Chaos and Confusion South of the Border: The Mexican Revolution
A student once told a history professor that “history is a nightmare from which I can never wake up.” If there is ever a section or time period of history that fits this description, it is the Mexican Revolution. Indeed, during the discombobulating years from 1911 through 1940 assassination of political leaders and coup d’états were commonplace in Mexico. This brief essay acts as an overview of the Mexican Revolution, hopefully thus avoiding a headache that might come if you further research the topic.
When Porfirio Díaz (his administration was known as the Porfiriato) was ousted from power in 1911, so began the Revolution. What did Díaz do that made him lose power in the first place? Well, lots of things. First, he suffered from chronic dishonesty. He was elected president in 1876 and soon afterwards created a no re-election policy. Nevertheless, after a new president from 1880-1884, Díaz would remain Mexico’s dictator for the next two and a half decades. Second, Díaz restructured the government so that instead of democratic elections, he himself appointed all district and municipal officials. As a result of this, the government was filled with his friends and family members. Third, he treated foreigners better than Mexican citizens. While he allowed multinational corporations to come in and exploit Mexico’s natural resources, he never improved the abysmal working conditions for Mexicans. Therefore, it was natural that when a world recession occurred in 1907 that caused millions of Mexicans to become unemployed, the Porfiriato was the easy scapegoat. Finally, in an interview to an American journalist (the Creelman Interview) in 1910, the 80 year old Díaz claimed he would not seek re-election. In the end, he did seek re-election.