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HIST222: Modern Latin America

Unit 3: The Mexican Revolution, 1910–1920   The Mexican Revolution, which lasted from 1910 through the early 1920s, played a significant role in reshaping political and social life in Mexico, and it had profound implications for the broader political culture of Latin America during the first half of the 20th century. The revolution began as a reaction against the 30-year rule of autocratic Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. As president, Diaz had favored the landed elites in Mexico and encouraged Europe and the United States to invest in the Mexican economy. Diaz’s policies did little to help poor workers and farmers, who made up much of the Mexican population. In 1910, Diaz blocked the election of opposition candidate Francisco Madero by briefly throwing him in jail and forcing him to flee Mexico. Madero responded by issuing the “Plan of San Luis Potosi,” a revolutionary manifesto asking the people of Mexico to rise up against Diaz. In the military conflict that followed, Madero received help from a broad coalition of supporters that included indigenous peoples, poor farmers, urban workers, and political radicals. With their help, Diaz was removed from office and Madero was elected president in 1911. 
 
Madero’s rule as president was short-lived, as his policies managed to offend both radical and conservative supporters. In 1913, conservative military officer Victoriano Huerta staged a coup and removed Madero from office. Madero was assassinated a few months later. His assassination destabilized Mexico and led to renewed fighting between Huerta’s forces and opposition leaders, including radical populists Poncho Villa and Emiliano Zapata and moderate Venustiano Carranza. Huerta fell from power and Carranza took control of the government in 1914. He was driven from power by the combined forces of Villa and Zapata in 1915 but later elected present in the democratic election of 1917. He held the office of the president until his death in 1920. Following Carranza’s death, Mexico remained politically unstable until the early 1930s, when Lazaro Cardenas took power and implemented many of the social reforms that Carranza had originally suggested when he was in office. 
 
In this unit, you will examine the origins of the Mexican Revolution and will learn about the political and social objectives of its various participants. You will also look at how the revolution drastically altered political culture in Mexico and eventually led to social and economic reforms that granted more power to the lower and middle classes. Finally, you will evaluate how the Mexican Revolution inspired radicals throughout Latin America to challenge conservative political regimes in the second half of the 20th century.  

Unit 3 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 8.25 hours.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.4: 1.75 hours

☐    Unit 3 Assessment: 2 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify the origins of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and assess the political, economic, and social impacts of the revolution for the people of Mexico; and - analyze and interpret primary source documents from the 19th and 20th centuries, using historical research methods to garner a more profound understanding of Latin American history.

3.1 Origins   - Reading: University of Kent at Canterbury Center for Social Anthropology: “The Mexican Revolution” Link: University of Kent at Canterbury Center for Social Anthropology: “The Mexican Revolution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the article, and explore any embedded links. This article offers an in-depth overview of the Mexican Revolution: its causes, the insurgency period during 1810–1821, caudillo politics and the liberal reform during 1821–1876, the Porfiriato during 1876–1910, and the Agrarian Revolution during 1910–1940.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.1 Mexican Democracy in the 19th Century   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Restoration, 1867–76” Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Restoration, 1867–76” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article from Mexico: A Country Study. This article narrates the consolidation of liberal rule with the return of Juarez to power in 1867 and the eventual rise to power of Porfirio Diaz.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 Class Conflict and Economic Development in Mexico   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Alexander Von Humboldt’s “Problems and Progress in Mexico”

Link: Fordham University’s *Internet Modern History Sourcebook*:
Alexander Von Humboldt’s [“Problems and Progress in
Mexico”](http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/1800humboldt-mexico.asp) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this primary source document. In this document,
Alexander Von Humboldt describes how and why, in the middle of the
19<sup>th</sup> century, the Republic of Mexico suffered from
extreme political and social instability as well as a severe
economic depression.   
    
 Reading this primary source document should take approximately 30
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.3 The Corruption of the Diaz Regime   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Porfiriato, 1876–1910,” “Porfirian Modernization,” and “Society under the Porfiriato”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“The Porfiriato,
1876–1910”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/23.htm) (HTML),
[“Porfirian
Modernization”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/24.htm) (HTML), and
[“Society under the
Porfiriato”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/25.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read these three articles from *Mexico: A Country
Study*. These articles analyze the Porfiriato (Porfirio Diaz’s rule
between 1876–1910) from an economic and political perspective,
exploring the darker side of this period of remarkable economic
growth.  
    
 Reading these articles should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
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3.1.4 Revolutionary Undercurrents   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Revolution, 1910–20” Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Revolution, 1910–20” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this article from Mexico: A Country Study. This article offers an overview of the phases of the Mexican Revolution. Pay special attention to the links between the peasant-rancheros and the proletarians.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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3.2 The 1910 Revolution   3.2.1 The Liberal-Democratic Revolution   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Francisco Madero’s “The Plan of San Luis Potosi, November 20, 1910”

Link: Fordham University’s *Internet* *Modern History Sourcebook*:
Francisco Madero’s “[The Plan of San Luis Potosi, November 20,
1910](http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1910potosi.html)” (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read this primary source document. Mexican politician
Francisco Madero issued this revolutionary manifesto in November
1910 after Mexican President Porfirio Diaz ordered him arrested to
prevent him from winning the presidential election. Madero declared
the election invalid and asserted that he was the new provisional
president of Mexico. He urged the Mexican people to rise up and
support him in his efforts to bring down the Diaz regime. He called
Diaz’s government “violent and illegal” and declared that it was
oppressing the free will of the Mexican people. Madero’s declaration
marked the beginning of the 10-year Mexican Revolution.   
    
 Reading this primary source document should take approximately 15
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Downfall of the Diaz Regime – Madero’s New Government   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “Madero’s Government”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“Madero’s
Government”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/27.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article from *Mexico: A Country Study*.
This article focuses on Franciso I. Madero’s career as a politician
until his brutal assassination in 1913. This reading also covers the
topics outlined in subunits 3.2.2 and 3.2.3.  
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  

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3.2.3 The Revolutionary Consensus Splinters   Note: The reading assigned below subunit 3.2.2 covers this topic. Focus on the third and fourth paragraphs to learn about how revolutionaries challenged the new government, headed by Madero, and how counter-revolutionaries plotted a military coup. 

3.2.4 Agrarian Revolutionaries – Zapata and Villa   - Reading: Compassionate Action Network: “Pancho Villa”

Link: Compassionate Action Network: [“Pancho
Villa”](http://voiceseducation.org/category/tag/pancho-villa) (HTML)
(YouTube)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article, and watch the embedded video. This
article offers a brief historical account of the Mexican Revolution,
focusing on Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. This article contains
excerpts from pages 326–330 of John Womack, Jr.’s *Zapata and the
Mexican Revolution,* which is considered one of the best narrative
histories written about modern Latin American history.  
    
 Reading this article and watching the video should take
approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.3 Conservative Counter-Revolution   3.3.1 Huerta’s Coup d’etat   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Huerta Dictatorship”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“The Huerta
Dictatorship”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/28.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article from *Mexico: A Country Study*. Pay
special attention to Victoriano Huerta’s unscrupulous rise to power.
This reading also covers the topics outlined in subunits 3.3.1 and
3.3.2.  
    
 Reading this article should take less than 15 minutes.  
              
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.2 Huerta's Downfall  

Note: The reading assigned below subunit 3.3.1 covers this topic. Pay attention to how the US viewed Huerta’s dictatorship, and focus on the second paragraph for the events that led up to Huerta’s resignation.

3.3.3 American Complicity and Opposition   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Constitution of 1917”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“The Constitution of
1917”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/29.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article from *Mexico: A Country Study*. Pay
special attention to the United States’ support for Carranza.   
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
              
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.4 Carranza and the Constitutionalists   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “Carranza”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*:
[“Carranza”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/30.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article from *Mexico: A Country Study*.
This article discusses Carranza’s decision to overlook the
constitutional provisions and the events that led to the raising of
the constitutionalist army that marched to Mexico City in 1920.   
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
              
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.5 The Carranza and Obregon Regimes   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “The Obregón Presidency, 1920–24”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“The Obregón Presidency,
1920–24”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/31.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article from *Mexico: A Country Study*. The
Obregón Presidency from 1920–1924 was dedicated to realizing the
objectives of the 1917 Constitution. Thus, once the military phase
of the revolution was over, the new administration began to build
the bases for the next stage of the revolutionary process of
reconstruction.   
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
              
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.4 Revolutionary Consequences   - Reading: University of Kent at Canterbury, Center for Social Anthropology and Computing: “Historical Notes on Mexico’s Land Reform”

Link: University of Kent at Canterbury, Center for Social
Anthropology and Computing: “[Historical Notes on Mexico’s Land
Reform](http://anthropology.ac.uk/Era_Resources/Era/Peasants/mexican_land_reform.html)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read this article regarding Mexico’s land reform.
Before the 1910 Mexican Revolution, a single elite ruling class
owned most of the land in Mexico. Because many were brutally
suppressed, revolts were common in Mexico. To relieve the Mexican
peasants’ plight and stabilize the country, various leaders tried
different types of agrarian land reform. This text focuses on the
social changes produced by the agrarian land reform, particularly
the Cardenista land reform, which redistributed 45,000,000 acres of
land.   
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.1 The Catholic Church and the Revolution   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Catholic Church and the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920)” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Catholic Church and the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920)” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article to learn about revolutionary leaders’ attempts to separate church and state. While reading this text, remember that the revolutionaries were deeply influenced by liberal ideas and values.
 
As you read, consider the following study question: Was the Cristero War the result of the clash between these liberal ideas of the ruling elite and the Catholic beliefs of the Mexican population?
 
Reading this article and answering the study question should take approximately 30 minutes.

3.4.2 The Cardenas Regime and the Gradual Fulfillment of the Revolution   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “Cardenismo and the Revolution Rekindled, 1934–40”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“Cardenismo and the Revolution
Rekindled,
1934–40”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/34.htm) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read this article from *Mexico: A Country Study*.
This is a monographic article on Mexican revolutionary leader and
president, Lázaro Cárdenas, who restored the people’s faith in the
revolution.   

 Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.3 Liberal Democracy and One-Party Rule   - Reading: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.) Mexico: A Country Study: “Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)”

Link: US Library of Congress: Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró’s (ed.)
*Mexico: A Country Study*: [“Institutional Revolutionary Party
(PRI)”](http://countrystudies.us/mexico/84.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read the article from *Mexico: A Country Study*. This
article examines the history of the Institutional Revolutionary
Party (PRI), Mexico’s official party and the country’s preeminent
political organization from 1929 until the early 1990s.   
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
              
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.4 Broader Consequences for Latin American Nations   - Reading: George Mason University’s History Matters: “A Danger for All Latin American Countries, Letters from Venustiano Carranza”

Link: George Mason University’s History Matters: “[A Danger for All
Latin American Countries, Letters from Venustiano
Carranza](http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/4940/)” (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Read Carranza’s letters. Venustiano Carranza wrote
these letters, printed in major Mexican newspapers, to the
presidents of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile in order to congratulate
them for their solidarity with Mexico and warn them of the dangers
of US intervention.   
    
 Reading these letters should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 3 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Key People and Events of the Mexican Revolution” and “Answer Guide”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “[Key People and Events of the Mexican
Revolution](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST-222-Assessment-3.FINAL_.pdf)” (PDF) and
“[Answer
Guide](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/HIST-222-Assessment-3-Answer-Guide.FINAL_.pdf)”
(PDF)  

 Instructions: Answer the questions from “Key People and Events of
the Mexican Revolution” as best as you can based off of what you
studied in unit 3. This assessment will help you organize your
understanding of the Mexican Revolution. If you are having
difficulty answering the questions, refer to your notes before going
back to the readings or checking the Answer Guide.   
    
 Completing this assessment should take approximately 2 hours.