The 7 Causes Of The Mexican Revolution

This uprising began in 1910 and brought a social and political change in Mexico.

Causes of the Mexican Revolution

The human being is a gregarious and social being, which throughout history has generated different ways of grouping and living collectively.

But not all of them have always been successful: on multiple occasions inequalities, unrest, famine and totalitarian regimes have arisen, which over time can cause a citizenry tired of abuse and suffering to decide to organize a revolution.

Examples of this are the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. Another great example, this time in Central America, is the Mexican Revolution, which is considered one of the most relevant political movements in that country. Why was it carried out? Throughout this article, we are going to do a brief review of the causes of the Mexican Revolution.

  • Recommended article: “The 10 best myths of Mexico (with their explanations)”

What was the Mexican Revolution?

It receives the name of the Mexican Revolution, a socio-political movement and armed conflict that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as a response to numerous crises and discontent and rejection (especially by the peasantry and the working class) towards the policies that existed during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. .

Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata.

The Mexican Revolution began with the Plan of San Luis on November 20, 1910, at which time Francisco Madero, after escaping to the United States after being accused of sedition by the government of Porfirio Díaz, called to arms the people of Mexico to overthrow the dictator. Madero achieved the presidency a year later when Díaz resigned and went into exile, but his policies and the lack of sensitivity towards the peasants and the problems they presented clashed with the ideals of other leaders such as Emilano Zapata or Félix Díaz.

Uprisings and conflicts appeared such as the Tragic Ten, after which General Victoriano Huerta would end up changing sides and would end up dismissing Madero, to proclaim himself president and then assassinate his predecessor. However, Huerta was not recognized as president and was considered a usurper, which triggered the formation of the Plan of Guadalupe in which leaders such as Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón and Pancho Villa formed a conglomerate of constitutional forces to seek his removal.

After achieving this and appointing Eulalio Gutiérrez as president, Carranza chose not to recognize the agreement, which would resume hostilities until in 1917 Carranza achieved the presidency, as well as the writing of the Constitution. Although the fight would not end until many years later, with different uprisings and many of the leaders being assassinated (including Zapata or Carranza himself) in the following years.

Mexican Revolution

Main causes of the Mexican Revolution

We have made a brief historical introduction to the Mexican Revolution, but … what were its causes? Below we break down some of the main problems and discomforts that triggered its outbreak.

1. Dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz

The Mexican Revolution was born as mentioned as a process of revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, a military man who served as president on a total of seven occasions between 1877 and 1911, with his uninterrupted mandate between 1884 and 1911. mode of dictatorship for life through the modification and manipulation of the Constitution and breaking their commitment not to remain in office.

Although the economic situation of the country improved under his mandate, it did so unevenly, harming the peasant classes and under high levels of political repression and violence and censorship. There was no political freedom or democracy, the population being unable to choose their representatives and they were always chosen by Díaz, with great privileges to their relatives and close environment.

2. Social inequality

Another of the main causes of the success of the revolution is found in a great perception of social inequality. The lands and economic growth were only in the hands of the elites, the peasantry being mistreated and their lands expropriated while entrepreneurs, clergy and in general the upper class had great power and privileges. In addition to this, there was great discrimination against the indigenous population for the benefit of foreigners.

3. Lack of labor law

In relation to the previous point, there was no labor law that regulated the rights of workers. Peasants and workers were exploited and their rights were non-existent, with days of up to twelve hours without a guaranteed minimum wage and without the option of protest. In addition, their indebtedness for life was sought, in order to accept extreme working conditions.

4. Expropriations and latifundia

The lands of the peasants and indigenous people were expropriated during the Porfiriato (through the law of demarcation and colonization of uncultivated lands) and later placed in the hands of a few foreign businessmen and landowners.

Huge estates were generated from which only a few benefited, generally by exploiting the peasant population that had previously owned them. Only a small percentage of the land was in the hands of the native population.

5. Administration from abroad

During the Díaz government, he eagerly sought to encourage foreign investment in the country. Although this caused the country’s economy to grow and partially recover, it ended up causing most of the country’s wealth to end up in the hands of foreign companies and individuals.

6. Lack of freedom of expression

Censorship was also a common element that contributed to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. Strikes and protests were quickly put down with great violence, being prohibited. Furthermore, the press and the media could not express opinions or data contrary to the government.

7. Repression and violence

Another characteristic of the Díaz dictatorship was the high level of repression, both political and directed at citizens. Protests were harshly repressed, often with heavy casualties among those protesting.

Murders were not uncommon, and the so-called Rural Corps was created, which prevented dissent and protests with violent methods in rural areas. Practices such as letting prisoners flee and then assassinating them under the intention of preventing an escape were common.

Bibliographic references:

  • Alvear (2004). Mexico history. Editorial Limusa.

  • Becker, M. (1995). Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán Peasants, and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Terrazas, MªM. (2003). Dissidence and Dissidents in the History of Mexico. UNAM.


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