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Causes of the Mexican Revolution

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Introduction

MEXICAN REVOLUTION: CAUSES The Mexican Revolution erupted in 1910 amid worldwide political violence that saw major upheavals in China, Iran, and Russia and less far-reaching uprisings in Morocco, the Balkans, and South Africa. As in the other sites of major upheavals, Mexico saw divergent economic, social, cultural, and intellectual currents join together to create revolutionary forces that overwhelmed the political landscape. In Mexico, as in Iran, Russia, and China, self-interested members of the provincial and local elites joined peasants and workers who shared their aspirations to gain better representation in national polity. Each group sought to redress different grievances, and although the groups that joined in revolution shared nationalist sentiments, these sentiments derived from their particular and widely differing experiences. The uprising in Mexico stemmed from deepening conflicts between popular forces and more specialized but powerful interests supported by the national government. Specifically the state-supported the owners of great estates in their continuing land conflicts with the peasantry; supported factory and mine owners in their disputes with industrial workers; and supported the metropolitan elites, foreigners, and provincial strongmen allied closely with the regime Against the growing demands for broader political and economic participation from the increasingly estranged local and regional elites, The peasants, workers, petty bourgeoisie, intellectuals, and local And regional elites shared the belief that the government not only should have done more to serve their interests, but that it had become the source of their discontent. The economic downturn in the first decade of the twentieth century helped intensify these conflicts. ...read more.

Middle

Madero's La sucesion presidencial (The Presidential Succession) and Heriberto Frias's Tomochic. The later work protested the suppression of the efforts of the mestizo and Indian townspeople in the pueblo of Tomochic in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Chihuahua to save their lands and jurisdiction. American railroad interests had sent a surveying team to the site shortly before violence erupted. The townspeople, however, fought for more than just land. Through their remoteness, they had long enjoyed cultural as well as political and economic autonomy. Tomochic capsulized the national crisis between centralization and the continuing popular desire for local rule. Madero's book capsulized the political protest. During the 1890s Mexican novels had protested the hardships experienced by the masses under industrialization and the transition to capitalist agriculture; they had urged reforms and more sympathy for the victims of that process. After 1900 the writers became ever more strident, and by 1905 they openly were advocating rebellion and revolution to end the suffering of their protagonists. By 1910 the clamor for self-government once again got out of hand, but this time it was far more profound than the political revolutions of the nineteenth century. The number of challengers advocating regional rights had been enhanced by the country's economic growth. The percentage of affluent and educated people now excluded from political power and authority was larger than ever before in the nation's history. Many of these people also were threatened by the new modernizing economy, which had grown increasingly dependent on a steady flow of foreign investments and imports, especially from the United States. ...read more.

Conclusion

Struggles against the foreign armies of Spain, France, and the United States in the nineteenth century were followed by the overwhelming and seemingly unbearable presence of foreign capital in Mexican industry in the early twentieth century. By 1910 foreign investors, including some of the leading companies of the United States and Europe, controlled 130 of Mexico's 70 largest business concerns, of which the Mexican National Railways was the largest. After 1900 an influx of land development companies (many of them directly or indirectly associated with the railroads) led to the purchase of approximately 130,000.000 acres of the nation's 485,000,000-acre surface. In many cases, embittered local citizens accepted jobs from the foreign owners of what once had been their lands. This history created a deep and enduring sense of Mexican nationalism, which by 1910 had become revolutionary. Working-class nationalism would continue to be a critical element in Mexican polity for the remainder of the twentieth century. As the economic crisis deepened between 1900 and 1910, important sectors of the Mexican public increasingly demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the alliance of government, Mexico City elites, and large foreign companies that dominated them. The ruling alliance included banking, industry, and a major share of ranching and agriculture, especially in the sugar producing areas of the south and the timber stands and cattle ranges of the north. Groups of workers and peasants joined highly variable leaderships, often comprised of local figures, and at other times taken from the petty bourgeoisie, intelligentsia, and provincial elites of the nation, to sweep away the government by the spring of 1911 and launch a civil war that lasted 10 years. ...read more.

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