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The Mexican Revolution.docx

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Department
History
Course
History 2501E
Professor
Luz Hernandez- Saenz
Semester
Winter

Description
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 Feb, 05, 2013 -Each region was very different and there were many different reasons for the revolution to be different in each area and it was related to the economy, etc -In the north they had a smaller indigenous population and it was very dry there so there were no large settlements so pre-Hispanic people there were not sedentary and this resulted in many people from central Mexico moving to those areas to settle there and there was not a tradition of communal land as a result -The north was also more influenced by the US and they wanted individualism and democracy and some of them complained they didn’t have land because they wanted it for themselves not communally (wanted more capitalism) but some areas in the south had a completely different background -The people in the south had all their land taken by the sugar plantation and they had communal land and they weren’t interested in selling their products and they wanted a subsistence economy so they fought for different things in the revolution the armies of Zapata there were willing to fight and die for the villages while in the north they wanted more of an export economy -People in the north and south looked very different and until recently you could tell where men were from by the hat they wore and their clothing but this is not the case anymore and it was a reflection of their differences First Phase of the Revolution – 1910-13: -The main figure of the revolution was Francisco Madero and it was started by the middle class and not the starving suffering people like is commonly thought and he was a well educated man from a wealthy family and he really believed in democracy and he was not happy with the currant system -He belonged to a younger generation at the end of the time of Diaz and they wanted more say in the government and they were happy with the system but his family had been excluded by political power and they told him not to get involved because they were wealthy but he was an idealist and he had a conscience
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