Mexican Revolution Essay, Research Paper
The Mexican revolution was brought on by, among other factors, tremendous disagreement among the Mexican people over the dictatorship of President Porfirio D az. (www.mexconnect.com/MEX/austin) This disagreement provided a hostile environment in which the citizens of the lower class were discontent and many prominent figures rebelled against D az. This kind of environment plus the growing discontent of the majority class, lead to many revolts and coups that brought violence into the foreground of Mexican culture. Violence was frequent throughout the revolution and continued to the very end. This is where the Mexican revolution differs from others. During the final years of the revolution, things did not reach a real period of stability because of continual civilian disapproval and spontaneous fighting among revolutionaries and the Mexican government. Other than this period, the Mexican revolution follows the pattern of revolutions. The mistreatment of the majority class, the revolutionaries strong views and violent natures, and the overall failure to meet the needs of the Mexican citizens by the government were the catalysts for a violent revolution to come.
D az was a big reason that a revolution was necessary in Mexico, but in his first 10 years as President, he made great advancements in society to better Mexico as a country. When D az came into power he focussed his presidential efforts towards making Mexico a part of the modern world. He believed strongly that Mexico s future depended on the modernization of society and foreign investment. D az headed the building of the nation s railway network and took steps towards increasing foreign trade markets for Mexico s mineral and agricultural products. While Mexico greatly prospered under his rule, D az lost sight of the average citizen and their needs. D az stressed a high rate of growth through scientific advancement regardless of its impact on the people. He favored the upper class landowners, increasing their properties by giving them Native American s land. The rich became richer along with the nation while the masses remained and became increasingly more impoverished. There was little class jumping since there was no land to be bought and debts of fathers were passed on to his children. D az exercised extreme control of the government; he did not allow elections in order to remain in power and made it so no one new was able to enter his government system unless they had ties with D az. D az s extreme views and lack of concern for the lower class, led to his demise. Many individuals grew to hate him and led campaigns against him but since D az did not allow popular elections, nothing serious came of it.
In 1910 D az said he would allow an election. Francisco I. Madero had gathered a following and planned to run against D az. When D az realized that Madero was going to win the election he had him arrested and rigged the election. This enraged the people, not to mention Madero. Madero supporters protested President D az, rioting in the streets of Mexico. Madero was released shortly after the election and fled to San Antonio, Texas where he wrote a revolutionary document called La Plan do San Luis Potosi. This document called for a violent revolt on November 20, 1910. Madero s boldness against D az sparked other revolutionaries to flex their muscles. Pancho Villa led protests and riots in the North while Emiliano Zapata led his army of farmers (the Zapatistas ) in the South. While Madero s planned revolt failed, however, it was useful in that it inspired other revolutionary groups to join forces. Revolutionary groups everywhere raided towns and government buildings and the Zapatistas even ventured to storm and take control of the town Cuantla, cutting off their roads to Mexico City. D az saw the destruction that his enemies had caused and feared for his life.
D az realized that it was only a matter of time before he would be captured so he fled to Europe. With D az gone, Madero was named President of Mexico. Once in office Madero made many mistakes in the eyes of the revolutionaries or Constitutionalists. The revolutionaries agreed that haciendas (European owned land) needed to be abolished and the land should be given back to the poor. Madero did not want to upset the upper class so he tried to buy off Emiliano Zapata with a large estate of land. This enraged all the revolutionaries and caused great disorganization. Emiliano s plan backfired; Zapata and the other revolutionaries, enraged at his offer, abandoned Madero and refused to protect him. This abandonment sparked a counter-revolution. Felix D az (the son of Profirio D az) and Victoriano Huerta met with U.S. officials who believed that Madero was too closely associated with the savage revolutionaries. In this meeting, the three signed a document called The Pact of the Embassy in which they agreed to an overthrow of Madero s Presidency and the installment of Huerta as President. The coup was successful and Huerta was now the President of Mexico. Madero tried to flee but was caught and imprisoned. Madero was later shot to death behind the prison while allegedly trying to escape. Huerta struck fear into the people of Mexico going by the strict Catholic Church s ways. Huerta murdered hundreds who openly supported Madero. The fear that Huerta instilled hampered the freedom of the citizens of Mexico. Zapata and Venustantio Carranza both led armies in the north and south fighting Huerta s forces. Huerta suffered defeat after defeat.
In 1914, all the revolutionary forces joined together to make a raid on Mexico City. Huerta fled during this battle leaving Carranza to claim Presidency. This is where the Mexican revolution does not fit the pattern. Villa opposed Carranza s rise to Presidency and fought him for years. Amidst the fighting, some order was restored when Carranza drafted the Constitution in 1917. The constitution allowed the government to confiscate land from the wealthy and re-distribute it to the poor. The constitution also ensured worker s rights, which was probably the most important benefit. Even with the Constitution in place, fighting was still the norm. Zapata continued to fight and was eventually murdered by Carranza. The people mourned Zapata s death and hated Carranza for killing him. Order was not restored until 1920 when Alvaro Obragon was elected President. While occasional violence erupted, peace for the most part was achieved. With Alvaro in office, the revolution Finally came to an end.
Mexico s struggle for freedom resulted in brutal violence and many casualties. In this case a revolution was indeed necessary. People of the lower class would have continued to be treated with oppression and would have never had a chance to break their cycle of poverty. What Venustantio Carranza did by writing Mexico s Constitution in 1917 and what everybody who fought in the revolution did, was ensure that all Mexicans to come would have the freedom that was paid for with the lives of revolutionaries. Mexico s citizens today should be and are eternally grateful for those who fought against oppression just as Americans are thankful for those who sacrificed their families and lives for our county s independence.