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Deer were found in this central area, but most fauna were small land animals and fish and other lacustrine animals were found in the lake region. Indigenous peoples in western Mexico began to selectively breed maize Zea mays plants from precursor grasses e. The diet of ancient central and southern Mexico was varied, including domesticated corn or maize , squashes such as pumpkin and butternut squash, common beans pinto, kidney, navy and other common beans consumed today , tomatoes, peppers, cassavas, pineapples, chocolate, and tobacco. The Three Sisters corn, squash, and beans constituted the principal diet.

The Mesoamericans had the concept of god and religion, but their concept was very different from Abrahamic concepts. The Mesoamericans had a belief where everything, every element of the cosmos, the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, which mankind inhabits, everything that forms part of nature such as animals, plants, water and mountains all represented a manifestation of the supernatural. In most cases gods and goddesses are often depicted in stone reliefs, pottery decoration, wall paintings and in the various Maya , and pictorial manuscripts such as Maya codices , Aztec codices , and Mixtec codices.

The spiritual pantheon was vast and extremely complex. However, many of the deities depicted are common to the various civilizations and their worship survived over long periods of time. They frequently took on different characteristics and even names in different areas, but in effect they transcended cultures and time. Great masks with gaping jaws and monstrous features in stone or stucco were often located at the entrance to temples, symbolizing a cavern or cave on the flanks of the mountains that allowed access to the depths of Mother Earth and the shadowy roads that lead to the underworld.

Cults connected with the jaguar and jade especially permeated religion throughout Mesoamerica. Jade , with its translucent green color was revered along with water as a symbol of life and fertility.


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The jaguar, agile, powerful and fast, was especially connected with warriors and as spirit guides of shamans. Despite differences of chronology or geography, the crucial aspects of this religious pantheon were shared amongst the people of ancient Mesoamerica. Thus, this quality of acceptance of new gods to the collection of existing gods may have been one of the shaping characteristics for the success during the Christianization of Mesoamerica.

New gods did not at once replace the old; they initially joined the ever-growing family of deities or were merged with existing ones that seemed to share similar characteristics or responsibilities. A great deal is known about Aztec religion due to the work of the early mendicant friars in their work to convert the Indigenous peoples to Christianity. Mesoamerica is the only place in the Americas where Indigenous writing systems were invented and used before European colonization. While the types of writing systems in Mesoamerica range from minimalist "picture-writing" to complex logophonetic systems capable of recording speech and literature, they all share some core features that make them visually and functionally distinct from other writing systems of the world.

Although many indigenous manuscripts have been lost or destroyed, texts known Aztec codices , Mayan codices , and Mixtec codices still survive and are of intense interest to scholars of the prehispanic era. The fact that there was an existing prehispanic tradition of writing meant that when the Spanish friars taught Mexican Indians to write their own languages, particularly Nahuatl , an alphabetic tradition took hold. It was used in official documents for legal cases and other legal instruments. The formal use of native language documentation lasted until Mexican independence in Beginning in the late twentieth century, scholars have mined these native language documents for information about colonial-era economics, culture, and language.

The New Philology is the current name for this particular branch of colonial-era Mesoamerican ethnohistory. During the pre-Columbian period, many city-states, kingdoms, and empires competed with one another for power and prestige. Ancient Mexico can be said to have produced five major civilizations: the Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Aztec. Unlike other indigenous Mexican societies, these civilizations with the exception of the politically fragmented Maya extended their political and cultural reach across Mexico and beyond.

They consolidated power and exercised influence in matters of trade, art, politics, technology, and religion. Over a span of 3, years, other regional powers made economic and political alliances with them; many made war on them. But almost all found themselves within their spheres of influence.

The Olmec first appeared along the Atlantic coast in what is now the state of Tabasco in the period — BC. The Olmecs were the first Mesoamerican culture to produce an identifiable artistic and cultural style, and may also have been the society that invented writing in Mesoamerica. Maya cultural characteristics, such as the rise of the ahau , or king, can be traced from BC onwards. The egalitarian Maya society of pre-royal centuries gradually gave way to a society controlled by a wealthy elite that began building large ceremonial temples and complexes.

The earliest known long-count date, AD, heralds the classic period, during which the Maya kingdoms supported a population numbering in the millions. Tikal , the largest of the kingdoms, alone had , inhabitants, though the average population of a kingdom was much smaller—somewhere under 50, people. The Maya speak a diverse family of languages known as Mayan. Teotihuacan is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico , containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas.

Apart from the pyramidal structures, Teotihuacan is also known for its large residential complexes, the Avenue of the Dead, and numerous colorful, well-preserved murals. Additionally, Teotihuacan produced a thin orange pottery style that spread through Mesoamerica. The city is thought to have been established around BCE and continued to be built until about CE. At its zenith, perhaps in the first half of the 1st millennium CE, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas.

At this time it may have had more than , inhabitants, placing it among the largest cities of the world in this period. Teotihuacan was even home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate this large population. The civilization and cultural complex associated with the site is also referred to as Teotihuacan or Teotihuacano. Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region.

The Aztecs may have been influenced by this city. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of Teotihuacan is also a subject of debate. Possible candidates are the Nahua , Otomi or Totonac ethnic groups. Scholars have also suggested that Teotihuacan was a multiethnic state. The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo , in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology ca — CE.

The later Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tollan Nahuatl for Tula as the epitome of civilization; indeed, in the Nahuatl language the word "Toltec" came to take on the meaning "artisan". The Aztec oral and pictographic tradition also described the history of the Toltec empire giving lists of rulers and their exploits.

Among modern scholars it is a matter of debate whether the Aztec narratives of Toltec history should be given credence as descriptions of actual historical events. While all scholars acknowledge that there is a large mythological part of the narrative some maintain that by using a critical comparative method some level of historicity can be salvaged from the sources, whereas others maintain that continued analysis of the narratives as sources of actual history is futile and hinders access to actual knowledge of the culture of Tula, Hidalgo.

The Nahua peoples began to enter central Mexico in the 6th century AD. By the 12th century, they had established their center at Azcapotzalco , the city of the Tepanecs. They had migrated from the deserts north of the Rio Grande [ citation needed ] over a period traditionally said to have been years. They may have thought of themselves as the heirs to the prestigious civilizations that had preceded them.

In , they established the biggest city in the world at that time, Tenochtitlan. Aztec religion was based on the belief in the continual need for regular offering of human blood to keep their deities beneficent; to meet this need, the Aztec sacrificed thousands of people. This belief is thought to have been common throughout the Nahuatl people. To acquire captives in times of peace, the Aztec resorted to a form of ritual warfare called flower war.

The Tlaxcalteca, among other Nahuatl nations, were forced into such wars. In , the Aztec led a war against their rulers from the city of Azcapotzalco, which had subjugated most of the Valley of Mexico's peoples. The revolt was successful, and the Aztecs became the rulers of central Mexico as the leaders of the Triple Alliance. The alliance was composed of the city-states of Tenochtitlan , Texcoco , and Tlacopan.

At their peak, , Aztec presided over a wealthy tribute-empire comprising 10 million people, almost half of Mexico's estimated population of 24 million. Their empire stretched from ocean to ocean, and extended into Central America. The westward expansion of the empire was halted by a devastating military defeat at the hands of the Purepecha who possessed weapons made of copper. The empire relied upon a system of taxation of goods and services , which were collected through an elaborate bureaucracy of tax collectors, courts, civil servants, and local officials who were installed as loyalists to the Triple Alliance.

By , the Aztec capital, Mexico-Tenochtitlan , the site of modern-day Mexico City , was one of the largest cities in the world, with an estimated population between , and , The first mainland explorations were followed by a phase of inland expeditions and conquest. The Spanish crown extended the Reconquista effort, completed in Spain in , to non-Catholic people in new territories. The conquest was of the Chibcha -speaking nations, mainly the Muisca and Tairona indigenous people that lived here.

The first Europeans to arrive in what is modern day Mexico were the survivors of a Spanish shipwreck in He himself was injured, and died a few days shortly after his return to Cuba. This was the Europeans' first encounter with a civilization in the Americas with buildings and complex social organizations which they recognized as being comparable to those of the Old World.

In general the 'Spanish conquest of Mexico' denotes the conquest of the central region of Mesoamerica where the Aztec Empire was based. The Alliance ambushed indigenous ceremonies, such as during The Feast of Huitzilopochtli , which allowed the superior Spanish conquerors to avoid fighting the best Aztec warriors in direct armed battle. Smallpox Variola major and Variola minor began to spread in Mesoamerica immediately after the arrival of Europeans. The indigenous peoples, who had no immunity to it, eventually died in the millions.

A third of all the natives of the Valley of Mexico succumbed to it within six months of Spaniards arrival. Tenochtitlan was almost completely destroyed by fire and cannon shots. Those Aztecs who survived were forbidden to live in the city and the surrounding isles, and they went to live in Tlatelolco. The Spanish had no intention to turn over Tenochtitlan to the Tlaxcalteca. While Tlaxcalteca troops continued to help the Spaniards, and Tlaxcala received better treatment than other indigenous nations, the Spanish eventually disowned the treaty.

Forty years after the conquest, the Tlaxcalteca had to pay the same tax as any other indigenous community. The capture of Tenochtitlan marked the beginning of a year colonial period, during which Mexico was known as " New Spain " ruled by a viceroy in the name of the Spanish monarch.

Colonial Mexico had key elements to attract Spanish immigrants: 1 dense and politically complex indigenous populations especially in the central part that could be compelled to work, and 2 huge mineral wealth, especially major silver deposits in the northern regions Zacatecas and Guanajuato. The Viceroyalty of Peru also had those two important elements, so that New Spain and Peru were the seats of Spanish power and the source of its wealth, until other viceroyalties were created in Spanish South America in the late 18th century.

This wealth made Spain the dominant power in Europe and the envy of England, France, and after its independence from Spain the Netherlands. Spain's silver mining and crown mints created high quality coins, the currency of Spanish America , the silver peso or Spanish dollar that became a global currency. Spanish conquerors did not bring all areas of Aztec Empire under its control.

After the fall of Tenochtitlan in , it took decades of sporadic warfare to subdue the rest of Mesoamerica , particularly the Maya regions of southern New Spain and into what is now Central America. The northern indigenous populations had gained mobility via the horses that Spaniards had imported to the New World. The desert in the north was only interesting to Spanish because of its rich silver deposits. The Spanish mining settlements and trunk lines to Mexico City needed to be made safe for supplies to move north and silver to move to south, to central Mexico. The most important source of wealth in the first years after the conquest of central Mexico was the encomienda , a grant of the labor of a particular indigenous settlement to an individual Spanish and his heirs.

Spaniards were the recipients of traditional indigenous products that had been rendered in tribute to their local lords and to the Aztec empire. The first Spanish viceroy , Don Antonio de Mendoza has his name given to the title of an Aztec manuscript Codex Mendoza , that enumerates in glyphic form the types of tribute goods and amounts rendered from particular indigenous towns under Aztec rule.

Railroad Radicals in Cold War Mexico: Gender, Class, and Memory

The earliest holders of encomiendas, the encomenderos were the conquerors involved in the campaign leading to the fall of Tenochtitlan, and later their heirs and people with influence but not conquerors. Forced labor could be directed toward developing land and industry in the area the Spanish encomenderos' Indians lived. Land was a secondary source of wealth during this immediate conquest period. Where indigenous labor was absent or needed supplementing, the Spanish brought African slaves, often as skilled laborers or artisans, or as labor bosses of encomienda Indians. During the three centuries of colonial rule, fewer than , Spaniards, most of them men, settled in Mexico.

Mestizos , people of mixed European-indigenous ancestry, constitute the majority of Mexico's population. The Spanish crown claimed all of the Western Hemisphere west of the line established between Spain and Portugal by the Treaty of Tordesillas. The viceroyalty of New Spain had jurisdiction over Spain's northern empire in the Americas.

When Spain established a colony in the Philippines in the late sixteenth century, the Viceroyalty of New Spain had jurisdiction over it, since there was more direct contact between the two than the Philippines with Spain. During the 16th century, Spain focused on conquering areas with dense populations that had produced Pre-Columbian civilizations. These populations were a disciplined labor force and a population to convert to Christianity. Territories populated by nomadic peoples were harder to conquer, and although the Spanish explored much of North America , seeking the fabled " El Dorado ", they made no concerted effort to settle the northern desert regions in what is now the United States until the end of the 16th century Santa Fe, Colonial law with native origins but with Spanish historical precedents was introduced, creating a balance between local jurisdiction the Cabildos and the Crown 's, whereby upper administrative offices were closed to natives, even those of pure Spanish blood.

Administration was based on a racial separation of the population among the Republics of Spaniards, Indians and Mestizos, autonomous and directly dependent on the king. The population of New Spain was divided into four main groups, or classes. The group a person belonged to was determined by racial background and birthplace. The most powerful group was the Spaniards, people born in Spain and sent across the Atlantic to rule the colony. Only Spaniards could hold high-level jobs in the colonial government.

The second group, called creoles, were people of Spanish background but born in Mexico. Many creoles were prosperous landowners and merchants. But even the wealthiest creoles had little say in government. The third group, the mestizos, were people who had some Spanish ancestors and some Indian ancestors. The word mestizo means "mixed". Mestizos had a much lower position and were looked down upon by both the Spaniards and the creoles, who held the belief that people of pure European background were superior to everyone else.

The poorest, most marginalised group in New Spain was the Indians, descendants of pre-Columbian peoples. They had less power and endured harsher conditions than other groups. Indians were forced to work as laborers on the ranches and farms called haciendas of the Spaniards and creoles. In addition to the four main groups, there were also some black Africans in colonial Mexico. These black African were imported as laborers and shared the low status of the Indians. From an economic point of view, New Spain was administered principally for the benefit of the Empire and its military and defensive efforts.

Mexico provided more than half of the Empire taxes and supported the administration of all North and Central America. Competition with the metropolis was discouraged; for example cultivation of grapes and olives , introduced by Cortez himself, was banned out of fear that these crops would compete with Spain 's. To protect the country from the attacks by English, French and Dutch pirates , as well as the Crown's revenue, only two ports were open to foreign trade— Veracruz on the Atlantic and Acapulco on the Pacific.

Pirates attacked, plundered and ravaged several cities like Campeche , Veracruz and Alvarado Education was encouraged by the Crown from the very beginning, and Mexico boasts the first primary school Texcoco , , first university, the University of Mexico and the first printing press of the Americas.

Indigenous languages were studied mainly by the religious orders during the first centuries, and became official languages in the so-called Republic of Indians, only to be outlawed and ignored after independence by the prevailing Spanish -speaking creoles. The syncretism between indigenous and Spanish cultures gave rise to many of nowadays Mexican staple and world-famous cultural traits like tequila since the 16th century , mariachi 18th , jarabe 17th , charros 17th and the highly prized Mexican cuisine , fruit of the mixture of European and indigenous ingredients and techniques.

American-born Spaniards creoles , mixed-race castas, and Indians often disagreed, but all resented the small minority of Iberian-born Spaniards who monopolized political power. By the early s, many American-born Spaniards believed that Mexico should become independent of Spain, following the example of the United States.

He is remembered today as the Father of Mexican Independence. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, Mexican insurgents saw an opportunity in as the king abdicated in Madrid and Spain was overwhelmed by war and occupation. The rebellion began as an idealistic peasants' and miners' movement led by a local priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla who issued " The Cry of Dolores " on 16 September ; the day is celebrated as Independence Day. Shouting "Independence and death to the Spaniards!

It was routed by the Spanish and Hidalgo was executed. Another priest, Jose Maria Morelos took over and was more successful in his quest for republicanism and independence. Spain's monarchy was restored in after Napoleon's defeat, and it fought back and executed Morelos in The scattered insurgents formed guerrilla bands. The rebels formulated the " Plan of Iguala ", demanding an independent constitutional monarchy, a religious monopoly for the Catholic Church, and equality for Spaniards and creoles.

On September 27, , Iturbide and the viceroy signed the Treaty of Cordoba whereby Spain granted the demands and withdrew. After independence, Mexican politics was chaotic. The presidency changed hands 75 times in the next 55 years — The Spanish attempts to reconquer Mexico comprised episodes of war between Spain and the newly born Mexican nation.

The designation mainly covers two periods: from to in Mexico's waters, and a second period of two stages, including a Mexican plan to take the Spanish-held island of Cuba between and , and the landing of Spanish General Isidro Barradas in Mexico to reconquer the territory. Although Spain never regained control of the country, it damaged the fledgling economy. The newly independent nation was in dire straits after 11 years of war. No plans or guidelines were established by the revolutionaries, so internal struggles for control of the government ensued.

Mexico suffered a complete lack of funds to administer a country of over 4. Mexico now had its own government, but Iturbide quickly became a dictator. He even had himself proclaimed emperor of Mexico, copying the ceremony used by Napoleon when he proclaimed himself emperor of France. No one was allowed to speak against Iturbide.

He filled his government with corrupt officials, who became rich by taking bribes and making dishonest business deals. By , Mexicans of all classes were fed up with emperor Agustin de Iturbide's corrupt and oppressive rule. The new constitution was partly modeled on the constitution of the United States. It guaranteed basic human rights and defined Mexico as a representative federal republic, in which responsibilities of government were divided between a central government and a number of smaller units called states.

It also defined Catholicism as the official and unique religion. The Federal Republic of Central America was allowed to re-establish its independence, which it had declared on 1 July However, most of the population largely ignored the new constitution. When Guadalupe Victoria was followed in office by Vicente Guerrero , gaining the position through a coup after losing the elections, the Conservative Party saw an opportunity to seize control and led a counter-coup under Anastasio Bustamante , who served as president from to , and again from to The new republic's situation did not promote economic growth and development.

However, according to Hilarie J. Heath, the results were bleak:. In much of Spanish America soon after its independence, military strongmen or caudillos dominated politics, and this period is often called "The Age of Caudillismo". Elections were held thereafter, and Santa Anna took office in He served as president 11 times. Both areas sought independence from the central government.

Then Santa Anna's army turned to the northern rebellion. They called themselves Texans and were led mainly by recent English-speaking settlers. The Mexican government refused to recognize the independence of Texas. The northern states grew increasingly isolated, economically and politically, due to prolonged Comanche raids and attacks. New Mexico in particular had been gravitating toward Comancheria. In the s, when the United States began to exert influence over the region, New Mexico had already begun to question its loyalty to Mexico.

By the time of the Mexican—American War, the Comanches had raided and pillaged large portions of northern Mexico, resulting in sustained impoverishment, political fragmentation, and general frustration at the inability—or unwillingness—of the Mexican government to discipline the Comanches. In addition to Comanche raids, the First Republic's northern border was plagued with attacks on its northern border from the Apache people, who were supplied with guns by American merchants.

Soon after achieving independence from Spain, the Mexican government, in an effort to populate its northern territories, awarded extensive land grants in Coahuila y Tejas to thousands of families from the United States, on condition that the settlers convert to Catholicism and become Mexican citizens. The Mexican government also forbade the importation of slaves.

These conditions were largely ignored. A key factor in the government decision to allow those settlers was the belief that they would a protect northern Mexico from Comanche attacks and b buffer the northern states against US westward expansion. The policy failed on both counts: the Americans tended to settle far from the Comanche raiding zones and used the Mexican government's failure to suppress the raids as a pretext for declaring independence.

The war lasted from October 2, to April 21, However, a war at sea between Mexico and Texas continued into the s. War began in Texas on October 2, , with the Battle of Gonzales. Early Texian Army successes at La Bahia and San Antonio were soon met with crushing defeat at the same locations a few months later.

The end of the war resulted in the creation of the Republic of Texas in In , the U. Congress ratified Texas's petition for statehood. In response to a Mexican massacre of a U. Congress declared war on May 13, ; Mexico followed suit on 23 May. In March , U. President James K. Polk sent an army of 12, volunteer and regular U. Army soldiers under General Winfield Scott to the port of Veracruz. The 70 ships of the invading forces arrived at the city on 7 March and began a naval bombardment. After landing his men, horses, and supplies, Scott began the Siege of Veracruz. The city at that time still walled was defended by Mexican General Juan Morales with 3, men.

Veracruz replied as best it could with artillery to the bombardment from land and sea, but the city walls were reduced. After 12 days, the Mexicans surrendered. Scott marched west with 8, men, while Santa Anna entrenched with artillery and 12, troops on the main road halfway to Mexico City. Scott pushed on to Puebla , Mexico's second largest city, which capitulated without resistance on 1 May—the citizens were hostile to Santa Anna. Many other parts of Mexico were also occupied.

Some Mexican units fought with distinction. One of the justly commemorated units was a group of six young Military College cadets now considered Mexican national heroes , who fought to the death defending their college during the Battle of Chapultepec. Mexico's defeat has been attributed to its problematic internal situation, one of disunity and disorganization. After the war, Washington discovered that a much easier railroad route to California lay slightly south of the Gila River, in Mexico. This loss of still more territory provoked considerable outrage among Mexicans, but Santa Anna claimed that he needed money to rebuild the army from the war.

In the end, he kept or squandered most of it. La Reforma was a period during the midth century characterized by liberal reforms and the transformation of Mexico into a nation-state. The younger generation of political leaders were shocked at Mexico's poor fight against the United States in , and saw modernization as a way to strengthen the nation. Their strategy was to sharply limit the traditional privileges and land holdings of the Catholic Church and thereby revitalize the market in land.

However, no class of small peasants who identified with the Liberal program emerged. Many merchants acquired land and control over the associated tenant farmers. Many existing landowners expanded their holdings at peasant expense, and some upwardly mobile ranch owners, often mestizos, acquired land. The moderate Liberal Ignacio Comonfort became president.

Σύνοψη του βιβλίου "Railroad Radicals in Cold War Mexico"

The Moderados tried to find a middle ground between the nation's liberals and conservatives. There is less consensus about the ending point of the Reforma. Liberalism dominated Mexico as an intellectual force into the 20th century. Liberals championed reform and supported republicanism , capitalism, and individualism; they fought to reduce the Church's conservative roles in education, land ownership and politics.

Colonel Ignacio Comonfort became president in after a revolt based in Ayutla overthrew Santa Anna. Comonfort was a moderate liberal who tried to maintain an uncertain coalition, but the moderate liberals and the radical liberals were unable to resolve their sharp differences. During his presidency, the Constitution of was drafted creating the Second Federal Republic of Mexico.

The new constitution restricted some of the Catholic Church's traditional privileges, land holdings, revenues and control over education. It granted religious freedom, stating only that the Catholic Church was the favored faith. The anti-clerical radicals scored a major victory with the ratification of the constitution, because it weakened the Church and enfranchised illiterate commoners.

The constitution was unacceptable to the clergy and the conservatives, and they plotted a revolt. With the "Plan of Tacubaya" in December , Comonfort tried to regain the popular support from the growing conservative pro-clerical movement. The revolt led to the War of Reform December to January , which grew increasingly bloody as it progressed and polarized the nation's politics. Many Moderates, convinced that the Church's political power had to be curbed, came over to the side of the Liberals.

For some time, the Liberals and Conservatives simultaneously administered separate governments, the Conservatives from Mexico City and the Liberals from Veracruz. They chose a member of the Habsburg dynasty, which had ruled Spain and its overseas possessions until Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria was installed as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico , with support from the Catholic Church, conservative elements of the upper class, and some indigenous communities. Although the French suffered an initial defeat the Battle of Puebla on May 5, , now commemorated as the Cinco de Mayo holiday , the French eventually defeated the Mexican army and set Maximilian on the throne.

The Imperial couple noticed the inequality in Mexican society and pursued policies that favored the Upper Class white Mexicans over the Majority Mestizo and Indigenous peasants. They were also in favor of exploiting the nation's resources for themselves and their allies.

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This included favoring the plans of Napoleon III to exploit the mines in the northwest of the country and to grow cotton. Maximilian was a liberal, a fact that Mexican conservatives seemingly did not know when he was chosen to head the government. He favored the establishment of a limited monarchy that would share power with a democratically elected congress.

This left Maximilian with few enthusiastic allies within Mexico. France never made a profit in Mexico and its Mexican expedition grew increasingly unpopular. Napoleon III quietly complied. In mid, despite repeated Imperial losses in battle to the Republican Army and ever decreasing support from Napoleon III, Maximilian chose to remain in Mexico rather than return to Europe. He was captured and executed along with two Mexican supporters, immortalized in a famous painting by Eduard Manet.

He continued to implement his reforms. In , he was elected a second time, much to the dismay of his opponents within the Liberal party, who considered reelection to be somewhat undemocratic. Part of Juarez's reforms included fully secularizing the country. The Catholic Church was barred from owning property aside from houses of worship and monasteries, and education and marriage were put in the hands of the state.

To avoid antagonizing Catholics, he avoided enforcement of anticlerical laws. The country's infrastructure was greatly improved, thanks to increased foreign investment from Britain and the US, and a strong, stable central government. Increased tax revenue and better administration dramatically improved public safety, public health, railways, mining, industry, foreign trade, and national finances.

After a half-century of stagnation, where per capita income was merely a tenth of the developed nations such as Britain and the US, the Mexican economy took off and grew at an annual rate of 2. Mexico moved from being a target of ridicule to international pride. As traditional ways were under challenge, urban Mexicans debated national identity, the rejection of indigenous cultures, the new passion for French culture once the French were ousted from Mexico, and the challenge of creating a modern nation by means of industrialization and scientific modernization.

Mexico City was poorer per capita in than in Some commentators attribute the slow economic growth to the negative impact of Spanish rule, the concentration of landholding by few families, and the reactionary role of the Catholic Church. Coatsworth rejects those reasons and says the chief obstacles were poor transportation and inefficient economic organization. Under the Porfiriato regime — , economic growth was much faster.

He was elected president eight times, turning over power once, from to , to a trusted ally, General Manuel Gonzailez. This period of relative prosperity is known as the Porfiriate. Diaz remained in power by rigging elections and censoring the press. Possible rivals were destroyed, and popular generals were moved to new areas so they could not build a permanent base of support.

Banditry on roads leading to major cities was largely suppressed by the "Rurales" , a new police force controlled by Diaz. Banditry remained a major threat in more remote areas, because the Rurales comprised fewer than men. The Army was reduced in size from 30, to under 20, men, which resulted in a smaller percentage of the national budget being committed to the military. Nevertheless, the army was modernized, well-trained, and equipped with the latest technology. The Army was top-heavy with 5, officers, many of them elderly, but politically well-connected veterans of the wars of the s.

He nevertheless ran for reelection and in a show of U. Moore, a Texas Ranger , discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route. Diaz gave enormous power and prestige to the Superior Health Council, which developed a consistent and assertive strategy using up-to-date international scientific standards. It took control of disease certification; required prompt reporting of disease; and launched campaigns against tropical disease such as yellow fever.

Limantour expanded foreign investment, supported free trade, and balanced the budget for the first time and generated a budget surplus by However, he was unable to halt the rising cost of food, which alienated the poor. The American Panic of was an economic downturn that caused a sudden drop in demand for Mexican copper, silver, gold, zinc, and other metals. Mexico in turn cut its imports of horses and mules, mining machinery, and railroad supplies.

Mexico was vulnerable to external shocks because of its weak banking system. The banking system was controlled by a small oligarchy, which typically made long-term loans to their own directors. The banks were the financial arms of extended kinship-based business coalitions that used banks to raise additional capital to expand enterprises. Economic growth was largely based on trade with the United States. Mexico had few factories by , but then industrialization took hold in the Northeast, especially in Monterrey. Factories produced machinery, textiles and beer, while smelters processed ores.

Convenient rail links with the nearby US gave local entrepreneurs from seven wealthy merchant families a competitive advantage over more distant cities. New federal laws in and allowed corporations to be more flexible. By the s, American Smelting and Refining Company ASARCO , an American firm controlled by the Guggenheim family, had invested over 20 million pesos and employed nearly 2, workers smelting copper and making wire to meet the demand for electrical wiring in the US and Mexico.

The modernizers insisted that schools lead the way, and that science replace superstition. These reforms were consistent with international trends in teaching methods. In order to break the traditional peasant habits that hindered industrialization and rationalization, reforms emphasized the children's punctuality, assiduity, and health. Cities were rebuilt with modernizing architects favoring the latest European styles, especially the Beaux-Arts style, to symbolize the break with the past.

A highly visible exemplar was the Federal Legislative Palace, built — Tutino examines the impact of the Porfiriato in the highland basins south of Mexico City, which became the Zapatista heartland during the Revolution. Population growth, railways and concentration of land in a few families generated a commercial expansion that undercut the traditional powers of the villagers. Young men felt insecure about the patriarchal roles they had expected to fill. Initially, this anxiety manifested as violence within families and communities.

The young men were radicalized, as they fought for their traditional roles regarding land, community, and patriarchy. The Mexican Revolution is a broad term to describe political and social changes in the early 20th century. Foreign powers had important economic and strategic interests in the outcome of power struggles in Mexico, with United States involvement in the Mexican Revolution playing an especially significant role.

The Revolution grew increasingly broad-based, radical and violent. Revolutionaries sought far-reaching social and economic reforms by strengthening the state and weakening the conservative forces represented by the Church, the rich landowners, and foreign capitalists. Some scholars consider the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution of as its end point. Land reform in Mexico was enabled by Article Economic nationalism was also enabled by Article 27, restricting ownership of enterprises by foreigners. The Constitution also further restricted the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico ; implementing the restrictions in the late s resulted in major violence in the Cristero War.

A ban on re-election of the president was enshrined in the Constitution and in practice. Political succession was achieved in with the creation of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario PNR , the political party that has dominated Mexico since its creation, now called the Institutional Revolutionary Party. One major effect of the revolution was the disappearance of the Federal Army in , defeated by revolutionary forces of the various factions in the Mexican Revolution.

The Mexican Revolution was based on popular participation. At first, it was based on the peasantry who demanded land, water, and a more sympathetic national government. Wasserman finds that:. This set off a spate of political activity by potential candidates, including Francisco I. Madero , a member of one of Mexico's richest families.

He created the office of vice president, which could have been a mechanism to ease transition in the presidency. He sent Reyes on a "study mission" to Europe and jailed Madero. This fraud was too blatant, and riots broke out. The rising was set for November 20, Diaz tried to use the army to suppress the revolts, but most of the ranking generals were old men close to his own age and they did not act swiftly or with sufficient energy to stem the violence. The Federal Army, although defeated by the northern revolutionaries, was kept intact.

Francisco I. He campaigned in the presidential elections of October , won decisively, and was inaugurated in November The revolutionary leaders had many different objectives; revolutionary figures varied from liberals such as Madero to radicals such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. As a consequence, it proved impossible to agree about how to organize the government that emerged from the triumphant first phase of the revolution. This standoff over political principles led quickly to a struggle for control of the government, a violent conflict that lasted more than 20 years.

Madero was ousted and killed in February during the Ten Tragic Days. Within a month of the coup, rebellion started spreading in Mexico, most prominently by the governor of the state of Coahuila, Venustiano Carranza along with old revolutionaries demobilized by Madero, such as Pancho Villa. The northern revolutionaries fought under the name of the Constitutionalist Army , with Carranza as the "First Chief" primer jefe.

In the south, Emiliano Zapata continued his rebellion in Morelos under the Plan of Ayala , calling for the expropriation of land and redistribution to peasants. Huerta offered peace to Zapata, who rejected it. Huerta convinced Pascual Orozco , whom he fought while serving the Madero government, to join Huerta's forces. The Federal Army became an arm of the Huerta regime, swelling to some , men, many pressed into service and most ill-trained. The US did not recognize the Huerta government, but from February to August it imposed an arms embargo on exports to Mexico, exempting the Huerta government and thereby favoring the regime against emerging revolutionary forces.

Arms ceased to flow to Huerta's government, [57] which benefited the revolutionary cause. Although Mexico was engaged in a civil war at the time, the US intervention united Mexican forces in their opposition to the US. Foreign powers helped broker US withdrawal in the Niagara Falls peace conference. The US timed its pullout to throw its support to the Constitutionalist faction under Carranza.

Initially, the forces in northern Mexico were united under the Constitutionalist banner, with able revolutionary generals serving the civilian First Chief Carranza. Pancho Villa began to split from supporting Carranza as Huerta was on his way out. The break was not simply on personalist grounds, but primarily because Carranza was politically too conservative for Villa.

In July , Huerta resigned under pressure and went into exile. His resignation marked the end of an era since the Federal Army , a spectacularly ineffective fighting force against the revolutionaries, ceased to exist. With the exit of Huerta, the revolutionary factions decided to meet and make "a last ditch effort to avert more intense warfare than that which unseated Huerta.

The Convention of Aguascalientes did not reconcile the various victorious factions in the Mexican Revolution , but was a brief pause in revolutionary violence. The break between Carranza and Villa became definitive during the Convention. The convention declared Carranza in rebellion against it and civil war resumed, this time between revolutionary armies that had fought in a united cause to oust Huerta. Villa went into alliance with Zapata to form the Army of the Convention.

Their forces separately moved on the capital and captured Mexico City in , which Carranza's forces had abandoned. The famous picture of Villa, sitting in the presidential chair in the National Palace, and Zapata is a classic image of the Revolution. Villa is reported to have said to Zapata that the presidential "chair is too big for us. Zapata returned to his southern stronghold in Morelos, where he continued to engage in guerrilla warfare under the Plan of Ayala.

Constitutionalist victory was complete. Carranza emerged in as the political leader of Mexico with a victorious army to keep him in that position. Villa retreated north, seemingly into political oblivion. Carranza and the Constitutionalists consolidated their position as the winning faction, with Zapata remaining a threat until his assassination in Venustiano Carranza promulgated a new constitution on February 5, The Mexican Constitution of , with significant amendments in the s, still governs Mexico. On 19 January , a secret message the Zimmermann Telegram was sent from the German foreign minister to Mexico proposing joint military action against the United States if war broke out.

The offer included material aid to Mexico to reclaim the territory lost during the Mexican—American War , specifically the American states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Carranza's generals told him that Mexico would lose to its much more powerful neighbor. However, Zimmermann's message was intercepted and published, and outraged American opinion, leading to a declaration of war in early April. Carranza then formally rejected the offer, and the threat of war with the US eased. Carranza was assassinated in during an internal feud among his former supporters over who would replace him as president.

Their life experience in Mexico's northwest, described as a "savage pragmatism" [65] was in a sparsely settled region, conflict with Indians, secular rather than religious culture, and independent, commercially oriented ranchers and farmers. This was different from subsistence agriculture of the dense population of the strongly Catholic indigenous and mestizo peasantry of central Mexico.

However, all three men were skilled politicians and administrators, who had honed their skills in Sonora. There they had "formed their own professional army, patronized and allied themselves with labor unions, and expanded the government authority to promote economic development. His government managed to accommodate many elements of Mexican society except the most conservative clergy and big land owners. He was not an ideologue, but was a revolutionary nationalist, holding seemingly contradictory views as a socialist, a capitalist, a Jacobin , a spiritualist , and an Americanopphile.

He faced several main tasks in the presidency, mainly political in nature. First was consolidating state power in the central government and curbing regional strongmen caudillos ; second was obtaining diplomatic recognition from the United States; and third was managing the presidential succession in when his term of office ended. With the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution of , the Mexican government was empowered to expropriate natural resources.

The U. The treaty resolved questions about foreign oil interests in Mexico, largely in favor of U. Fifty-four former Obregonistas were shot in the event. Since political opposition parties were essentially banned, the Catholic Church "filled the political void and play the part of a substitute opposition.

Candidate Calles embarked on the first populist presidential campaign in the nation's history, as he called for land redistribution and promised equal justice, more education, additional labor rights, and democratic governance. The Cristero War of to was a counter-revolution against the Calles regime set off by his persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico [74] and specifically the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws.

Robert F. The Mexican Experience Series. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, First, he contradicts the argument of previous historians who have stated that the demise of the STFRM was a foregone conclusion. Second, Alegre uses not only archival sources but also interviews to analyze workers. Third, he brings female spouses of workers into the historiography by explaining their contributions to the movement. Unfortunately, the PRI would, in the s and s, rule in favor of capitalists and against workers and students.


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  7. Radical political parties, such as the Mexican Communist Party PCM , were silenced into compliancy, to a large degree in order to support the Soviet struggle against Fascism. Alegre, like Pavilock, acknowledges the fact that Communist and Communist-inspired activists within political parties and labor unions, such as the STFRM, continued to struggle for fair wages and better working conditions but did so within the boundaries assigned by a bourgeois political structure.

    Even though sources tell some of the same stories, there are two primary examples of this account.

    Railroad Radicals in Cold War Mexico

    Escamilla blames trenistas conductors. Alegre portrays trenistas as among the most independent workers, therefore, among the most masculine and respected. Even though union leaders were in alliance with PRI leaders and business interests, workers were not and could not be controlled. At this point, Alegre provides his second major contribution to historical knowledge.

    Vallejo, Campa, and other leaders and Communist activists used the Constitution of as their main source of inspiration. They argued that the PRI needed to live up to the promises made during the revolution.