Mexican Revolution: Historical Background, Causes and Key Figures

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History proves that in at the end of the day, people will do what is needed to survive and thrive. When a country’s leadership is wavering and conditions become poor enough that people are starving and dying, citizens will respond. People in Mexico believed that the revolution would bring social justice, so it began. The Mexican Revolution began in November of 1910, this war ended the dictatorship under Porfirio Diaz in Mexico, while also establishing their present day constitutional republic. The revolution created a sense of pride and empowerment for the average Mexican citizens, a number of men from villages, farms, and the mountains were led by revolutionaries including Francisco Madero, Pascual Orozco, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata in the long and costly conflict against the stronger and more trained Mexican armies. The revolution created a sense of pride and empowerment for the average Mexican citizens.

Historical Background (Who & Where)

Díaz produced an orderly and systematic government that held a strong military spirit. He succeeded in destroying small and large leadership until the majority of public answers directly to his demands. Mexico had factories but its economy was poor and there was more focus on agriculture and mining in the country. Porfirio brought modernization to the country but this only benefited. This approves that a radical change was appropriate to eradicate the social imbalances in the country. Even the legislation was composed of Diaz’s colleagues, so that meant that all of the press was paid off and spoke in his favor. He also maintained strict control over the courts and secured his power by catering to the needs of specific groups of people, meaning the rich and played off one interest against another. Porfirio Diaz was in power for more than 30 years as a dictator, when he gave an interview with American journalist James Creelman in 1908, he stated that Mexico was ready for democracy and that the president should be elected democratically. In the same interview, he also said, ““I welcome an opposition party in the Mexican Republic,” Francisco Madero took his word for it and made the decision to run against him in the 1910 Presidential election. Porfiriato Diaz truly believed he was more favorable to the public than actually was, he figured out this was false when Madero opposed him, so he took matters into his own hands, which will be discussed later in this essay.

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Causes (Why)

There are many causes that made Mexico ripe for revolution: resources were being exploited and shipped to other countries, opposition of the government, land reform, class difference, class struggle, poverty, racism, colorism, Native laborers receiving half the pay of US and European counterparts, and more. I will be specifically discussing class difference coupled with class struggle, land reform, and Porfirio’s abuse of power. In Mexico, during Diaz’s regime, the richer citizens including land owners and other capitalists, had political connections, so they avoided taxation. The burden of taxation was left to the poor citizens. These causes for the Mexican Revolution were both because of political unrest and economic turmoil throughout the Mexican society during this time. More specifically, the middle class citizens were dissatisfied with the policies brought by Diaz, one example being that they could not have control over land. These caused the rebels to revolt and overthrow numerous presidents, which led to political instability in Mexico. The political instability of Mexico contributed to the PRI being elected for around eighty straight years in Mexican politics. These continuous corrupt political parties told citizens that they would implement labor reforms, but only implemented laws that would allow themselves to retain political dominance of Mexico for an extended period of time. The PRI was one of the consequences from the Mexican Revolution because the Mexican citizens wanted political stability, which they had never experienced that before. The revolution change the structure of the Mexican government, this is still valid to this day.

Key Figures

Though many were involved in the Mexican Revolution, the most influential revolutionaries were Francisco Madero, Pascual Orozco, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. Francisco Madero was notable for challenging the Mexican President Porfirio Díaz for the presidency in 1910. Francisco Madero was a significant figure that led to the revolution, he was the ignition. Madero was a strong advocator for Mexico having a democracy. His character portrayed him as an opposition to President Diaz’s rule. Moreover, Madero’s movement was gaining ground, which was unpleasant to Porfirio. After Mexico’s 1910 elections, under Diaz’s orders, Madero was immediately incarcerated in San Luis Potosi, this caused him to eventually flee after realizing that Diaz would be re-elected as President. He issued a proposal affirming that Diaz was an illegitimate winner of the presidential election. This proposal ignited the beginning of the revolution further. Pascual Orozco, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata were all revolutionists who mobilized ragged armies waging a bloody campaign against local Mexican governments. Their methods worked and Diaz resigned. Maderno’s regime faltered because the citizens were dissatisfied with the pace of reform. This led to revolution in the north. Aside from Mexican citizens, the US government also turned against Maderno, because he was too conciliatory. A state of anarchy and bloodshed continued for years thereafter.

Impact and conclusion

Mexico would finally reach a point in history where nation could focus on the entire nation after suffering ten years of war and turmoil. The Mexican Revolution sparked the 1917 Mexican Constitution, this document provided for the separation of Church and state, government ownership of the subsoil, the right for Mexicans to organize and strike, and in general enumerated the basic rights for Mexican citizens. Another outcome of the Mexican Revolution was the formation of Institutional Revolutionary Party. This party conquered Mexico’s political foundation from its establishment in 1929 up to the late 1900s. Almost all influential political figures in Mexico were members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Each candidate’s nomination to any public service office was indistinguishable from election, they were democratic. Initially, it was called the National Revolutionary Party, but in 1938, it was renamed as Mexican Revolutionary Party. Mexican revolution played an essential role in reforming the ancient Mexico to modern one. The first need for reform was the disputable social and economic base in which the rich owned the land similar to medieval Dukes in vast estates. The once insolvent workers who were deep in debt and barely meeting basic needs of survival now stood a better chance.


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