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Notes on the Mexican Revolution

© 2001 Donald J. Mabry

1. The average Mexican was worse off economically and politically in 1910 than he/she had been in 1810.

2. Industrial wages averaged 12.5 cents a day. Mexican laborer had to work 12 times as long as US worker to buy a measure of corn; 20 times to buy cheap cloth.

3. Less than 1% of families controlled 85% of the nation's wealth.

4. Early protest movements:

5. In the Revolution, soldiers were the most important. More so than peasants, workers, intellectuals, etc. Have to understand this.

6. Election, July, 1910 won handily by Díaz. Madero jailed before election, escaped after election (probably with Díaz looking the other way), and went to San Antonio, where he collaborated with anti-Díaz exiles such as Bernardo Reyes, Yves Limantour, and Francisco de la Barra.

In 1910 in San Antonio, Madero announces the Plan de San Luis Potosí (as if he were there). Declared the 1910 election invalid; said Madero had been elected president; and called for a popular uprising. Madero crosses to Coahuila on November 20, 1910 to lead the insurrection. Nothing happened.

7. Revolution began in different places at different times for different reasons. Role of the North, the most dynamic and developed region was critical.

8. Chihuahua was very important. Good guerrilla leaders such as Pancho Villa, Pascual Orozco plus others who thought they had a chance of success. Orozco and Villa cleaned up the back country. In February, 1911, Madero crosses to join Villa and Orozco, who don't welcome him.

9. Zapata in Morelos, parts of Guerrero, Puebla, Mexico, and the Distrito Federal. Zapata was the radical leader of the Revolution. Wanted to return the land to its original owners. Wouldn't quit until he won; but he was ambushed in 1919.

10. Limantour returns March, 1911 to run govt for Díaz. Too late. Díaz pledges reform; offers to resign. This news reaches Chihuahua while Villa and Orozco have federal garrison in Ciudad Juárez pinned down.

Madero willing to accept the Díaz pledge; Villa and Orozco won't; took Ciudad Juárez; they almost shot Madero when Madero tried to prevent the shooting of the federal commander . The capture of Ciudad Juárez reverberated through the federal army, which began to quit. The Díaz regime collapsed.

11. Díaz resigns and goes into exile in May, 1911, the day after Ciudad. Juárez fell.

12. Francisco de la Barra named provisional president. Presidential elections were scheduled for that year and will be won by Madero.

13. Francisco Madero. b. Oct 30, 1873. He was the eldest of fifteen children. His family was worth $15 million dollars, one of the richest in Mexico. Most of their property was in Coahuila. Madero studied in Mexico and in Baltimore, Berkeley and Paris. He was a teetotaler, vegetarian, spiritualist, and 19th century liberal.

14. Problems under de la Barra

15. Madero as president (1911-1913)

16. Fall of Madero, Feb, 1913.

17. Huerta was President (Feb, 1913-August, 1914). Lots of enemies.

18. Race for the capital won by Obregón and Sonora forces, supporting Carranza. Carranza had a provisional government, October 17, 1913.

19. Villa was the chief rival to Carranza.

20. US military intervention and invasions of Tampico and Veracruz. Nationalists rally around Huerta. US intervention did cause Huerta to fall in July, 1914.

21. Convention of Aguascalientes (October, 1914), a meeting of army leaders to decide who should rule. Villa and Carranza forces attended but Villa had troops. Named Eulalio Gutiérrez as President. Carranza ignored the Convention's selection and fights.

22. Villa drives Carranza out of Mex City. Meets with Zapata. Gives Carrancistas time to prepare, which was a mistake.

23. In 1915-1916, Obregón beats Villa, putting Carranza securely in power.

24. To gain support, Carranza begins to promise land, labor, and municipal reforms

25. In 1916, the Pershing Expedition invaded Mexico to search for Villa because of his raid on Columbus, N.M. Fought Mexican army. U.S. seriously considered going to war with Mexico. Republicans were pressuring President Wilson to declare war.

26. Constitution of 1917. Written at Querétaro in 1916-1917. Social Reform ideas. anticlericalism; labor rights; free education; breakup, big estates; subsoil rights

27. Carranza was a conservative. In 1920, he also tried to put a henchman into office.

28. 1920-1934. Sonora Dynasty. Alvaro Obregón (1920-24); Plutarco Calles (1924-28); Obregón elected 1928 but assassinated. Provisional President Emilio Portes Gil (1928-29), then Pascual Ortiz Rubio(1929-32), Provisional President Abelardo Rodríguez (1932-34).

29. National Chambers of Mexican Industry (CONCAMIN) and National Chambers of Commerce (CONCANACO) created as business organizations while the Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM) created by Luis Morones in the 1920s. Mexico begins institutionalizing.