Mexican Revolutions the Principal Causes Term Paper

  • Length: 9 pages
  • Subject: Literature - Latin-American
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #18880702

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Huerta was very successful in helping Madero defeat Orozco's rebellion, eventually driving Orozco into the United States. However, Madero did not show the type of respect or appreciation that Huerta was expecting for his victory. On the contrary, Madero asked Huerta to account for campaign money. It was this slight that inspired Huerta to work against Madero.

Of course, that slight alone would probably not have been sufficient to inspire Huerta's betrayal. Instead, one must look at the context of the perceived insult. First, Huerta was known to be suspicious of others, and might even have been characterized as looking for an insult. In addition, Huerta's was engaged to defeat one of Madero's former supporters in battle. Therefore, it is very likely that Huerta felt as if he would be treated in the same manner as Orozco. As a result, he may have struck against Madero as a way of securing his place in Mexican politics, because of a fear or suspicion that Madero did not intend to reward him for his service. If that was Huerta's reason, then it was probably based in reality, because Madero failed to reward Orozco in the manner Orozco believed he deserved

Additionally, one must keep in mind that Huerta honored and respected Diaz as a leader, and was not a revolutionary leader in the same manner as Madero. Huerta was not inspiring his countrymen to revolt against Diaz or otherwise involved in any type of grass-roots revolutionary campaign. On the contrary, Huerta was a soldier who seemed to respect men whom he perceived were similar to himself, such as Diaz. Madero was not one of those men. Madero was a non-drinking Spanish aristocrat who was occasionally described as "fussy." Huerta was a hard-drinking, brawling Indian, who brought himself up from poverty through hard work and persistent. The personal differences between Huerta and Madero may have seemed insurmountable to Huerta, and he may have genuinely believed that Madero, the Spanish aristocrat, simply could not represent the interests of common Mexicans in the same manner that Huerta, who was a Native American Mexican and who had personal experience with those hardships, would be able to do.

Contributing to the betrayal is the fact that Huerta had a significant amount of support among Madero's enemies. Given that Huerta was such a brilliant military strategist, it is probably safe to conclude that he would not have acted against Madero if he was not reasonably certain of a successful military outcome. Of course, Huerta had the support of Felix Diaz, the nephew of Porfirio Diaz. He also had support from a United States ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson, whose termination Madero had sought. Huerta's most significant supporter may have been Orozco, who had a personal grudge against Madero, and the insight into Madero's personality that would have made a coup possible.

Finally, it cannot be overlooked that Madero was a severe alcoholic. For many alcoholics, the disease brings along suspicion and a desire to fight. Like a drunkard in the bars, looking to be slighted, Huerta may have been completely supportive of Madero when he first began working for him, but insulted when he failed to advance in Madero's regime. While it is incredibly well-documented that Huerta was an alcoholic, it is not documented how he felt about his drinking. Unfortunately, his extinguishing of the Maderista Revolution may have been nothing more than the self-destructive action of an addict, who wanted to blame his failure to advance upon someone else, rather than being introspective and asking himself why Madero may have wanted an accounting of the campaign. Speculation leads one to wonder if the accounting was because the campaign's finances were mismanaged due to Huerta's chronic alcoholism. Alcoholics are notorious for refusing to accept personal responsibility for their actions and for blaming others for the consequences of drinking. Given Huerta's personal history, it seems very possible, if somewhat unlikely, that the end of the Maderista Revolution was due to a drunk's dissatisfaction with an unfavorable job report.

III. The Mexican Revolution began as a Revolution for the lower classes, which was largely led by members of the upper class, such as Madero. Later, it transformed into a Revolution led largely by indigenous Mexicans, working on behalf of themselves and their countrymen, pitted against those who were perceived as aristocrats, who were of Spanish descent. However, not all Mexicans fit neatly into one of those two groups. On the contrary, there was a third group of people, known as the Constitutionalists, who were somewhere in the middle of those two groups, at least in terms of public perception, though they were actually more elitist than either of the competing factions. Not surprisingly, this faction was composed largely of the middle-class, which was a middle class in several different ways. Members of the middle class were frequently of mixed heritage, which meant that they enjoyed some of the privileges of European descent during nineteenth century Mexico, but they were also of indigenous descent, which made them subject to some degree of prejudice. In addition, they were also in the middle economically. Though the middle class was not subjected to the same type of quasi-slavery plantation system as the peasants, they did not reap the same type of financial benefits from Mexico's industrial and agricultural gains as the aristocracy. In short, the Constitutionalists were in a situation where they were comfortable enough to understand that they deserved equal rights, but not necessarily desperate enough to call for a reapportioning of real and personal property.

The primary goal of the Constitutionalists was to secure a constitutional form of government for Mexico. The first proponents of this type of government were Mexican liberals, many who lived in exile in the United States. Not surprisingly, given the eventual success of the Constitutionalists, the first successful revolutionary, Madero, was aligned with their interests. Like other Constitutionalist leaders, Madero was an intellectual who sought reform in Mexico, based on his perceptions that the peasant class was being grossly mistreated, and not based on the mistreatment of his own class. Initially, most of the liberals, who eventually became known as the Constitutionalists, spoke of ideals, such as freedom and democracy. It was the Constitutionalists who called for the revolution, and people from all classes and races answered that call.

The problem with the universal response to revolution was that not all of the revolutionaries had a common goal. On the contrary, there were two factions of revolutionaries whose goals were oppositional. Zapata led a faction composed of mostly indigenous people, and their goals for the revolution centered on the return of land to the peasant population. Pancho Villa, on the other hand, led a group of more affluent people, including ranchers and miners, who would have been injured by such a dramatic economic restructuring.

While Madero's ideals may have initially been the same as those espoused by the Constitutionalists, once Madero came into power he failed to work towards those ideals. Madero did not enact his promised social reforms. Most notably, Madero failed to continue the agrarian revolution that he promised his supporters during the revolution. As a result, many revolutionaries, from all of the factions, lost confidence in the new government. The lack of confidence was bolstered by Huerta's short-lived and brutal government. Huerta's rule was a throwback to Diaz's reign, and led the former revolutionaries to, once again, unite against the Mexican government. After the United States intervened, a Constitutionalist leader of that revolution, Venustiano Carranza, became President of Mexico. However, Carranza's rule did not secure peace for Mexico or a constitutional form of government. On the contrary, Carranza was perceived of as power-hungry by Zapata and Villa. Villa continued to fight against Carranza's presidency, but was eventually defeated by Constitutionalist forces, and Carranza became the first elected Constitutionalist president of Mexico.

Carranza's election ensured that Mexicans would enact a Constitution, which they did in 1917. While the Constitution may have been more elitist than Zapata or Villa would have desired, it contained profound changes in Mexico's political philosophy. First, the Constitution of 1917 guaranteed a free, non-religious education to everyone in Mexico, and made that education compulsory through elementary school. In addition, the Constitution reinforced the equality of all Mexicans, regardless of class or gender. One of the significant changes in the Constitution of 1917 was the nationalization of Mexico's natural resources. This was a direct response to the foreign interests, which had dominated the Mexican economy during pre-revolutionary times. In addition, the constitution prohibited foreigners from owning land in certain areas. In fact, the Constitution of 1917 nationalized all land, which differed from Zapata's ideas of returning the land to the people. Instead of returning land to individuals from whom it had been taken during Diaz's reign, the constitution made the land the property of the Mexican government, and made private property ownership a privilege, rather than a right. Finally, the Constitution…

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