Unformatted text preview: Díaz Era
and the Election of 1910 P o r ﬁ r io D ía z
Porﬁrio Díaz was born the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca on September 15, 1830. He was a full-blooded Mixtec Indian, who was sent to study law, but who preferred a military career. He advanced quickly and was already a general at age 31, when he was called upon to ﬁght the French in the famous battle for Puebla on Cinco de Mayo 1862.
• H e w a s r e s p o n s ib le f o r th e c r u c ia l a tta c k th a t tu r n e d th e tid e o f b a ttle . After the French were driven out, he turned to politics. When Juárez ran for his fourth term in 1871, Díaz was one of his opponents, on the grounds that he thought presidents should be limited to a single term in ofﬁce. When Juárez’ successor, Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, announced he would seek a second term, Díaz rose in armed rebellion, took Mexico City, and was installed provisional president. Díaz Presidency (1876 – 1 911) T h e P o r ﬁ r ia to
When Porﬁrio Díaz was ascended to the presidency in 1876, Mexico was in a shambles. • Most of the country was utterly unaffected by advances made in the Industrial Revolution. • The national treasury was empty and the national debt was enormous. • The two main sources of potential economic activity, mining and agriculture, were unproductive.
— M o s t o f th e m in e s w e r e s till ﬂ o o d e d f r o m th e tim e o f th e W a r s o f I n d e p e n d e n c e m o r e 5 0 y e a r s e a r lie r . — M o s t o f th e a g r ic u ltu r e w a s s tu c k in th e 1 7 th c e n tu r y . • There were serious public health problems, even in Mexico City. Díaz answer was “Order and Progress”— in that order. In his ﬁrst term in ofﬁce he acted forcefully to address both economic and law and order problems. He did so well, that there was political pressure to set aside the term limit law and allow him to run for a second term. He refused and instead had an incompetent political ally to run. T h e P o r ﬁ r ia to
Because of the incompetence of the sitting president, Díaz was drafted to run again in 1884. • In this term he began a plan of modernization, based on the Mexican version of logical positivism. • Economically, he made great strides. He was a great admirer of the “robber barons” of the US. • He declared a period of “administrative power”, i.e., a dictatorship, to introduce modern industry, economics, and to throw incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats out of government.
— T h is m o d e r n iz a tio n in c lu d e d b u ild in g r a ilr o a d s , r e - o p e n in g m in e s , d e v e lo p in g a g r ic u ltu r e , a n d a d d r e s s in g th e p u b lic h e a lth p r o b le m s . • But all these advances came a great human cost. T h e P o r ﬁ r ia to
To enact his changes, Díaz needed to be in complete control. • He established the ﬁrst system of secret police, and practiced political intimidation. • To keep law and order in the outlying areas, he had local gangs of banditos deputized as rurales, so that on the books there was no more crime.
—Corruption in the police force in Mexico continues today. — C o n te m p o r a r y la w - a b id in g M e x ic a n s a r e r ig h tly a f r a id o f th e p o lic e . • Land was consolidated into government control by legalized conﬁscation and passed on to wealthy families. • The vast majority of Mexicans were no better off for modernization. Many were worse off. T h e P o r ﬁ r ia to
By the turn of the century (i.e. 1900), Mexico was modern but utterly repressive. None of the important political guarantees of the Constitution of 1857 was in effect. • Elections were a joke at all levels of government. • There was no freedom of the press. • There was no justice other than the whim of the local political boss (cacique). There was already an opposition in exile in St. Louis going strong when, in 1910, Díaz, against political advice, decided to run for an eighth term of ofﬁce. One of the opponents was a man named Francisco I. Madero. The Election of 1910 Sometime towards the end of Díaz seventh term, he gave an interview to an American journalist and stated that he was unwilling to stand for reelection. Díaz believed that he would be speaking to a US audience only, and he was interested in keeping the US government off his back, since his excesses were well known north of the border. But what happened is that the story was picked up by the widely read Mexican paper, El Imparcial. And the smoldering intellectual unrest found even more impetus toward action when Díaz actually ran. As one would expect in a repressive society, the election was unimaginably dirty. The candidate who opposed Díaz was the intellectual Madero who had published a book La sucesión presidencial in 1910.
— Madero’s idea was that the ills of Mexico could be cured by simply a llo w in g tr u e d e m o c r a c y to w o r k . —He was wrong, of course, but the book catapulted him to public and p o litic a l p r o m in e n c e . During the campaign at a political rally at Madero’s house in Monterrey, a crowd of admirer’s broke through a police barricade. A friend criticized the police for their treatment of the people, so the police tried to arrest him the following day. But Madero detained them so his friend could escape In retaliation the police arrested Madero. The result was that Madero spent election day in jail. In a style typical of oppressive regimes, of the millions of votes cast, he got 196. It was immediately obvious to everyone just how corrupt the system was. Díaz held a month long celebration in Mexico City in September of 1910 marking the centennial of Mexican independence, Díaz’ reelection, and his 80th birthday. It celebrated Mexican Indian heritage — the ﬁrst modern acknowledgment of Mexico’s Indian heritage. But the cost of the celebrations exceeded the annual budget for education. And the poor, many of whom were Indians, were driven out of Mexico City so as not to give the visiting dignitaries the “wrong impression.” The Revolution of 1910:
THE MADERO ERA Francisco I. Madero was released on bail after the election, he ﬂed to San Antonio (Texas). Disillusioned by the failure of the political process, he drafted a plan for military action. He called for insurrection on November 20. In spite of a rocky beginning, the rebellion starts in earnest in Chihuahua, under the military leadership of Pascual Orozco. After one battle Orozco cockily sent the uniforms of dead federal soldiers back to Díaz with the message, “Here are the wrappers, send more tamales.” The rebellion spreads to Sonora, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Veracruz, Zacatecas, Puebla, Guerrero, and Morelos. Defying orders from Madero, Orozco attacks Ciudad Juarez from El Paso and captures it in May of 1911. The fall of Juarez precipitated Díaz’ resignation, but it generated much friction within the ranks of the rebels. An interim government was set up, new elections are held in October 1911, but the failure of social reforms leads to Zapata’s revolt against Madero in 1912. Zapata is Nahuatl. Enemies Madero had made in the rebel armies of the north ally themselves with Zapata. Madero’s general, Huerta, ﬁrst defeats Orozco and then turns against Madero betrays him, and ultimately has him shot in 1913. The Revolution of 1910:
THE HUERTA ERA Huerta positions himself to be declared president. Huerta is half Huichol. But the governor of Caohuila, Venustiano Carranza, refuses to recognize Huerta’s regime. Álvaro Obregón and Doroteo Aranga, better known as Pancho Villa, emerge as the leaders in the north. Zapata continues to ﬁght in the south. Huerta’s presidency is refused recognition by Washington.
( W o o d r o w W ils o n , W illia m J e n n in g s B r y a n , S e c r e ta r y o f S ta te , a n d J o h n L in d , A m b a s s a d o r to M e x ic o ) . Wilson supports the rebels in the north and sends ships to sit in Veracruz harbor. Fearing an invasion by the US Huerta moves too many troops to Veracruz, and is beaten in both the north and the south and, in 1914 resigns. The Revolution of 1910:
THE CARRRANZA ERA After Huerta’s resignation, Mexico fell into chaos. Carranza claimed to be Madero’s successor. Zapata, Villa and Gen. Álvaro Obregón, representating Carranza, meet in Aguascalientes. They tried to form an interim government but failed and plunged the country back into civil war. Villa and Zapata unify against Carranza and march on Mexico City. Carranza and Obregón withdraw to Veracruz. There are effectively three countries: a Villista north, a Zapatista south, and the Carranza government in Veraruz. Obregón beats Villa in a decisive battle at Celaya.
(Obregón, read battle reports from WWI in Europe and learned how to use barbed w ir e to d e f e a t c a v a lr y . I n C e la y a 4 0 0 0 V illis ta s d e a d , 5 0 0 0 w o u n d e d , a n d 6 0 0 0 c a p tu r e d . O f O b r e g ó n ’ s m e n , 1 3 8 d e a d , 2 2 7 w o u n d e d .) 3. Zapata is weakened in the south for lack of supplies. The US extends recognition to the Carranza government in 1915. Villa, needs supplies badly and makes forays into the US. Carranza is elected in 1917. A new constitution is written promising reforms but not fully implemented until 1930’s. 4. Carranza betrayed Zapata and had him killed (1919) and then, ignoring the 1917 constitution, re-asserted Díaz policies favoring special interests, undoing what progress Madero and even Huerta had made. End of the Revolution 1. Alvaro Obregón elected in 1920 for 4 years. He works on Mexico’s economic base (Mexico becomes the third largest producer of oil.) and starts back in the direction of policital and social reform. His education minister starts incorporating the Indians into the mainstream mestizo society, building over a thousand rural schools. 2. Some trouble with the US who feared the seizure of oil interests in Mexico. 3. From 1884–1924 every Mexican president was either assassinated or driven from ofﬁce by revolution. It was attempted again when Obregón put forward Plutarco Calles, a liberal, to succeed him, but the revolution was short-lived and unsuccessful. 4. Calles main trouble was not with business but with the church, because he chose to implement the anticlerical policies. Starting in 1926 there was a general strike of clerics refusing to say mass, perform baptisms, or say last rites. It lasted 3 years. It turned into armed rebellion as Cristeros (“Christ-ers”) attacked government outposts. 5. Allied with Calles, Obregón was re-elected to the presidency in 1928, but was assassinated by a Cristero before he could take ofﬁce the second time and the ofﬁce of president is occupied by three successive unelected puppet presidents who were controlled by “El Jefe Máximo”, Calles. During this period the country is moved to the right again. 6. Cárdenas, the governor of Michoacán is elected in 1934 and is an extreme populist. He is very interested in Indian policy and land reform. The Revolution is particularly bad on the peasants. Both sides kill and plunder indiscriminately. There are also serious epidemics. 1. Loss of life—approximately 2 million die for lack of medical care. Most wounded die and there are plagues. 2. Dislocation—massive emigration to the US. Many mestizos in Northern Mexico ﬂee to the U.S. forming the foundation of many contemporary Mexican-American communities. ...
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- Fall '09
- Ode, Mexico City, Mexican Revolution, Venustiano Carranza, Diaz