. The presidential power changed from one man to another approximately 75 times during these 36 years. This revolution was main cause was Porifirio Diaz and his extremely corrupt government. The Mexican Revolution. N. p., n. d. Web. 2 Dec. This gave me good quote to add evidence to my essay plus let me take a look at the timeline of the Mexican Rev. it allowed my general knowledge about the topic increase. Wikipedia Mexican Revolution. N. p., n. d. Web. 27 Nov. Gave me general information about the Mexican Rev.