• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

‘Zapatismo was more of a reactionary than a revolutionary movement.’ Discuss in the context of the Mexican Revolution up to 1920

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Zapatismo was more of a reactionary than a revolutionary movement.' Discuss in the context of the Mexican Revolution up to 1920 Emiliano Zapata, an almost pure-blooded Tlahuican, was born in Morelos at a time when caudillismo politics were giving way to predominantly liberal systems in Latin America. He was by no means rich but his birth-right of a share in a small rancho made him considerably better off than many of his neighbours whose own livelihood was rid of nearly all its independence when the ejidos, common-land which had been 'granted' to the natives by the conquistadores some 300 years earlier and which were used as pasture by the peones, were 'de-nationalised' under the Ley Lerdo of 1856 and sold-off, mainly to wealthy hacendados. This law was conceived of mainly as an attack on the church but also served as an assertion of liberal non-state-interventionism and an attack on privilege. That it won many hacendados over to the liberal cause by 'freeing-up' previously unavailable arable land was a bonus for the incumbent regime. That it disinherited the Indians and weakened the role of the military was met with approval by cientificos who saw them as obstacles to progress. ...read more.

Middle

But what was the role of the Zapatistas in this? It is adventurous even to claim that the destitute, illiterate peon, was ever, subjectively, involved in a revolutionary process. As Knight puts it "the Mexican Revolution... was the work of diverse, localised, backward-looking rebels, who were themselves not revolutionary." For him, the rebel, the situation was simple; the local hacendado had stolen his land and he wanted it back. If he held a macrocosmic vision at all, it was that the Indians and mestizos in the neighbouring pueblo were suffering the same injustice at the hand of a similar tyrant to his own; usually pitiless, usually a Creole. He knew that any hope of reclaiming the ejidos was obstructed by the ruthless Guardia Rurale, the Federals, the hacendado's own, equally merciless, private army or the combined forces of all three. In the meantime, however, he had to work to try to scrape together what living he could; he and his family had to eat and attempt to clothe themselves, living quarters had to be provided and there were, for the lucky ones, farm animals to rear. Life was a desperate struggle. This was the reality of Porfirian Mexico for the debt-peones and peasants and it was a reality they would take with them into ...read more.

Conclusion

If only. So, if Zapatismo was the embodiment of Emiliano Zapata then, yes, it was a reactionary movement. If its contribution to the Mexican Revolution of Madero, Villa and Carranza (and, it must be conceeded that that was the revolution that 'happened to happen,') then, yes, it was a reactionary's contribution. If the Plan de Ayala, with its immovable utopian goal-posts in an ever-expanding, ever-liberalising, ever-capitalising international field of play, was its primary offering to a national project, then yes, Zapatismo was indeed reactionary. But even though these conditions are fulfilled, Knight's argument that "it would be wrong to deny 'reactive' peasant movements revolutionary status," is valid. Zapatismo's contribution to the Revolution was invaluable. As for the activists behind the man, myth and movement, their status should not be belittled. As Knight says of them: "The Zapatistas were revolutionaries, even if they were not winners in the 'success story' of history." "... peasant protest was generally backward-looking, and 'traditional' (though not 'apolitical,' and still less 'spontaneous,' as often alleged. The ideology of protest, furthermore, was often vague, ostensibly inconsistent and inarticulate." (Kn 161) "Zapatismo, though later tinged by anarcho-sindicalism, drew principally upon traditional liberal and patriotic ideas, and had no difficulty in reconciling these with rural Catholicism." (Kn 163) "Revolution... generally implies a violent political conflict in which, at the very least, more than a government re-shuffle is at stake. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Medieval History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Medieval History essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    T o what extent does the Demographic Transition Model provide a reliable and accurate ...

    4 star(s)

    France preceded the rest of Europe, beginning fertility decline in the period between 1780 and 1850, thus is an exception. Whereas in the majority of the remainder of Europe, the date of decline falls between 1890 and 1920; the most crowded decade is 1900-10.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The second industrial revolution.

    3 star(s)

    Technological progress as such did not cause imperialistic expansion directly, let alone automatically, but contributed as the impetus in other areas. Imperialism resulted, in a way, from the socio-political inability, within the political framework, to cope with the economic results of permanent technological innovations and their social consequences.5 As the English economist J.

  1. A Critical Analysis of the Sack of Limoges (1370) according to Jean Froissart

    This possibly made him worse in his judgement and so it might be no surprise if innocent people were in fact killed.26 Froissart however does not make too much mention of this fact other than that the Black Prince being unable to ride a horse, was taken via litter.

  2. How important were the political and economic factors in the Christianization of Vikings

    Christendom as it portrayed Byzantium's as holding superior military technology over the over Western Christendom and Muslims. The implications of Christianization became visually apparent over time, as was seen in the changes in architecture and armour. Built between 989 and 996 in commemoration of the baptism of the Kievan Rus

  1. Who were the winners from the interdict dispute of 1206-1214, and who were the ...

    was not only a powerful spiritual influence on world history but also a well practised lawyer and a exemplary political tactician, he was certainly not an opponent to be taken lightly. The reasons behind the involvement of church in temporal matters must be considered when deciding who benefited most from the papal interdict.

  2. Place-Name Evidence for the Coexistence of Viking Settlers and other Groups in Derbyshire

    As well as demonstrating a cognate substitution, the earlier forms of Ashford, as given above, show evidence of the sound change from OE /?/ to ON /sk/. This led to the consonant cluster /sk/ regularly undergoing palatalisation and assibilation in OE, whilst its velar sound was retained in ON (Townend, 2002: 61).

  1. How seriously did people take claim that kings ruled with Gods blessing?

    who was ?inferior in strength?.[17] Both Hindley and Petit-Dutaillis argue that barons although underneath the king in the feudalistic system they still held an exceedingly lucid claim to power which could easily undermine the kings? reign. Therefore the monarchy could neither have ?the ability nor the strength uphold? a feudalistic

  2. How far did the pre-Reformation church meet the needs of the people?

    The conflict of interests between secular elites and the ecclesiastical governments was a real example of the church failing to meet the needs of the elite by working with them rather than with growing differences.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work