Video: The Mexican Revolution of 1910: A Sociohistorical Interpretation

A rigged election and a political crisis among competing elites, middle classes, and rural workers: What could go wrong? The Mexican Revolution of 1910 began as a multilocal revolt against the 35-year regime of dictator Porfirio Díaz and evolved into a national revolution and civil war lasting nearly a decade. Javier Garciadiego—a leading historian of Mexico’s revolution—will discuss the precursors, armed struggles, political factions, U.S. manipulations, and triumphs of Mexico’s revolution, including the development of a landmark constitution—one of the first in the world to enshrine social rights.

About the Speaker

Javier Garciadiego Dantán

Historian and Author; Professor of History, El Colegio de México, Director, Academia Mexicana de la Historia

Javier Garciadiego Dantán is a Mexican historian who specializes in the Mexican Revolution. He currently serves as Director of the Mexican Academy of History. He is a former president of El Colegio de México (2005–2015)—where he was also Professor of History. Garciadiego is the author of several books, the recipient of many awards and honors, and has been a visiting scholar at St Anthony's College, University of Oxford; University of Chicago; Trinity College, Dublin; Complutense University of Madrid, and University of Salamanca. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and a Ph.D. in History from El Colegio de México (1982). He completed a second doctorate in History of Latin America at the University of Chicago.

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series recorded 4/16/19

Sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Harvard Divinity School, the Moses Mesoamerican Archive, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology.


The Mexican Revolution of 1910: A Sociohistorical Interpretation

[00:00:07.98] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:00:17.48] This evening we have the great pleasure of welcoming Professor Javier Garciadiego, one of the great sages and masters of the theme of the Mexican Revolution.

[00:00:29.63] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:00:39.25] The country of Mexico owes a great deal to Professor Garciadiego because, among other things, he's directed a number of very important institutions of higher learning.

[00:00:48.90] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:00:56.71] He's expanded our understanding and knowledge about a number of universal figures in Mexican history and scholarship, like Alfonso Reyes.

[00:01:06.51] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:01:12.52] He's been able to share the various passages in Mexican history through a wide means of communication systems.

[00:01:22.78] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:01:29.00] He's also been very important in helping in the training and formation of a whole new generation of scholars.

[00:01:37.67] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:01:51.04] And he is also at present the president of the National Association of History in Mexico, of which Professor Carrasco and Bill Fash are corresponding members.

[00:02:01.91] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:02:14.29] So in summary, it's very clear that in the person of Javier Garciadiego we're in the presence of one of the most important figures in Mexican history today.

[00:02:27.62] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:02:35.89] This evening we are privileged to hear his words and understanding of one of the most important events-- the Mexican Revolution-- which is still alive and pending.

[00:02:49.33] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:03:01.12] This event has still a great deal of importance in the processes of development and change in Mexico, despite all of the ups and downs when it originally happened.

[00:03:14.07] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:03:26.59] And tomorrow we'll have the privilege of learning more about this important subject in a discussion-- a dialogue-- between Garciadiego and Harvard professor emeritus John Womack, two very important figures on the subject.

[00:03:42.84] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:03:51.84] They are two colossal figures in the field, who from their own perspectives have created new channels of investigation for this study of social movements.

[00:04:03.87] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:04:10.41] Listening to them is to learn. And learning is the work of all scholarly and wise people.

[00:04:19.70] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:04:34.63] Many thanks to all of the institutions that he just mentioned.

[00:04:42.18] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:04:52.78] And finally, last but not least, he wants to thank our two dear friends Luis Antonio Alonso and his wife Karen [INAUDIBLE] for their support of this event. And of the overall series. Thank you very much.

[00:05:09.73] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:05:11.98] David.

[00:05:12.47] [SPEAKING SPANISH]

[00:05:18.14] [APPLAUSE]

[00:05:30.59] Former president of Mexico's top university, El Colegio de México, Javier Garciadiego received a doctorate degree in history at the Colegio de México, and completed a second PhD at the University of Chicago in the history of Latin America, where he was advised by the great and beloved historian Friedrich Katz. As you've heard in professor Marcos' words, Professor Garciadiego's publishing and administrative career is stellar on all counts. Among many recognitions, he was awarded the Great Cross of the Order of Isabella la Católica by the government of Spain.

[00:06:11.36] In one celebratory article about him, however, I read that he is a man who appreciates classical music, but also has a passionate follower of rock and roll. Popular Mexican music and the songs of protest. His literary tastes and talents include a fine gentle book he wrote about the long friendship between two of Mexico's-- nay, between two of America's, in the widest sense, finest writers, Carlos Fuentes and Alfonso Rodriguez.

[00:06:41.21] Allow me one more minute to comment on the social and political significance of tonight's event. Because every day in this country we hear the voice of the US government demeaning Mexico and insulting the dignity and struggles of Mexicans. Mexican-Americans like me grew up in this country, familiar with these nullifications of our humanity. But we're now under a continuous verbal and psychological assault that flattens out the social history and daily life experiences, the art and culture of Mexican and other Latinx peoples.

[00:07:30.71] It is for this reason in part that I draw your attention to the painting on the far side of the stage. A painting entitled Eagle Warrior, painted by the illustrious Chicano artist George Yepes. It is the symbol of the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma catedra, showing Eduardo excavating deep into Mexico's history. While the eagle warrior, representing the Aztec sun god, rears himself above the city.

[00:08:04.65] Javier Garciadiego's presence and words reflect this history, this excavation of Mexico's past, this Mexican effort to transcend the terror of history. His presence reflects the scholarly efforts and strengths and prophetic fight back going on here at Harvard in our studying, researching, and learning about Mexico's gifts and travails. A fight back going on even before the present rhetorical assault. Learning and resistance going on here at Harvard in the work, for instance, of Gabriela Soto Laveaga on science and rural health in Mexico. In the work of María Luisa Parra on heritage, Spanish, and the retornados. In Diane Davidson's work on Mexico City as an urban leviathan. In John Womack's work on the rebellion in Chiapas.

[00:09:09.18] These and other Harvard researchers and administrators, like Mark Elliott, Laura Fisher, and Arthur Kleinman represent on this campus the spirit of this catedra of Matos Moctezuma, spirit of Garciadiego, the spirit of a bridge and bridge building cohort that opens its mind to the presence, the voice, the history of the Mexican Revolution, and the work of Garciadiego, and his words about all of this. His title is the Mexican Revolution of 1910, a sociohistorical interpretation. Please join me in giving Professor Garciadiego a warm Harvard welcome.


[00:09:55.80] [APPLAUSE]

[00:10:05.35] First of all, I would like to apologize for my English. Even though I studied in Chicago with [INAUDIBLE] as Davíd Carrasco mentioned it. My English has become rusty. I have a poor vocabulary. But I do not apologize for my Mexican pronunciation, even though I'm proud of it. As the Portuguese writer [INAUDIBLE] said it once, "Foreign languages have to be spoken in a nationalistic way." So I'll do that now. Second, I have to give my deepest thanks to Harvard University, to the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, to the Harvard Divinity School, to the Peabody Museum, and especially to Mauricio Benítez, my former student here in Colegio de México, to Davíd Carrasco, and of course, and mainly to Eduardo Moctezuma-- Matos Moctezuma-- who dare and took the risk to give my name for this lecture of spring of 2019.

[00:11:12.43] Before going to my talk, let me give another detail. I'm not only fan of the rock and roll. I'm still a dead head. A lovely fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. I always be. OK. Now the revolution of 1910 is the most important process in the modern history of Mexico, and indeed, in the whole Latin American history of the 20th century before the Cuban Revolution. Although like every revolution, it brought promises that remain unfulfilled. Its significance lies more in the changes that it bring about. Its enduring importance is rooted in its military and political character, its social compromises, the populist ideology, cultural impact, international significance, and even in its epic and iconic images.

[00:12:19.57] Like all revolutions, that of Mexico had a number of faces and emerge out of a state of total crisis that failed the previous regime. A single government had held power for 34 years between 1877 and 1911 known as the Porfiriato, due to its unique and enduring leadership by General Porfirio Díaz. 19th century Mexico had been a time of chaos and instability until Díaz came to power. He began his lengthy public career in the wars between the liberals-- the group to which he belonged-- and the conservatives.

[00:12:59.27] Historians have called the early 19th century the period of anarchy, comprising the War of Independence from Spain, the loss of Texas, the war-- let me-- I'm forgetting the-- OK. This is the map around mid 19th century. The war with the United States, which led to the loss of the half of national territory, and the French intervention from 1862 till 1867. Together with these major events were constant rebellions and coups reflected in 100 different governments from across the ideological spectrum holding power at different points.

[00:13:46.17] Porfirio Díaz imposes stability and order on Mexico for the first time in the 19th century. This brought, also for the first time, notable and prolonged economic growth, which in turn gave rise to the emergence of modern middle classes and industrial workers. However, the dominant economic model was oligarchic and neo-colonial, based on the large agricultural landholdings of a few families, and on the industrial railroad mining and oil business owned by foreign investors connected to the country's leading political figures. Nevertheless economic growth did not produce a parallel social improvement. Deep inequality reigned.

[00:14:32.31] To top it all, the political system showed no sign of modernization. The Constitution was ignored. The division of powers gave way to total domination of the legislative and the judicial system by the president himself. Centralized power put pay to any form of federales. Press freedom disappeared. So too did elections, since political stability became a synonym of continuity based on a widespread and open-ended policy of reelection. Eventually this led to the aging of the political class and its consequent rejection by younger generations who aspire for political role for themselves.

[00:15:18.72] Anger and opposition group. As Porfirio Díaz became older-- by 1910 he would be 80 years of age-- his two principal group of supporters, the so-called cientificos, who believe in ruling by scientific principles, and the group around General Bernardo Reyes clash over the succession of power. In 1904 Díaz created the position of vice president and chose a member of the cientificos to take the role with a result that the supporters of Reyes became an experienced and legitimized opposition.

[00:15:58.33] Meanwhile, the growing middle class demanded adherence to the liberal principles that Díaz had abandoned, and sought democratization beginning with the demand that the old ruler commit not to stand for reelection. Meanwhile, the growing proletariat demanded economic benefits and labor rights, which Díaz rejected, giving rise to the violent actions by miners in the border town of Cananea in mid 1906, and by textile workers in Rio Blanco near the strategic port of Veracruz in early 1907.

[00:16:41.62] Both uprisings where repressed, showing that Díaz was unable to resolve the problems of modernity. His anachronistic approach was also laid bare with his refusal to grant concessions to the Anti-Reelection Movement. And its leader Francisco Madero, from one of the wealthiest families in the country's Northeast, was imprisoned in the middle of the electoral process.

[00:17:19.56] In late 1910, following the seventh successive reelection of Porfirio Díaz, Madero escaped from prison and published the Plan of San Luis Potosi, the town where he had been imprisoned, in which he called for an armed struggle. Initially his call received little response, as his anti-reelection sympathizers lacked the profile for taking up arms. Most belonged to the urban middle class, and were inclined towards political opposition rather than armed rebellion. A course of action which appeal only to the few workers who had supported Madero.

[00:18:01.46] Paradoxically, a armed movement began to take shape quite independently from Madero. This transformed the situation from one of a movement of peaceful political opposition into a revolution. Impoverished rural people entirely disconnected with the anti-reelection opposition took up arms, particularly in the Northern states of Chihuahua-- the most active of all-- Coahuila, and Sonora. It happened the same with many peasant groups from the state of Morelos, Puebla, and Guerrero in the South center of the country. They used guerrilla tactics-- small groups, unexpected attacks, dispersal and regrouping. The names of their leaders began to win renown. Pasquale Orozco, Pancho Villa, and Emiliano Zapata.

[00:19:06.90] They faced the federal army with its aging officer class made up of companions of Díaz and soldier untested over more than 30 years of internal and external peace. In six months Díaz was defeated. He agreed to leave his beloved presidential chair in mid 1911.

[00:19:29.16] The rich landowner Madero neither identified with nor trusted his soldiers from the peasant classes, and he chose to dissolve his revolutionary army following the resignation of Díaz. Furthermore, he allowed the collaboration of the latter to take over the provisional presidency with a single goal of organizing new elections as the fraudulent vote held in 1910 had been eliminated by the resignation of President Díaz and vice president. The exit of Díaz and the arrival of Madero to power did little to satisfy the demands of those who had taken up arms. The followers of Zapata, for example, wanted to recover their lands, and decided to maintain [INAUDIBLE] until they achieve their goal.

[00:20:22.80] Madero would soon learn, tragically, that it is easier to overthrow a government than to build a new one. He took over the presidency at the end of 1911, but lacked experience of government, having come from the business sector. His presidency was weak and erratic, and soon found itself completely isolated. It suffer serious legal opposition in Congress and in the press, together with equally serious illegal opposition from at least four major rebellions in less than one year. These were undoubtedly caused by the proposals for political, economic, and social reforms, which were seen as an acceptable precedent by the elite, and as too moderate or inadequate by the poor sectors who felt betrayed. Of the four rebellions against Madero, two were laid by members of the political elite, one by General Reyes and the other by a nephew of Porfirio himself, both seeking to regain power. The two popular uprisings were rooted in social causes. The Zapatistas demanded land, and the followers of Orozco demanded a wide range of social reforms.

[00:21:51.53] The rising led by Orozco was the largest one of greatest consequences. Seeing that large contingents of veterans and the struggle against Díaz had also risen up against him, Madero decided that the government army must be strengthened with similar group of veterans who had remained loyal. These were known as irregulares or [SPEAKING SPANISH] and included Pancho Villa and Álvaro Obregón. There was a tripartite outcome. Orozco's faction was defeated in May 1912. The federal army renew its officer class, recover its lost morale, and want a new leader-- Victoriano Huerta.

[00:22:37.75] Finally the irregulares or [SPEAKING SPANISH] remain armed and organized with links to Madero and the Madero supporting state governors in the North. Though Madero was able to defeat these four rebellions, he fell to a coup by the rejuvenated federal army with Huerta at its helm. Madero was overthrown and assassinated in February 1913. Co-conspirators in the coup, along with the federal army, were the political class from the Porfiriato period, and the US Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, who was also upset by the reforms begun by Madero.

[00:23:22.92] The coup leaders immediately won the support of businessmen and landowners. However, they soon lost the support of the United States after Democrat Woodrow Wilson came to the presidency in March 1913, bringing with him a very different attitude to Mexico that was much more appropriated and even sensitive. The struggle against Huerta coup marks the beginning of the second phase of the Mexican Revolution, known as the Constitutionalist phase, as it sought to apply the Constitution of 1857 that had been interrupted by Huerta's occupation.

[00:24:09.93] The struggle was based on the Plan de Guadalupe of late March 1913, which created the Constitutionalist Army under Venustiano Carranza. Carranza was the governor of the Northeastern state of Coahuila, and the only one with political experience within the Madero group, having been a senator during the Porfiriato period as part of the Reyes faction. He built a group around his role as governor and expanded to other states in the Northeast. The second ranking roles were filled by his close collaborators and political allies. The rank and file were the local irregulares and [SPEAKING SPANISH] together with workers, miners, cowboys, railroad employees, rural people, and lower ranking state officials from the region. Understandably, their contribution was more political and administrative than military.

[00:25:18.09] The Constitutionalist Army had two other major contingents. The Northwest section was led by the Sonora born Álvaro Obregón, and after him by [SPEAKING SPANISH] and Manuel Diéguez. All members of the rural or urban middle classes, with the exception of Diéguez who was previously a worker's leader in Cananea Their objective was to retain the political positions they had achieved with Madero's victory over Díaz. The rank and file again mainly comprised by irregulares and [SPEAKING SPANISH] along with cowboys, railroad workers, farm workers, and employees. They were distinguished from the Carranza led soldiers of the Northeast by two factors. In Sonora, their ranks were swelled by the politicized minors from Cananea, and by [INAUDIBLE] Indians who were very able soldiers.

[00:26:25.19] Finally, in the North Central sun, the División Del Norte was formed under the leadership of Pancho Villa. His principal lieutenants were also of humble origins. Some even with a background in banditry, including Villa himself, and most notoriously his companion Tomás Urbina. The rank and file troops were again formed by irregulares and [SPEAKING SPANISH] together with miners, cowboys, farm workers, and employees of timber companies. Notable in Chihuahua was inclusion of many veterans of the militarized farming colonies of the mid 19th century after the war with the United States.

[00:27:10.38] What they lack in political and administrative experience they made up for in military capacity. In addition, they brought popular support to the movement. The composition of these Northern armies allows us to make a dual comparison both among them and with their predecessors from 1910. While the Northeast Carranza led contingents leaders came from the local political elite, starting with the governor himself-- Carranza himself-- those of the Northwest or Sonora contingent came from the middle class with little and recent political experience. And the [INAUDIBLE] led División del Norte came from the lower classes without any political experience.

[00:28:01.20] Meanwhile, when compared with the events of 1910 in the same regions, there is a clear distinction in the Northeast between Madero and Carranza. The former came from the National Economic elite, the latter from the more local political elite. Similarly in Sonora, Obregón and other members of the middle class could not be compared with the leader of the local struggle in 1910, the great landowner José [SPEAKING SPANISH] Finally, Pancho Villa himself came from humble origins, quite unlike the middle class background of the Chihuahua leaders of 1910, [? Abraham ?] González, and to a lesser degree, Pascual Orozco. In short, the 1913 struggle was more complex in its social makeup, as well as being more extensive in geographic terms. Undoubtedly in the 3G regions, the 1913 struggle incorporated much more groups from lower social strata than in 1910.

[00:29:10.10] There were also rebel groups of different kinds in many other parts of the country, including Sinaloa, [SPEAKING SPANISH] Veracruz, and Hidalgo. And above all, in Morelos and Guerrero. Morelos, Puebla, and Guerrero, I would say, dominated by the Zapatista movement that had remained armed since 1911 with its Plan de Ayala. Reform, freedom, justice, and law. The words [SPEAKING SPANISH] never existed. Those came much later thanks to Diego Rivera. So the Plan de Ayala, demanding the return of land seized by the elite, and which became radicalized to fight against Heurta. Faced with such a numerous, extensive, capable, and well-equipped army, together with the refusal of support from Woodrow Wilson, Huerta was defeated in mid 1914.

[00:30:10.20] The triumph of the Constitutionalist Army over Huerta usher in a third phase of the Mexican Revolution. Following failed attempts at compromise between the leading victorious revolutionary factions, violence again broke out in early 1915 with a war of the factions to determine which project for the development of the country came out on top. This struggle like led to the formation of new alliances, based on a clear social identity. The Constitutionalist group was formed by the armies of Carranza and Obregón with a middle class background and a more mature and comprehensive vision of the country. Meanwhile, the armies of Villa in the North and Zapata in the South formed the Conventionist faction with a distinctively rural and lower class character. Initially, the victory of the latter-- the Conventionists Villa and Zapata-- was predicted given the strength of the División del Norte, and the fear provoked by the Zapatistas.

[00:31:21.45] But by the end of 1915, the Constitutionalists had already triumphed. The reasons were in part military, such as the rising cost of arms and ammunition for the Villa led troops due to the outbreak of the First World War, or to the noble use of barbed wire by Carranza and Obregón armies, which proved fatal to Villa's cavalry. Economic factors also favor the Constitutionalist who control the oil producing areas which became strategic in the light of the conflict in Europe. Meanwhile, the Conventionists-- that means Zapata and Villa-- occupy Mexico City, which prove very expensive to maintain. Above all, while the Constitutionalists manage to increase their popular support without threatening the middle classes, Villa and Zapata maintain their focus on their own local class alliances, a strategy that condemned them to isolation. On top of this, their own alliance fail as the Zapatistas refuse to cooperate with Villa's armies in the world factions due to their preferences on local issues.

[00:32:37.27] During this conflict, the United States had adopted a position of watchful waiting in preparation for offering diplomatic recognition to the victorious group. When this turned out to be the Constitutionalist, Washington extended de facto recognition in October 1915. Carranza spent the following years expanding and consolidating his power across the country. And at the end of 1916, call a constitutional Congress of national scope to promulgate the Constitution of 1917. This was a war constitution drafted by the winning function, and established the development strategy Mexico was to pursue henceforth. This had also been the case with the Constitution of 1824, after the country achieved independence, and with that of 1857 when the liberals had won their first victory over the conservatives.

[00:33:34.96] The Constitution of 1917 was drafted on the basis of the social and economic commitment some proposals set out over the previous seven years of armed struggle. It also took up a number of ideas put forward as early as 1906 by the precursors of Mexican Revolution, the so-called Magónistas-- after their leader Ricardo Flores Magón-- in his missionary program for the Liberal Party. Rooted in this Constitution, Mexico would be governed by a revolutionary middle class with close ties to the industrial and rural working classes, who undoubtedly remain subordinate, but want significant socioeconomic benefits, such as agrarian, land reform, and labor rights.

[00:34:30.64] Let me make another comparison. In 1920, Carranza was toppled by the revolutionary armies from Sonora. Although members of the same group, Carranza had close links with [INAUDIBLE] regime. Besides, he never like the participation of Villa and Zapata. On the contrary, the Zapatas came from a young, new, and modern middle class. Most of all, they knew how to make alliances with the popular groups, such as the miners from Caranea and the [INAUDIBLE] Indians. The state created in 1920 had a middle class leadership and much more popular basis than the one headed by Carranza in 1917.

[00:35:23.93] The Mexican Revolution can be said to have started in 1910. However, giving a precise date for when it ended is a serious of historiographical problem. Some veterans of the struggle, together with a number of historians, claim that the correct date should be 1917, as this is when the new Constitution was promulgated and put into practice, determining the political changes and social commitments of the New Mexican state. Others, including me, argue for 1920, the year when power was taken by a revolutionary faction from the Northwest. That can be defined as middle class, but that was prepared to embark on the concessions demanded by the popular and working classes, and to include them in the political operation of the regions.

[00:36:21.04] Yet others have said that the right date is 1929, when the main revolutionary factions and groups reach an agreement and established the National Revolutionary Party-- El Partido Nacional Revolucionario-- following election in 1920, 1924, and 1928 that had ended in rebellions and violence among the revolutionary groups aspiring to the presidency. Let me just remark that in 1928 the three candidates for the presidency were killed. The three. Francisco Serrano, Arnulfo R. Gómez, of course, President Obregón.

[00:37:11.74] The year of 1929 also saw the peace sign with the Cristeros. That was Carranza, and these are the Cristeros. Well, let me give another look at Carranza. You see it? OK, now go to Cristeros. That year of 1929 also saw the peace sign with the Cristeros, who had waged a religious war since 1926 in the center and west of the country. As such, 1929 was a year of peace.

[00:37:49.25] Finally, still others claim that the revolutionary process only ended in 1940 with the conclusion of President Lázaro Cárdenas' term in office, during which the most radical measures of the Mexican Revolution were put into practice. Agrarian-- That's Cárdenas. Agrarian reform, support for the workers, demand, support for the worker's demands, nationalization of the oil industry, and even socialist education.

[00:38:22.33] Regardless of its end date, we can agree that the Mexican Revolution had a great many consequences and ramifications. The notion of a state governed by the personal dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and based on an oligarchic structure of landowners disappear to be replaced first by a government of revolutionary soldiers, and later by a political party of veterans of the armed struggle which govern the country for the rest of the 20th century. And which, since 1946, has been known-- that party-- as the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

[00:39:01.12] Significantly, as a result of the calamitous failure of Madero, his successors in the revolutionary leadership did not pursue his democratic tendencies, but establish a government that was both authoritarian and notoriously corrupt. We may recall in this regard the cynical statement of Álvaro Obregón, president of the country-- that's Álvaro Obregón, president of the country between 1920 and 1924-- that there was not a general anywhere who could withstand a cannon shot of 50,000 pesos. Moreover, he lost one arm in the Celaya Battle of 1915. So in his campaign he was saying, hey, vote for me, because I only have one hand to rub, not two. That's what he said.

[00:40:02.85] In ideological terms, the Mexican Revolution of the Constitution of the 1970s involved three social pledges and the three major enemies. The pledges were agrarian reform for the peasants, labor rights and social benefits for industrial workers, and a free secular state education for all. The enemies were the landowners, the Catholic Church, and the United States. With regard to the second, Mexican society, which was overwhelmingly Catholic, would have a secular government with touches of Jacobinism, which explains the Cristero War of 1926, 1929 in the center West of the country.

[00:40:44.90] There was another paradox with regard to the United States. Although Mexico's revolution had expressed clearly and consistently its nationalist and anti-American orientation, from the 1920s the United States would become by far the most powerful influence over its Mexican neighbors following the First World War, which in Europe left victors and losers alike seriously weakened. Finally, as a result of the revolution, Mexico created a new culture, brought in by the great educator José Vasconcelos, who had been Madero supported, and later militated for the Conventionist.

[00:41:33.39] This nationalist epic culture not only expressed in the moralist movement led by Diego Rivera, Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. And in post-revolutionary Mexican writers such as Mariano Azuela and Martín Luis Guzmán gave the country a new identity and positioned the masses as the principal protagonists of history with their iconic leaders Villa and Zapata. Though in reality their role was a subordinated one. In this sense, the Mexican Revolution was less radical and ideological in programmatic terms than the Cuban Revolution 50 years later.

[00:42:14.51] In the second half of the 20th century, the new governments of the postwar revolution began to reveal their limitations. They were authoritarian, corrupt, and had driven away the leading revolutionaries. Oppositionist movements began to emerge, such as the Student Movement of 1968, and the guerrillas of later years. Above all, there was a split in the PRI at the end of the '80s, and the creation of the Partido de La Revolución Democrática, which unify the Mexican left-- whether socialist or communist-- with the solution groups from the PRI who believed that the revolution was still an ongoing process, with clear ideals and pledges to fulfill.

[00:43:00.03] Since 1997 this party has dominated Mexico City, and the recurring economic crisis of these years, the immense corruption, and the widespread crime violence led sectors of the middle classes to seek electoral change. All of this explains how the 2018 election was won by the Nationalist Regeneration Movement-- Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, MORENA-- under the charismatic yet divisive leadership of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

[00:43:35.50] History is always connected to the present, and history is a changing and ongoing process. Are we facing a revival of the Mexican Revolution a century later? Only the future will tell us about it. Thank you very much.


[00:43:51.10] [APPLAUSE]