View From the South Paper #3
Mexico in the nineteenth century was a country that struggled to maintain a political voice for its citizens and economic opportunity. The country at the time before the revolution began has been under the control of the liberal caudillo dictator, Porfirio Díaz for thirty-four years. In these thirty-four years he was not elected in the polls by the majority of the population. He just continued to forcefully control the country of Mexico. He stayed in power for such a long time “for the benefit of privileged native elites and foreign investors” (Charlip & Burns 2017 173). This created unrest and anger with the middle class and poor working-class citizens. The majority of the population of the country did not share the wealth that the native elites or foreign investors had. With how Porfirio Díaz was running Mexico, the people were unhappy and wanted him out of power. Under Porfirio Díaz, Hacienda peons earned only thirty-five cents a day while the crops they farmed such as corn and chile prices doubled. The price of beans were six times more expensive than they were when the nineteenth century began (Charlip & Burns 2017 174). Urban workers quality of live was a little better than the Hacienda peons. They were made to work twelve-hour days, every day of the week. They were able to live in squalid housing with only one bathhouse for the 15,000 people who lived in this form of housing (Charlip & Burns 2017 174). In 1910, in a shock to the Mexican people, Porfirio Díaz decided to run for office again. They were shocked because he previously claimed to Pearson’s Magazine that “he would not be seeking reelection” (Charlip & Burns 2017 176). Francisco I. Maderno ran against Díaz in the election. The night before the election was supposed to commence, Díaz threw Madero in jail because Madero was campaigning on the fact that “Mexicans wanted liberty, not bread” (Charlip & Burns 2017 176). After this Díaz won the election and Madero fled Mexico to the United States and began the movement called the Plan de San Luis Potosí under the slogan “Effective suffrage and no reelection” (Charlip & Burns 2017 177). This and Porfirio Díaz forcefully winning the 1910 election is what jump started the beginning of the Mexican revolution and make the people of Mexico to take up arms to make their society better.
Once the revolution concluded the dictatorship control of Mexico ended but it still had its problems. There was still a large number of citizens that still could not afford shoes and eighty percent of the population that lived outside of Mexico City did not have indoor plumbing or a way to dispose of sewage (Charlip & Burns 2017 198). The radicals have been pushed out of Mexico that once controlled the country in 1910. The country began rebuilding the economy to a republic and created a new constitution. Once the revolution concluded the people that benefitted the most were the poor working class. The newly reformed government of Mexico redistributed the land that was once controlled by the rich elites to the farmers and the poor class of citizens. More children were able to attend school. The attendance of children ages six to ten years old increased from thirty to seventy percent (Charlip & Burns 2017 197). Twenty-three percent of land was redistributed into ejidos and sixty two percent of the land in the country remained in farms (Charlip & Burns 2017 197). The revolution also gave the peasants that were not land-owning citizens hundreds of thousands of acres (Charlip & Burns 2017 198). The group of people that lost out after the revolution were the native elites and the foreign investors. These groups were pushed out due to their support of Díaz. The old guard had been thrown out of the country and there have been significant reforms made possible by the revolution as well as the federal army created by Díaz.