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A Guide to the Mexican Revolution


Octavio Paz, a Nobel prize winning Mexican author. ... Huerta rise to power initiated the truly revolutionary phase of the Mexican revolution. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Guide to the Mexican Revolution

A Guide to the Mexican Revolution
1. Porifirio Diaz- Maintained a firm grasp over
power in Mexico between 1877-1880 1884-1911
1. The Porfiriato
  • Diaz consolidated power in Mexico redistributed
    it from the provinces to the central government.
  • With the stability he brought by ruling Mexico
    with a stiff hand came foreign investment
    primarily from the US
  • Railroads were constructed, the oil industry was
    developed, even Hollywood invested in Mexico
  • However, wealth was not shared by the masses and
    much discontent existed.

1. The Porfiriato
  • Diaz was a captain of the revolutionary forces in
    the War of Reform in which Mexican forces
    overthrew the government of Emperor Maximilian.
  • Diaz went on to become a mayor of the small
    provincial capital city of Oaxaca before being
    appointed President of Mexico before being
    elected in 1877.
  • The death of Benito Juarez in 1872 prompted his

1. The Porfiriato
  • Diaz leadership of Mexico was characterized by
  • Using a state police unit known as the Rurales to
    intimidate voters and scare Mexicans into
  • Diaz lived by the motto Order followed by
  • Diaz helped a few members of the criollo class
    consolidate their power and actually took land
    from peasants and redistributed to the wealthy by
    demanding that all landowners demonstrate their
    legal title to the land.

2. The Porfirato
  • Diaz was supported by school of thought in Mexico
    known as the cientificos. They generally called
    for order and progress.
  • Regionally the philosophy came to be known as
    Positivism and usually could be characterized by
    the following qualities
  • Ensured order above rule of law
  • Saw progress through a Western and European
    perspective- that meant industrialization,
    urbanization and free-market capitalism
  • Generally emphasized the exportation of a single
    crop or raw material product

3. The Porfiriato and Positivism
  • Positivist leaders viewed the world through what
    we would consider to be racist ideas
  • Large Indigenous and African-Latino populations
    were seen as barbarous
  • As a result they often encouraged European
    immigration and miscegenation (mixing of the

Porfirato and Positivism
  • Often was based on other dubious sciences like
    Social-Darwinism and Eugenics
  • Sierra Justo, education minister under Porfirio
    Diaz- We still need to revitalize the earth by
    way of irrigation. We need to attract immigrants
    from Europe so as to obtain cross with indigenous
    race, for only European blood can keep the level
    of civilization that has produced our nationality
    from sinking, which would mean regression, not

4. Porfirato and Positivism
  • Positivism had much in common with the theories
    of Manifest Destiny
  • Positivism offered the social hierarchies a new
    justification. Inequalities were now explained,
    not by race or inheritance or religion, but by
    science. - Octavio Paz, a Nobel prize winning
    Mexican author.
  • Before 1810, two distinct, rival, and
    incompatible forms of society, two differing
    kinds of civilization existed in the Argentine
    Republic one being Spanish, European and
    cultivated, the other barbarous, American, and
    almost wholly of native growth the Revolution of
    1810 gave cause for a contest between them, to
    be ended, after lasting many years, by the
    absorption of one into the other. Domingo F.
    Sarmiento Civilization and Barbarism- a liberal
    opponent of Juan Manuel de Rosas- Argentine

Positivism Legacy in Other Parts of Latin America
5. Argentinas campaign to promote European
Immigration and Destroy Its Indigenous Population
  • After the downfall of the Federalist caudillo,
    Juan Manuel de Rosas, the Unitarists (belief in
    strong central power) came to power. In 1879,
    General Julio Roca (President 1880-1886 and
    1898-1904) associated with the party executed a
    campaign to capture Native American land in the
    south near Chile that resulted in the slaughter
    of thousands of Native Americans. At the same
    time he encouraged massive European immigration
    and the industrialization of Latin America.

General Julio Roca
6. Back to Mexico
  • While the Mexican aristocracy mimicked European
    ways and open Mexico to foreign investment most
    Mexicans lived with alarming poverty.
  • In 1900 29 of male children died within one
    year and 25 of the population was literate.
  • Some estimate that the average purchasing power
    of Mexicans in 1910 was quarter that of what it
    had been in 1810.

7. Sparks of the Mexican Revolution
  • Diaz decide that Mexico was ready to return to
    democracy and called for elections in 1910.
  • Francisco Madero, the owner of a large estancia
    and a US educated aristocrat who openly supported
    a new constitution and democratic change
    challenged Diaz.
  • Diaz had Madero imprisoned in Monterrey for the

8. Plan de San Luis Potosi
  • After being released from prison Madero went into
    exile in the United States where he wrote the
    Plan de San Luis
  • The Plan basically claimed that Diaz was not the
    legitimate leader of Mexico and that the election
    had been a fraud.
  • Upon returning to Mexico Madero claimed he was
    the President Pro-Temp until new elections could
    be held.
  • As President Pro-Temp Madero claimed that he
    would return all confiscated land to peasants and
    ensure universal male suffrage.

Francisco Madero
9. The Revolution Begins
  • Madero enlisted Pancho Villa and Pascual Orzoco
    to join the revolution.
  • Soon all hell broke loose and different groups
    throughout Mexico joined the revolution by
    overthrowing local leaders
  • One prominent revolutionary leader, Emiliano
    Zapata, led peasants in Morelos with the promise
    to return to them land and water rights.
  • Within 6 month the Diaz regime fell and Diaz
    exiled himself to France

Photos of the Revolution- Peasant soldiers on the
left and Pancho Villa on the right
Pancho Villas Militia
Depictions of the Revolution
Emiliano Zapata led the Revolution in the South
10. Maderos Mistakes
  • Upon assuming the Presidency of Mexico Madero
    allowed Diazs military forces to remain in the
    military with the assumption that they had
    learned their lesson.
  • He told Emiliano Zapata that lands taken from
    Indian villages by hacendados could not be
    returned by force.
  • Madero did increase funding on education, openly
    supported a plan to return lands to Indians and
    supported trade unionism
  • Large oil companies (American owned), large land
    owners and others in the economic elite waged a
    war of words against Madero in the Mexican press
    which inspired rebellion
  • One former general under Diaz tried to over throw
    Diaz, another cattle rancher upset with a law
    that limited land possession to 20 square miles,
    Pascual Orozco also tried to overthrow him bu was
    defeated by Pancho Villas forces who remained
    loyal to Madero

11. Zapata and the Plan de Ayala
  • Disillusioned with the slow pace of change under
    Maderos leadership, Zapata continued the
    revolution by advancing his own plan, the Plad de
  • In the Plan de Ayala Zapata writes that Madero
    had no intentions other than to satisfy his
    personal ambitions, boundless instincts as a
    tyrant, and his profound disrespect for the
    constitution of 1857.
  • Zapata went onto promise small largely indigenous
    land holders that they would be returned their
    properties taken by their oppressors.
  • It should be noted that Madero was the owner of
    an enormous estancia and had appointed many
    members of his family to his government

12. A Mural depicting Zapata with his Plan de
13. General Huerta Succeeds Madero
  • In 1913 General Victoriano Huerta overthrew the
    Madero government by assassinating him.
  • Huerta, a general under Madero in the Mexican
    army, rose to power with Maderos death and with
    the hope of restoring the Porfirato.
  • Huerta rise to power initiated the truly
    revolutionary phase of the Mexican revolution.

General Huerta next to the US General Pershing
14. Villa in the North and Zapata in the South
  • Villa organized small landholders, cowboys and
    the unemployed in the north join the revolution
    and Zapata organized the small largely indigenous
    landholders of the south as the government was
    forced to deal with a two fronted revolution for
    radical social change that called for widespread
    land redistribution.

15. Venustiano Carranza joins the Revolution
  • Carranza, a wealthy landholder like Madero
    organized a third army, mostly of Mexicos elite
    to contest Huertas presidency. In his Plan de
    Guadalupe (March 1913) Carranza declared himself
    the First Chief of the Constitutional Army, but
    said nothing about socio-economic conditions that
    propelled Villa and especially Zapata.

Carranza and Obregon
Alvaro Obregon Joins Carranza
  • Huerta resigned as President in 1914 after the US
    refused to recognized him as a President and sent
    troops to Veracruz.
  • Obregon joined Carranza as a military strategist.
    Together they defeated Villas forces in the
    North and ultimately assassinated Zapata in the

16. The Mexican Constitution on 1917
institutionalizes the revolution
  • The Mexican constitution of 1917 empowered the
    government to redistribute land, recognized
    labors right to organize, subjected the church to
    new restrictions.
  • Carranza assumed to the presidency in 1917, but
    resigned after trying to rig the first election
    under the new constitution.
  • Obregon succeeded Carranza and organized the
    Partido Nacional Revolucionario now known as the
    Partido Revolucionario Institucional

17. The Mexican Revolution Accomplished the
  • Nationalization of the oil industry
  • Transfer of more than 45 million acres of land to
    the power
  • The near monopoly of political power by the PRI
  • A socialist orientation by the politicians that

Mexican Revolution Website
  • Check out these websites to explore different
    aspects of the revolution
  • http//runyon.lib.utexas.edu/conflict.html
  • http//www.latinamericanstudies.org/mex-revolution
  • http//www.wfu.edu/history/StudentWork/fysprojects
  • http//www.corridos.org/Default.asp?LanguageS
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