Geography 2020A/B Lecture Notes - Death By Natural Causes, Roosevelt Corollary, Pemex

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Published on 18 Feb 2013
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Feb, 07, 2013
Land, Inequality, and Revolutionary Struggle
-The official Mexico of frock-coated gentlemen olympically ignored the real Mexico whose poverty fed their
splendour
-In the late 1800’s there were extreme inequalities in land and society persisting and this was linked to new
interests from groups like US corporations and land led to many huge social tensions and the uneven social order
was held together by force and there was extreme volatility
-Large landholding classes were typically linked to dictators and the military and this caused the cycle of US
intervention in the military and politics and this was also linked to US corporations and it seemed as though the
people were at war with their past (US commonly sided with authoritarian regimes)
-All of the above led to inevitable revolutions and the first place tensions erupted was in Mexico
The Mexican Revolution:
-The Mexican revolution lasted from 1910-1920 and the tipping point was Porfirio Diaz who had been president
since 1876 when Mexico was pre-industrial, rural, and with limited technological advancement
-He promoted aggressive modernization, industry, foreign investment, infrastructure (railroads), and urbanization
-The “2nd Conquest” that resulted was the result of rural elites expropriating vast land from smallholders and
indigenous peoples and there was extensive landlessness and a small percentage of farmers owning 95% of the
arable land
-Francisco Madero sparked an uprising and took power from 1911-1913 but he straddled the middle and there
were modest reforms but he alienated both the right and the left and as a result he was killed in a coup
-The military regime was resisted by Emiliano Zapata who was leaders of the Liberation Army of the South and
Pancho Villa who was leader of the Northern Division but there were many other competing currents and fronts
-The revolution was extremely violent and it is uncertain how many people were killed but we know in 1910 the
population was 15 million and by 1920 it was 13.5 million but there was much more than the 1.5 million killed
because not all would have been recorded
-What emerged was not radical reforms but the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1929 and this led to a
virtual one part system until 2000
-In 1919 Zapata was murdered and in 1923 so was Villa and no leader of the revolution died of natural deaths
-Smedley Butler was awarded 2 Congressional Medals of Honour and was one of the most decorated Major
Generals in the history of the US Marine Corps and he wrote a book about how it was his job to go into countries
like Mexico, Haiti and Nicaragua to make them more exploitable for US corporations
-From 1934-40 there was the Cardenas Administration which was the only government to approach some of the
major goals of revolutionaries like Zapata and there was land reform (ejido system) and PEMEX
Haiti:
-In 1915-34 the US governed after invasion and in 1918 they granted US corporations the right to own land which
had been outlawed since the revolution
-The national bank expropriated and tax of coffee export earnings increased to pay off debts to US banks and other
foreign creditors and resistance suppressed
-After 1934 the US kept control of the national bank and this left behind a virtual police state
-In 1956 there was a Military coup that put in power Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier
Nicaragua:
-Was a colonial backwater but by the late 19th century it was a classic ‘banana republic’ where there was banana
production and trade, rail, ports, and banks
-The US intervened regularly and from 1912-25 there was US Marine occupation and some of the troops stayed
beyond 1925
-Augusto César Sandino was against US occupation and he developed a small successful guerrilla army and he
fought the US marines from 1927-33
-In 1933 the US troops exited but they left behind the National Guard and it was headed by Gen. Anastasio Somoza
-In 1934 Sandino tricked and killed by Somoza who then had a dynasty in the country until 1979
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Document Summary

The official mexico of frock-coated gentlemen olympically ignored the real mexico whose poverty fed their splendour. All of the above led to inevitable revolutions and the first place tensions erupted was in mexico. The mexican revolution lasted from 1910-1920 and the tipping point was porfirio diaz who had been president since 1876 when mexico was pre-industrial, rural, and with limited technological advancement. He promoted aggressive modernization, industry, foreign investment, infrastructure (railroads), and urbanization. The 2nd conquest that resulted was the result of rural elites expropriating vast land from smallholders and indigenous peoples and there was extensive landlessness and a small percentage of farmers owning 95% of the arable land. Francisco madero sparked an uprising and took power from 1911-1913 but he straddled the middle and there were modest reforms but he alienated both the right and the left and as a result he was killed in a coup.

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