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Querétero Convention of 1916 and the Constitution of 1917

Delegations were chosen different ways. Not all of Mexico was represented. Only two out of the seven districts in Chiapas elected delegates; one out of six in Chihuahua. The delegates had little experience except in irregular armies. Many had been military leaders. Opinion in the Convention was probably more radical than in country as whole. Carranza believed that the more radical planks pf the Constitution wouldn't be implemented. There were some radical social and economic planks. The political planks were much like the Constitution of 1857. The Constitution was written by about 150 men.

Constitution of 1917

Amparo, a federal writ to protect persons from government action. It is widely used for a wide number of applications.


Lots of anticlericalism in the constitution. The generals who fought the Revolution came to believe that the Church did not support them and was trying to prevent change. Article 3 was the main one but more were scattered throughout the document. The Church was driven out of education almost entirely because Article 3 called for secular education in the schools. Did conduct religious education entirely in privacy. Article 5 outlawed monastic orders; Article 24 forbade public worship outside the confines of churches; and Article 27 placed restrictions on the right of religious organizations to hold property. Article 130 forbade the clergy (priests, nuns, etc.) From wearing clerical garb in public, to vote, and to comment on public affairs. Monastic orders were forbidden. The Church could not own real property. Much of the existing church property went to the state, which used it for public purposes. State legislatures were given the power to determine the maximum number of ministers in any district. Ministers had to be Mexican birth. Some radical measures were not passed such as a prohibition on aural confession and the requirement that all priests be married.


Article 27 deal with subsoil rights. It specified that there could be no foreign ownership of land within 100 miles of frontier. It provided that ejidos (communal lands) could be formed from the breakup of haciendas and that ejidos could be created retroactively. Article 14 says no retroactive laws could be passed! There are many contradictions in the constitution.


Compulsory attendance was instituted through the sixth grade. The nation could not supply the teachers, textbooks, and buildings. This was a statement of a goal. Business enterprises had to establish schools along with plants/factories. Did not usually happen.


Quite a bit on labor. (1) limits of the amount of time a person could be made to work; (2) housing and community conditions; (3) wages and financial conditions (4) labor organizations and labor disputes; (5) accident and , disease; (6) miscellaneous.

The socialist idea of profit-sharing was put into the constitution but not much done, if any. In the 1950s, there was a flurry of interest led by a congressman but it wasn't until 1960 that the government decided to do something. The Partido Acción Nacional had been advocating profit-sharing. Profit sharing exists but it is not clear how much difference it makes? In the late 20th century, some observers thought it might be a way for the government to put pressure on business.

Women suffrage voted down.

Many moral legislation items rejected.

In the 1917-1930s period, the political problem, not the social or economic one, was the overriding one. Carranza and other governments had very small budgets. Two-thirds of the national revenue went to the army under Carranza. Rapacious generals were prominent; Carranza and other presidents were paying off the military to forestall revolt. Under these conditions, one couldn't expect much division of land. Cárdenas (1930-40) distributed more than all other presidents combined, thus making him seem to idealistic revolutionaries the embodiment of the Revolution.

Carranza was a conservative. Chambers of Commerce and Business were revived. CONCAMIN (Confederation of Mexican Chambers of Industry) and CONCANACO (National Confederation of Chambers of Commerce) or similar were set up. Conservatives disliked the revolution; they thought it pro-labor, anti-business. Would not start new enterprises or invest.

CROM (Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers) was created. Led by Luis Morones. The CROM was corrupt and used terror to keep its members in line. Morones became rich.

Mexican presidents were determined to organize labor on a new basis, to use it as a prop of the regime. Mexican politicians have been effective in organizing and controlling labor over a long period of time. One result has been that labor leaders have not been as responsive to their members as in USA. This is partly the desires and passivity of Mexican labor. The worker has hope in Mexico unlike many other nations.

Mexican Chambers of Commerce were interested in imitating US business practices, but the nation's rulers were anti-Yankee. Carranza used pro-Protestantism to counterbalance Catholic Church coming back to power. Tremendous expansion of petroleum industry under Carranza. Contributed to anti-Yankeeism.