Mexican Revolution

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The Mexican Revolution was a major civil war beginning in 1910 initially led by Francisco I. Madero against Porfirio Díaz, the Mexican dictator from 1876 until 1911. The revolution was marked by anarchist, socialist, and agrarian reform movements. Generally lasting until 1920, the revolution resulted in the Mexican Constitution of 1917, cost Mexico 2.1 million lives,[1] and led to the Institutional Revolutionary Party's (PRI) political rule over the nation until 2000.

Precursors of the revolution

See also: Mexico, history

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Mexico was considered one of the most stable and precocious countries in Latin America. The United States played a noteworthy role in the revolution, with anti-American sentiments running high in Mexico during these times. Some of the issues at hand were American land and subsoil ownership and investments, labor rights for Mexicans, immigration, and church-state relations. Nevertheless, internal calamities proved to be the driving factor of the Mexican Revolution.[2]

The Porfiriato

For more information, see: Porfirio Díaz.

In 1876, Porfirio Díaz overthrew Benito Juárez's successor, Sabastián Lerdo de Tejada, under the slogan "Sufragio Efectivo, No Reelección" ("Effective Suffrage, No Reelection") found in his Plan de Tuxtepec. Ironically, Díaz would become the nation's president ruling from 1876 to 1880 and from 1884 to 1911. This this long dictatorship is known as the Porfiriato.

Under Díaz's rule, Mexico became prosperous through railroading, financing, mining, commerce, and industrialization. Foreign investors from the United States, Great Britain, and France—previously weary of the country's banditry, disorder, and violence—began saturating Mexico with capital. With a rapidly growing economy and surplus, Mexico was able to pay off its debts and increase the standard of living for many of Mexico's elites. This amazing success and stability came at the cost of social and economic inequality, perpetuated by coerciveness and violence. This system of ascendancy was known as pan y palo (bread and clout).[3]

Ricardo Flores Magón

For more information, see: Ricardo Flores Magón.

Francisco I. Madero's rise to power

For more information, see: Francisco I. Madero.


  1. McCaa, Robert (2003). "Missing Millions: The Demographic Costs of the Mexican Revolution". Mexican Studies / Estudios Mexicanos 19 (2): 367–400. Retrieved on 2008-03-12.
  2. Clayton, Lawrence A.; Conniff, Michael L. (2005). A History of Modern Latin America. United States: Wadsworth Publishing, 285. ISBN 0534621589. 
  3. Schelling, Vivian (2000). Through the Kaleidoscope: The Experience of Modernity in Latin America. Verso, 188. ISBN 1859842623.