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The formation of a new constitution in 1917 contributed to the quenching of the political upheavals in Mexico that was characterized by various revolutions. These revolutions were as a result of great dissatisfaction by the population with their leaders who had failed to provide the necessary reforms needed to enhance the quality of life of the peasants. With the formation of the constitution inspired by President Carranza, a state of normalcy began to return though this was short-lived when he was overthrown by Obregon. The year 1917-1940 saw the rise of many political leaders who were determined to change the quality of living among the peasants and as Professor O Tannebaum had stated, the peasants, Zapatistas and constitutionalists begun to witness their dreams come true after the formulation of a new constitution in 1917 and coming into power of new leaders who were committed to observing the new constitution provisions. Therefore, I do agree with Professor O Tannebaum that there has been a lot of gain made since the inception of the constitution. In this essay, I will discuss the causes of the Mexican revolutions, the major stages in the revolution, immediate and long term effects of the revolution, the constitution and the Presidents who served Mexico from 1917-1940. After discussing these issues, it would be easier to ascertain the benefits derived from the constitution of 1917 that was necessitated by the revolutions.
The Mexican revolutions (1910-1920)
The Mexican revolution of 1910-1920 was as a result of the ruthless rule of President Porfiriato Diaz and the agrarian revolution at that time. During President Diaz’s tenure, he accumulated a lot of wealth for Mexico but at the expense of the lower class majority who were repressed and forced to pay the huge debt of the country. The vast wealth accumulated was consolidated on a minority few who were President Diaz’s close friends. This resulted into large income inequality between the rich and the poor hence making the poor to languish in a lot of poverty and misery. In addition, the popular foreign domination of the Mexican economy raised a lot of concern over who was controlling the Mexican economy. Consequently, the peasants begun to rebel against their administrators thereby leading to the rise of nationalism spirit among the disgruntled Mexican.
As the pressure mounted on President Diaz, he organized for an election that was later dismissed by Modero who later replace Diaz in 1911 as the President of Mexico. However, this was not the end to the revolutions as more pressure begun to accumulate on President Modero’s reign from the peasants who felt that the President had failed to fulfill his reform agenda on land. As a result, President Modero was overthrown and his brother Gustavo assassinated. Victoriano Huerta then became the President and still the rebellion continued with Carranza, Zapata, Villa, and Obregon opposed to the leadership of President Huerta. The removal of Huerta led to Carranza being the president in 1917 however; he was overthrown and assassinated by Obregon who later became the president of Mexico from 1920. All these upheavals in Mexico from 1910-1920 is what was referred to as the Mexican revolution and was assumed to have ended in 1920 thus giving birth to the 1917 Constitution.
Effects of the Mexican revolutions
The biggest effect of Mexican revolutions was the formation of the 1917 constitution. This constitution ensured that the rights of each and every citizen in the country had been preserved and observed thus enhancing democracy. Beside the constitution, there were other positive effects of the revolutions such as mass involvement in Mexican politics. The revolutions opened an avenue towards achieving democracy that led to many people participating in Mexican politics. It also led to nationalization of citizen especially the Indians who came to be appreciated as part of Mexico thus integrating the country. The economy was also nationalized with all resources brought under the control of the central government that ensured equitable distribution of resources to the citizens unlike prior to the revolutions where resources were own by minority few. As a result, monopoly was eliminated. The revolutions also saw the growing of a new strong middle class who initially suppressed and lastly, the revolutions led to the rebirth of the Mexican cultures and practices.
Constitution of Mexico
The1917 constitution of Mexico came into existence as a result of the Mexican revolutions to address the major concerns of the Mexicans which had caused the upheavals witnessed in Mexico from 1910. The constitution of Mexico, unlike the U.S constitution was formed by the politicians who sought to address the causes of the increasing revolutions in the country. The main elements of the constitution were article 27, article 123, and article 130. Article 27 was enacted to initiate land reforms in Mexico and prohibit foreigners from controlling the economy. It should be noted that prior to the constitution, especially during President Diaz reign, a lot of Mexican resources were controlled by foreigners who were President Diaz’s close friends. Therefore, the constitution restricted the ownership of Mexican resources and land to individual citizens of Mexico either by birth or naturalization. However, foreigners were also allowed to own land though they were required to become citizens of Mexico and abide by the rules and regulation governing land ownership. The constitution also abolished land ownership by religious organizations such as Churches and all the property owned by Churches prior to the constitution were reverted back to the nation.
Another important element of the Constitution that helped stop the revolutions was article 123 that gave various rights to the Mexican workers. In the article, reforms on labor were to be carried out extensively to allow for the formation of Unions which would represent various workers across the country. Through the Unions, issues concerning the workers would be appropriately addressed hence solving employer-employee conflicts. In addition, the article provided for establishment of a minimum wage for workers hence enhancing equality and reasonable pay for workers. Lastly, under the article, all workers were entitled to pension by the government. Another crucial article was article 130 that created a provision which sought to supervise and oversee various religions in the country and created married to be a civil contract.
The Presidents of Mexico from 1917-1940
The Presidents’ of Mexico from 1917-1940 are as follows; Venustiano Carranza Garza who ruled from 1917-1920 and was credited for instituting the 1917 constitution. Second is Álvaro Obregón who served from 1920–1924. During his tenure, he continued to institute reforms that were in correspondence to the new constitution. Hence, he instituted reforms on education where all children irregardless of gender could access education. He also maintained the policy on land where ownership of land was restricted to the natives only. Laborers rights were also observed through the various trade unions. Third was Plutarco Elias Calles who ruled from 1924-1928 and was greatly associated with the Cristero war in Mexico that discredited his leadership. However, due to his reforms on labor, he won majority support from the workers and other liberals.
Fourth was Emilio Portes Gil who ruled from 1928–1930. He did not initiate many reforms while in office but maintained the provisions of the Constitution and became the first Mexican President to travel to the League of Nations Convention. Fifth was Pascual Ortiz Rubio who ruled from 1930–1932 and later resigned due to threats against his life. Sixth was Abelardo L. Rodríguez who ruled from 1932–1934 whose major contribution was on university education that ensured that everyone was accessible to quality University education. Lastly was Lázaro Cárdenas who rule from 1934–1940 whose reforms were mainly on improving the land redistribution in the country, construction of roads, improving on the educational system and improving on the Mexican economy through trade.
In conclusion, it can be asserted that the revolutions of 1910-1920 that led to the creation of a new constitution created an avenue through which fruits of equality, peace and economic growth would be achieved. There were few other upheavals during this period, for example, the Cristero and the student riots which however did not amount to disturbance of peace neither did they reverse the gains made by the formation of the Constitution. Therefore, I do agree that the revolutions contributed to the achievements of the dreams aspired by the revolutionists.
Maclachlan, Collin M. El Gran Pueblo: A History of Greater Mexico. 3rd Ed, Prentice Hall 2003. Chap.7
Minster, Christopher. The Mexican Revolution; Ten Years That Forged a Nation. 2009. Web.
Peter N., Stearns, Stuart B., Adas, Michael, Schwartz. Mexican Revolution and the Great War Revolution and Reaction in the 20th Century. 2009. Web.
The constitution of Mexico. translated from Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos. Mexicanos, 1967. Web.