BECK index

Mexico 1850-1935

by Sanderson Beck

   Mexico & Santa Anna 1850-55
   Mexico of Juárez Reforms & Civil War 1856-60
   Mexico’s Juárez & the French 1861-64
   Mexico of Maximilian & Juárez 1864-67
   Mexico of Juárez & Lerdo 1867-76
   Mexico & Porfirio Díaz 1877-1901
   Mexico & Porfirio Díaz 1902-10
   Mexico, Madero, Revolution & Zapata to 1910
   Mexico, Madero’s Revolution & Zapata in 1911
   Mexico & Madero’s Presidency 1912-13
   Mexico, Huerta’s Dictatorship & Villa 1913-14
   Mexico, Carranza, Villa & Zapata in 1914
   Mexico, War & Carranza’s Constitution 1915-20
   Mexico, Obregón & Education 1920-24
   Mexico & Calles Reforms 1924-30
   Mexico & Calles 1931-35

Mexico & Santa Anna 1850-55

Mexico & Wars 1832-50

      On 2 February 1850 the Yucatán government offered a peace treaty that granted pardons and was accepted. By October cholera had killed about 14,000 people. Some rebels held out at Chan Santa Cruz until Chief Tzuc made peace in 1853.
      In 1850-51 Mexico was spending $20,300,000, and the deficit was $11,300,000. On 15 January 1851 Mariano Arista succeeded José Joaquin de Herrera as President of Mexico, and he followed the policies of his predecessor. That January the government severely suppressed a protest at Guanajuato, but another broke out in July. Demonstrations also occurred in San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Jalisco, and in the south. In 1851 Mexico purchased more than 20,000 improved muskets from France and Belgium. Arista claimed that spending including debt payments was up to $26 million a year, and he tried to reduce it to $10,683,000 by cutting salaries drastically. Congress became hostile, and his ministers resigned. He formed a new cabinet on September 11 led by José Fernando Ramirez who promised to follow public opinion. They tried to consolidate the interior debt and managed to cover two-thirds of the interest by 1852. Reduced patrol service led to more highway robberies and other crimes.
      Governor Portillo imposed a new police system in Guadalajara, and the arrest of the hat-maker José María Blancarte provoked him to lead a rebellion that took over the Governor’s palace and issued the Jalisco Plan on 26 July 1852. He led a council that proclaimed Gregorio Dávila as governor. He summoned a legislature to revise the constitution and make reforms while Blancarte retained military command. On September 13 as head of the militia he declared President Arista deposed for violating laws, and he summoned Santa Anna to reorganize the government with a federal constitution. When Dávila opposed this, the Santanistas led by Suarez y Navarro replaced the governor with General Mariano Yañez.
      One week later General José L. Uraga led a movement that summoned two deputies from each state. On October 20 mostly civilians signed the Plan del Hospico that supported Santa Anna. On that day the Congress approved sending 5,000 of the National Guard to Jalisco, Veracruz, and Michoacán, and they appointed José López Uraga captain-general of Jalisco. The cabinet resigned, and Governor Yañez led the new one that included Pedro María Anaya as Minister of War and the writer Guillermo Pietro at the Treasury. Prieto persuaded the lower house to accept his financial reforms, but the Senate was opposed and closed the Congress. Most of the country had turned against the capital.
      Mariano Arista tried to open the legislature on the first day of 1853; but this failed, and he resigned on the 5th urging the Chief Justice Juan Bautista Ceballos to replace him. General Yañez had already gone into exile and urged Arista to follow him. Ceballos became President on January 6, and he formed a cabinet with the conservative Santanista General Blanco as Minister of War. Ceballos released political prisoners and granted amnesty, urging governors also to avoid hostility. A bill to summon a constitutional convention was rejected by the lower house which denounced the President and his cabinet as traitors. President Ceballos dissolved the Congress. They met to impeach him and elect a new president; but one declined, and another was rejected. The legislators dispersed and were forbidden to meet. Manuel María Lombardini admired Santa Anna, and he supported the Guadalajara Plan. Ceballos resigned on February 7 and returned to his position as chief justice. The new Plan allowed the generals to elect Lombardini as President.
      On March 17 the states voted 18-3 for Santa Anna as President over Uraga, and the winner sent his instructions to Lombardini who cooperated. Santa Anna reached Veracruz on April 1 and marched triumphantly to Mexico City where he became President on April 20 for the 11th and last time. Two days later he abolished federalism and the constitution, and on the 25th he gave himself the power to suppress any periodical. The influential conservative Lucas Alamán was the director of the Promotion of Industry since 1839 and wrote a 5-volume History of Mexico, and President Santa Anna on his first day had appointed him Interior Minister and Foreign Minister; but Alamán died on June 2.
      Santa Anna ruled as a dictator and increased the army to nearly 100,000 men. He favored the Catholic Church and allowed the Jesuits to return. On May 14 he centralized revenue and took control of all property, and the contributions from the states increased the income to $17 million. An uprising in May by the national guard, artisans, and a mob at Veracruz was brutally put down. Santa Anna moved into the palace at Tacubaya in June and lived there in luxury. Cholera and other misery spread in the central provinces, and locusts devastated the east. Revolts broke out in Guanajuato, Yucatán, and Veracruz. Santa Anna had his War Minister Tornel deported on September 11. On December 16 by decree he extended his dictatorship indefinitely and called himself “most serene highness.”
      The French filibuster Count Gaston de Raousset had invaded Sonora and captured the capital Hermosillo in 1852; but after he returned with 400 French and German fighters on 28 June 1854, he was defeated at Guaymas and was executed on August 13. In October 1853 the filibuster William Walker captured La Paz and set up a republic in Lower California, but he soon returned to the United States.
      The independence hero Juan Álvarez led a revolt in the south, and news reached the capital on 20 February 1854. Santa Anna decreed severe punishment for rebels and those aiding them. On March 1 Col. Florencio Villareal announced the Plan of Ayutla in the department of Guerrero which on the 11th was supported in Acapulco and by Col. Ignacio Comonfort who was made commandant of the fort. Álvarez was made commander-in-chief of the revolution that public opinion favored. Also in March several revolts erupted in Michoacán.
      President Santa Anna and War Minister Santiago Blanco left the capital on March 16, and they were cheered wherever they went. Yet the revolution was spreading. Mexico’s army confiscated property of revolutionaries, burned hostile towns, and executed those taking up arms. Santa Anna’s army of about 5,000 men reached Acapulco on April 20, but Comonfort refused to surrender. Their attack on the fort failed, and while retreating they were defeated at Peregrino hill. They left detachments in towns and returned to Mexico City in May.
      Mexico’s President Santa Anna and US Ambassador James Gadsden on 30 December 1853 had signed the deal that sold to the United States another 26,670 square miles for $10 million in what became southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico where the US wanted to build a railroad to San Diego. On 24 February 1854 Juan Álvarez condemned Santa Anna for selling the territory illegally. Mexico ratified it on May 31, and the United States did so on June 29 and published it on July 20. Santa Anna began spending the cash received on the deal, but by October he had only 60,000 pesos left. The deficit in 1854 was 10 million pesos.
      Governors demanded changes in the conservative government while the dictator Santa Anna was satisfied. On December 1 a referendum on whether he was to continue to govern was submitted to voters who had to sign their names in books for yes or no; very few signed in the no books while 400,000 signed the yes books. The widespread civil war was made worse by cholera, robbery, and Indian raids. Santa Anna positioned his army between Mexico City and Veracruz, and his General Francisco Guitian was defeated in San Luis Potosí. Santa Anna ran out of money and left for Veracruz on 9 August 1855, leaving General Díaz de la Vega in command at the capital. There the Ayuta Plan was soon adopted and accepted by the Conservative generals Vega and Martin Carrera. On the 17th Santa Anna left on the Iturbide war steamer for Havana and then went to his estate in Colombia.
      A public meeting authorized Díaz de la Vega to choose a junta, and he appointed 52 members to elect a president. They chose officers and Martin Carrera as Interim President. He announced that he would organize the national guard, reform the military, regulate finances, and respect human rights. Guitian’s brigade at San Luis Potosí issued a Plan directed by Antonio Haro y Tamariz for abolishing conscription and the head tax while establishing press freedom. Col. Comonfort’s rebel army marched on Guadalajara, and they were well received on August 22. Many departments accepted the Ayutla Plan. Carrera resigned the presidency on September 12. When this news reached Juan Álvarez in Lagos, he was accepted as the leader of the revolution. On the 24th he summoned one representative from each state to meet at Cuernavaca on October 4 to elect an interim president. The Convention on that day chose Gómez Farías as their president and Benito Juárez as one of their secretaries. Then they declared the Liberal Juan Álvarez the Interim President of the Republic.
      President Álvarez chose a cabinet that included Minister of War Ignacio Comonfort, Minister of Foreign Relations Melchor Ocampo, and Justice Minister Benito Juárez. On 15 October 1855 Álvarez granted amnesty to the many deserters from the army who had been conscripted by the dictatorial Santa Anna in breach of his promises. Ocampo and Juárez advised dissolving the army, though Comonfort’s views prevailed. Álvarez moved the seat of government back to Mexico City in November, and the 23rd Justice Minister Juárez proposed a law that would abolish franchises (fueros) and military and ecclesiastical courts in civil cases. Comonfort appointed a new cabinet. On December 11 Álvarez resigned and transferred the presidency to the Liberal Comonfort. Álvarez left the capital with his Guerrero troops on the 18th, and he fought for Comonfort’s government in the mountains. On December 12 a revolt had broken out in Mexico’s second largest city Puebla. General Guitian was sent there, but he joined the rebels. Haro y Tamariz led a conspiracy in the capital and escaped to Zacapoaxtla where he was made chief.

Mexico of Juárez Reforms & Civil War 1856-60

      A decree on 9 January 1856 held Santa Anna and his subordinates responsible for illegal acts, and their estates were sequestered. The revolutionary forces took over Puebla on January 16. A convention was called to meet at Mexico City on February 18 in order to organize a democratic government by drafting a constitution and organic laws. On the 22nd the Juárez law reduced the jurisdiction of the military and ecclesiastical courts, and soldiers and clerics would be tried in state and federal courts for violations of civil and criminal laws. Álvarez considered retiring for the winter. Governor Manuel Doblado of Guanajuato refused to recognize Álvarez and proclaimed Ignacio Comonfort the President.
      The government sent a force of 5,000 men commanded by Villareal, and joined by other troops their army of 11,500 besieged Puebla on March 9 until they surrendered on the 22nd. On the 31st a decree ordered the governors of Puebla and Veracruz to seize church property that was not used for public worship.
      On June 6 the Congress revoked Santa Anna’s decree that had revived the Jesuits. Invectives against the liberal government by Catholic periodicals such as La Soledad and La Patria led to their suppression. José Lázaro de la Garza y Ballesteros had become Archbishop of Mexico in October 1850, and he led the opposition to the reforms. The Treasury Minister Miguel Lerdo de Tejada’s Lerdo Law was enacted on June 25, and the value of the property transferred from the Church and communal villages to the Government by the end of the year amounted to $23,019,281. Because these lands were sold to the wealthy, most landless peasants were not helped.
      In reaction to the reforms General Santiago Vidaurri had revolted in the north and seized Saltillo and Matehuala. San Luis Potosí agreed with him and communicated with other towns. On 14 September 1856 a woman reported to the President a seditious movement planned for the anniversary holiday. The next night the suspected Franciscans were arrested, and armed men occupied their convent. On the 17th a decree sequestered the convent’s property. About 200 rebels defended themselves at Puebla against 4,000 troops and were besieged until they capitulated on November 29. Vidaurri had submitted on the 18th. More than a thousand troops revolted at San Luis Potosí on December 10, and they were finally defeated on 27 February 1857. Pope Pius IX had condemned the Juárez and Lerdo Laws on 15 December 1856.
      The new Constitution of Mexico adopted and signed on 5 February 1857 was promulgated one week later and included 34 articles on equal rights, free expression, universal suffrage for men, and education. Slavery and compulsory service were abolished as were prison for debtors and titles of nobility. Supreme Court judges were to be elected. For the first time the Roman Catholic Church was not established by the government. A law enacted on March 17 required public officials to take an oath to uphold the Constitution. On April 11 the Iglesias Law limited the fees the Church could charge for receiving the sacraments. The Catholic Church opposed six articles that affected their power, though none of them had anything to do with Catholic dogma. The Constitution would go into effect on 16 September along with a new electoral law in 67 articles. Some in Aguascalientes and Puebla rebelled against the Constitution, and on May 4 about 3,000 natives attacked 200 soldiers in the Chilapa garrison; less than half of them escaped death. Arbitrary governmental actions led to a ministerial crisis, and Miguel’s brother Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada was made Minister of Foreign Relations.
      An empty treasury made it difficult to keep troops in the field. Riots were hard to put down and could be bloody. A Congress was installed on October 8, and President Comonfort spoke about liberal institutions. Congress held the President to the law, and charges were made against him; but they allowed state governors a free rein. On November 3 a military rebellion in Cuernavaca persuaded the Congress to suspend several civil liberties, and they empowered the Government to borrow $6 million to fight the rebels. Comonfort won a majority in the presidential election. Oaxaca’s Governor Benito Juárez on December 11 was elected president of the Supreme Court, and he also became Minister of the Interior.
      On 17 December 1857 a political movement at Tacubaya renounced the Constitution as not in accord with the traditions of the Mexican people, and the Conservative General Félix Zuloaga formed a junta with generals and leading clergy. Zuloaga’s brigade occupied the capital, denounced President Comonfort and the city council, and arrested Juárez and other leaders, beginning a civil war against the reforms that was called the “Reform War” and would last three years. That night the constituent Congress dissolved itself. The junta installed a council of state on the 25th. Archbishop Garza and the Bishop of Michoacán approved the Tacubaya Plan, and they removed the excommunication from anyone supporting the Plan.
      Some soldiers in the capital revolted on 11 January 1858 and joined reactionaries. President Comonfort in the palace had 5,000 men and tried to hold the constitutionalist headquarters. On January 15 he gave up his executive office in favor of Juárez whom he released to go to Guanajuato where on the 19th he set up his government that a majority of states recognized. Comonfort had only 50 soldiers left by the 20th, and he left the next morning. On February 7 he and his family embarked on the Tennessee steamer going to Europe.
      General Félix Zuloaga summoned a council that included bishops, and they elected him President 26-2, and in his oath on January 23 he promised to support religion and national independence. They occupied Mexico City and quickly restored the privileges of the military and annulled the reform laws of the Comonfort administration. Zuloaga attended church, pardoned deserters, canceled the army levy, and put in jail suspicious liberals. The clergy provided money so that he could mobilize forces.
      The constitutionalist army had 10,000 men at Celaya. On March 10 about 5,000 conservatives defeated the liberal force of 7,000 in the battle of Salamanca in Guanajuato. The garrison at Guadalajara mutinied and captured President Benito Juárez with his ministers for three days, though negotiation led to their release and departure. Juárez fled to Querétaro and then made his way to Veracruz where he installed his government on 4 May 1858.
      Benito Juárez was born on 21 March 1806 to Zapotec peasants and was raised by an uncle. In 1818 he could speak little Spanish until his employer Antonio Salanueva had him educated for the priesthood. Later he preferred to study law, and he was elected to the Oaxaca City Council in 1831 and became a judge ten years later. In 1843 he married a well-educated 17-year-old, and in 1845 he was elected to the state legislature. Juárez was Governor of Oaxaca 1847-52 and again from January 1856 to November 1857.
      During the Reform War fifteen states supported the Liberal Juárez and the constitutionalists while only six recognized the authority of the Conservative Zuloaga who selected a new cabinet in July 1858. His Justice Minister Father Javier Miranda enforced a law against conspiracy and muzzled the press. The conservatives’ army was led by General Leonardo Márquez, General Miguel Miramón, and the Indian cacique Tomás Mejía. Miramón’s army defeated liberal forces led by Santos Degollado at Atenquique on July 2, and they occupied San Luis Potosí on September 12 and defeated Vidaurri’s liberals near there on the 29th.
      On October 14 about 3,000 constitutionalists from Morela attacked the capital and then retreated. On the 27th Degollado’s Liberal force recaptured Guadalajara after a 30-day siege; but when General Márquez arrived with a Conservative army of 4,000 men, they left the city on December 14. Reactionaries had also captured Perote on November 16. Zuloaga neglected to provide a new constitution, though General Miguel Echeagaray offered a plan at Ayotla on December 20. Zuloaga dismissed him from the army and issued a manifesto. Zuloaga resigned three days later, and the next day Manuel Robles Pezuela occupied the palace and restored General Echeagaray who then captured Perote. They formed a junta on December 30.
      Zuloaga reclaimed the presidency long enough to choose Miguel Miramón as his successor on 31 January 1859. He imposed a 1% tax on all property worth more than $1,000. President Miramón borrowed $300,000 from the clergy which enabled 5,000 men to besiege Veracruz on February 16. The United States Navy prevented his forces from blockading the port by sea, and Miramón’s army lifted the siege on March 31. They defeated the constitutionalists in La Lagunilla before retreating to the capital. There on April 11 in the battle of Tacubaya Degollado’s Liberals suffered heavy losses. Miramón ordered the 200 prisoners killed, and General Márquez executed even more, horrifying public opinion.
      On April 6 the United States government recognized the Juárez government in Veracruz, and President James Buchanan sent war material and Robert M. McLane as minister. Americans were encouraged to fight for the Mexican Liberals while Spain, France, and Britain favored the Conservatives. President Juárez after arriving in Veracruz sent José M. Mata to Washington.
      Mexico’s productive activity had been greatly reduced, and many guerrilla chiefs led bands on both sides that plundered the country. On July 12 the Juárez government nationalized Church property except for churches and their contents, and they also took over cemeteries. Priests and friars were required to secularize themselves to receive pensions. On the 23rd they enacted civil marriage.
      General Márquez’s reactionary force stole twenty loads of silver from Tepic and took it to Guadalajara. On September 5 Vidaurri declared Nuevo León y Coahuilla an independent state. Juárez sent Degollado with a Liberal force that drove Vidaurri over the Texas border on November 12, but later they were defeated. Since July the Liberals had lost 10,000 men, 62 cannons, 7,300 muskets, and 3,000 sabers. Márquez took $600,000 from a conducta of $1,964,000 in Guadalajara, and President Miramón had him suspended and arrested. The Conservatives also held Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosí. The Juárez government enacted religious liberty on December 4.
      On November 26 President Miramón’s minister Juan Almonte in Paris made a treaty with the Spanish ambassador Alejandro Mon. Juárez considered it invalid, and it did not become law. On December 14 the liberals agreed to the McLane-Ocampo treaty that would give the United States the right of transit across northern Mexico by railroads and highways, but the US Senate did not ratify the treaty. British diplomats suggested an armistice, and Miramón agreed. Juárez refused to accept any compromise.
      Miramón returned to Mexico City in January 1860 and prepared for a campaign to take Veracruz. While his army besieged Veracruz a second time from February 8 to March 21, in naval battles the United States Navy ships captured some of Miramón’s ships and took them to New Orleans. Miramón returned to Mexico City on April 7 as the war turned against the Conservatives. Liberals led by General Ortega forced José Fernando Ramirez to retreat from Aguascalientes in early April, and on the 24th the constitutionalists led by General Uraga defeated Rómulo Díaz de la Vega at Loma Alta, persuading the reactionaries to evacuate San Luis Potosí. Liberals besieged and took several cities, though Oaxaca held out.
      President Miguel Miramón in May led an army that was joined by the troops of Mejía and Castillo, and they forced Uraga to retreat to León. While Uraga’s army was assaulting Guadalajara, Miramón attacked his rear with 7,000 men. Uraga was wounded and taken prisoner in a defeat that delayed the end of the war. Miramón’s army of 6,000 men marched into southern Jalisco, but 8,000 Liberals led by Ignacio Zaragoza made him decide to retreat to Guadalajara. Then Zaragoza went to León where his prisoner Zuloaga escaped. Miramón’s army suffered a serious defeat on the Silao hills on August 10. He returned to the capital the next day and then yielded the presidency to Ignacio Pavon, the President of the Supreme Court. Miramón called an election. A junta elected him Interim President on August 14, and he chose a cabinet. After the Liberals took Oaxaca, Miramón released General Márquez.
      On November 6 Juárez called for general elections. France’s minister Dubois de Saligny arrived in late November and recognized Miramón’s government. Márquez led a force to relieve Guadalajara where González Ortega had 17,000 men. Márquez sent the police chief and an armed force that stole $700,000 from the British legation. The constitutionalist forces were closing in on Mexico City which Miramón put under martial law on November 13. He led an army that defeated Liberal forces on December 9, capturing many prisoners including Degollado, Felipe Berriozábal, and Benito Gómez Farías. In the decisive battle on December 22 Ortega’s army of 16,000 men overwhelmed the 8,000 fighting for President Miramón. He fled to Mexico City and capitulated to Degollado and Berriozábal because General Ortega was insisting on unconditional surrender. Miguel Miramón then escaped to Europe. The Liberal army of 25,000 men was victorious at Mexico City on December 25.
      Manuel Gándara had armed the Yaquis and led revolts against the state in 1838, 1840, and 1842. Governor Ignacio Pesqueira dismissed Gándara from the government in 1857, and for the next two years his revolt was supported by Mateo Marquin. The Yaquis plundered the Guaymas Valley, and the Mayos sacked Santa Cruz by the lower Mayo River; but the Mexicans defeated both tribes in 1859. In 1860 Mexico had about 150 miles of railroad while the United States had over 30,000 miles of railways. In 1862 Pesqueira invaded their territory, defeating the Mayos at Santa Cruz and making peace with the Yaquis at Torim.

Mexico’s Juárez & the French 1861-64

      The rest of the Liberal army entered Mexico’s capital on the first day of 1861 followed by President Juárez on January 11. The democratic liberal progressives had overcome the aristocratic conservative reactionaries and taken over government in the capital, but opposition would continue with guerrilla fighting. Conspirators were to be tried and shot. Juárez expelled the Apostolic Delegate and five bishops on January 12. Miramón’s minister Isidro Díaz was captured, and Juárez commuted his death sentence to five years in exile. On January 18 General Leonardo Márquez at Tlalpan planned to continue the Reform War. Juárez in early March decreed amnesty for all but a few prominent men. A $10,000 reward was offered for the killing of Zuloaga, Márquez, Mejía, and four others. Ministers resigned in January, and Juárez appointed a new cabinet. Many governors and state legislatures were unable to defend the Juárez government, and some continued martial law. On January 25 he decreed an end to martial law and extraordinary military powers by governors.
      The Liberal party of Juárez was divided between constitutionalists and reformers with moderates in the middle. President Juárez in the early February election won a plurality of the votes. Miguel Lerdo de Tejada showed strength in the east, and Jesús González Ortega did well in the north. Miguel Lerdo became ill and died on March 22. Minister of the Treasury Guillermo Prieto warned that the government was nearly bankrupt, and in April he resigned. Minister of War González Ortega also quit and was replaced by General Ignacio Zaragoza. The new Treasury Minister José María Mata knew little about finances, and he suspended payments and held public auctions on government notes and contracts. The British and French wanted reparations for various offenses. The Congress met on May 9 and quarreled with the ministers who resigned and were replaced. On June 11 the Congress ratified the election of Juárez as President for four more years, and they made General González Ortega President of the Supreme Court. The Congress in July permitted the government to collect all revenues and to suspend payments on the foreign debts.
      Guerrilla bands were roving and robbing, and some of them were defeated. Many clergy refused to use the government textbook on politics by Pizarro. Congress appointed a committee of safety. President Juárez suspended personal rights and repealed the decree in October. The radical lawyer Melchor Ocampo had been abducted in May and was murdered, and the Liberals Degollado and Valle were captured on June 23 and met the same fate. The federal district of Mexico City was put under martial law and was invaded. Col. Porfirio Díaz led the defense and defeated rebels led by General Márquez at Jalatlaco in Oaxaca on August 13. Márquez led a failed attack on San Luis Potosí. They overran Aguascalientes and Zacatecas before government forces defeated him and Mejía at Pachuca on 20 October 1861.
      Mexican Conservatives exiled in Europe appealed to France’s Emperor Napoleon III, and he decided to establish a Latin league that might include Spain, Portugal and Latin America. He hoped that French control of Mexico would halt the imperialism of the United States, and the US Civil War offered an opportunity. Mexicans suggested that he could help restore the Catholic Church there with a monarchy. Napoleon chose Maximilian of Hapsburg and his wife, the daughter of King Leopold of Belgium. Maximilian agreed to give up his Hapsburg claim. France, Spain, and Britain were considering an expedition to collect their debts of $80 million from Mexico. On October 31 Britain’s Queen Victoria, France’s Emperor Napoleon III, and Spain’s Queen Isabella II at London agreed to intervene in Mexico, and Britain and France broke off diplomatic relations with Mexico in late November.
      In December the United States declined to join the European powers, and US Secretary of State Seward informed Mexico that the Americans would provide naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico to protect Mexican citizens. Spain prepared a military force of about 5,000 men and 15 ships at Havana, Cuba. Mexico’s Congress ended its session on December 15, and the next day the lawyer Manuel Doblado was made Minister of Foreign Relations and president of the cabinet.
      On December 14 a Spanish fleet arrived at Veracruz. Three days later General Gasset’s force occupied the city, and he imposed martial law, took over the Council, and issued a manifesto warning that commissioners from France and Britain would be coming. On December 18 Juárez expressed in a manifesto his belief that Spain was the principal enemy of Mexican independence. He dispatched General Zaragoza with 3,000 men and asked the states for 52,000 troops. He also decreed a 25% increase on government imposts and a 2% tax on property worth more than $500. Martial law was declared in Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, and Tamaulipas. As the Europeans approached, other states did the same.
      The British and French fleets arrived on January 6 and 7 in 1862, and the allies signed a convention. Spain had 6,000 troops under General Juan Prim, and France had 3,000 led by Dubois de Saligny. England provided warships and 700 marines. The United States steamer San Jacinto captured the British mail-steamer Trent. President Juárez agreed to let them move inland so that they would not be decimated by yellow fever. On January 25 he decreed that anyone who aided the reactionary cause could be executed by republican authorities. In 1862 Mexico’s debt was 81,632,561 pesos, and they owed 64,266,354 pesos of this to Britain. The French were demanding payment on the Jecker bonds loaned to Miramón’s government in October 1859, but Juárez repudiated that. Yucatán was torn apart by civil strife, and the generals Márquez and Mejía were still hostile in San Luis Potosí and the Querétaro mountains.
      On February 18 Foreign Minister Manuel Doblado met with the Spanish General Juan Prim and promised that Mexico would start paying its foreign debts. At La Soledad they negotiated a convention that allowed the European allies to occupy Córdoba, Orizaba, Tehuacán, and that region. This was ratified by the British and French and by Juárez. The French General Lorencez arrived in early March with 3,000 more troops, and the Mexican government suspected that they wanted to impose an imperial monarchy under the Habsburg Archduke Maximilian. On April 9 the British and Spanish decided to depart with their forces, and two days later Doblado warned the French not to advance with their army. At Escamela 200 French cavalry led a charge against only forty Mexicans who suffered thirty casualties. The French army of over 6,000 men led by General Charles Latrille marched to Puebla, and there on May 5 about 4,500 Mexicans led by generals Ignacio Zaragoza and Porfirio Díaz repelled their attack. This victory gave Mexico another year of independence and became the basis for annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
      Zaragoza’s troops were unable to drive the French out of Orizaba. Foreign Minister Doblado resigned in August and was replaced by Juan Antonio de la Fuente who had drafted a law on religious tolerance. Some priests were preaching that Mexicans should collaborate with the French, and President Juárez on August 30 decreed,

Priests of any cult who, abusing their ministry,
excite hate or disrespect for our laws,
our government, or its rights, will be punished
by three years’ imprisonment or deportation.1

Mexico held elections for their third constitutional Congress.
      After learning in June of the Puebla defeat, Emperor Napoleon III sent about 30,000 troops led by General Elie Frédéric Forey. Some of the French in Mexico were suffering from yellow fever. General Forey arrived at Orizaba on October 26 and suppressed the authority of Juan Almonte. About 350 Mexican officers joined the French in their camp. Mexico raised taxes and borrowed $30 million. General Zaragoza died on September 8 and was replaced by Jesús González Ortega. On December 10 the Congress decreed that they would act toward French prisoners the same way the French treated Mexican captives.
      On 10 January 1863 a French squadron bombarded Acapulco for eight hours and then for two more days on three fortifications before departing. Nunneries were suppressed in February, and their dowers were repaid in 1864. The French General Forey waited five months for siege artillery before marching on Puebla. General Ortega had an army of 22,000, and on March 10 he declared martial law in Puebla. On the 16th about 26,600 French with 2,000 Mexican imperialists besieged the city. On May 9 the French defeated Mexicans led by Ignacio Comonfort at San Lorenzo. Puebla ran out of food and ammunition, and on the 17th they destroyed their armaments and surrendered. About 5,000 Mexicans were conscripted into the imperial army led by General Márquez, and other prisoners were put to work destroying barricades or on the railroad. The French sent Ortega and 530 Mexican officers to France as prisoners. After learning that many officers had been badly treated, Ortega and several others escaped on the way to Veracruz. This defeat of the Mexicans caused many of the bureaucrats in the Mexican government to join the administration of Emperor Maximilian.
      President Juárez declared martial law in Mexico City, and he asked the states to send troops to defend the capital. He hired Mexicans to serve in his government, and he opened public land for settlement. The Congress and he decided that 14,000 troops were not enough, and they gave him power to defend the country. On May 31 the Congress ended its session, and the government left to go to San Luis Potosí. They arrived on June 10 and began organizing military forces, concentrating 12,000 men in Querétaro. On June 1 the reactionaries in the capital led by General Bruno Aguilar had already resolved to submit to the French. Soldiers led by Márquez preceded the French as they marched triumphantly into Mexico City. At first the French only controlled the few cities they had occupied from Veracruz to Puebla and the capital. The republicans still governed most of Mexico.
      On June 16 General Elie Fréderic Forey chose a provisional government of 215 notables under a regency by General Juan Almonte, General Mariano Salas, and Bishop Pelagio Antonio de Labastida of Puebla, the archbishop-elect of Mexico who being in Europe was replaced temporarily by Bishop Ormaechea. The triumvirate began governing on the 24th, and the next day they approved Forey’s decrees that authorized a French court to try outlaws, which many Mexicans resented. The Mexican notables selected were mostly monarchists. In September 1863 President Juárez appointed José Iglesias the Minister of Justice.
      The regents sent José Gutiérrez de Estrada to Miramar near Trieste in Italy to offer the crown to Maximilian which he did on October 3. Maximilian agreed to be Emperor of Mexico if Mexicans approved that in a plebiscite. The Roman Catholic prince was chosen by France’s Emperor Napoleon III. The Austrian Archduke Maximilian became known as Fernando Maximiliano, Emperor of Mexico. His wife Marie Charlotte Amélie was to be called Empress Carlota.
      Well-equipped French and Mexican forces took over more of the country while republican guerrilla forces resisted. Many Mexicans accepted French government for the sake of peace. General Forey and Saligny had learned in August 1863 that Napoleon III had recalled them. President Juárez chose a new cabinet on September 1. On the 17th Archbishop Labastida arrived at Veracruz. General Achille Bazaine took command of French forces on October 1, and one week later he decreed the repeal of Forey’s sequestration of property. He reformed the French military by excluding women followers and plundering, and he put Márquez in command of the Mexican army with Mejía, Vicario, and others over auxiliaries. The French had assembled an army of 34,700 men in Mexico, and in November they mobilized 14,000 French and 7,000 Mexicans for a campaign.
      The republicans had divisions led by Minister of War Comonfort, Porfirio Díaz, and Governor Doblado, and others led by the generals Ortega, Uraga, Arteaga, Negrete, and Berriozábal. Ignacio Comonfort was killed in an ambush on November 13, and three days later the French force led by General Mejía took over Querétaro. Reinforcements increased republican forces in Michoacán to 9,000 men under General Uraga; but French troops in December attacked them, killing and capturing 1,300 as the rest retreated south. The French and Mejía surrounded Guanajuato, and Doblado withdrew to San Luis Potosí, which Juárez abandoned on the 22nd, taking his government to Saltillo in Coahuila. The republican government had forced loans from Zacatecas, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí to replenish the treasury. General Negrete let Mejía take over San Luis Potosí on 25 December; but the republicans got reinforcements and attacked the city two days later, losing 200 killed and about 900 prisoners.
      On 5 January 1864 General Bazaine’s French army occupied Guadalajara as General Arteaga retreated to the south. Governor Manuel Doblado led a republican attack on Monterrey in May, but the French reinforced Mejía and took nearly 1,200 prisoners and all their artillery. A few weeks later Doblado went to the United States where he died in June 1865. Porfirio Díaz had 8,000 republicans and retreated to the south to control Veracruz. The French Navy helped take Yucatán on 22 January 1864. Díaz’s forces and a siege for six weeks forced the French to give up San Juan Bautista in Tabasco on February 27. Governor Vidaurri of Nuevo León and Coahuila went over to the French. In response President Juárez dissolved the union of Coahuila and Nuevo León, and then in March he suppressed the referendum called by Vidaurri. War Minister Negrete led an army of 7,000 men and occupied Monterrey on March 29 as Vidaurri and his 1,000 men fled to Texas. Then Juárez moved to Monterrey and summoned the Congress. The French held the richest portion of Mexico with farms, mines, and factories while the republicans held sparsely populated regions in the north and south.

Mexico of Maximilian & Juárez 1864-67

      On 9 April 1864 Archduke Fernando Maximilian renounced the Austrian succession for himself and his heirs, and the next day with the treaty of Miramar he became Emperor of Mexico. That day they dissolved the regency, and General Juan Almonte governed as the Emperor’s lieutenant. Napoleon III and Maximilian agreed to reduce the number of French troops in Mexico to 25,000. They intended to make Mexico pay with 3% interest for the French expedition which up to July cost 270 million francs (55 million pesos). Maximilian visited Pope Pius IX and promised to restore the Catholic Church in Mexico. He arrived at Veracruz on May 28, was well received at Puebla on June 5, and one week later was greeted at the capital.
      Emperor Maximilian had liberal values and came into conflict with the Conservatives who put him in power. His salary was $1,500,000 per year with $200,000 for his wife Carlota. He promised to pay Mexico’s debts to France, England, and Spain, and he borrowed so much money from French bankers that he tripled Mexico’s debt. He organized his imperial government into nine departments and Mexico into eight military districts, and he issued a provisional constitution. He established an immigration bureau. He proclaimed a free press and a general amnesty for political prisoners with terms less than ten years. The Emperor’s armies had 35,550 French and 20,280 Mexicans, and under the generals Leonardo Márquez, Tomás Mejía, and Miguel Miramón they subdued the country in three months so that Maximilian could go on a tour. President Juárez moved his capital to Ciudad Chihuahua and then to El Paso del Norte on the Texas border. The French defeated the Liberal army led by Porfirio Díaz in the south.
      The rural guard was increased to 8,500, and 7,300 Austrian and Belgian recruits arrived in October 1864. Maximilian tried to save money by limiting the inefficient Mexican army, and he reduced the French military to 28,000 by April 1865.
      On August 10 Maximilian began a tour of his new empire through Querétaro to Guanajuato, and he celebrated Mexican independence on September 16 at Dolores. He returned to the capital Mexico City by way of Michoacán convinced that a majority of the people had free will. To protect his people he ordered that all armed bands overrunning the country causing disorder were to be treated as bandits. In many areas patriotic liberals opposing his imperialism were fighting back as guerrillas for Juárez who acted to curtail their violence and thus gained popular favor.
      Republicans had two armies supporting President Juárez—one under General Uraga in Jalisco and the other led by Porfirio Díaz in the south. They also had guerrillas fighting. The French army drove the republican Governor Gallardo out of Guanajuato, and Acapulco in Guerrero had surrendered to the French on 3 June 1864. The republican generals in the north had about 12,000 men. The United States provided arms and loans mostly from Texas and California. General Arteaga accused the commanding General Uraga of favoring the imperialists, and he refused to follow his orders. Uraga resigned, let Arteaga take command, and accepted a position on the imperial council.
      The French, who wanted their loans paid back, depended on property confiscated from the Church. Maximilian appointed a Council of State with José María Lacunza as its president. In the north after the imperialists defeated Doblado’s forces in May 1864, the imperial Vidaurrists rose up in Nuevo León led by Quiroga. He and Vidaurri’s son Indalecio took over Monterrey on August 15. Juárez escaped through Coahuila and Durango to Chihuahua while he sent his family to New Orleans. On the 17th the French led by Castagny had taken over Saltillo. On the 22nd the French took Bagdad and then the port on September 26.
      On October 15 President Juárez established his capital at Chihuahua. Republican elections could not be held. Supreme Court president Ortega wanted to succeed Juárez; but his term had not been completed, and Ortega went to the United States. On October 28 Márquez helped General Douay fight against Arteaga at Atenquique and then occupied Colima before taking the port of Manzanillo on November 18. Yet the republicans retained control of the country south of Puebla. That month Maximilian sent General Miramón to Berlin to study artillery and Márquez to the Mideast as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Porte at Istanbul. On December 4 Maximilian chose eight councilors including the defector Uraga and the liberal historian José Fernando Ramirez as foreign minister.
      On December 7 Archbishop Meglia of Damascus arrived at Veracruz as the Papal Nuncio with a letter from Pope Pius IX who demanded that Maximilian revoke the laws oppressing the Catholic Church, cooperate with the bishops, support only Roman Catholicism, revive its religious orders, protect the Church’s patrimony, let the clergy educate the public, and free the Church from secular power. Maximilian proposed religious tolerance with the state protecting and supporting the clergy from the public treasury as civil servants. He decreed the Church must cede all revenue from its property declared national by the republican government, and the Emperor would enjoy the rights given to American churches by Spanish kings. Parishioners were freed from having to pay fees, tithes, or emoluments. Maximilian would recognize no superior authority, and he subjected papal bulls to government approval. On December 28 he confirmed those who had purchased national goods, and on 26 February 1865 he renewed the sale of ecclesiastical property. These policies made Catholics angry, and the papal commission returned to Rome in July 1865.
      On 1 January 1865 President Juárez declared that 27,000 French soldiers causing chaos would be overcome. On February 9 the French army led by General Bazaine defeated Porfirio Díaz’s republicans in Oaxaca. They captured Díaz, but he escaped. By March the state of Guerrero was free of the French. A French fleet brought soldiers to the Gulf of California, and they took over Guaymas in Sonora on March 29.
      Maximilian’s Council decreed that pueblos had the legal right to defend their interests and reclaim their land and water, and they urged restoring land to their rightful owners. Republican troops and guerrillas were winning battles in Michoacán, Jalisco, Sinaloa, and Nuevo León. Maximilian replaced Achille Bazaine as the military commander and took control of the Treasury. On October 3 Maximilian decreed summary executions for rebels. The term of President Juárez was to end on December 1, and he decreed an extension until an election could be held. Early in 1866 he took his government back to Ciudad Chihuahua closer to the struggle.
      On 15 January 1866 Emperor Napoleon III decided to remove his troops from Mexico, and it would take a year. Maximilian’s wife Carlota in July went to Veracruz and sailed for Europe. She was mentally unstable and would be considered insane for the rest of her life. The Liberal army had Mariano Escobedo commanding in the north, Porfirio Díaz from Oaxaca in the south, and Ramón Corona in the west. Emperor Maximilian planned to abdicate and went to Orizaba where he repealed his “Black Decree” on summary executions. About 50,000 Mexicans died in the war against the French mercenaries. Maximilian’s Council of 5 Ms (Miramón, Mejía, Méndez, Márquez, and Maximilian) planned to move their Conservative army to Querétaro which had been besieged for ten weeks.
      On 10 January 1867 a telegram from Paris ordered Bazaine to remove the French troops from Mexico, and on February 5 the last of the French soldiers left Mexico. General Porfirio Díaz and his army besieged Puebla on March 9. In the battle on April 2 each side had about 6,000 soldiers, and General Díaz’s republicans had 253 men killed; but their forces captured 2,000 Mexican imperialists fighting under General Manuel Noriega. On May 15 about 42,000 Liberal soldiers led by General Escobedo attacked Emperor Maximilian’s headquarters at Querétaro, captured leading generals, and inflicted 9,400 casualties while suffering only 2,000. Maximilian escaped and surrendered his sword to General Escobedo at Cerro de las Campanas. Méndez had been shot, and court martials preceded the execution by a firing squad of Miramón, Mejía, and Maximilian on June 19. After fighting 37 battles the troops of General Díaz occupied Mexico City on June 21.

Mexico of Juárez & Lerdo 1867-76

      President Juárez returned to the capital on 15 July 1867, and he issued a manifesto in which he said,

Neither in the past nor much less in the hour of total triumph
for the Republic, has the government desired—
nor should it desire—to be moved by any feeling of passion
against those with whom it waged war….
We shall now put all our energy into obtaining
and consolidating the benefits of peace….
Let the people and the government respect the rights of all,
because among individuals, as among nations,
peace is respect for the rights of others.2

Mexico’s Congress voted to give President Juárez extraordinary power to disobey the 1857 Constitution so that he could be elected to another term. To keep the Supreme Court Chief Justice Ortega from becoming President he charged him with deserting his duties. In the December 1867 election Juárez received 7,422 votes to 2,709 for Porfirio Díaz. Juárez persuaded the Congress to give him veto power over their legislation. He reduced the army from 80,000 men to 16,000. Maximilian’s Imperial Mexican Railway Company had become bankrupt in 1866, and Juárez agreed to fund it with an annual subsidy of 560,000 pesos for 25 years. After the wars soldiers were demobilized, and banditry greatly increased by them, fugitive peons, and hungry peasants.
      The Treasury chief Matías Romero managed to improve the economy by balancing the budget, eliminating sales tax, using federal agents to collect taxes and duties, and by getting rid of graft and corruption. The national debt had risen to over 120 million pesos with about 80 millions of it owed to foreigners with a third of that caused by Maximilian and his allies. Under Romero the debt was reduced to 84 million pesos.
      Gabino Barreda was a medical doctor and also studied law. He learned about positivism from Auguste Comte in Paris and introduced it to Mexicans. Barreda transformed the Jesuit Colegio de San Ildefonso into the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria and was its director for ten years. In the fall of 1867 President Juárez appointed a commission of five men under the leadership of Barreda to reorganize education. Upper and middle class Mexicans could gain much from education while the poor had very little. Positivism simulated intellectual activities and the era of reform became a renaissance. Mexico offered three famous literary societies. Juárez promoted the expansion of education. In 1857 Mexico had only 2,424 public primary and secondary schools, and in 1874, two years after his death, a census found there were 8,101 public schools.
      Yaquis in Sonora revolted against Liberal laws as did the Mayas in Yucatán and Chiapas. The engineer Fernández Galindo became their leader, and by mid-1868 he had organized and equipped 6,000 Tzotzil Mayas. They attacked villages and killed whites until federal forces subdued them after three years. About 200 whites and 800 Indians died in that war. In 1869 President Juárez persuaded the Congress to increase spending in rural areas, and they were put in the jurisdiction of the Interior Department.
      On 3 May 1870 Rita Cetina (1846-1908) opened La Siempreviva (Everlasting) which was Mexico’s first secular school for poor girls and an art college for young women. She also founded the newspaper La Siempreviva and a scientific and literary society. In 1877 Governor Manuel Cepeda Peraza appointed her the director of the Instituto Literario de Niñas (Literary Institute for Girls). Many of her students would become leading feminists such as Elena Torres.
      On 13 October 1870 the Mexican Congress finally passed the general amnesty for persons who by joining the Emperor’s government had been involved in treason, sedition, conspiracy, and other political crimes. Mexico’s economy had been devastated by the civil wars, and conservatives still controlled the legislature. The personal tax cost workers between six and twelve days of wages and yet was the same for the rich who owned land valued at 20,000 pesos. The only measure helping the poor was that those who made under 26 centavos per day did not have to pay the personal contribution.
      Benito Juárez was re-elected President one more time in 1871. In that election the Juáristas won 108 of the 116 Congressional seats, and Juárez got 48% of the votes to 29% for Porfirio Díaz and 23% for Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. The Congress on October 12 elected Juárez, and they approved tariff reform and adopted the metric system. On November 8 Porfirio Díaz announced his Noria Plan for a rebellion that was defeated in the battle at Cerro de la Bufa in Zacatecas on 2 March 1872. That year Mexico had about 70,000 miners and 30,000 textile workers who formed the Gran Círculo de Obreras de México. The nation had 5 labor newspapers advocating for workers. On 18 July 1872 President Benito Juárez died of a heart attack in the National Palace.
      On July 19 Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada became Interim President. On August 22 a fire broke out in the National Palace and destroyed the legislative chambers. The Liberal código penal declared private property sacred and outlawed doing anything to adjust wages or to prevent “the free exercise of industry or labor.” A revolution in Sinaloa took over Mazatlan. The garrison accepted amnesty on October 6, and federal troops occupied Mazatlan on the 19th. On October 26 the Congress ruled that Lerdo had won the election.
      Interim President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada held elections in October 1872, and with 92% of the votes he won a four-year term. He continued the policies and administration of Juárez. On 1 January 1873 the Veracruz-Mexico City railway opened, and Lerdo employed rural officers to protect the railroad from Mexico City to Veracruz. He also worked on developing the railroad from the capital to the United States with British and Mexican investors. He contracted work to expand telegraph lines and used them to connect all the state capitals of Mexico with 1,600 miles of lines. New construction doubled the number of schools from 1870 to 1874. Yet the population of school-age children was still 19 times the 349,000 students, and only 77,000 of these were girls.
      Congress gathered in March 1873; but ministerial deputies left the hall, and they had no quorum. President Lerdo opened Congress on April 1 with an optimistic speech. He asked for $22 million, and the next day Congress provided only $18 million. On May 31 the Congress reformed the 1857 Constitution declaring church and state independent of each other with freedom of religion, no acquisition of land by the church, and no religious oaths in civil courts. Forced labor was banned, and human freedom in labor, education, and religion was proclaimed.
      Violence had marred May elections in Yucatán, and an uprising erupted. General Ignacio Alatorre with federal troops fought them in the streets of Mérida. When Miguel Castellanos Sanchez was elected vice governor, a revolution occurred. General Palomino led federal troops in August, and new elections made Sanchez governor. Deputies in the legislature elected Arcadio Escobar governor, and in October 1874 Sanchez resigned and left Yucatán.
      On 31 May 1874 the Congress had approved the reform laws that made church and state independent as additions to the 1857 Constitution. On September 25 a new constitution reformed the laws. Jesuits violated reform laws, and President Lerdo banished those who were not born in Mexico. The government expelled the Sisters of Charity on 1 December 1874. On that day a stamp-act was passed that became burdensome until an amendment provided relief in March 1876. In 1874 Lerdo restored diplomatic relations with European nations including France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. Treasury Minister Romero continued his revising of tariffs and other fiscal reforms.
      Protestants were emigrating to Mexico. They were assaulted in Toluca in January 1874, and fanatics on May 2 killed the American Protestant minister John Stephens. In June some were killed in an attack on a Protestant church in Guerrero. By November 1875 Mexico had 125 Protestant congregations with 11 churches and 99 meeting-halls for services.
      Michoacan was plagued by the atrocities of bandits and religious fanatics, and the government was not restored until General Escobedo’s arrival with federal forces in December 1875. Mexico was infested with bandits and lawless guerrillas.
      President Lerdo proposed adding a Senate to Congress, and it became half the legislature in 1875. In April he asked Congress for special powers on war and finance and got them on May 26. He increased the influence of the federal government. A decree authorizing electoral colleges to decide elections caused the president of the Supreme Court José Iglesias to resign. Lerdo persuaded him to change his mind, and Iglesias said he would not submit to the new law. Lerdo recognized Mexico’s debt to English bond-holders and the United States, and his exceptional powers often made enemies.
      Congress had restored the military rank of General Porfirio Díaz in October 1874. He prepared to revolt in Oaxaca and moved with Manuel González to Brownsville, Texas. On 15 January 1876 General Fidencio Hernández in Oaxaca announced his opposition to the Lerdo government. He marched toward the capital and defeated federal troops at San Felipe del Agua on January 27, and they captured 2,500 rifles and 500,000 rounds of ammunition. They destroyed telegraph lines, and Hernández claimed the governorship of Oaxaca.
      Porfirio Díaz in March issued his Plan de Tuxtepec that criticized Lerdo for violating sovereignty of states and municipalities, and Díaz blamed him for wasting money. People in every state were aroused, and President Lerdo declared martial law in Oaxaca, Jalisco, Vera Cruz, and several other states. General Mariano Escobedo subdued the insurrection in Michoacan. On March 22 Díaz, General González, and 40 followers crossed the Rio Grande, and he gathered 400 supporters in Matamoros and published a revised Tuxtepec Plan on April 2. Díaz was declared the general-in-chief, and he appointed new governors. Soon he had 6,000 men including more than 300 cavalry. Leaders in northern states wanted the supreme court president Iglesias to become President of the Republic, but he rejected their revolutionary Palo Blanco plan. Díaz himself returned to Oaxaca by way of New Orleans and Vera Cruz in July while González marched into Hidalgo and Tlascala.
      Díaz emphasized that the President should not be re-elected, but in the elections of June 1876 President Lerdo received 91% of the votes by July 24. On August 31 Lerdo chose a new cabinet that included General Escobar as War Minister and Francisco Mejía as Treasury Minister. On October 26 the Congress announced that Lerdo was re-elected.
      Many states supported the revolution of Tuxtepec, and on November 16 Díaz led 7,800 rebels who were victorious over 3,000 federal forces led by General Alatorre at Tecoac in Tlaxcala. Díaz and his army occupied Mexico City on November 21. One week later he claimed the presidency for nine days, and he nullified concessions made to foreigners by Lerdo. United States investments were over one billion pesos, which was more than half the foreign money in Mexico. Díaz negotiated Mexico’s $4 million debt to the United States and agreed to pay $300,000 per year starting on 31 January 1877. Díaz left the capital with 20,000 veteran troops on 7 December 1876 and entered Querétaro on the 20th.
      The Liberal president of the Supreme Court José Iglesias had assumed the presidency on October 26 and entered Guanajuato on the 31st. He fled and set up his government at Guadalajara on 2 January 1877; but his forces were defeated by Díaz at Los Adobes, and on January 16 Iglesias sailed for the United States.

Mexico & Porfirio Díaz 1877-1901

      Porfirio Díaz was born a poor Mixtec Indian on 15 September 1830 in Oaxaca. He studied to be a priest, then at scientific institutes, and then law for the bar. In 1856 he joined the Oaxaca National Guard, and in 1857 he began fighting for the Liberals in the Reform War. He was a Brigadier General when he achieved the famous victory over the French at Puebla on 5 May 1862.
      Primary elections were on 28 January 1877 followed by secondary elections by districts for Congress and the President on February 11 and 12. Díaz returned to the capital on the 11th. On the 16th he issued a circular that he would restore constitutional order and implement the Palo Blanco plan. His revolution would be liberal and progressive. He invited all factions to cooperate. On February 17 he resumed his provisional presidency. Congress was installed on March 12, and on April 1 they elected Díaz the President and heard his address. He noted that the elections were free with some violations which he said he would end. Rural police were suppressing brigands; courts of justice were improving; and public instruction was spreading. He said the treasury was in bad shape and that he would reduce expenditures. On May 2 the Congress by a nearly unanimous vote declared Díaz the constitutionally elected President, and his term would end on 30 November 1880. Governments of many nations recognized the Díaz government in 1877, and relations were developed.
      President Díaz appointed Jimenez the military governor of Guerrero; but their governor General Alvarez drove out Jimenez. Guerrero’s Governor Rafael Cuéllar persuaded Alvarez to accept the authority of Díaz in July 1877. Supporters of Lerdo rebelled along the US border, and General Mariano Escobedo raised a force in Texas and invaded Mexico. Escobedo was defeated on 3 June 1878. José Amador led rebels in Tamaulipas and was killed in a battle on August 24. From 1878 to 1880 there were disturbances in Veracruz, Jalisco, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Campeche, and especially in Sinaloa whose leader Francisco Navarro was not captured until 30 June 1880.
      United States President Hayes complained that Mexican bandits and Indians were crossing the border to drive herds of cattle back to Mexico. In the spring the US recognized the Díaz government, and President Ulysses Grant visited Mexico. US General Ord on 1 June 1877 was ordered to pursue marauders into Mexico. Díaz sent more troops to police the border. To reduce losses of import and export duties from smuggling Díaz announced that violators could get give years in prison, and government employees could get ten years. Businesses trafficking in smuggled goods would get no government contracts. Mexico opened three new consulates along the border. In April 1878 the United States recognized Díaz as President, and on May 9 Manuel de Zamacona became the minister to the United States.
      Díaz was a Liberal, and he supported his political allies. He suppressed revolts to maintain order and economic development. Intelligent men and scientists helped him plan rationally. His slogans were “bread or the club” and “few politics, much administration.” He encouraged foreign investment, and Europeans and the United States financed 15,000 miles of railways, electricity and streetcars, industry and mining, petroleum, and improved ports. He let the church prosper as long as it did not exert political influence. Forced military conscription was one of his tools. Yaqui Indians were transported to provide cheap labor for sisal (fiber) plantations in Yucatán and tobacco in Oaxaca. Díaz appointed the state governors, and the political chiefs reported to him. He established rural police to enforce the laws. In 1880 a reciprocity treaty with the United States admitted 78 US articles duty free while the US accepted only 28 products from Mexico.
      Congress on 1 November 1877 had approved a law banning the re-election of the President. Díaz had opposed re-election of presidents, and he told his friends not to seek that for him. On 25 September 1880 his War Minister and ally, General Manuel González Flores, who had been wounded in battle many times, was elected President with 77% of the votes. He became President on December 1 and continued the Díaz policies of “order and progress.” Díaz left behind an empty treasury and $3 million in debts. On 29 July 1882 the US and Mexico signed a convention allowing federal troops of both republics to cross the frontier to pursue hostile Indians.
      Fighting in Soconusco over the Guatemala-Mexico border began in 1879 and then in Chiapas until a treaty was signed on 27 September 1882 when Guatemala renounced those territories. On December 20 President González confirmed the metric system established by the French over the complicated British system. Also in 1882 replacing silver coins with nickel devalued the currency and led to riots on 21 December 1883. That year Mexico ratified commercial treaties with Germany, Italy, and Belgium, and González renewed relations with Britain. Mexico’s Senate ratified a reciprocity treaty with the United States on 14 May 1884. The Presidential succession was changed from the Supreme Court Chief Justice to the President of the Senate.
      President González was active in his first three years. He increased military spending by 400% and the number of soldiers by 90%, and he improved the rural military police. In March 1884 Congress added several articles that required stamp dues, and that upset merchants. Years of speculative investments had nearly bankrupted the nation, and in 1884 González reduced the salaries of bureaucrats. Riots broke out in Mexico City, and police were used to subdue them. In the north the armed forces defeated the Apache Indians and took over their territory for economic development. González encouraged settlement and attracted 1,500 Italians to develop agriculture and industry in the state of Puebla. He recognized Mexico’s bond debt to the British, and paying back £11.5 million affected the economic recession.
      During 1880-84 Porfirio Díaz governed Oaxaca briefly. His wife died in 1880. In 1881 he married 17-year-old Carmen Romero Rubio, and their honeymoon was spent traveling in the United States from New Orleans to New York. He became a friend of President Grant. President González stepped down, and Porfirio Díaz was elected again in September 1884 with 99% of the votes.
      Díaz became President again on November 30. On 22 June 1885 he decreed the suspension of payment on the floating debt and subsidies granted to himself. That year communist rebellions occurred in the state of Mexico and at Córdoba in Veracruz. There were revolts in Nuevo León and Coahuila. Federal forces intervened in a Yaqui war in March 1886. Also in 1885-86 Apaches committed atrocities in Chihuahua and Sonora until they were put down by Mexican and United States troops.
      Díaz had the Constitution amended so that he could be re-elected in 1888 and thereafter. His father-in-law Romero Rubio became Interior Secretary in December 1884, and he served until his death on 3 October 1895. Díaz approved many public works. Influenced by Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in 1891, several Catholic congresses were held from 1903 to 1913 advocating social and economic reforms.
      From 1883 to 1894 a few people obtained large amounts of land in Mexico. The nation began using steam, water, and electricity for power, and telephones were connected in the 1880s. A 30-mile canal and a 6-mile tunnel prevented the flooding that had caused much damage and disease in Mexico City. Many new buildings were constructed for a penitentiary, a post office, an insane asylum, a municipal palace, a Foreign Relations Department, and a national theater. The federal government spent $353,080 on public education in 1883-84 and $701,420 in 1885-86.
      Mexico paid off its debt to the United States in 1890. Díaz made Camilo Arriaga a deputy in Congress from 1890 to 1898. During the depression in 1893 President Díaz appointed as Minister of the Treasury José Ives Limantour, son of a French immigrant, and in 1894 they abolished the alcabala sales tax. They also adjusted tariffs and moved currency from silver to the gold standard. Díaz employed Juarista and Lerdista Liberals as well as Conservatives and former allies of Maximilian. Díaz retained a small army of 14,000 men. The 1895 census counted 12,700,294 Mexicans. Castilian was spoken by 10,573,874 people, and 1,602,044 spoke one of seven native languages.
      One Díaz friend got 12 million acres in Baja California by bribing judges. Alcohol was manufactured for low prices, and the number of saloons in Mexico City rose from 51 in 1864 to 1,400 in 1900. That year the American Edward Doheny bought 450,000 acres in Ebano for one dollar an acre for land that had petroleum. By 1910 Mexico would be producing 13 million barrels of oil mostly for export.
      Díaz challenged the imperialism of US President Theodore Roosevelt based on his expansion of the Monroe Doctrine. This threat was reduced by the second Pan-American Conference in Mexico City that met from 22 October 1901 to 31 January 1902. Bernardo Reyes gained political influence, and Díaz appointed him Minister of War. Conflicts with the Yaqui in the northwest and the Maya in the south led to Reyes getting more military spending. General Victoriano Huerta led the suppression of the Yaqui in Sonora in 1900 and of the Maya uprising in Yucatán in 1901-02.
      Nicolás Zúñiga y Miranda invented a machine that predicted an earthquake in 1887, and he ran for President against Díaz in 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, and 1910. Díaz received 100% of the votes in each election until 1910 when Francisco Madero got 1%.
      Radicals began challenging Díaz more in 1900 when anarchists advocated Regeneration. Ricardo Flores Magón was a student activist and was arrested in 1892 and many times. Camilo Arriaga initiated a liberal movement on 30 August 1900 by publishing his manifesto “Invitation to the Liberal Party.” He called for liberal clubs, and by the end of the year they had fifty Liberal Clubs. Arriaga helped 18-year-old Juan Sarabia begin publishing the club’s newspaper Renacimiento on November 11. They held their first national convention at San Luis Potosí City on 5-10 February 1901. Arriaga presided, and they heard radical speeches from Sarabia and Ricardo Flores Magón who charged, “Díaz Administration is a den of thieves!” In March the Centro Director San Luis Potosí Club issued the “Manifesto to the Nation” signed by club president Arriaga and Vice President Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama calling for “a truly national party” of the people. Liberals in Mexico City in early April formed the Asociación Liberal Reformista. Porfirio Díaz in May ordered the arrest of Ricardo and his brother Jesús Flores Magón.
      On July 18 Díaz Soto y Gama made a radical speech criticizing President Díaz for the Liberal movement in Pinos, Zacatecas. The two imprisoned Flores Magóns persuaded their friends to publish that speech in Regeneración on August 31. That newspaper demanded that President Díaz resign, and they wrote

The foreign-owned railroad companies kill all industry
and business, because they use their high freight fares
to skim off those profits that otherwise
might be made by the merchant or industrialist….
Within the states, taxes are exasperating.
The 30 percent federal import tax
kills any business whatsoever.3

Mexico & Porfirio Díaz 1902-10

      The Second Liberal Congress on 5 February 1902 issued a manifesto on “legal and effective means to favor and improve the condition of farm workers and to resolve the agrarian problem.”4 They noted how Díaz had drafted Yaqui Indians to harvest tobacco in the Valle Nacional, Oaxaca. Those signing it were convicted of libel, and Arriaga was sentenced to eleven months in jail and a fine of 1,000 pesos. General Bernardo Reyes was War Minister for two years and was accused of ordering reprisals. Liberals had their homes searched and their mail read. Pro-Díaz newspapers reported in October that there were more than 150 Liberal Clubs operating openly with more than double clandestine.
      In 1901-02 more than 42 anti-Díaz newspapers were shut down, and more than fifty journalists were jailed. Díaz also had two journalists murdered and many more beaten. Arriaga, Sarabia, Librado Rivera, and Soto y Gama started El Demófil for “workers who are victims of injustice,” and they exposed how Díaz used military conscription to enslave laborers. Their press was confiscated on 30 July 1902 during the San Luis Potosí elections, and the four publishers were held in separate cells for two months. Ricardo Flores Magón had begun publishing El Hijo del Anuizote on July 16 criticizing President Díaz and War Minister Reyes. By September the best known Liberal leaders were in jail. Juan Sarabia began editing El Hijo del Anuizote on November 23 after it had been closed down since September 2.
      Camilo Arriaga was released on 10 January 1903, and on February 27 his Liberal Club issued a manifesto that criticized capitalism, religion, and military and civilian dictators. He advocated brotherhood, democracy, reform, union, and liberty. In 1903 the Díaz regime closed five Liberal newspapers and jailed their editors and writers.
      The three Flores Magón brothers edited and contributed to their newspaper Regeneración, and it was suppressed. On 5 February 1903 Ricardo Flores Magón and his brothers Enrique and Jésus raised a banner on the balcony of their newspaper El Hijo del Ahuizote saying “The Constitution is dead.” Díaz had them thrown into prison. The Mexican Liberal Party (PLM) was organized for “libertarian socialism” without the phase of “state socialism.”
      Liberal exiles met in Laredo, Texas on 5 February 1904, and they raised money to publish Regeneración to support the new party and a revolution. The journalist Laura N. Torres worked for women’s rights, and she began publishing La Mujer Mexicana in 1904. That year Congress revived the vice presidency, and they gave Díaz and the new Vice President Ramón Corral six-year terms. Sarabia helped his cousin Ricardo Flores Magón edit the paper that appeared in San Antonio, Texas on November 5. In early 1905 Francisco Madero advanced them $2,000 for publishing Regeneration. Arriaga, Sarabia, Ricardo, and his brother Enrique Flores Magón in February fled to St. Louis, Missouri. On October 12 Pinkerton agents without a warrant confiscated the Regeneración press.
      In 1906 Regeneración had a circulation of 30,000, and they published a comprehensive manifesto that was widely circulated. They advised a one-term presidency, civil liberties, challenging the Catholic Church, more free public education, and land reform to help the landless. They wanted to abolish child labor, guarantee minimum wages, and improve working conditions. They were influenced by the revolutionary Russian Mikhail Bakunin. Their program was comprehensive by July 1, and they would influence the 1917 Constitution. They called for universal, free, secular education, an 8-hour day, minimum wage, job safety, Sunday rest, canceling debts, cash wages, land reform, and no child labor or company stores.
      On 1 June 1906 thousands of Mexican employees at the Cananea mines went on strike because Americans got a wage increase while Mexicans did not. A shooting that killed three Mexicans and two Americans provoked two days of rioting. The shooting continued, and more than 30 Mexicans and 6 Americans were dead with many wounded. About 2,000 Mexican troops put down the strike by June 6 when Sonora’s Military Governor warned that he would conscript 2,000 striking Mexicans into the Army and send them to fight Yaqui Indians in southern Sonora. That ended the strike. On October 1 in a letter Francisco Madero expressed his concern for the “useless shedding of blood causing untold harm to the nation.”5
      On September 4 Arizona Rangers had broken into the homes of PLM members in Douglas, Mowry, and Patagonia and took their newspaper El Demócrata and weapons, and they arrested 15 people. On September 30 over a thousand men with 300 Indians revolted with weapons in the Acayucan region of Veracruz for four days. Cotton producers reduced wages in November, and on December 4 textile workers in Puebla and Tlaxcala began a strike. Textile employees usually worked from 5 or 6 in the morning until 8 at night.
      On 4 January 1907 President Díaz decreed that no strikes would be allowed in Mexico, and he ordered all workers in Puebla, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Querétaro, Jalisco, and the Federal District to go back to their jobs by the 7th. On January 7-8 the Río Blanco strike in Veracruz called on cotton and textile workers to organize a “Great Circle of Free Workers.” The Centro Industrial Mexicano had already been formed by 93 factory owners. A crowd of 2,000 began throwing rocks, and it turned into a riot. A mob plundered wealthy homes, released prisoners from jail, and burned the company store. Soldiers from Orziba killed 18 people on the 7th. The next day Federal troops arrived, and six strike leaders were captured and executed. About 60 died, and hundreds were wounded. Thousands of industrial workers joined the textile workers’ strike in 1907. On June 1 PLM began publishing Revolución in Los Angeles, California, and Ricardo Flores Magón, Librado Rivera, and Antonio I. Villarreal were arrested there in August. In November Revolución began publishing selections from the anarchist Kropotkin.
      In 1907 a panic on Wall Street in New York reduced industrial investment, sharply decreasing export prices of cotton and minerals and causing another depression. Banks stopped giving credit despite efforts by the government to bail them out. By then Mexico had 9,640 primary schools, and very few were in rural areas. In 1907 trains began crossing Mexico from the Gulf coast to the Pacific coast, and by 1908 the Mexican government had a controlling interest in the major railway lines. New processes made mining safer and more productive. Silver production was 24.8 million pesos in 1877 and more than 85 million in 1908. By 1902 the seven Guggenheim brothers had invested $12 million in silver in northern Mexico.
      On 23 June 1908 Texas Rangers raided the home of Prisciliano G. Silva in El Paso and seized over 3,000 rounds of ammunition and papers that included a long letter from Ricardo Flores Magón to his brother Enrique that had detailed plans for a rebellion in nearly every state of Mexico. He was concerned that the US military would enter Mexico, and he wrote,

If they invade when the people are in full rebellion
against Díaz, they will precipitate the dictator’s downfall,
since the Mexican people will see clearly that Roosevelt,
Díaz’ ally in enslaving us,
intends to take away our autonomy.6

An uprising began on June 24 at Viesca in southern Coahuila, and thousands in Coahuila and Chihuahua joined the revolution. On the 26th Mexican Liberal Party (PLM) rebels attacked an army garrison in Las Vacas, Coahuila while 50 men revolted in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua. In the next few days rebels were put down in Palomas, Chihuahua and in Coahuila. On August 9 Jesús M. Rangel led a guerilla attack that killed 20 federal troops at Sierra del Burro in northern Coahuila. On September 5 Hilario C. Salas and Cándido Donato Padua proclaimed the revolution and led guerrilla forces spreading PLM’s message.
      In 1908 President Díaz told the American interviewer James Creelman,

I welcome an opposition party in the Mexican Republic….
If it appears, I will regard it as a blessing, not as an evil.
And if I can develop power, not to exploit but to govern,
I will stand by it, support it, advise it and forget myself
in the successful inauguration of complete
democratic government in the country.7

That year the Gran Liga claimed they had 10,000 Mexican railroad workers, and they complained that American workers, who had their own union, had all the best jobs. In 1909 the mestizo historian Molina Enríquez published Los grandes problemas nacionales, and he described a sociological vision based on friendship. The anarchist poet Práxedis G. Guerrero wrote a series of manifestoes for revolution, and he would coordinate with Pascual Orozco and the PLM until he was killed in battle at Janos, Chihuahua on 30 December 1910.
      In the 1910 election General Bernardo Reyes ran for Vice President against the man picked by Díaz. Reyes had made the state of Nuevo León progressive with a workman’s compensation law. Ricardo Flores Magón, Librado Rivera, and Antonio I. Villarreal were released from an Arizona prison in August 1910 and went to Los Angeles to revive the publishing of Regeneración.
      Justo Sierra was Secretary of Public Instruction and Fine Arts from 1905 to 1911, and the number of teachers increased from 12,748 in 1895 to 21,017 in 1910. Sierra wrote Evolución política del pueblo mexicano. Mexico’s foreign trade was 50 million pesos in 1876 and 488 million pesos in 1910. That year Mexico had 24,717 kilometers of railways with two lines going from Mexico City to El Paso and Laredo in Texas. Mexico made treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation with Britain, France, Norway, Ecuador, and Japan. The 1910 census counted 840 hacendados whose land contained 80% of Mexico’s rural communities and half the rural population. The total population of Mexico was about 15.2 million, and only 411,096 farmers owned land. There were 3,000 rural police by 1910. Francisco Madero in early November set the date November 20 as the start of the revolt.

Mexico, Madero, Revolution & Zapata to 1910

      Francisco Ignacio Madero was born on 30 October 1873 into a family made enormously wealthy by his grandfather Evaristo Madero. In 1885 Francisco went to the Jesuit College de San José in Saltillo. After studying briefly in the United States he went to western Europe where he studied and practiced the Spiritism of Allan Kardec. Madero became a writing medium and wrote, “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.”8 He went to the University of California at Berkeley to learn agricultural techniques and better English. He met the theosophist Annie Besant and was influenced by the Bhagavad Gita. He returned to family haciendas in 1893. His pamphlet on water rights of the Río Nazas as praised by Porfirio Díaz. In business Madero obtained 500,000 pesos by 1899. He became a vegetarian, and he stopped smoking and drinking alcohol. He was influenced by moral guidance from spirits. He became deeply upset when he learned that Governor Bernardo Reyes of Nuevo León crushed a political demonstration on 2 April 1903. In 1904 he started the Benito Juárez Democratic Club and lost a municipal election. Madero financed the political newspaper El Demócrata and the satirical El Mosco. In a letter on 9 June 1905 he wrote,

Humanity has progressed.
Little by little, tyrannies will be destroyed,
and freedom, which brings Justice and Love along with it,
will succeed in fulfilling the words
of Him Who Died on the Cross.9

      On 20 January 1909 Madero wrote, “I have been chosen by Providence. Neither poverty, nor prison, nor death frighten me.”10 He was called the “Apostle of Democracy.” He noted that food prices were rising while living standards were falling, and he blamed the long dictatorship of Díaz. He aimed to organize a national party and published La Sucesión Presidencial en 1910 which he dedicated to the Constitutionalists of 1857, independent journalists, and to “good Mexicans who will soon be known to the world for their integrity and energy.”11 He described the political corruption and the Mexican sickness of militarism and giving absolute power to one man. He sent the book to President Díaz on February 2, and in a letter he wrote, “The entire Nation hopes that the successor to yourself will be the law.”12 Madero campaigned in 1909, and he spoke to 30,000 people in Puebla, 10,000 in Jalapa, and 20,000 in Orizaba where he said,

You desire freedom,
you desire that your rights be respected,
that you be allowed to form strong organizations,
so that united you can defend your rights….
You do not want bread, you want only freedom,
because freedom will allow you to win that bread.13

On June 14 he was arrested, put in jail, and charged with sedition. Madero, Camilo Arriaga, and journalist Práxedis Guerrero were influenced by the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin. Madero’s followers hoped that an armed revolt could improve Mexico.
      In April 1910 Francisco Madero was nominated for president with Francisco Vásquez Gómez as his running mate. In the elections on June 26 and July 10 Porfirio Díaz received 99% of the votes. Madero got 1%, and the Anti-Reelectionist Party complained that there was massive fraud. The Chamber of Deputies met as the electoral college and declared that Díaz and Corral had been re-elected. Uprisings began in Valladolid in Yucatán and in Veracruz and were suppressed. On July 22 Madero was released on bail. On October 4 he escaped from San Luis Potosí and went to San Antonio, Texas where on the 7th he issued the “Plan of San Luis Potosí” that his aides helped write. Here is a portion of that audacious document:

   Peoples, in their constant efforts for the triumph
of the ideal of liberty and justice,
are forced, at precise historical moments,
to make their greatest sacrifices.
   Our beloved country has reached one of those moments.
A force of tyranny which we Mexicans were not accustomed
to suffer after we won our independence oppresses us
in such a manner that it has become intolerable.
In exchange for that tyranny we are offered peace,
but peace full of shame for the Mexican nation,
because its basis is not law, but force; because its object
is not the aggrandizement and prosperity of the country,
but to enrich a small group who, abusing their influence,
have converted the public charges into fountains
of exclusively personal benefit, unscrupulously exploiting
the manner of lucrative concessions and contracts.
   The legislative and judicial powers are completely
subordinated to the executive;
the division of powers, the sovereignty of the States,
the liberty of the common councils, and the rights
of the citizens exist only in writing in our great charter;
but, as a fact, it may almost be said that martial law
constantly exists in Mexico; the administration of justice,
instead of imparting protection to the weak, merely serves
to legalize the plunderings committed by the strong;
the judges instead of being the representatives of justice,
are the agents of the executive, whose interests
they faithfully serve; the chambers of the union
have no other will than that of the dictator;
the governors of the States are designated by him
and they in their turn designate and impose
in like manner the municipal authorities….
   But this violent and illegal system
can not go on any longer.
I have very well realized that if the people
have designated me as their candidate for the Presidency
it is not because they have had an opportunity to discover
in me the qualities of a statesman or of a ruler,
but the virility of the patriot determined to sacrifice himself,
if need be, to obtain liberty and to help the people free
themselves from the odious tyranny that oppresses them….
   Therefore, and in echo of the national will,
I declare the late election illegal and,
the Republic being accordingly without rulers,
provisionally assume the Presidency of the Republic
until the people designate their rulers pursuant to the law.
In order to attain this end, it is necessary
to eject from power the audacious usurpers whose only title
of legality involves a scandalous and immoral fraud.14

He promised to convene special elections one month after the people have taken over half the states, and he set November 20 as the beginning of the armed revolution.
      Starting on the 18th two brothers in the Serdán family were killed in the revolt at Puebla, and a few guerrilla bands rebelled in northern Mexico. Madero used his wealth to send them arms from Texas. Anti-American demonstrations protesting the lynching of a Mexican in Rock Springs, Texas had begun in Mexico City on November 9, and riots continued until the 24th. The revolution spread to many towns in Sonora, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Veracruz, Zacatecas, Guerrero, and Morelos. Guerrilla bands combined, and soon the Madero revolution had 2,500 armed men.

      Emiliano Zapata was born on 8 August 1879 the ninth among ten children in a mestizo family in Morelos. Two of his uncles fought for reforms and against the French. His father Gabriel was a farmer who trained horses and taught that to Emiliano. His education taught him bookkeeping, and he was well-dressed. Emiliano was a very skilled horseman and competed in rodeos. About 1895 Emiliano bought a team of mules to haul corn (maize) and bricks. On 11 February 1910 Zapata was conscripted into the 9th Cavalry at Cuernavaca, and he was released on March 29. Zapata led a campaign in opposition to Porfirio Díaz, and he was elected leader of the Anenecuilco village. The corrupt elections of 1910 persuaded him to support the candidate Madero.
      Mexican Liberal Party (PLM) radicals called “Magonistas” had been fighting Díaz since November 1910 in Veracruz, Baja California, and Chihuahua where Pascual Orozco was the Maderista leader. The United States government did not disturb the revolutionary juntas on the border who sent arms. The revolutionaries sabotaged telegraph lines and railroads to hinder federal troops.

Mexico, Madero’s Revolution & Zapata in 1911

      On 2 January 1911 rebels led by Pascual Orozco ambushed a federal convoy, and Orozco sent the uniforms of killed soldiers to Porfirio Díaz. On February 11 Mexican Liberal Party (PLM) forces led by Prisciliano G. Silva captured Guadalupe in Chihuahua. Francisco Madero left his exile in the United States and returned to Mexico with 130 men on February 14, and he led an attack on Casas Grandes and was wounded. In February 1911 Emiliano Zapata and his Zapatistas in Morelos joined the revolution. On February 25 Ricardo Flores Magón published “Francisco I. Madero Is a Traitor to the Cause of Freedom” in Regeneración. Madero had arrested Silva for not recognizing him as Provisional President of the Republic. Madero demanded that PLM troops follow his orders, and he ordered the arrest of commanders who did not.
      On April 1 President Díaz decreed revolutionary changes to restore land to the dispossessed. Madera still demanded that Díaz and Vice President Corral must resign. On April 22 Emiliano Zapata and Ambrose Figueroa met with Madero’s agent Guillermo García Aragón in neutral Puebla. They were commissioned revolutionary generals with Zapata chief in Morelos and Figueroa chief in Guerrero.
      On May 5 the revolutionary stonemason Jesús C. Flores made a speech at Gómez Palacio in Durango that blamed the Chinese for taking jobs away from Mexicans, monopolizing businesses, and sending money to China. He suggested that they should get rid of them. On May 13 about 4,500 revolutionary forces led by Francisco Madero’s brother Emilio besieged the city of Torreón in Coahuila that had 670 Federales. The Maderistas attacked the Chinese gardens and killed 112 people there. They took over Chinese houses and fought the Federales. During a rainstorm on the night of May 14-15 the Federales left the city. In the morning speeches were made against the Chinese, and Jesús C. Flores called the Chinese “dangerous competitors” and said, “that it would be best to exterminate them.”15 A mob of about 4,000 people from the area joined the rebels and looted and destroyed many of the homes and shops of Chinese-Mexicans and a few Japanese-Mexicans. They killed employees in the bank and Chinese. The pogrom lasted ten hours until Emilio Madero arrived on his horse and decreed that anyone killing a Chinese would get the death penalty. That ended the massacre which killed more than 250 Chinese.
      On May 7 President Díaz in a manifesto suggested he would resign if it would not leave the country in anarchy. Madero asked for a cease-fire at Ciudad Juárez, but he could not control the rebels led by Pascual Orozco and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. On May 10 General Orozco and his fighters defeated a federal force at Ciudad Juárez. The federal General Navarro surrendered on May 13. Orozco and Villa interrupted President Madero’s meeting with complaints, and Madera agreed to pay their troops to prevent a mutiny but not to put Navarro on trial nor to include Orozco and Villa in his cabinet. Zapatistas defeated the federal garrison at Jonacatepec and occupied the town. Zapata led a campaign that captured a hacienda in Chinameca, and on May 19 his army captured Cuautla after a six-day battle. On May 20 Zapata entered Cuautla with 4,000 campesinos, and federal forces fled from the capital Cuernavaca to the west. In the spring of 1911 radical workers formed labor organizations in factories, and many supported Madero’s revolution.
      On May 21 the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez ended the brief civil war. Federal troops were to leave Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sonora, and other places held by rebels. Madero then disbanded his rebel forces. The Foreign Minister Francisco León de la Barra became Interim President to summon general elections, and Madero and De la Barra agreed to let General Victoriano Huerta stay in Morelos fighting Zapata’s forces.
      Madero and revolutionary leaders chose Venustiano Carranza as the provisional governor of Coahuila, but the legislature appointed a Díaz man instead on May 26. On that day Zapata entered Cuernavaca, and Porfirian representatives elected in 1910 were still in the legislature. On May 27 Madero’s objection and a threat by Francisco Vázquez Gómez persuaded representatives to approve Carranza. Díaz had resigned on May 25, and one week later he sailed for France, leaving 70 million pesos in the Treasury. Departing Porfirio said, “Madero has unleashed a tiger. Now let’s see if he can control it.”16
      On May 30 the United States consul general in Monterrey asked Madero to prevent “unnecessary fighting” in Durango, and he sent Emilio Vázquez Gómez who peacefully occupied the city. On June 2 the bank manager Juan Carreón became provisional governor of Cuernavaca. Madero returned to Mexico City on June 7 and was greeted by Emiliano Zapata. Madera toured in triumph as 100,000 people lined the streets. The next day Zapata agreed to cooperate with Madero especially in returning land to the people while Madero urged him to prepare to disband his troops. Zapata warned him that Governor Carreón was favoring the planters. Zapata emphasized,

My soldiers—the armed farmers and all the people
in the villages—demand that I tell you, with full respect,
that they want the restitution of their lands
to be got underway right now.17

After touring Morelos and observing how Cuautla was ruined and pillaged, Madero on June 15 concluded that Zapata could not control his barbaric troops. He wanted his 2,500 revolutionary troops discharged, and he promised to appoint him commander of the Morelos police force with 400 men. Zapata reluctantly agreed. The rebel soldiers were paid a total of 47,500 pesos as they turned in 3,500 weapons. Zapata in Cuernavaca took 500 rifles that Governor Carreón refused to give him. Zapata, after meeting with Madero in Mexico City on June 20, told reporters that he was retiring with an escort of fifty men.
      Juan Sarabia in early June had been released from the San Juan de Ulúa Prison where he had contracted tuberculosis which would kill him on 17 October 1920. In a letter on June 22 published in Diario del Hogar he advised Ricardo Flores Magón to lay down his arms and use nonviolent propaganda to bring about a political revolution. Sarabia wrote,

I believe in the irresistible force of universal progress
and the constant, unlimited,
but relatively slow advance of humanity….
Rather than a job of revolution,
it is a long job of education….
We should accept the situation
produced by the triumphant revolution,
and within the relative freedoms
that we will enjoy under a democratic regime,
we should constitute … an advanced and pure Party,
which could be the Socialist Party.18

On June 14 Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón, Librado Rivera, and Ambrosio Figueroa were arrested in the Regeneración offices, and their PLM documents were confiscated.
      On June 24 Madero issued his “Manifesto to the Nation” saying he would govern with “serenity and wisdom” to alleviate the suffering of the poor by decrees and laws. He warned those with vested interests that they could not “count on the impunity which those privileged by fortune enjoyed in times past, when for them the laws were so lenient, and for the unfortunates so strict.”19 He promised justice by law, not by influence. The Vázquez Gómez brothers were concerned and suggested that Interim President de la Barra resign. Madero disagreed. He warned generals that he would not allow them any political interference.
      Madero’s brother Gustavo had helped finance the revolution. When he presented a bill for 700,000 pesos, the Minister of Government Emilio Vázquez Gómez approved payment on July 3. Madero approved Francisco Figueroa as the provisional governor of Guerrero. The politically ambitious Castillo Calderón objected and made appointments. Madero sent Ambrosio Figueroa, and he forced Calderón to submit. On July 8 Regeneración declared the Revolution “triumphant,” and they wrote, “It cannot be denied that the hundreds of strikes taking place at this moment in almost every state of Mexico are revolutionary in character.”20
      On July 9 Madero dissolved the Anti-Reelectionist Party, and he announced the forming of the Progressive Constitutional Party to support the Constitution and revolutionary ideals. On July 12 Col. Aureliano Blanquet’s federal troops killed 80 Maderistas in Puebla, and Maderista soldiers were disarmed in other states. Madero’s Interior Minister Emilio Vázquez Gómez resigned on August 2, and the Federal District Governor Alberto García Granados replaced him.
      President De la Barra on the 8th sent federal troops to Cuernavaca and Jonacatepec, and Guerrero’s police at Jojutla were to help surround Zapata. De la Barra also appointed Ambrosio Figueroa governor and military commander of Morelos. Madero went along with this.
      On August 10 General Victoriano Huerta came to Cuernavaca with over a thousand federal troops to disarm the Zapatistas, and the next day Governor Carreón canceled the state elections. Huerta asked for 600 cavalry and 1,500 soldiers so that he could “proceed with the annihilation of the rebels.” Madero arrived on August 13, the day that Sarabia, Villarreal, and Jésus Flores Magón urged all rebels to lay down their weapons. The next day he talked with Zapata by telephone, and they agreed to cooperate. Madero had advised Interim President de la Barra to let Zapata have an effective force. Madero wanted to avoid more blood being spilled. He persuaded Huerta to refrain from offensive action, and Huerta returned to Mexico City on the 16th. Madero went to Cuautla on August 18 and assured the Zapatistas that he believed in their just demands. The next day Zapata’s chiefs began discharging their forces. On August 29 Governor Granados ordered Zapata pursued and arrested. The Zapatistas and the Federals fought on August 30 at Chinameca. Zapata went into hiding.
      Madero’s Progressive Constitutional Party (PCP) held their first convention in August-September. On August 27 in Mexico City more than 1,500 delegates nominated Madero for President by acclamation, and their platform called for expanding education and improving Indian relations with agricultural assistance. A majority voted for José Pino Suárez to be the candidate for Vice President. Camilo Arriaga was elected chairman of the election committee and became the campaign manager.
      On September 23 a PLM manifesto signed by Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón, Librado Rivera, and Ambrose Figueroa suggested,

   The choice, then: either a new government, that is,
a new yoke, or the redeeming expropriation
of private property and the abolition of all imposition,
be it religious, political, or any other kind.
                     LAND AND LIBERTY!21

      Madero wanted Zapata to stop fighting and pillaging sugar plantations, and he went to meet with Zapata who said he would be “most faithful.” They disagreed about what to do with General Huerta. Madero reviewed 4,000 of Zapata’s troops in Cuernavaca. In the presidential election on October 1 Francisco Madero received 19,997 votes which was over 99%, and José Pino Suárez had 64% of the votes for Vice President. Zapata’s rebel army increased to 1,500 men in October, and he agreed to a 15-day truce on October 8. On October 31 Vazquistas declared the rebellion against Madero in their Tacubaya Plan that called for agrarian reform.

Mexico & Madero’s Presidency 1911-13

      De la Barra moved up his resignation from December 1 to 9 November 1911 so that Madero could become President on that day. He chose a cabinet to achieve reconciliation and had to deal with conflicts. He appointed his uncle Ernesto Madero the Finance Minister. He dismissed the Public Instruction Minister Francisco Vázquez Gómez because he rejected his Progressive Constitutional Party.
      On November 25 Emiliano Zapata in Morelos formed a junta and announced his “Plan de Ayala” that he and Otilio Montaño wrote. The Diario del Hogar published it on December 15. Emphasizing land reform and social justice, they called Madero a “traitor” and considered General Pascual Orozco the leader of the revolution. Zapata spoke to natives in their Náhuatl language. On December 20 he issued general orders instructing his Liberating Army of the South “to respect and aid civil authorities who have been legally and freely elected” and not to

destroy or burn the property of the haciendas,
because they will be the patrimony
and source of work for the villages….
The better we behave, the more adherents
and help we will have among the people
and the faster will be our triumph.22

      President Madero’s budget for education was only slightly larger than that of Díaz in the previous year. He appointed several relatives to important positions. His cousin Rafael Hernández became chairman of the National Agrarian Commission and Minister of Development. In late November he proposed a bill to construct dams, reclaim waste lands, construct irrigation, and buy private land for resale in small plots on fair terms. Congress approved the bill, and it became law on December 18. On the 13th the Department of Labor was established in the Ministry of Development. On 20 January 1912 they gathered 48 industrialists to discuss establishing uniform wages and hours for the country. Eventually they agreed on one peso and 25 centavos per day. Free health care was provided, and children under 14 years could not be hired.
      General Bernardo Reyes also led a rebellion, and on December 14 his army crossed the northern border into Mexico. President Madero asked the United States to prevent armed conflict in their territory, and they sent two companies to guard the border. The Reyes rebellion fell apart, and he was put in jail at Linares, Nuevo León on December 25. That month Emilio Vázquez Gómez rebelled because his brother Francisco was not Vice President, and they captured Ciudad Juárez. Vazquistas admired General Orozco, and he persuaded them to give up their arms.
      The example of the Zapatistas’ Ayalan movement in January 1912 inspired revolts in the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Mexico, Michoacán, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. On January 17 President Madero accepted the resignation of the Morelos Governor Ambrosio Figueroa. Two days later the Interior Minister Abraham González declared martial law for four months in Morelos, Guerrero, Tlaxcala, Puebla, and 13 districts in the state of Mexico.
      In early February 1912 General Orozco subdued mutinies in Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez. Braulio Hernández led a revolt on behalf of Emilio Vázquez Gómez, and on March 3 Orozco joined their revolution. The old Tacubaya Plan was renewed, and on March 25 the Orozquista Plan challenged the leadership of Emilio. On April 1 Madero in his report to Congress wrote that until they had military control of Morelos, he would not authorize studies or operations on agrarian reform. That month General Pascual Orozco led a rebellion against Madero in Chihuahua supported by the wealthiest Mexican, Don Luis Terrazas. They defeated the federal army led by General José González Salas who committed suicide.
      Orozco’s “Plan de la Empacadora” advocated a shorter work-day, better work conditions, railroads employing Mexicans, and returning villages that were taken illegally. Orozco’s rebels could not take Monclova in Coahuila in early May, and federal forces defeated his army of about 7,500 in the second battle at Rellano on May 22. They had over 600 killed while the government had only 140 casualties. In late May the government announced that 70,000 acres were surveyed for distribution in 200-acre plots in Durango. To avoid speculation no agents were used for transactions.
      After fighting Zapata, General Huerta returned and defeated Orozco’s forces at Bachimba in May. On June 5 President Madero agreed to a contract giving Standard Oil tax-free operations for ten years including rights of eminent domain for pipelines, ports, roads, railroads, and refineries for its oil fields in Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. That June the anarchist professor Juan Francisco Moncaleano from Colombia came to Mexico and urged workers to join Luz as an anarcho-syndicalist labor front for all Mexican workers and peasants. Madero’s government arrested him for “subversive activity” and deported him. Luz groups continued, and in September they formed the Casa del Obrero Mundial as a council for workers. On June 27 President Madero explained that great estates of property with titles could not be confiscated. The uprisings led to banditry, and there were not enough soldiers to control them.
      On August 7 President Madero proposed a dozen constitutional amendments to ensure local controls and reduce executive powers, and to institute direct elections in the states instead of the electoral college.
      General Huerta ordered the execution of General Francisco “Pancho” Villa, and President Madero commuted his sentence. On September 15 Huerta while drunk boasted that he could use 27,000 men and take the presidency from Madero. The new War Minister, General Angel García Peña, dismissed Huerta’s command. In October the nephew of Porfirio Díaz, Félix Díaz, led a revolt in Veracruz. A few days later he surrendered and was imprisoned. Madero chose not to execute him, and Félix was sentenced to prison. On December 21 Madero in a letter to General Blanquet wrote,

Benign measures with the inhabitants are always preferable,
for if they are sympathizers with Zapatismo, treating them
well will make them friends of the government;
on the other hand, it is justifiable to show extreme rigour
to those who are found with arms in their hands.23

      The United States Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson persuaded the US State Department to evacuate American refugees, and 18 accepted free travel to San Diego. Madero was the first Mexican President to legalize labor unions and the right to strike as the House of the World Worker (Casa del Obrero Mundial) was organized. Workers in Mexico City communicated with those in Veracruz, Jalisco, Nuevo León, and San Luis Potosí. Madero had administered agriculture, and he implemented rural credit reform, experimental agriculture stations, and forest conservation. He did not interfere with law courts, and he favored broad representation in the legislature, universal voting, and municipal autonomy so that constitutional rights could be exercised.
      The coup against Madero took “Ten Tragic Days.” On 9 February 1913 General Manuel Mondragón freed Félix Díaz and Bernardo Reyes from prison, and with 2,000 troops, cadets, and rebels they took over the National Palace. Conspirators ordered Military College cadets to take over the National Palace. Madero’s loyal General Lauro Villar persuaded the cadets to surrender. As General Reyes tried to enter, he was shot dead at the gate. Villar was wounded, and Madero rode a horse from his residence at Chapultpec Castle accompanied by cadets. Félix Díaz and Mondragón took command of the Ciudadela garrison with much ammunition.
      General Victoriano Huerta pleaded his loyalty, and President Madero appointed him commanding general of Mexico City. In the street fighting there was over 500 casualties by February 11. Ambassador Wilson hated Madero, and he wrote to the German Ambassador Von Hintze on February 16 urging diplomats to recognize the new government. The next day the President’s brother Gustavo Madera found Huerta negotiating with Félix Díaz, and he took Huerta prisoner and took him to President Madera at 2 a.m. Huerta promised to arrest rebels within 24 hours. Madero freed Huerta and let him have his gun back.
      On February 18 General Huerta sent General Blanquet with armed men to the National Palace, and after some shooting they arrested President Madero. Gustavo Madero was dining at a restaurant with Huerta who asked to see his gun. Gustavo handed it to Huerta who pointed it at Gustavo and took him prisoner. A mob of soldiers murdered Gustavo. Vice President José Pino Suárez also had been arrested. Ambassador Wilson made an “Embassy Pact” with Huerta and Félix Díaz. The next day Foreign Minister Pedro Lascuráin learned of Gustavo’s death and offered to get President Madero and Vice President Pino Suárez to resign. By the Constitution that made Lascuráin the Interim President. After 45 minutes he resigned and was replaced by Huerta. Madero did not believe Huerta’s promise to send him into exile. Two cars on the way to the penitentiary were stopped on February 22, and Huerta ordered the two men out of their car. He killed Madero with a revolver point-blank and had Pino Suárez executed by a firing squad.

Mexico, Huerta’s Dictatorship & Villa 1913-14

      Victoriano Huerta was born on 22 December 1850 into an indigenous family in Jalisco. In school he did well in mathematics and science. As a teenager he became an aide to General Donata Guerra who helped him get into the Military Academy. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1876 in the army corps of engineers. He fought against the Yaquis in the north, Maya in the south, and Mexican rebels. By 1900 Huerta was a brigadier general. In 1911 he was sent to demobilize the Zapatistas, and he did not get along with President Madero. Huerta joined the military coup in February 1913 that made the Foreign Minister Pedro Lascuráin the President. He quickly resigned to make the new Interior Minister Huerta the President on 19 February 1913. Three days later Huerta murdered President Madero and had Vice President Pino Suárez executed.
      United States President Woodrow Wilson refused to recognize Mexico’s government that had risen by force. Mexico’s generals and state governors supported President Huerta except for Coahuila’s Governor Venustiano Carranza who appealed to other governors, gaining support from Chihuahua and Sonora. Huerta appointed skilled statesmen to his cabinet. General Orozco negotiated an alliance with Huerta on February 27. Huerta had Chihuahua’s Governor Abraham González arrested and killed on March 7.
      Francisco “Pancho” Villa was born on 5 June 1878 into a poor family that lived on a large hacienda in Durango. At the age of 16 he left home to search for the man who raped his sister, and he joined a gang of thieves. He was arrested in 1902 for stealing mules and assault. He was forced to join the Federal Army and deserted after a few months. He fled to Chihuahua and worked as a butcher in Hidalgo until the Terrazas-Creel monopoly drove him out of business. In 1903 he killed an army officer and stole his horse. He became known as Francisco “Pancho” Villa. In 1910 he met Abraham González and learned about Francisco Madero. Villa joined the revolution and organized resistance in Chihuahua. The American journalist John Reed wrote sympathetic articles about Villa and called him “the Mexican Robin Hood.” Villa became a battlefield commander, and he executed an elderly Díaz official.
      When Madero became President, Villa led a brigade of 400 cavalry and became a brigadier general in the Federal Army and won victories. General Huerta made Villa an honorary brigadier general. Villa disagreed with Huerta. When Huerta accused him of being a bandit and stealing a horse, Villa hit him. Huerta ordered him executed; but at the firing squad Villa persuaded two Madero brothers who were generals to stop the execution. Villa was imprisoned, and a Zapatista taught him how to read and write. When he was transferred to another prison in June 1912, General Bernardo Reyes taught Villa civics and history.
      Villa escaped on Christmas Day to Nogales, Arizona, and he got to El Paso in January 1913. Villa returned to Mexico in April to fight the dictator Huerta. On November 24 Villa led 6,200 men and won a great victory in the battle of Tierra Blanca that was described by the writer Ambrose Bierce who disappeared in December. In 1913 local commanders in Chihuahua elected Villa the provisional governor without the approval of First Chief Carranza. Villa recruited better generals, raised money, and printed new currency.
      Álvaro Obregón Salido led the revolution in Sonora. Gov. Carranza’s “Plan of Guadalupe” in March 1913 was a political manifesto and did not recognize Huerta as president nor the federal government. He gave the state governments 30 days to accept his Plan, and he named himself as the First Chief of the Army. When the Constitutionalist Army occupied Mexico City, then Carranza would become interim president and could call for elections. On March 31 Britain recognized Huerta’s government, and other European governments followed that example.

      Emiliano Zapata arrested the commissioners that Huerta sent to him and opposed the Huerta regime. On April 23 Zapata besieged Cuautla, and on May 1 Zapatistas blew up a train, killing about a hundred federal soldiers. Then they attacked the Cuernavaca area.
      Casa del Obrero Mundial had a successful strike in Mexico City in March and April, and on May 1 workers celebrated the largest May Day rally so far. On May 25 about 8,000 marched and then heard speeches by anarchists, unionists, and Liberals who criticized the “military dictatorship.”
      Facing a civil war, President Huerta became a dictator and greatly enlarged the military establishment. He had factories and stores closed on Sundays so that their employees could get military training. He established a National Arms Factory, National Artillery Workshops, and a National Powder Factory. When the revolution began against Porfirio Díaz, he had an army of 30,000. Huerta increased his army from 50,000 to 100,000 and eventually to 250,000. Soldiers stayed in peoples’ homes and ate their food. Huerta imposed strict censorship and jailed opposing editors. He used spies, secret agents, and more political assassinations. US President Wilson in September placed an embargo to stop shipment of weapons to Huerta. In late September the Senator Belisario Dominguez gave a speech criticizing Huerta, and two days later Huerta dissolved both houses of the legislature, and he arrested most of the congressmen. Two weeks later Dominguez was assassinated. In one day in October about 8,000 refugees crossed the border from Piedras Negras, Coahuila to Eagle Pass, Texas.
      Huerta had inherited an empty Treasury and an army of about 50,000 men, and his overwrought militarism damaged the economy causing shortages in food and supplies. Mining of gold, silver, copper, and lead fell sharply from 1913 to 1914. He increased military spending to 30% of the budget, and he promoted at least 50 officers to general. Paper money that his government issued soon depreciated. Constitutionalists and Zapatistas printed their own money as did several states until there were more than 25 kinds of currency plus counterfeits. In March 1913 the peso was worth $0.48, and it fell to $0.31 in July 1914. By December 1916 the peso was valued at $0.0046.
      Huerta actually increased education spending to 9.9% of the budget, and he had 131 rural schools constructed. His Minister of Education Nemesio García Naranjo was influenced by the French philosopher Henri Bergson, and they emphasized humanities as well as science. President Huerta appointed the native Aureliano Urrutia as Interior Minister to organize community projects, and free seeds were distributed. Huerta made Madero’s National Agrarian Commission a cabinet department, and he had the Agriculture Minister Eduardo Tamariz study land redistribution. By raising taxes on haciendas more land was sold. The budget of the Department of Labor was increased, and Congress approved funds to cover industrial accidents. On October 24 Huerta decreed that the army would be enlarged to 150,000 men. Two days later the military rigged the elections so that Huerta had a majority for President, and his War Minister became Vice President.      Álvaro Obregón Salido’s army defeated a federal force on November 23. In the south some Zapatista chiefs had been enticed by Huerta’s offers of amnesty and land reform, and Huerta brought order to Veracruz, Tabasco, and eastern Puebla. Zapata opposed Huerta and Orozco for having killed the revolution. Huerta named General Juvencio Robles the interim governor of Morelos to fight the Zapatistas, and most of his soldiers deserted. The Robles forces burned villages and crops, and they killed old and ailing people and abducted women. Zapatistas punished transgressing soldiers and implemented land reform.
      US President Wilson replaced Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson with Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan’s friend John Lind of Minnesota. Wilson sent aid to the Constitutionalists in the north and then early in 1914 he increased the US Navy in Mexican waters. Huerta was losing the civil war. On April 9 the Federal police arrested nine US sailors, and they were released within an hour with an apology. The US demanded a better apology. A German ship was bringing weapons, and on April 21 President Wilson ordered the Navy to occupy Veracruz. The next day 3,500 US Marines took over the city and killed more than 300 Mexicans while only 21 Marines died.
      The armies of the Constitutionalists were also increasing. On 3 January 1914 Villa signed a $25,000 contract with the Mutual Film Company to film what the División del Norte did. By then they controlled the state of Chihuahua. Pancho Villa’s army obtained $100,000 for confiscated cow hides from the Finnegan-Brown company in Juárez. Many pueblos seized estates and started collectives. Villa confiscated wealth to provide pensions for widows, orphans, and “defenders of justice.” The Villistas gained economic and political power as they took over land for their villages. The State Bank of Chihuahua had 10 million pesos in capital to guarantee the paper money. Villa also provided for hundreds of homeless children and paid for their schooling. He hired teachers from Jalisco and opened new schools. Villa admired General Felipe Ángeles who wrote,

The Revolution was to liberate us from the masters,
so that the government could return
to the hands of the people itself, so that in each region
they may elect honest, just, sensible and good men
whom they know personally and oblige them to act
as servants of the popular will expressed in the laws,
not as their overlords.24

      The US President Wilson ended the arms embargo against Mexico on February 3 and then opened weapons trade with the Constitutionalists. Villa was the first to buy arms from the United States, and by March he had a well-equipped army of 16,000 men. President Huerta in February had expanded his army to 200,000 men and then to 250,000 in March with 250 officers promoted to general.
      In the spring Zapatista guerrilla warfare spread from Morelos south toward Tehuantepec and north to Michoacán and Hidalgo. Emiliano Zapata aroused peasants in Guerrero to insurgency and cut off supplies to cities. On April 6 they captured and executed the garrison commander General Carton. Huerta had tried to rouse Mexicans to fight the invading Americans in April. Zapatistas rejected that and took over the Jojutla garrison mutiny in early May, and they moved into the suburbs of Mexico City. On May 9 The Life of General Villa movie played in New York City.
      On May 13 the revolutionaries took over the Tampico port, and Villa entered Saltillo without a fight on May 21. On June 13 Carranza and Villa exchanged messages by telegraph. Villa resigned as commander of the north, and Carranza accepted that. The next day the Villistas persuaded Villa to resume his command. On June 23 Pancho Villa’s army of 2,000 defeated a Federal army of about 12,000 at Zacatecas by inflicting six or seven times as many casualties as they suffered. Carranza ordered them to stop, and he ended shipments of coal and ammunition to Villa who moved into Aguascalientes. Some Americans considered Villa a bandit and a murderer. Carranza suggested a meeting at Torreón, and on July 8 the División del Norte was accepted as part of the Constitutionalist forces with Villa as its head. They resolved to emancipate compesinos and distribute land equally. The Pact of Torreón also condemned “militarism, the Church, and plutocracy.”      President Huerta decided to resign on July 8, and the next day he made Francisco Carbajal the Foreign Relations Minister. On July 15 Huerta recognized Carbajal as interim president, and then on the 20th he boarded a German cruiser that took him to Jamaica. In April 1915 he went to England, Spain, and the United States.

Mexico, Carranza, Villa & Zapata in 1914

      Venustiano Carranza was born on 29 December 1859 into a wealthy family with a cattle ranch in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila. He was educated at the liberal Fuente Atheneum and the new National High School in Mexico City that opened in 1874. He raised cattle, and in 1887 he was elected municipal president of Cuatro Ciénegas and improved schools. In 1893 he supported Coahuila’s rebellion against Porfirio Díaz’s re-election. He talked with Bernardo Reyes who persuaded Díaz to appoint a Coahuila governor recommended by the Carranzas. Venustiano Carranza was elected a Senator of Mexico in 1904, and he helped amend laws to limit foreign investors. In 1910 he supported Francisco Madero against Díaz, and Madero made Carranza the provisional governor of Coahuila and then commander of the revolution in Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas. Carranza did little fighting and yet was appointed Madero’s Minister of War on 3 May 1911. Carranza warned,

A revolution that makes concessions is a revolution lost.
The great reforms that our fatherland needs
can only be achieved through decisive victories.25

He opposed Madero’s decision to allow Porfiristas continuing dictatorial power until the election of Madero who made Carranza Governor of Coahuila again until 7 March 1913. He transformed the state’s judiciary, legal codes, and tax laws. He approved 375,000 pesos for education and added nine night schools. Carranza emulated most of the Juárez reforms. After Carranza’s friends Madero and Reyes were killed by the new dictator, he turned against President Huerta on March 4.
      On March 26 Carranza had published his “Plan of Guadalupe”political manifesto. His seven points were to not recognize Huerta nor his government nor states that supported him, to organize a Constitutionalist Army with himself as chief, occupy Mexico City and change the government, and to have an interim president call elections and a Constitutionalist Army Chief to provisionally govern and call for local elections. On December 12 he added an Article 2 on social and economic reforms and Article 3 increasing the power of the Army Chief.
      Villa’s army confiscated the land of the English William Benton, and his General Rodolfo Fierro murdered Benton on 17 February 1914.
      On 13 August 1914 Interim President Francisco Carbajal resigned and signed the treaty of Teoloyucan with Obregón Salido who represented the First Chief Venustiano Carranza. The Federal Army was dissolved, and the Constitutionalist Venustiano Carranza, the former governor of Coahuila, became Interim President. Carranza prevented Villa’s train from coming to the capital by cutting off his supply of oil. Carbajal appointed J. R. Velasco the Minister of War and then went into exile. The next day all the cabinet officers resigned and left the country.
      In July Obregón’s Constitutionalist army had captured three cities in Jalisco. On August 15 Obregón led 6,000 soldiers into Mexico City, and he sent 10,000 men under General Lucio Blanco to southern suburbs to keep out the Zapatistas. Blanco seized and distributed acres to many campesinos from the 2 million acres of the Sautema property near Matamoros. Carranza returned the land to their agents pleasing the capitalists. On August 20 Carranza led Constitutionalist forces into Mexico City. He closed all the lawcourts and suspended constitutional guarantees so that he could punish Hueristas. On the night of August 26 revolutionary soldiers killed 42 civilians and wounded 37, and the next day 12 police were shot. On August 28 Carranza disarmed the 2,000 police in the Federal District.
      Emiliano Zapata wanted the Constitutionalists to accept his Ayala Plan for agrarian reform that he had revised on July 19. On August 21 he consulted with Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama, Alfredo Serratos, and Manuel Palacio. Two days later Zapata wrote a long, open letter to US President Wilson in which he condemned Carranza and his ambitious politicians. On August 25 Zapata wrote to Francisco “Pancho” Villa suggesting that the revolutionary generals set up a provisional government. He claimed he had 70,000 men and promised to “fight the war to the end.” Luis Cabrera and Antonio Villareal brought Carranza’s terms to Zapata who refused to hear them.
      On September 3 General Obregón Salido and Carranza agreed that Carranza must give up his First Chieftaincy or his chance to become a constitutional president. On September 5 Zapata broke off relations with Carranza who on that day told the press his refutation of Zapatista claims. He also announced an assembly in Mexico City on October 1. On September 8 Zapata decreed that Article 8 of the Ayala Plan to nationalize the goods of those opposing the revolution would be implemented. Obregón went to Chihuahua in September to meet with Villa more than once. Carranza met Obregón Salido on September 14.
      The United States kept sending arms to the federal army until September, and on September 15 the US decided to remove their troops. Huerta’s best allies had been the Church, federal army officers, Porfirian oligarchs, and General Orozco. Rural groups including women and children in the north joined Pancho Villa’s División del Norte. Álvaro Obregón Salido led rebels in Sonora and recruited several thousand Yaqui Indians while less cultured Yaquis joined Villa’s army. Villistas got weapons and supplies from the Americans in El Paso, Texas. General Villa in September demanded that Carranza approve the redistribution of land and that Zapatistas be represented at the convention. Villa broke off relations with Carranza on September 23. On that day Carranza spoke to an audience in Hermosillo, Sonora and said,

Once the armed conflict called for by the Plan de Guadalupe
is over, the formidable and majestic social struggle
will have to begin, the class war, whether we ourselves
want it or not, and whatever the forces that oppose it—
the new social ideas will have to take root among our masses;
and it is not merely to divide up lands and natural resources,
it is not “Effective Suffrage,”
it is not opening up more schools,
it is not dividing up equally the nation’s wealth;
it is something greater and more sacred;
it is the establishment of justice, it is the quest for equality,
it is the disappearance of the powerful,
in order to establish balance in the national economy.26

      President Madero had prevented General Huerta from executing Villa for insubordination in 1912, and Villa became devoted to Madero’s principles. Villa rejected Carranza as the leader of the revolution, and on 25 September 1914 Villa announced his rebellion against Carranza in a manifesto. Five days later Carranza made Obregón commander-in-chief of the Constitutionalist armies in the five states of the northwest. The División del Norte captured Torreón on October 1 and two weeks later Chihuahua City.
      On October 1 a Revolutionary Convention of 79 Constitutionalists met in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies and chose Luis Cabrera to preside. Carranza had authorized the generals, chiefs, and representatives who attended. Military officers elected General Eulalio Gutiérrez as president and two generals as vice presidents. First Chief Venustiano Carranza made a speech and offered his resignation which the delegates rejected by acclamation. Cabrera blamed Mexico’s plight on the hostility of Villa, Zapata, and the American occupation of Veracruz. Obregón Salido reminded them that they promised Villistas they would attend the Aguascalientes convention. Carranza made a short speech accepting their judgment. Obregón objected to many civilian delegates, and the Convention agreed to send only soldiers to Aguascalientes. Carranza had appointed governors in all the states. Yet Zapata ruled in Morelos and Villa in Chihuahua and Durango. Carranza decreed the sale of government bonds up to 130 million pesos for a national currency, and he was negotiating with the United States to remove their troops.
      Obregón Salido had urged a compromise, and the generals met at Aguascalientes in Morelos Theater on 10 October 1914. They chose the Carrancista Antonio I. Villarreal as president and two northern generals as vice presidents. Carranza did not attend, and he did not send a representative. No Zapatistas were there, and on October 16 the Convention sent General Felipe Angeles to invite them. The next day Villa signed the banner, and he said he would accept any provisional president except Carranza. He promised to stay in Guadalupe until the Convention rejected Carranza. Angeles reported that Zapatistas would send 26 representatives, and 26 including 5 generals and 16 colonels arrived on the 26th. On that day Manuel Palacio led a committee that proposed a new agrarian law, and Article 4 stated,

The nation recognizes the irrefutable right of all Mexicans
to possess and cultivate a piece of land
the products of which permit him
to meet his needs and those of his family.27

      There were 37 Villistas, and Carrancistas had a majority. Zapatista Paulino Martínez said the people’s real needs were for “bread and justice” and could only be achieved by Villa and Zapata. The Ayala Plan could bring to Mexicans “Land and Liberty!” while the Guadalupe Plan could not. Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama made a memorable speech and argued that patriotism is not found in symbols like the convention flag which he compared to “the farces of the church.” The Carrancista Eduardo Hay replied,

We know that our people will not be ready to listen
to socialistic doctrines until they get bread and peace.
Without these, socialism would turn into anarchism.28

      Villistas spoke in support of Zapatistas who demanded that the Convention approve the Plan of Ayala and remove Carranza as First Chief. Díaz Soto said the Zapatistas had 60,000 well-armed troops, and they planned to fill 60 seats at the Convention. In a secret meeting delegates decided to remove Villa and Carranza, and the Convention agreed. Obregón suggested General Eulalio Gutiérrez as a compromise candidate. Díaz Soto agreed, and the assembly accepted Gutiérrez who was currently the military governor of San Luis Potosí.
      On November 3 the Convention sent a commission with Obregón to Mexico City to inform Carranza that his “resignation” was accepted and that he was replaced by Gutiérrez. Carranza left the capital and went to Tlaxcala and then to Puebla where his cabinet joined him. On November 6 Gutiérrez was installed as Interim President of Mexico for 20 days. Carranza refused to recognize his authority. Gutiérrez tried to persuade Carranza by telegraph to accept the Convention. By then Carranza was in Córdoba, Veracruz, and he wired back his negative reply. On November 10 Interim President Gutiérrez declared Carranza a rebel and the beginning of fighting.
      A majority of the delegates left to support Carranza before the last session on November 13. Those remaining voted to extend Gutiérrez’s term “until the Convention is able to hold elections in conformity with Article 12 of the Plan of Ayala.”29 They elected Pancho Villa commander of the Conventionalist Army which then opposed the Constitutionalist Army of Carranza and Obregón. They also called for Carranza to resign.
      Gutiérrez moved his headquarters to San Luis Potosí, and the Commission followed him. Obregón’s decision to support Carranza would be pivotal in the Revolution, and on November 16 he replaced General Salvador Alvarado in commanding Mexico City. Three days later Obregón declared war against Pancho Villa. Lucio Blanco chose to join Villa, and he took control of the Federal District on November 22 and supported Gutiérrez. The next day the Zapatistas took over Xochimilco and San Angel. On the 24th Blanco left the capital going west.
      General Gutiérrez led raids on mines owned by Americans when he gained control of San Luis Potosí. General Pablo González led a rearguard action for the Constitutionalists against the Conventionalists. The Americans withdrew their forces from Veracruz on November 23, the day they deposited 2,604,051 pesos from customs revenues and other funds in New Orleans to give the Carranza government a line of credit. They also gave armaments to Carranza’s Constitutionalists at Veracruz where his government operated for about a year, following the example of Benito Juárez. The divided Revolution became a civil war that devastated many states.
      On December 4 Villa and Zapata met at Xochimilco near the capital, and their alliance was called the “Revolutionary Convention.” Zapata rode with Villa when their armies entered Mexico City on December 6. Zapata respected priests and did not allow them to be persecuted in his territory, and the priest of Tepoztlán translated documents from Náhuatl for him. Zapata made his headquarters at Tlaltizapán, and Otilio Montaño called it the “moral capital of the Revolution.” Zapata heard people’s petitions every day and took care of their needs. Land was distributed according to the needs of each community, and they restored lands in a hundred villages in Morelos.

Mexico, War & Carranza’s Constitution 1915-20

      Carranza’s advisor Luis Cabrera completed a new agrarian law that was decreed on 6 January 1915, but administration was slow. On January 15 Villa put Fierro and Calixto Contreras in command of his western army. They fled from an attack to Guanajuato, and Villa moved troops from Mexico City to support them. Villa’s army of 11,000 took over Guadalajara without any fighting. Obregón negotiated with the leaders of Casa del Obrero Mundial. On February 17 they agreed to support the Constitutionalist Army, and they formed six Red Battalions and soon had 3,000 men in Orizaba. On March 22 Fierro lost 2,000 men and 800 horses in another battle at Tuxpan, Veracruz. Fierro, having stuffed his clothes with gold coins, sank in quick sand and died at the Casas Grandes Lagoon on October 14.
      On June 11 Carranza clarified that confiscations would be limited to those lands “which had been acquired legitimately from individuals or governments and which did not constitute a special privilege or monopoly.”30 On June 27 the United States Justice Department arrested Orozco and Huerta in El Paso for conspiring to violate neutrality laws. Orozco escaped and was killed by Texas police on August 30. Victoriano Huerta was transferred to house arrest, and he died of cirrhosis in January 1916.
       Villa’s army was fighting Obregón and Carranza in the north while Zapata continued his revolution in the south. In four major battles at Celaya in Bajío over ten days ending on 15 April 1915 Obregón’s army of 15,000 with 13 cannons defeated 22,000 Villistas who had 6,000 killed and 6,500 captured while the Constitutional Army had only 695 dead. They used barbed wire to stop Villa’s cavalry and destroyed them with machine-guns and artillery. Obregón ordered his soldiers to kill the 120 officers they captured. On May 24 Villa as commander of the Conventionalist Revolution decreed that haciendas could be divided into smaller private property, and hacendados would be paid for their land. Villista currency had fallen from 50 cents per peso to 5 cents in 1914, and in August 1915 Villa was bankrupt and taking everything to collect funds. Many of his men and officers deserted, and some joined Carranza’s army. Even Felipe Ángeles, the man he proposed to be president, left Villa on September 11 and fled to Texas.
      On October 19 the American government was “totally disillusioned” with Villa, and they recognized Carranza’s government. After cavalry charges at Agua Prieta on the first three days of November Villa’s División del Norte was down to 3,000 men. Obregón’s army took over the last Villista strongholds in Sonora, and Chihuahua surrendered. In the fall Carranza used force to end a strike in Veracruz by workers protesting the worthless paper money they were paid. Zapatistas summarized their “Manifesto to the Nation” on October 26 by saying, “War to the death against the hacendados, ample guarantees for all the other classes of society.”31
      Also in 1915 Mariano Azuela serialized The Underdogs (Los de abajo) about common people in the Mexican Revolution, and he expanded it into his novel in 1920.
      In January 1916 railway workers went on strike to support the textile workers’ strike in Orizaba, and Carranza drafted the railroad workers into the army. Electrician Luis N. Morones founded the Federation of Union Workers of the Federal District.
      On January 13 the Red Battalions were summoned to Mexico City and were disbanded. Carranza ordered governors to prohibit rallies by workers and arrest the leaders. In May the electricians, streetcar workers, and telephone operators in the capital went on strike. In August the Mexican Union of Electricians called for a general strike, and Carranza revived a law with the death penalty for strikers. At this time Americans owned 80% of the mining companies. Carranza decreed that the Finance Minister could limit anticlerical activities.
      Pancho Villa was reduced to guerrilla fighting in 1916. On January 9 American mining engineers left El Paso on a train having been promised safe passage by the Mexican government that the US recognized. Villa’s men stopped the train and killed 15 men. On March 9 Villa sent 485 guerrillas from Palomas, Chihuahua across the border, and they killed 18 Americans and wounded many in Columbus, New Mexico, a town they burned. On March 15 the United States sent General John Pershing on a “Punitive Expedition” with 6,000 soldiers to capture Villa who had a serious leg wound and hid in a cave. Pershing’s forces were increased to 10,000, and they cost $130 million trying and failing to find Villa’s army before returning to the US.
      General Pablo González wanted to destroy the Zapatistas, and at Jonacatepec he had 225 civilian prisoners executed, and in June he killed 283 people and captured Zapata’s headquarters. On September 16 Villa with 800 men raided Chihuahua City for a few days. Zapata moved his command to Tochimilco, and in October he launched an offensive guerrilla campaign. Zapatistas attacked isolated water pumps and streetcar stations near Mexico City. General González withdrew from Morelos in November.
      Yucatán’s Governor Salvador Alvarado lowered the age of majority for women from 31 to 21, and he hired women for his government. In 1916 he organized the Congreso Femenino in Mérida, Yucatán.
      President Carrranza summoned a constitutional convention to revise the liberal Constitution of 1857, and they met in Querétaro on December 1. Francisco José Múgica strengthened the anticlerical provisions in the old constitution by limiting church powers and making marriage a civil ceremony. The new constitution no longer recognized the Church as a legal entity, denied priests special rights and required them to register publicly, and they made churches national property. Public worship was banned outside of churches. Education was to be secular, and primary schools were made obligatory and free.
      To improve land reform they gave the federal government “the right to regulate private property in the interest of the people.” The right of private ownership of land was changed to a privilege, and the state could appropriate land not serving a social purpose. Foreign ownership had to be approved by the government. They established the 8-hour workday, a minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, abolished child labor, protected women, required holidays, paid fair salaries in cash, and they authorized profit-sharing, arbitration boards, compensation for dismissal, and the right to organize and strike. Carranza wanted to be a constitutional president. Executive power was increased, and the Vice President was eliminated. Judges were to be chosen for life, and municipal autonomy was strengthened. A delegate explained,

This revolution that we are engaged in
is not for political objectives alone, as you well know,
and as we the citizens of the country perceive it;
it also involves very deep social needs;
this revolution that was made to regenerate the people,
to lift up the needy, and to redeem the indigenous race,
has been received with open arms,
as a blessing from Heaven, by all those who wear
on their forehead the shame of not having enough to live
like human beings and who must dwell in a filthy hovel
because of the greed of the evil Mexican capitalists.32

The Constitution of 1917 was signed by deputies on 31 January 1917 and became effective on February 5.
      In the general election on March 11 Carranza of the Liberal Constitutionalist Party received 97% of the votes, and Pablo González Garza of the Democratic League got 1.4%. Carranza was inaugurated as President of Mexico on May 1. He refused to enforce many progressive reforms in the new Constitution that he did not like. The year 1917 would be difficult. The federal debt was nearly 750 million pesos; unemployment was increasing; and civil war was ruining the country. Crops were not harvested, and railroads were destroyed. Banks failed, and money was hoarded or stolen. Cities lacked food, water, and coal. Carranza punished enemies and did not follow Juárez in granting amnesty until 1920. During the Great War on February 8 the Zimmerman telegram suggested that Germans wanted to help Mexicans invade the United States to get back territory lost in the war of the 1840s. Carranza rejected that and declared Mexico neutral during the Great War (World War I). Carranza’s regime distributed only 450,000 acres, and many hacendados had more than that. Carranza gave land, which Huerta had been redistributing, to Porfirians.
      By January 1917 the Zapatistas had regained their state. Zapata visited destroyed Cuernavaca, and he could find only three families hiding. In May a court-martial closed to the public sentenced Otilio Montaño to death for aiding Zapata. Montaño died without his last rites, but in his will he wrote, “I am going to die, there is no doubt about it, but there where justice is done, there I will be waiting for you sooner or later.”33 The Zapatistas suffered from typhoid, malaria, and dysentery. US President Wilson in August recognized Carranza’s government and approved loans to them. In 1918 a large army led by General Pablo González and the Spanish influenza were wiping out the Zapatista guerrillas. The soldiers burned towns, destroyed crops, and stole cattle. In May 1918 Luis Morones founded the Confederación Regional Obrera Mexicana (CROM).
      In March 1919 Zapata sent an open letter to President Carranza. He wrote,

You turned the struggle to your own advantage
and that of your friends,
who helped you rise and then shared the booty….
It never occurred to you that the Revolution was fought
for the benefit of the great masses,
for the legions of the oppressed
whom you motivated by your harangues….
In the agrarian matter you have given or rented
our haciendas to your favorites.34

Carranza had Col. Jesús Guajardo write to Zapata asking to join him and promising weapons and ammunition that enticed Zapata to a meeting. Zapata went with ten men, and Col. Guajardo’s soldiers shot him down on 10 April 1919.
      Elena Torres started the first Montessori school in Mérida, and she helped establish the Socialist Party of Yucatan and founded the Mexican Feminist Council in 1919.
       Felipe Ángeles eventually came back to Villa in December 1918; but he left again when Villa attacked Ciudad Juárez. Ángeles was tried by a court-martial on 25 November 1919. He blamed the government for making Villa a bad man, and Ángeles was executed the next day. Finally on 28 July 1920 the last 759 Villistas gave up their rifles. Villa was killed in an ambush on 20 July 1923.
      President Venustiano Carranza refused to enforce the changes on religion. He hated Victoriano Huerta and reversed what he did including many progressive reforms. Huerta had raised spending on education to 9.9%, and Carranza reduced it to 0.09%. Social programs had 11.6% in 1913 and 1.9% in 1919. Carranza did not want to recommend the military victor Obregón for president, and he chose the little-known ambassador to the United States, Ignacio Bonillas. Obregón allied with Adolfo de la Huerta and Plutarco Elías Calles in Sonora, and he said,

If I don’t get to be elected President,
it will be because Don Venustiano does not want me.
But before the bearded old man can rig the elections,
I will rise against him.”35

In April 1920 the Sonorans issued their Plan de Agua Prieta opposing Carranza’s government and reviving the Revolution. An attempt to assassinate Carranza on April 8 failed. Obregón led his army into Mexico City, and Carranza left to go to Veracruz. On May 21 while sleeping in Tlaxcalantongo a gunshot broke Carranza’s leg, and two shots into his chest killed him.

Mexico, Obregón & Education 1920-24

      Álvaro Obregón Salido was born on 17 February 1880 in Sonora as the 18th child of his father who died that year. He was raised on the family farm and learned the Mayo language. After an elementary education he went to work as a machine operator in a sugar mill. After marrying he became a tenant farmer. In 1906 he bought a farm and grew garbanzo beans. In 1907 his wife and two children died. In 1909 he invented a garbanzo harvester and started a company to sell them. He lobbied to get a railroad extension and irrigation. In 1911 he was elected a municipal president.
      Obregón supported President Madero, and in April 1912 he gathered 300 men and enlisted to fight for him. His skill planning attacks gained him promotion to colonel. After they defeated Orozco, he resigned in December and returned to his farm. When General Victoriano Huerta became dictator in February 1913, Obregón opposed him. He enlisted thousands of Yaquis and supported Carranza who in September appointed him the commander of the Constitutional Army in the Northwest. His forces captured Culiacán in November, and the Constitutional Army controlled the Northwest. In May 1914 the federal gunboat General Guerrero was against them, and Obregón sent the pilot Alberto Salinas in the Sonora airplane flying at 3,000 feet to attack a gunboat at sea for the first time in military history. Obregón’s army in early July defeated Huerta’s federal forces in Jalisco as 8,000 were killed. They also obtained 5,000 rifles and 18 trains with 40 locomotives. Obregón was promoted to general and signed the treaties that replaced Victoriano Huerta, and five days later his 18,000 troops entered the capital on August 16. Carranza arrived on the 20th.
      Obregón met with Villa, and they agreed that Carranza should be Interim President. Obregón believed that priests had backed Huerta, and he ordered the Church to pay 500,000 pesos to the Revolutionary Council for Aid to the People. He expelled the Vicar General Paredes and 167 priests from Mexico City. He imposed special taxes and required businessmen to turn over 10% of their merchandise, or he would confiscate their entire stocks. When foreigners met in the Hidalgo Theater to protest the taxes, Obregón surrounded the building with troops and imposed on those businessmen a moral tax of 500,000 pesos. Then he made them sweep the streets.
      Obregón went to see Villa in September and tried to persuade him to join with Carranza. Obregón suggested and helped organize the convention of revolutionary generals at Aguascalientes in October that separated Carranza from Villa and Zapata. Obregón chose to stay with Carranza. In January 1915 Obregón defeated Zapatistas at Puebla. He raised troops for Carranza’s Constitutionalist Army by promising them land, and in February they gained the support of the Casa del Obrero Mundial labor union for six Red Battalions. Obregón’s army decisively defeated Villistas in four major battles at Celaya in April. Obregón was wounded in the battle of Santa Rosa in May, and his right arm was amputated. On June 3 he tried to kill himself with his pistol that had been cleaned and was not loaded. Carranza made Obregón the Minister of War in March 1916, and he started a staff college, a school of military medicine, and an Aviation Department. Obregón resigned as War Minister on 1 May 1917 and returned to his farm where he founded the Cooperative Agricultural Society to unite chickpea growers in Sonora and Sinaloa. In that business he earned 50,000 pesos in 1918.
      President Carranza tried to discourage Obregón from running for president. Obregón announced his candidacy with a manifesto on 1 June 1919 that urged the founding of a Great Liberal Party. He promised,

We will respect the rights of each and every Mexican
and foreign citizens in our Republic;
and when we prove with deeds that
we know how to follow this policy,
we will have the right to demand for ourselves as well
the respect of all the other nations on earth.36

In August he made a secret deal with leaders of the Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM), and he promised them a Department of Labor and support from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. In November he toured the country as the Labor Party candidate, and he spoke about morality and honest government. When the Senate removed his military rank, he was glad to present himself as a civilian. In January 1920 Carranza chose the diplomat Ignacio Bonillas to succeed him, and he had not fought in the Revolution and was not well known. Carranza was running on his principles, and his effort to get governors on their side failed.
      Adolfo de la Huerta was a senator for Sonora in 1918 and became governor in 1919. On 22 April 1920 De la Huerta, Plutarco Elías Calles, and Obregón, the three generals from Sonora, united to oppose President Carranza and issued their Plan de Agua Prieta. General Salvador Alvarado, who governed Yucatán 1915-18 and founded the newspaper El Heraldo de México in 1919, helped write the plan. They criticized the federal government for taking over the waters of the Sonora River. A rebellion already had begun in Sonora, and the generals who governed Michoacán and Zacatecas joined. Sonora withdrew from Carranza’s federal government. The Plan put Adolfo de la Huerta in command of the Constitutionalist Army and empowered him to appoint interim governors. Carranza in May left the capital to go to Veracruz, and an ambush killed him on May 21. The Congress made Adolfo de la Huerta the Interim President on June 1. That short war was over, and Mexico was at peace for the six months of Huerta’s interim presidency.
      On 5 September 1920 Obregón received 96% of the votes, and he became President on December 1 and named Adolfo de la Huerta the Treasurer. In the period after the Great War of 1914-18 many prices fell and caused unemployment. Petroleum was stable, and Mexico was the third largest producer of oil in 1921. President Obregón changed the name of the Minister of Education and made the impressive José Vasconcelos the Secretary of Public Education in July 1921. He directed hundreds of teachers to focus on reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and Mexican history. Obregón’s annual budget for education was about twice that of the previous four presidents combined. In four years they had more than a thousand rural schools built. He began a program of public libraries, and by 1924 they had nearly 2,000 libraries. The government printed millions of primary readers. Vasconcelos believed in the “cosmic race” and published a book with that title in 1925. He integrated the schools to include indigenous people. The murals of Diego Rivera and other painters provided visual education about the Revolution for the public. Although Obregón supported anticlerical articles in the 1917 Constitution, he tolerated Catholic schools while encouraging Protestant missionaries and the Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes (YMCA). Daniel Cosío described the educational crusade,

Then there really was an evangelical environment
in which to teach your neighbor how to read and write;
then there was really a feeling in the breast and in the heart
of every Mexican that educational action was as urgent
and as Christian as satisfying thirst or staving off hunger.
Then began the first great mural paintings,
monuments that aspired to catch for the centuries
the anguish of the country, its problems and its hopes.
Then there was faith in books,
and in the timeless masterpieces of literature;
and books were printed by the thousand,
and thousands were given away.
Founding a library in a small remote town
seemed as important as building a church.37

      President Obregón kept his promise to support the Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM), and their leader Morones accepted Obregón’s policy to balance the rights of labor and capital. The CROM union increased from 50,000 members in 1920 to 1.2 million by 1924. Obregón expelled foreign labor leaders that had anarchist ideas, and he outlawed the strikes of the radical unions—the Communist Federation of the Mexican Proletariat and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In 1921 textile and streetcar workers organized the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT), and they were supported by anarchists and Communists. Obregón also opposed conservative Roman Catholic unions. He had a moderate policy on agrarian reform, and he was able to distribute 3 million acres to 624 villages with 140,000 people. Yet Luis Terrazas still owned more land than that. On 21 November 1921 the Congress approved a decree taking control over the budgets of the departments from the executive and giving them to the legislature.
      In the United States in 1920 conservative Republicans elected Warren G. Harding the President, and he supported oil interests so much that it exposed him in the Teapot Dome scandal. He refused to recognize Obregón’s government. In September 1921 Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that oil companies involved in “positive acts” could continue with American owners. In the spring of 1923 commissioners from both nations agreed, and they established a mixed claims commission to adjudicate claims by US citizens.
      In December 1922 Pope Pius XI began a Catholic Action movement, and some bishops in Mexico resisted redistribution of land and secularizing the unions. The Young Mexican Catholic Action fought against the Cromistas. On 1 January 1923 the apostolic delegate Ernesto Eugenio Filippi on a hill in the city of Guanajuato consecrated Christ as King outside, and President Obregón enforced Article 33 of the Constitution by expelling him from Mexico.
      President Obregón and Finance Minister Huerta negotiated Mexico’s debt with the International Committee of Bankers, and they agreed to pay compensation for American losses during the Revolution and to indemnify them for expropriated land. These concessions in the Bucareli Treaty signed by Obregón caused some to call him a “sellout.” Obregón’s cousin Benjamín Hill and liberals had started the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC) to oppose Obregón. Benjamín Hill was poisoned and died in December 1920, and Lucio Blanco had fled to Laredo, Texas and was assassinated in June 1922. That month the Mexican government admitted that they owed Americans $500 million, and they promised to pay $30 million annually for four years.
      In 1922 the opposition tried to decentralize government and restore the three powers advised by Madero. Obregón rejected their influence even though they had supported him for President. In December 1923 Treasury Secretary Adolfo de la Huerta led a rebellion in Sonora that included half the army. Obregón welcomed the excitement of a fight and led troops to Bajío. General Salvador Alvarado in Jalisco also led troops against Obregón, and Cesário Castro opposed him in Veracruz. Obregón’s army crushed the rebels.
      After eight men assassinated Villa on 20 July 1923, nationalists upset by the oil commission agreement believed it was politically motivated. On September 24 Adolfo de la Huerta resigned, and President Obregón made Alberto J. Pani the Finance Minister. He discovered that about 10 million pesos annually were being paid to unnecessary officials, and 60% of them were in the excessive payrolls of the Finance Ministry. Conservatives also opposed Obregón’s military reductions, and a revolution broke out later in the year. On December 7 Huerta agreed to the Plan of Veracruz, and he was appointed Supreme Chief of the Revolution. On the 13th the Oaxaca Plan recognized the generals Sánchez, Estrada, and Maycotte as regional chiefs. Their alliance also included radical labor leaders. The United States provided Obregón with military aid, and he bought 11 De Haviland airplanes, 33 machine guns, 15,000 Enfield rifles, 5 million rounds of ammunition, and other supplies. He had leading rebels hunted down and shot or executed if they were captured. The rebellion went on for a few months and killed about 7,000 Mexicans.
      President Obregón by 1924 had reduced the national debt to 40.8 million pesos. He was criticized for choosing as his successor Interior Minister Plutarco Elías Calles who was elected. Obregón returned to his farm again and with money borrowed from Mexican and Californian banks he acquired much land and irrigated the Yaqui Valley.

Mexico & Calles Reforms 1924-30

      Plutarco Elías Calles was born a natural child in Guaymas on 25 September 1877 in a poor family. His mother died in 1880, and he was raised by her sister and her husband. They moved to Hermosillo in Sonora, and Plutarco got a primary education. In 1888 he took special courses for teachers at the Colegio de Sonora. He had been an altar boy and did not like the church. He taught at a public primary school, and in 1893 he became an inspector for the Public Education Council. He returned to Guaymas and began teaching there in 1898. He worked at farming, managing a flour mill, in a bank, and then set up a company that dealt in fodder, seeds, and flour. His business collapsed in April 1911, and he opened a general store at Agua Prieta in September.
      Gov. Maytorena made Calles a justice of the peace to maintain order, administer justice, and manage the customs station. After Madero was murdered, Calles moved his family to Nogales, Arizona where he recruited volunteers for the Revolution. He was put in command of a small regiment on 5 March 1913 and returned to Mexico. Lt. Col. Calles occupied Agua Prieta and attacked Naco on March 16. He fought in the Revolution under General Obregón and General Carranza for ten years. Calles became a brigadier general, and on 4 August 1915 Carranza appointed him the interim governor and military commander of Sonora. Calles used mines, barbed wire, and trenches to defeat on November 1 the attack on Agua Prieta by General Pancho Villa’s army of 15,000 men; 223 were killed.
      Governor Calles implemented his Programa de Gobierno of reforms in Sonora from 1915 to May 1919. He began by opening schools in every town with more than 500 residents. He required mining companies and other industries to provide schools. He helped provide scholarships, libraries, teachers’ colleges, and adult schools. He reformed the state’s laws by revising the civil and penal codes. He improved agriculture with better wages for workers and by dividing the large estates, and he established an agriculture bank for Sonora. He improved roads and added new ones, reformed taxes, initiated welfare institutions, and emphasized cleanliness and sanitation. Having witnessed the alcoholism of his unmarried father, Calles prohibited importing, selling, and manufacturing of alcohol with a penalty of five years in prison. He opposed gambling and ordered the arrest of gamblers and the spectators.
      Calles decreed that those who support Orozco, Huerta, or the Villistas and Zapatistas could have their property confiscated. He expelled every Catholic priest from Sonora. He enacted a higher wage for laborers and peons. Public education was given 22% of Sonora’s budget. In May 1916 he made Adolfo de la Huerta interim governor of the Office of Military Operations. On 25 June 1917 Calles became the constitutional governor of Sonora. He founded a Teachers Training School, planned a congress on education, opened 127 more primary schools, and funded Vocational and Arts Schools for orphans of the Revolution and promoted it by writing “For the Salvation of My Race.”
      In May 1919 President Carranza made Calles the Secretary of Industry, Trade, and Labor. In January 1920 he resigned in order to support Obregón’s campaign for president, and he served as Interior Minister for most of Obregón’s four years. In mid-1923 Calles retired to a hacienda in Nuevo León, and he considered running for president. Calles ran as a Labor candidate, and on 6 July 1924 he won with 84% of the votes. He traveled in Europe from August to October and learned about Germany’s social democracy. He encouraged Jews to emigrate to Mexico, and hundreds would. He conferred with the socialist Prime Minister Edouard Herriot of France, and he learned about the labor movement in England. Later his Mexican government would send them $200,000 during a major strike. In the United States he met President Coolidge, and Calles attended a banquet honoring him put on by the American Federation of Labor and heard a speech by Samuel Gompers. Calle read The Profits of Religion by Upton Sinclair which begins, “This book is a study of the Cult of the Supernatural, from a new point of view—as a source of income and a shield for privilege.”38
      President Plutarco Elías Calles was inaugurated on 1 December 1924. He noted that “the revolutionary movement has entered its constructive phase.” He was aided by the Finance Minister Alberto J. Pani and his Undersecretary Manuel Gómez Morín. On 7 January 1925 the General Law of Credit Institutions revised a Porfirian law, and on the 12th they established the National Banking Commission. The Bank of Mexico followed the model of the American Federal Reserve and opened on September 1. On 1 February 1926 Calles and Morín reorganized loans for social purposes by creating the National Bank of Agricultural Credit. By 1927 they had 378 local societies with 17,000 members. Many generals and especially Obregón benefited from “courtesy loans.”
      In his four years Obregón had distributed about three million acres of land. Calles from 1924 to 1928 would distribute eight million acres. He also added 2,000 more rural schools. Calles included the Regional Confederation of Mexican Workers (CROM) leader Morones as Secretary of Labor. Hundreds of independent unions joined CROM, and by 1928 they had 1,800,000 members. Wages were raised, and Morones became very wealthy. The South Pacific railroad was extended from Nogales to Hermosillo, Guaymas, Mazatlán, Tepic, and Guadalajara. They modernized the army, created a Department of Public Health and improved sanitation, supported housing projects, encouraged sports, and battled alcoholism. Mexicans began using vaccinations, and five million were inoculated against smallpox. The new Calles Code ended the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children.
      American ambassador Sheffield considered Mexico the second Bolshevik nation, and he called it “Soviet Mexico.” On 12 June 1925 US Secretary of State Kellog warned,

This government will continue to support the government
of Mexico only while it protects American lives and interests
and fulfills its international compromises and obligations.
The Mexican government is now being tested
before the world.39

The United States and Mexico had different policies on Nicaragua. The Soviet Union sent Ambassador Alexander Kollontai to Mexico, and he said, “There are no two countries in the world more alike than Mexico and the new Russia.”40 Congress approved a new petroleum law in December 1925. That year the philosopher Antonio Caso published Principios de estética, and he emphasized the moral value of sacrifice and love.
      In January 1927 they canceled permits of oil companies that did not comply with new regulations. US President Coolidge warned that Mexico might be treated the same as Nicaragua. Mexican diplomats suggested international arbitration by the International Court at The Hague and found support in the US Senate. Mexico’s Ambassador Manuel Téllez returned from the US and said he heard rumors that the US would send Marines to Mexico. President Calles replied by implying that oil wells in Tampico could be set on fire. On September 29 a direct telephone line linked Calle and Coolidge, and a month later the new Ambassador Dwight Morrow arrived in Mexico with the instruction to prevent war with Mexico. Morrow cooperated with the new Finance Minister Luis Montes de Oca.
      In January 1926 President Calles had asked Congress to revise the penal code on worship regulations. On February 4 Archbishop Mora y del Río criticized the Constitution’s regulations on religion, and the League for the Defense of Religion agreed. Calles took that as a challenge, and he ordered all governors to enforce Article 130. On July 31 Archbishop Mora declared a strike and stopped Catholic masses. Baptisms and last rites were also postponed. They closed church schools and expelled foreign priests, causing demonstrations and riots in the streets. Calles refused to amend Article 3 and 130; but he revised the penal code by amending Article 19 to require priests to register before beginning their ministry. The League called for an economic boycott in several states. Bishops issued a pastoral letter suspending masses when the Calles Law becomes effective. Calles in a long meeting with two bishops, and the secretary general criticized Catholics for neglecting to help the poor. He concluded,

I am going to show you that there is no problem,
since the only one you could create would be
to commit yourself to a rebellion and in that case
the government is fully prepared to defeat you.41

The bishops said they would not rebel, but the people did so to bring back masses, shouting, “Viva Cristo Rey!” The Cristero War would go on for three years. Federal troops inflicted heavy casualties repressing mass uprisings in January 1927, and peasants fought back using guerrilla methods and captured weapons. In April the Cristeros used dynamite to blow up the Mexico City-Guadalajara train, killing over a hundred civilians. The rebellion spread in 13 states of central Mexico. By the end of the war 50,000 Cristeros were fighting, and 25,000 had been killed. All together 70,000 lives had been lost. Military spending had been increased to 30% of the budget to support 30,000 cavalry and 31,000 infantry. Agricultural production fell by 38% from 1926 to 1930. About 200,000 people moved into cities while about 450,000 emigrated mostly to the United States. In June 1927 Calles released several military leaders, and he permitted worship in private homes. The war finally ended with a peace agreement in June 1929.
      In October 1926 the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate made it legal for Obregón to be re-elected. In the next six months he led 15,000 men against the rebelling Yaquis. In May 1927 he began campaigning for re-election as the candidate for the National Agrarian Party. His two opponents, the generals Arnulfo R. Gómez and Francisco Serrano, and General Eugenio Martínez combined to attack Obregón on December 1 at the Balbuena airport. Serrano was captured and was shot down with other prisoners. Gómez got five garrisons to revolt, and they were overwhelmed. He fled to a cave in Veracruz and was found and shot dead.
      In the general election on 1 July 1928 Obregón for the Labor Party, the only candidate for president, received 1,670,453 votes. Attempts had been made to take Obregón’s life, and he said, “I will live until someone trades his life for mine.”42 That occurred at a restaurant on July 17 when the fanatical Catholic José de León Toral shot him five times. Toral was arrested and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to death and was eventually executed on 9 February 1929. The nun known as Madre Conchita was found to be complicit in the murder and was sentenced to 20 years.
      About 150 people were killed in pre-election conflicts. Mexico had about 8,000 political parties. Calles summoned thirty prominent generals to a meeting and suggested they propose a civilian as the interim president. He included this idea in his last report to the legislature on 1 September 28 and advised,

I do not need to remind you how the caudillos—
perhaps not always intentionally but always naturally
and logically enough—have hampered the appearance, formation and development of other national power options,
to which the country could resort in moments of internal
and external crisis, and how they sometimes delayed
or blocked, even against the will of the caudillo himself—
in that same natural and logical way—
the peaceful evolutionary development of Mexico
as an institutional country, in which men may become,
as they should be, mere accidents with no real importance
beside the perpetual and august serenity
of institutions and laws.43

Calles wanted to move Mexico from “the country of a man to a nation of institutions and laws.” Then he suggested that “the political and clerical reaction” in the legislature could begin “the battle of ideas” needed for the “Revolutionary Family” to keep from degenerating into a conflict of factions. He assured them that their presence in both houses

would not endanger the hegemony of a Revolution that
has already triumphed within the consciousness of the public
and so can open itself up to contention,
from which the nation would ultimately benefit.44

In 1928 Martín Luis Guzmán published his novel The Eagle and the Serpent (El águila y la serpiente) about the battles between Villa and Carranza, and in 1929 his La sombra del caudillo described the election of 1928. In 1935 Gregorio López y Fuentes in his novel El Indio portrayed the difficult lives of Indians at this time.
      Plutarco Elías Calles let Interior Minister Portes Gil be Interim President, and then Calles chose Pascual Rubio Ortiz, who had been Governor of Michoacán 1917-20, as the next PNR candidate for president, and in the election on 17 November 1929 he received 94% of the votes over José Vasconcelos of the National Anti Re-election Party who had 5% and a Communist who got 1%. Rubio Ortiz was inaugurated 5 February 1930. Calles influenced many changes in his cabinet, and Portes Gil became Interior Minister. President Rubio Ortiz approved a new labor law. Another attempted coup by generals led by Gonzalo Escobar began on March 3 and was defeated on April 30 as the United States did not support them and sold weapons to the government. The federal forces killed or forced to resign 47 generals. About a thousand people were killed, and two thousand were wounded. The federal forces had only 161 dead and 312 wounded.

Mexico & Calles 1931-35

      In 1930-31 anti-Communism became fanatical, and fascist Gold Shirts terrorized Communists and Jews. In 1931 Narciso Bassols became Secretary of Public Education, and he organized the system of public schools and suggested a pragmatic curriculum that included socialist ideas. Rubio Ortiz resented the interference by Calles, and he resigned on 2 September 1932.
      Abelardo L. Rodríguez fought in the Revolution and was the military commander of Northern Baja California 1921-29 and was governor from 1923 to the end of 1929 when he resigned. Rodríguez and his family traveled in Europe for ten months. In 1930 the government had 30 million pesos ($15 million) in reserve. In 1931 the deficit was 80 million pesos, and the value of the peso declined by 75% by 1932. From October 1931 to September 1932 Rodríguez served in the cabinet as Secretary of War and six months as Secretary of Industry, Commerce and Labor. Calles suggested Finance Minister Pani as the next president, but he declined. Calles recommended three generals, and the Congress chose Rodríguez who became the Interim President on September 4 until the end of the term on 30 November 1934. Rodríguez was an ally of Calles whose health was declining. Thus the wealthy Rodríguez was more independent and had a more stable cabinet. Finance Minister Pani objected to the deficit spending by Rodríguez who made him resign. When Calles complained, Rodríguez appointed him Finance Minister.
      Rodríguez had a home in San Diego, and he maintained friendly relations with the United States. Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Leopoldo Ruiz y Flóres complained that PNR was socialistic and atheistic, and he urged Catholics to withdraw from the party. Mexican Catholics declined to support another uprising against the government. President Rodríguez revived distributing land to peasants, and an increased minimum wage benefited 2,500,000 agricultural and industrial workers. Calles urged more roads, and they were extended from Guatemala to the United States supporting the Pan American Highway project. The Rodríguez Administration also improved laws in many ways, and they established an Economic Council and added several new banks.
      In 1934 Narciso Bassols introduced sex education, and that was opposed by the Unión Nacional de Padres de Familia (UNPF). Bassols resigned in May and criticized teachers for opposing tenure based on capability and education. The administration gave in on sexual instruction, but they retained the socialist ideals. The Catholic Church threatened to excommunicate parents who sent their children to such schools.
      On 20 July 1934 Calles presented his Grito de Guadalajara, writing,

The Revolution is not over….
We have to enter a new phase,
that I would call the period of psychological revolution:
we must enter and conquer the minds of the children,
the minds of the young,
because they do and they must belong to the Revolution.45

In October the Constitution Article 3 was amended as follows:

The education imparted by the State shall be socialist
and in addition to excluding all religious doctrines,
shall combat fanaticism and prejudices, to which purpose
the schools shall organize their teaching and activities
in such a way as to create in our youth a rational
and exact concept of the universe and of social life.46

      Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was born on 21 May 1895 in Michoacán. He joined the Revolution in 1914, and he was very influenced by the anticlerical and socialist General Francisco Múgica. Lázaro’s mother begged him not to be violent toward a priest. On 28 March 1915 Cárdenas met General Calles. During the Revolution he served under Zapata, Obregón, Villa, and then Carranza and the Constitutionalists. Cárdenas became a colonel, and in March 1918 he went to Michoacán to fight bandits. In 1920 he joined Sonoran commanders against Carranza. In 1922 Cárdenas returned to Michoacán, where his friend Múgica was the governor and implemented radical policies. In 1923 President Obregón ordered Cárdenas to arrest Múgica and bring him to Mexico City. A telegram ordered him to kill Múgica while he was trying to free himself; Cárdenas let his friend escape.
      During the revolt led by De la Huerta on 12 December 1923 Cárdenas led 2,000 cavalry against General Rafael Buelna whose infantry defeated them and left Cárdenas with a wounded stomach. After the battle Buelna had Cárdenas taken to a hospital. Cárdenas recovered, and in Colima he captured General Estrada and let him go into exile. President Calles liked young Cárdenas, and during the Oil Law controversy he made him Chief of Military Operations in Hausteca on 1 March 1925, a position he held for three years. In 1926 Múgica persuaded Cárdenas to read Karl Marx, and his chief of staff, Manuel Ávila Camacho, provided books on the French Revolution.
      In 1928 Cárdenas was appointed Governor of Michoacán. He served until 1932 and had sent out radical teachers during the Cristero War. Communists and agrarian reformers organized what would become the Confederación Regional Michoacána del Trabajo (CRMDT) with the slogan “Union, Land, Work,” and they made Gov. Cárdenas the honorary president. They advocated the usual liberal reforms in education, employment, health, and land distribution. They concluded, “Only a transformation of the existing capitalist system will provide the worker his emancipation from the condition of pariah.”47 They gained members who were elected and became municipal presidents and judges. Nearly half the state budget of Cárdenas was devoted to education, and CRMDT teaching centers spread socialism. When the Cristero leader Simón Cortés surrendered peacefully in December 1928, Cárdenas persuaded Father Ríos to supervise surrender of the rebels from an airplane. Hundreds of churches closed because they had no priests, and by 1935 Mexico had only 308 priests.
      In his four years Cárdenas distributed 141,663 hectares to 181 pueblos, and this was more than all the Michoacán governors had done since 1917. He argued that ejidos were not only more just than haciendas but also were more productive economically, and he established the Ejido Credit Bank. Cárdenas was president of the National Revolutionary Party (PNR) from October 1930 for ten months. He improved the party newspaper El Nacional, founded the National Sports Confederation, initiated a campaign against alcoholism, and provided relief for the victims of the Oaxaca earthquake. On 1 January 1933 he became War Minister for President Rodríguez. That year Cárdenas spent much time on the ranches of ex-President Calles.
      On 1 January 1934 Cárdenas declared his candidacy for president and said he would do what he did in Michoacán. He defined the nation as a “territory whose natural wealth the people enjoy in common,” and he dedicated himself to uniting the workers in Veracruz. In his campaign he traveled about 18,000 miles to towns, factories, and villages, going to some by horseback or even swimming from a ship. He toured the north in June, and he was concerned about the plight of the Tarahumara Indians and migrants. The First Congress of Socialistic Students of the Republic with 275 delegates met in July at Puerto Obregón in Tabasco. They proposed suppressing religion, turning churches into libraries, schools, and cultural centers, and improving textbooks.
      The ex-president Plutarco Elías Calles chose Lázaro Cárdenas as the next PNR candidate even though he was fairly independent. In the election on 1 July 1934 Cárdenas received 87% of the votes, and on December 1 he began his six-year term as President. He said, “We must fight capitalism, the liberal capitalist school that ignores the human dignity of workers.” He had a telegraph line installed in the National Palace to receive complaints, and he let peasants and Indians visit him. He moved from the Chapultepec Castle to reside at modest Los Pinos. He asked the director of El Nacional to stop using “Jefe Máximo of the Revolution” after “General Plutarco Elías Calles.” He relied on pro-Cárdenas commanders and got other officers transferred or retired. He limited “life-time” judges to six-year terms coinciding with the President’s term and challenged their independence. After Callista deputies and senators criticized his labor policies, he forced them to resign for inciting rebellion. He complained about political agitation, and he defended strikes as legitimate interests. President Cárdenas asked the cabinet to resign. He allowed authorities to reject publications that denigrated the nation, and the government gained a monopoly on newsprint. Cárdenas reduced military spending to 19% of the budget.
      From December 1934 for six months Mexico had more than 500 strikes. In 1934 there were 202 strikes by 14,685 workers, and there were 642 strikes involving 145,212 workers in 1935. In April a general strike in Puebla spread throughout the state. On June 27 Cárdenas suggested making one union for the nation.


1. The Course of Mexican History by Michael C. Meyer and William L. Sherman, p. 390.
2. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico 1810-1996 by Enrique Krauze, p. 192.
3. Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution 1900-1913 by James D. Cockcroft, p. 99.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid., p. 122.
6. Ibid., p. 151-152.
7. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico 1810-1996 by Enrique Krauze, p. 232.
8. Ibid., p. 247.
9. Ibid., p. 249.
10. Ibid., p. 251.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid., p. 253.
13. Ibid., p. 254-255.
15. The Mexican Revolution, Volume 1 Porfirians, Liberals and Peasants by Alan Knight, p. 207.
16. The Course of Mexican History by Michael C. Meyer and William L. Sherman, p. 511.
17. Zapata and the Mexican Revolution by John Womack, Jr., p. 96.
18. Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution 1900-1913 by James D. Cockcroft, p. 193.
19. Mexican Revolution: Genesis under Madero by Charles Curtis Cumberland, p. 158.
20. Ibid., p. 196.
21. Ibid., p. 197.
22. Zapata and the Mexican Revolution by John Womack, Jr., p. 131.
23. The Mexican Revolution, Volume 1 Porfirians, Liberals and Peasants by Alan Knight, p. 454.
24. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico 1810-1996 by Enrique Krauze, p. 321.
25. Ibid., p. 337.
26. Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution 1900-1913 by James D. Cockcroft, p. 213-214.
27. Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution by John Mason Hart, p. 323.
28. The Mexican Revolution 1914-1915: The Convention of Aguascalientes by Robert E. Quirk, p. 111.
29. Ibid., p. 125.
30. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico 1810-1996 by Enrique Krauze, p. 353.
31. Zapata and the Mexican Revolution by John Womack, Jr., p. 247.
32. Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution by John Mason Hart, p. 329.
33. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico 1810-1996 by Enrique Krauze, p. 301.
34. The Course of Mexican History by Michael C. Meyer and William L. Sherman, p. 548.
35. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico 1810-1996 by Enrique Krauze, p. 370.
36. Ibid., p. 392.
37. Ibid., p. 394.
38. Ibid., p. 413.
39. Ibid., p. 417.
40. Ibid., p. 418.
41. Ibid., p. 422.
42. Ibid., p. 402.
43. Ibid., p. 427.
44. Ibid.
45. Ibid., p. 433.
46. Ibid.
47. Ibid., p. 446.

Copyright © 2023 by Sanderson Beck

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Latin America & Canada to 1850

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