Mexican Revolution Rationale

5th period HoA

Sierra Latshaw, Savannah Bekkers, Martha Vertti, Sarah Hyden, Gretta Hotz, and Sarah Ceniceros

1. For the years 1910-1917 list 2 ideologies, 2 aims, 2 methods, 2 achievements, & 2 failures for each of the Mexican revolutionary leaders listed. (That’s 10 items per man)

Francisco Madero


  • Wanted to implement democracy and eliminate corrupt leadership

  • Believed in the idea that he was told by the spirits to rule over Mexico with democracy rather than a corrupted dictatorship


  • Wanted to minimize carnage and damages during periods of violence

  • was willing to make a deal with Diaz

  • Wanted to bring democracy while appeasing all social classes


  • Election campaign slogan: “Effective suffrage and no re election”

  • The Plan of Saint Luis called people to action in fighting against the corrupted president’s rule


  • Oversaw the signing of the Treaty of Ciudad Juarez, agreed upon by himself and his revolutionaries and Diaz, calling for peace and temporarily ending the revolution.

  • Became president in November 1911


  • He kept many of Diaz’s cabinet members when he became president

  • Trusted his general too much, and was betrayed and assassinated

Emiliano Zapata


  • Supported Madero and his goals and opinions

  • Did not want to be president

  • Believed in democracy and wanted Diaz out of office


  • Redistribution of land to the poor after the war was won

  • Captured Huerta’s silver supplier in a battle known as the Taking of the Zacatecas, which led to the destruction of the Huerta regime, and Huerta later left in exile.


  • Fundraised and recruited soldiers for causes opposing Huerta

  • Built his reputation as a revered leader and commander


  • Named governor of Chihuahua in 1913

  • Led the Division of the North, the most feared unit of the army in all of the revolution


  • Had to retreat from Carranza because most his men were killed or betrayed him

  • When the US shifted focus to Carranza, he lost his connection to them and therefore lost his large source of weapons and trade

Pancho Villa


  • He represented the lower classes and their best interests.

  • His aim was to follow Madero, he fought for what others fought. He was a man of the people who fought for the “campesinos”.

  • He favored the fair distribution of the land and to stop the common abuse of the lower classes.

  • He was an advocate for education, being illiterate himself.


  • Villa’s aims were vaguely defined, he wanted to create a communal military with his troops.

  • Wanted to end the abuse of the poor by the wealthy.

  • He wanted political reforms, but also land and economic changes.

  • He wanted to create a good image for himself, that’s why he agreed to film some of his battles, be photographed and filmed, and his last words were pleading to make his death look good.

  • Wanted a better education system, specially for the rural areas so everyone could have the opportunities he did not have.


  • First, his tactic was the element of surprize. He fought by guerilla warfare, surprising his opponent and constantly moving in small groups.

  • La Division del Norte- by horse, had control of the railroad

  • Had a brilliant second man in command who planned out battles for him


  • The organization of the biggest division in the country at the time- La Division del Norte

  • Basically won the war taking control of Zacatecas, a strategic military point, and lead to the Convention of Aguascalientes, where a draft of the constitution was made.

  • Overthrow of dictatorships such as Diaz and Huerta


  • In his failure to compromise, because of his stubbornness. Lead to major conflict.

  • Wasn’t able to maintain peace in his dominium. People held grudges against him because of his extreme actions, such as when attacking Columbus.

Venustiano Carranza


  • Represented the views of the middle class, mostly land owners like himself.

  • Believed in state and municipal sovereignty.


  • Wanted Political reform, and followed Madero’s anti-reelection campaign.

  • He truly believed he wanted what was best for the country.


  • He was not a great commander, or very charismatic… therefore all of his achievements were made politically, rather than by arms.

  • Maintained Mexican neutrality during WWI.


  • Brought some stabilization to the country, and was able to remove Huerta.

  • The constitution still used today was ratified under his term.


  • Public corruption was prominent during his term. “The old man doesn’t steal, but he lets them steal”.

  • Wasn’t very charismatic, and his idea that those who didn’t agree with him should be executed cost him popular support.

  • Killed Zapata, which was bad for the country and or his image.

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2. Explain the nature and application of the Constitution of 1917.

Carranza and Obregon considered the Constitution of 1917 once they won the Mexican Revolution and Carranza became president. In November 1917, he called for a Constitutional Congress in Querétaro. This denounced the previous governing system to be ineffective, which lasted throughout January. In the Congress, Pastor Rouaix was one of the few delegates who was able to see the points of both sides, which enabled him to make important contributions to the important articles concerning agrarian and labor reform. For example, Article 27 states that ownership of land and waters belongs primarily to the nation, which can transfer direct control and set up private property. This article demanded the confiscation of large estates to be divided into small properties to be split up for the indigenous common people. It also placed conditions on foreign ownership of land and excluded the Church from holding property. This article made the way for the future confiscation of foreign-owned lands and oil companies. Similar to Article 27, Article 123 also was largely the result of the efforts of Rouaix, Francisco J. Múgica and Heriberto J. Jara. It gave the right to professional association as a social guarantee for workers to defend what they wanted. It also limited working hours, established a day of rest per week, equal pay for work, compensation for work-related accidents and injuries, and comfortable and hygienic conditions. Article 3 stated lay education, which allowed Jose Vasconcelos to set up the educational system in Mexico. Because the Constitution of 1917 proved not to be even more radical than Carranza's initial proposals, it received opposition, not only from the groups whose influence was limited by it, such as the Catholic Church, foreign and national estate owners and industrialists, but also from a minority of the people it attempted to satisfy, such as peasants and workers who had other ideas regarding how to achieve the necessary reforms. The states were also not all willing to modify their own laws according to the newly implemented Constitution because the country was still recovering from the problems left behind from the eruption of the Revolution. Nonetheless, the new constitution would remain the criterion for Government policies for the rest of the century, and is still considered the guideline of the national project. Although the Constitution of 1917 faced arduous obstacles to its full application, it has been modified multiple times to deal with both inherent and current problems over the years.

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3. Explain the involvement of foreign powers, especially American, in the outbreak & development of the Mexican Revolution including motivations, methods of intervention, & contributions.

The United States, Germany, and Britain all became involved in the Mexican Revolution. Their motives were either involved with investments, or other imperial motives. The United States, Germany, and Great Britain all invested in Mexican industries, thus when fighting broke out and Mexico’s production began to plummet, The United States, Britain and Germany’s economies were wounded, some more than others. The United States mainly interested in salvaging their trade relations with Mexico, at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. As production plummeted the United States needed a way to save their investments in Mexico’s industries. The United States desired to stabilize Mexico’s government and economy, in order to help save their investments. However, when President Wilson became the President of the United States, America’s view of the Mexican Revolution took a turn from economy to the dissemination of democracy. President Wilson used the message of wanting the world to be “safe for democracy” in order to convince the United States that intervention in the Mexican Revolution would help to benefit the world’s safety. Thus President Wilson began to look for reasons to intervene in the Mexican Revolution. Thus, when General Victoriano Huerta ordered his troops to detain American citizens in Tampico, Mexico, Wilson found reason to intervene in the Mexican Revolution. Once America intervened they took control over Oil Wells, Railroads, and Ranches thus gaining back investment in Mexico. While occupying Veracruz the United States also spread the idea of democracy in hopes of influencing the form of government after the revolution ended. Britain was a different story, due to their high amount of influence over the Mexican Economy; they also desired to save their investments in Mexico. Dictator Diaz had a policy of giving large amount of land to foreign powers in order to help their economy. However, the main interest of Great Britain was more related to World War One, not the Mexican Revolution. Great Britain was trying to gain the support of The United States in order for them to help support their cause in the greater war, World War One that was occurring at the time. Thus Britain mimicked President Woodrow Wilson’s actions in relation to the Mexican Revolution in order to gain the United States support. Lastly, Germany also had economic interest in Mexico, as their policies for foreign investment basically allowed for them to be controlled by another nation. Thus Germany desired to stop the revolution from occurring in order to keep Dictator Diaz in power, which would allow them to take control of the Mexican Industries, and economy. The main issue that all nations were influenced by was the Mexican economy, and how the government would end up after the revolution ended. The high amount of influence of the United States helped to also influence the war. Due to their control over Mexico’s mining, oil, railroads, and rubber industries. Also the need for Mexican Leaders to be approved by Woodrow Wilson gave the United States a larger influence over the Mexican Revolution. Thus the United States allowed their imperialistic nature to influence their intervention in the revolution.

4. Describe the effect on the Mexican Revolution of the arts listed:

Literary works. Min. of 3

  • Mariano Azuela’s gripping account of his service as a field physician in his book ‘Los de Abajo’, was a firsthand testament of the horrible conditions faced by those on the battlefield as well as the fury that ultimately drove the populace to go to war. The book tells us the story of peasant Demetrio Macías, who becomes the enemy of a local cacique in his town and must abandon his family when the government soldiers, or Federales, come looking for him. He escapes to the mountains and forms a group of rebels who support the Revolution. Some of them are prototypes of the sort of people that would be attracted by a revolution, like Luis Cervantes, an educated man mistreated by the Federales, or Güero Margarito, a cruel man who finds justification for his deeds in the tumultuousness of the times. With a concise, unsympathetic tone, Azuela takes his audience along with this band of outcasts as they move along the hills of the country, seemingly struggling for a cause whose leader changes from day to night. The book is certainly an intimate look at his own self-awakening, and the audience is captivated by the moving scenes and the personal accounts of the hypocrisy of the movement. Azuela used his writing to appeal to others and to depict to them the uselessness of the revolution.

  • The essay entitled "De la Independencia a la Revolución" is included in the nobel prize winning book “El laberinto de la soledad”, written by Octavio Paz. He eloquently recounts the revolution, carefully crafting his words in order to captivate his audience and to make them understand that the revolution was “a search for ourselves in this blood fiesta.” Paz was influenced deeply by the revolution, and he truly believes that the revolution, though unsuccessful in its own right, was a symbol of hope for its people's authenticity and a poetic atomism to replace the pseudo-feudal practices of the Porfiriato. The aforementioned book and the various essays it entails was published in 1963 and is one of the most critically acclaimed works about the revolution in this day and age.

  • Cantos de Vida y Esperanza” was a book of poems published by Rubén Darío. A leading figure in the movement known as modernismo, Darío created the modern Spanish lyric and permanently altered the course of Spanish poetry. Written over the course of seven years and in many locales in Latin America and Europe, the poems in Cantos de vida y esperanza reflect both Darío’s anguished sense of modern life and his ecstatic visions of transcendence, freedom, and the transformative power of art. They reveal Darío’s familiarity with Spanish, French, and English literature and the wide range of his concerns—existential, religious, erotic, and socio-political concerns brought about by the explosive conflict that characterized the Mexican Revolution.

Education, including the education reforms of Vasconcelos. Min. of 2

  • Jose Vasconcelos served as the Minister of Public Education from 1920-1924. During this time, he initiated major reforms in the Mexican school system, especially when he expanded the rural school program. He worked in favour of the education of the masses and sought to make the nation's education secular, civic, and Pan-American lines. He also tried to integrate Indians into mainstream Mexican society.

  • Educational reformers were disappointed in Madero because he opened more schools, but did not have enough funds to make greater changes. This was significant because Madero soon found himself facing multiple revolts. Madero levied taxes on oil companies to pay for education, which angered American ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. When Huerta gained power, he attempted to improve the situation by allocating more funds to education and to improving the lot of Indians.

  • Jose Vasconcelos painted the painting "El pueblo a la universidad, la universidad al pueblo" which symbolized the good effects of the amending of the Constitution for Mexico, including that children from all walks of life are now starting to be able to go to school. Other artists immortalized the efforts of who greatly contributed to the mass push for education and art in Mexico in the forms of murals. A notable example of this occurrence would be when Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros were given the right to paint the inner walls of the most important public buildings in Mexico (e.g., the National Palace in the capital), creating the Mexican mural movement.

Music, including popular music. Min. of 2

  • La Cucaracha

    • Though ‘La Cucaracha’ had existed prior to the revolution, many soldiers changed the lyrics to fit their own needs. The Mexican Revolution was a period of great political upheaval during which the majority of the stanzas known today were written. Political symbolism was a common theme in these verses, and explicit and implicit references were made to events of the war, major political figures, and the effects of the war on the civilians in general.

  • La Adelita

    • is one of the most famous corridos (folk songs) of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) that has been adapted in various forms. This particular version of the ballad (which is also shown in the form of a portrait) was inspired by a Durangan woman (whose identity has not been yet established beyond doubt) who joined the Maderista movement (the revolutionary party led by Francisco I. Madero) at an early stage of the Revolution, and supposedly fell in love with Madero, her revolutionary leader. Consequently, this popular icon became the source that documented the role of women in the Mexican Revolution, and gradually became synonymous with the term soldadera or female soldier who became a vital force in the revolutionary war efforts due to their participation in the battles against Mexican government forces. Today, it is argued that Adelita came to be an archetype of a woman warrior in Mexico and a symbol of action and inspiration. Additionally, her name is used to refer to any woman who struggles and fights for her rights. However, the song, the portrait, and the role of its subject have been given different, often conflicting, interpretations. Some of these argue that “La Adelita" expressed the sensitivity and vulnerability of men, emphasizing the stoicism of the rebellious male soldier as he confront[ed] the prospect of death."Similarly, other interpretations of this icon (this time analyzed by the feminist scholar María Herrara-Sobek) argue that “Adelita’s bravery and revolutionary spirit are lost to the fatalism and insecurities of male soldiers who […] focused on passion, love and desire as they face[d] combat.”Overall, “La Adelita” is a composition that stages gender relations within their interrelated subjectivities. Nevertheless, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the problematic identity of the female soldier Adelita, work from various feminist scholars such as Jane Elshtain, Cynthia Enloe and Madeleine Albright must be used as guidelines, which will provide a better insight into the dynamic participation of women during the Mexican Revolution.

La Adelita. Con letra y música.
Painters: David Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, & Jose Orozco. 1 per.

David Alfaro Siqueiros- A muralist who painted at the same time as Diego Rivera, and Jose Orozco. He was known for his alliance with communist movements and interestingly enough was one of the men who unsuccessfully tried to murder Leon Trotsky. He is known for the saying that the goal of mural painting is to apply to the attention of the humiliated native people and the officers who are used by the higher officers as tools and the poor, harmed by the rich. To apply to the people who are not aristocratic to use a marxist reverence.He would create the mural titled The Soldiers of Zapata after the revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata. This work has become exceedingly pervasive and is even the cover of one edition of Born in Blood and Fire. It displays themes of patriotism and loyalty and the devastation that the war causes on the social structure. Yet the women are supporting not holding back the men, to imply that such an overthrow of the regime is necessary.

  • Diego Rivera

The man was very patriotic and once said the following. “He won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.” This mentality was a fundamental characteristic to his life. First the murals he painted were displayed publically. Their message was intended for the general public and not just the wealthy, who could afford to frequent galleries. In addition it is important to understand that he and other muralists did not just paint in Mexico. They painted throughout the world in an effort to spread the social ideals of the Mexican Revolution. His two greatest goals were to end the pervasiveness of anti-mestizo/anti-indian mentality and to end the eurocentristic practices held by the Porfirian Regime. In other words, indigenismo (indigenous roots as strength and pride).One of his most influential and politically powerful works is the mural constructed on the stairway of the National Palace in Mexico City. It depicts the Mexican Independence from Spain but with Mexican Revolutionary leaders like Zapata holding a banner saying “Tierra y Libertad” which is Spanish for Land and freedom. Its message is clear. The populace must come together like they did in the fight from Spain to fight their internal oppressors and get their land and freedom back into the hands of the people.

  • Jose Orozco

Like Siquierios and Rivera he was a social realist painter. He painted the everyday man and perhaps the most famous example of social realism was American Gothic by Grant Wood commonly referred to as the man and woman holding a pitchfork from the Great Depression. The entire purpose was to appeal to the average man, seeing as it is the average man who is depicted. Yet there was a distinct difference between the outlook on the war of Rivera and Orozco. While Rivera was bold and patriotic and optimistic, Orozco was less willing to accept the enormous brutality and death count the war enacted.This work, which depicts Pancho Villa and his band of outlaws standing tall and facing the threats that they must. Yet it also shows the dead, the wounded, and the wretched. It places a balance between nationalism and patriotism and that of the devastation that the war causes on the average man. Perhaps that is the greatest message that can be gleaned. It is the average man who will perish not the rich or the men of lore.