Causes and Consequences of the Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution It was an armed conflict that began in 1910 and ended in 1920, which represented the most significant social and political event of the Mexican 20th century. It was a series of armed uprisings against successive governments under the dictatorial mandate of Porfirio Díaz, which lasted until the second or third decade of the century, when the Mexican Constitution was finally proclaimed.

During the conflict, troops loyal to the dictatorial government of Porfirio Diaz, who ruled the country since 1876, against the rebels led by Francisco I. Madero, who saw the possibility of starting a movement to recover the Republic. They were successful in 1910, through the San Luis Plan, in which they advanced from the Mexican north from San Antonio (Texas).

In 1911, elections were held and the Madero was elected president. But his disagreements with other revolutionary leaders, such as Pascual Orozco and Emiliano Zapata, led to the uprising against his former allies. The opportunity was taken advantage of by a group of soldiers known today as the “Tragic Ten”, who, led by Félix Díaz, Bernardo Reyes and Victoriano Huerta, carried out a coup and assassinated the president, his brother and the vice president. Thus, Huerta assumed the mandate of the country.

Revolutionary leaders such as Venustiano Carranza or Francisco “Pancho” Villa did not take long to react, who fought the de facto government until Huerta’s resignation in 1912, after the US invasion of Veracruz. Then, far from achieving peace, the conflicts between the various factions that they had deposed Huerta, so Carranza called the Aguascalientes Convention to name a single leader, who was Eulalio Gutiérrez, appointed president. However, Carranza himself would ignore the agreement and hostilities would resume.

Finally, the first steps were taken to enact a new constitution of the country in 1917 and bring Carranza to power. But the internal struggles would take a few more years, during which these leaders would be assassinated: Zapata in 1919, Carranza in 1920, Villa in 1923, and Obregón in 1928.

But already in 1920 Adolfo de la Huerta had assumed the mandate, and in 1924 Plutarco Elías Calles, giving way to the democratic history of the country and putting an end to the Mexican Revolution.

Causes of the Mexican Revolution

  • The Porphyry Crisis. Colonel Porfirio Díaz had already ruled Mexico during 34 years of dictatorial rule, during which an economic expansion had been forged at the cost of the malaise of the less wealthy classes. This triggered a social, political, economic and cultural crisis, which fueled his opponents and undermined his government’s credibility. When Díaz himself announced that he would retire from power at the end of his term, disgruntled factions felt their opportunity had come to force change in the country.
  • The pitiful situation of the field. In a country with 80% rural population, the prevailing social and economic laws and practices were those of the large landowners and landowners. The peasantry and the indigenous community lived impoverished and indebted for life, deprived of communal lands and in such a dire situation of existence that the American journalist JK Turner in his book Barbarian Mexico By 1909 he was able to foresee the coming uprising of the oppressed.
  • The Discrediting of Reigning Social Darwinism. The positivist thinking that the ruling classes wielded entered a crisis towards the beginning of the century, as the mestizo majorities demanded greater participation in the decisions of the nation. The elite group called “the Scientists” was no longer seen as the only ones congenitally capable of wielding power. These represented the clique of the porfirate.
  • Madero’s anti-re-election efforts. The various tours (three) made by Madero to spread anti-Porfirian sentiment throughout the nation were so successful that he was accused of inciting rebellion and sentenced to jail. He would then be released on bail, but without the right to leave the country or participate in the elections, in which Colonel Porfirio Díaz was re-elected, against his promise.
  • The crisis of 1907. The crisis in Europe and the United States led to a drastic decrease in industrial credits and higher import prices, which resulted in high unemployment that further accentuated the malaise of the Mexican people.

Consequences of the Mexican Revolution

  • 3.4 million lives affected. There is no exact figure for the number of deaths during the conflict, but it is estimated to range between one million and two million people. Counting emigration to other countries, famine, the decline in the birth rate and the Spanish flu pandemic unleashed in 1918, it is estimated that 3.4 million people have seen their lives affected forever during this period of Mexican history.
  • Birth of the bureaucrat. Thanks to the substantial social and political changes of the Revolution, the disadvantaged classes enter the State to occupy bureaucratic and administrative functions. The army, bent on the Revolution, also opened its system and recruited personnel from the middle and lower classes, growing by 50 or 60% during the Calles government. This meant a substantial change in the distribution of wealth in the country.
  • Urban migration. Fleeing disorder and violence in the countryside, since the Revolution was a movement with a large rural presence, a large percentage of the peasant population migrated to the cities, thus increasing the standard of living in the cities but causing social inequality in them. deep.
  • Agrarian reform. One of the most significant changes of the Revolution, it allowed peasants to own land and created a new class of ejidatarios. This, however, did not improve their quality of life much and many still preferred to migrate to plantations where they were mistreated and exploited, but they were better paid. Many others migrated to the United States.
  • Artistic and literary impact. Numerous Mexican authors portrayed in their works what happened between 1910 and 1917, unknowingly creating a powerful aesthetic and artistic muscle that would later bear fruit in the culture of their country. Some of these authors are Mariano Azuela (and especially his novel Those below 1916), José Vasconcelos, Rafael M. Muñoz, José Rubén Romero, Martín Luis Guzmán and others. Thus, from 1928 on, the genre of the “Revolutionary Novel” would be born. Something similar happened with film and photography, whose cultists abundantly portrayed the years of conflict.
  • Rise of the corridos and the “adelitas”. During the revolutionary period, the corrido, a musical and popular expression inherited from the old Spanish romance, gained great strength, in which epic and revolutionary events were narrated, or the lives of popular leaders such as Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata were recounted. From them is also born the figure of the “adelita” or soldadera, the woman committed to the battlefield, evidence of the important participation of women on both sides of the conflict.
  • Military visibility of women. Many women participated actively in the war, reaching the ranks of colonel, lieutenant or captain, and leaving an important mark on the way women thought during the time. Among them we can name Margarita Neri, Rosa Bobadilla, Juana Ramona de Flores or María de Jesús de la Rosa “the coronela”.