History 2501E Lecture Notes - Francisco I. Madero, Latifundium, United States Marine Corps

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Published on 7 Feb 2013
Department
Feb, 05, 2013
The Mexican Revolution
The Meaning of Revolution:
-A revolution is something that completely changes the political system of a country and things could change
through evolution (takes place over time) or revolution (much more immediate)
-Evolution may have various groups making room for one another to participate and this would be gradual and
non-violent while a revolution allows no change in the system and thus there is an explosion of rebellion
-Some say it can only be a revolution if the change is lasting leading to fewer revolutions
-When we talk of the Mexican revolution for a long time it was seen as the best thing for their new system of
government and things before were seen as very bad and there was now freedom of press (used to be government
controlled) and research had to be government funded and was limited before then as well
-Their new freedom allowed them to be more critical of the times before and some questioned whether things had
really changed at all and in Mexico the revolution became almost mythical because of the amount of emphasis
-They asked who benefited from the revolution during their criticisms but people have different conclusions
-The revolution was not a civil war and it was just everyone against everyone and it was mixed with local politics as
well as larger powers and things took place at different times in different places
The Case of Mexico 1910-1917/1920’s:
-Things are commonly seen from the capital which was the centre of the country
Diaz Dictatorship:
-He stepped down in 1911 and during his time he oversaw professionalization of the army, modernization,
urbanization, and promoting an export economy and he wanted to establish order because there had not bee
peace since the independence
-By professionalizing the army he got rid of the caudillos and be brought in generals from France and there was a
military college established and they had a good budget in the military with new equipment purchased and all of
this was to get order and to make progress
-He also realized Mexico had to meet its foreign obligations and debts to avoid different countries intervening and
he had some good finance ministers who tightened the system and made sure the system grew by collecting taxes
and by time he left office Mexico had a surplus in its budget (17 million pesos)
-He tried to change Mexico’s image to improve foreign relations and he paid damaged to US citizens who lost
things in the war and he signed many treaties with different countries and there was a big population increase
-There were a few immigrants but most of the growth in population was local but when it came to lands this was
not a good thing because it was in demand
-There was a small but growing middle class of professionals and white collar workers but the most dramatic
change was in transportation and communication
-He built railroads that facilitated the movement of information and people (kept the military in mind through all
of this) and there was eventually 15,000 miles and this really united the nation by bringing states together but
Mexico was not unique in all of this and telegraph lines were also increased
-All of this allowed for more mining for different reasons because now there was technology to make the flooded
mines accessible again and the rail road now could move all the minerals and there was a lot of foreign investment
from the US because there was mining in the north
-He also changed legislation from the government owning all valuables subsoil and now it was up for grabs and
there was a lot of competition for foreign investments
-Most of the modernization was focused in the urban areas and private investment was going into the mines and
business but the government had their hands full here and this was a problem because they got farther and farther
behind other countries because modernization was not spread to the majority of people in rural areas
-They thought more in terms of urban areas because it was more costly and difficult to build infrastructure in the
country sides as well as other factors
-The export economy allowed for land acquisition on a large scale in plots known as latifundio and some states
were controlled by only one family who were of high status and that married landowners (the Terrazas in
Chihuahua) and this was because the land was not very fertile and to have cattle they needed huge expanses and
the government allowed this in return for their support
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