Mexican Revolution | Causes, Battles, Timeline, & Facts - TS HISTORICAL (2023)

Table of Content Contents

  • 1 The Mexican Revolution
  • 2 The Rise of Francisco Madero
    • 2.1 The Presidency of Madero to his Assassination
  • 3 Presidential Election of 1920

The Mexican Revolution

Mexican Revolution | Causes, Battles, Timeline, & Facts - TS HISTORICAL (1)

The Mexican Revolution commonly refers to around ten years, from 1910 to 1920,in which Mexico transitioned from Porfirio Diaz’s corrupt dictatorship to a constitutional republic.

The revolution that took place was both political and social. It involved the complex interplay ofseveral factional groups. It was extremely violent and bloody and is the source of many themes aroundwhat it means to be Mexican today, especially considering the idolization of revolutionariessuch as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. As with any study of a revolution,it pays to examine the causes, concerns, and events that were the catalysts for change.There is often a correlation between the causes and the shape and nature of the revolution itself.

The dictatorship of Diaz, though officially operating within a constitution,effectively ruled in an autocratic manner. He was re-elected to the presidency seven times,though again, these were mostly unchallenged, uncontested victories.A former military general, Diaz is emblematic of the classic strongman in Latin American politics.

He secured loyalty by dividing and conquering Mexico’s different factions,offering incentives to those who would follow him, and ruthlessly eradicating any oppositionthat surfaced. His authority was based on the platform that he was improving the economy – he was a friend to Mexico’s middle classes who gained considerable wealth during his time in office.

He facilitated wealthy landowners and foreign inventors to buy up Mexico’s land, take communalspaces from the poor and indigenous peasantry, and force these villagers to farm cash crops.Foreign investors were invited to snap up deals for Mexico’s land rights for oil fields and mines,so much so that by the start of the revolution, around a quarter of Mexico’sland was in the hands of foreign investors. A convergence of crises brought about the downfall of Diaz. First, a series of economic issues bred resentment in rural areas.

The price of corn doubled at the beginning of the 20th century, causing terrible hardshipamong the agrarian classes. Droughts worsened the circumstances. There wasa growing awareness that Diaz’s authority based on economic prosperity benefitted a select fewand seemed to fail more generally as American companies began to be wary of their investments.Oppositional elements were also growing impatient with Diaz’s heavy-handed oppressive politicaltactics.

The Rise of Francisco Madero

Mexican Revolution | Causes, Battles, Timeline, & Facts - TS HISTORICAL (2)

In 1908, Diaz spoke in an interview of a return to democracy yet turned his backon the comments as he sought reelection in 1910. This prompted Francisco Madero,one of Mexico’s richest men, to denounce the regime and found the Anti-re-elections Party.Diaz imprisoned Madero, and though general outcry led to his release,the whole event served to steel Madero’s resolve.

He called for a revolution tobe held on November 20th at precisely 6 pm in the name of land reform and political freedom.It didn’t manifest, but a growing emergence of revolutionary pressure from various socioeconomicclasses across the country eventually led to Diaz heading for exile in Paris. Diaz had been toppled,and Madero was declared President, but this was just the beginning of the revolution.

Madero’s initial call had failed, but Diaz had left by spring 1911. This had been brought aboutby fierce fighting in rural areas in the north and south. Pascual Orozco and Pancho Villa raidedgovernment garrisons in the north after mobilizing their bands into more significant forces.Emiliano Zapata waged a violent class war against the caciques(or local bosses) in the south. After taking Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican-US border, theserevolutionary forces declared Madero president. However, all would not go smoothly from here.

Madero believed in a return to political liberty but did not endorse the kind of sweeping socialand land reforms that other revolutionary forces now sought. Zapata and Villa were both championsof peasant and indigenous communities and wanted a radical redistribution of land from the wealthylandowners to the villagers themselves.

A wealthy landowner himself – Madero would not go as faras this. Leading a broad cross-class coalition, Madero’s early reform attempts proved too radicalfor conservatives – but not extreme enough for revolutionaries. He was overthrown after15 months during the ten tragic days of February 1913 and was executed. He had been betrayed bya general named Huerta, who declared himself a military dictator backed by the United States.

Going back to the Diaz days, the US had plenty of commercial interest invested in the outcomeof Mexico’s political intrigues. A running theme through Mexico’s progress as a nation – and manyother Latin American countries – was the constant need to consider their relationship with the USamid interventionism. In this case, US investors, wary of revolutionary claimsto redistribute land they were heavily invested in, sought to address the situation.

The Presidency of Madero to his Assassination

Mexican Revolution | Causes, Battles, Timeline, & Facts - TS HISTORICAL (3)

The dealfor Huerta to conspire with other factions to overthrow Madero is known as “The Pactof the Embassy” because it was signed in the office of the US Ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson. If revolutionaries like Zapata and Villa were uninspired by Madero,they found a figure to unite against Huerta. His despotic rule only lasted for a year as rebelforces converged on Mexico City in the summer of 1914.

From here, the revolutionary cause splitinto in-fighting and disagreements over who should take power and the direction that the revolutionshould take. Conventionistas – including Zapata and Villa – persisted with ambitiousaims to redistribute land. On the other side, Constitutionalistas led by Venustiano Carranza and Álvaro Obregón believed in the primacy of liberal reforms with no real zeal for widespreadchanges in the country’s social structure.

Over the next few years, historians talk about the warto define what the revolution stood for – this was, in fact, a civil war that led to the deathof at least a million Mexican – showing this disagreement went far beyond a polite discourse.

A significant event within this civil war was the bloody battle in April 1915 at Celaya,in which Obregon’s forces routed Villa. Villa blamed his defeat on Woodrow Wilson’s supportfor Carranza and Obregon’s faction. Thereafter,Villa began a vendetta against Americans in theborder region – executing some 17 US citizens in January of 1916 at Santa Isabel and even raidingNew Mexico at Columbus.

Villa’s actions prompted Wilson to send General John J.Pershing with a small force into the Mexican hills to pursue Villa’s bandits. It’s this image ofVilla that many find romantic. At this point, he is cornered, has experienced defeat, and his caseseems lost. Yet, he fights on, dedicated, to a small group of desperados, engaging in guerrilla warfareand unwilling to give in. He had shown cruelty to Americans through some of his tactics,but the fugitive’s heroic image dubbed “the centaur of the north” is one that endures.

In the inter-factional struggles, the Constitutionistas ultimately won out, and Carranzawas elected President. In 1917, he brought in a new constitution that gave the government theright to confiscate land from wealthy landowners, guaranteed workers’ rights, and limited the RomanCatholic Church’s rights.

However, it did confer dictatorial powers to the President.An extraordinary document that gave scope for widespread change was just a frameworkallowing for future developments and not immediately binding. Many of the innovativeand ground-breaking policies laid out in the constitution simply weren’t enacted upon.

Many of those promises in the 1917 constitution weren’t carried out until Lazaro Cardenas cameinto office in 1934, 17 years after the initial revolutionary document and 24 years after Maderohad called for his revolution in 1910. Cardenas strengthened labor unions, nationalized Mexico’soil industry, and redistributed over 70,000 square miles of land. In the intervening years, Zapatahad been assassinated in 1919, Carranza fell to the same fate soon after, and Villa was murdered.

Presidential Election of 1920

Mexican Revolution | Causes, Battles, Timeline, & Facts - TS HISTORICAL (4)

In 1923. In every election throughout the 1920s, there was uprising and contention inthe struggle to define the revolutionary legacy. So, how do we define the revolutionary legacy?It ended the dictatorship that went before, and to this day, the reworked constitution does notallow elected officials to run for a second term.

The revolutionary constitution itselfenshrined many workers’ rights and initiated many social and political reforms, though perhaps notachieving Villa and Zapata’s lofty ambitions, and did reduce the power of the Catholic Church.

Many historians point to the Mexican Revolution as having a significant influence on otherrevolutions to follow in other Latin American countries in the 20th century – and morewidely revered transformations in Russia and China. Historians speculate that the Mexicanrevolutionaries had no real desire to export their ideals, perhaps explaining the lack ofbroader historical significance given to this transitional period in the country’s past.

Mexico’s PRI, Institutional Revolutionary Party, has dominated Mexican politics to the present day,gaining political authority by evoking the national myths founded in the revolutionaryperiod.

The revolution’s icons are still revered, with national monuments celebrating many figures,including Villa, Zapata, Madero, and Carranza – uniting these revolutionaries in national memorydespite their contemporary disagreements. Therefore, in the search for the meaning ofthe revolution’s events, as ever, it may be more important to see what it means to Mexicans today.


Mexican Revolution | Causes, Battles, Timeline, & Facts - TS HISTORICAL? ›

March 6, 1911: Madero leads an attack on a federal garrison. March 24, 1911: Emiliano Zapata organizes a revolutionary band to protest land lost by Indians. April 3, 1911: Madero leads 500 revolutionaries in an attack against Ciudad Juarez. May 7, 1911: Battles ensue throughout Mexico, and Diaz offers his resignation.

What were 4 major events of the Mexican revolution? ›

March 6, 1911: Madero leads an attack on a federal garrison. March 24, 1911: Emiliano Zapata organizes a revolutionary band to protest land lost by Indians. April 3, 1911: Madero leads 500 revolutionaries in an attack against Ciudad Juarez. May 7, 1911: Battles ensue throughout Mexico, and Diaz offers his resignation.

What is the historical background of the Mexican revolution? ›

The Mexican Revolution started in 1910, when liberals and intellectuals began to challenge the regime of dictator Porfirio Díaz, who had been in power since 1877, a term of 34 years called El Porfiriato, violating the principles and ideals of the Mexican Constitution of 1857.

What are 5 facts about the Mexican revolution? ›

6 Things You May Not Know About the Mexican Revolution
  • The Mexican Revolution deposed the country's longest-serving president. ...
  • A new Mexican strongman soon took over. ...
  • The anti-Huerta forces eventually began fighting each other. ...
  • The United States intervened numerous times in the conflict.
Nov 20, 2012

What were some important battles of the Mexican revolution? ›

Battle of Celaya, (April 1915), decisive military engagement in the wars between revolutionary factions during the Mexican Revoluion of 1910–20. One of the largest and bloodiest battles in Mexican history, it was fought at Celaya, Guanajuato state, between the forces of Álvaro Obregón and Pancho Villa.

What are three historical events in Mexico? ›

Some key dates and events in Mexico's history are as follows:
  • 1519: Cortes sails from Havana and lands in Mexico.
  • 1520–1521: Montezuma dies and Cortes lays siege to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire.
  • 1524: Consejo (council) de las Indias established by the King of Spain. ...
  • 1527: Bishopric of Mexico created.
Dec 12, 2022

Who were 3 important people in the Mexican revolution? ›

The Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910, ended dictatorship in Mexico and established a constitutional republic. A number of groups, led by revolutionaries including Francisco Madero, Pascual Orozco, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, participated in the long and costly conflict.

What historical events led to the Mexican American War? ›

The immediate cause of the Mexican-American War was a disputed boundary between the United States and Texas on the Nueces Strip. Mexico did not recognize Texas as legitimate American territory and Texas admission to the United States antagonized Mexican officials and citizens.

What were the two main causes of the Mexican revolution? ›

The economic policies of Porfirio Díaz, unequal distribution of land, deeply entrenched economic inequality, and undemocratic institutions were the major causes of the revolution.

How did the Mexican Revolutionary war start? ›

The Revolution began with a call to arms on 20th November 1910 to overthrow the current ruler and dictator Porfirio Díaz Mori. Díaz was an ambitious president, keen to develop Mexico into an industrial and modernised country.

Why is the Mexican Revolution important to history? ›

The Mexican Revolution sparked the Constitution of 1917 which provided for separation of Church and state, government ownership of the subsoil, holding of land by communal groups, the right of labor to organize and strike and many other aspirations.

Who won the Mexican Revolution? ›

The Constiutionalistas emerged victorious. They passed a constitution and elected Carranza president. The Mexican Constitution of 1917 enshrined legal and political rights, but it also called for economic rights and social justice.

What was a major Battle in Mexican history? ›

The Battle of Cerro Gordo: April 17-18, 1847

Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna had regrouped after his defeat at Buena Vista and marched with thousands of determined Mexican soldiers towards the coast and the invading Americans, He dug in at Cerro Gordo, or “Fat Hill,” near Xalapa.

What was the biggest Battle of the Mexican revolution? ›

After ten days and nights of engagement, Villa's fighters were rejoicing in their apparent victory as the federal army withdrew to the south. The battle of Zacatecas would be known as the largest and bloodiest battle during the revolution against Huerta.

What were 2 important battles of the Mexican-American War? ›

March 9 – 27, 1847 - Siege of Vera Cruz September 13, 1847 - Battle of Chapultepec. U.S. victory September 14, 1847 - U.S. troops occupy Mexico City.

What were the most significant events of the Mexican revolution? ›

Major Events of Mexican Revolution
  • 26 June 1910: Porfirio Diaz Arrests Madero. ...
  • 20 November 1910: Plan de San Luis. ...
  • 22 February 1913: Victoriano Huerta. ...
  • 15 June 1914: Gotta Blast. ...
  • 23 November 1914: You Played Yourself. ...
  • 5 Feb 1917: Constitution. ...
  • 1 May 1917: Not Villa's President. ...
  • 20 April 1920: Let's Get This Party Started.

What were 2 major effects of the Mexican revolution? ›

The revolution ended the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, and since 1928, Mexican presidents have not been allowed to run for a second term. The 1917 constitution enshrined political and socioeconomic rights and limited the power of the Catholic church.

Which 3 major issues were effects of the Mexican Revolution? ›

The Mexican Revolution sparked the Constitution of 1917 which provided for separation of Church and state, government ownership of the subsoil, holding of land by communal groups, the right of labor to organize and strike and many other aspirations.


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