Unit 6: Revolutionary Mexico and Legacies of Colonialism
The Mexican Revolution of 1910 represented a culmination of a century of political and social conflict in Latin and South America, following independence from Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule. Ostensibly, Mexico became a democracy when it separated from Spain, but wealthy elites came to dominate its political, economic, and social institutions. Lower and middle-class Mexicans had little political power and faced constant subjugation from corrupt landlords and political officials.
The Mexican Revolution began as an upper-middle-class political conflict between Porfirio Diaz, its long-time president, and Francisco Madero, his political rival, but eventually encompassed all classes of Mexican society. The conflict led to Diaz's fall from power, and a series of coups and counter-coups that prevented a return to stable government.
Poor farmers and the indigenous population took advantage of the revolutionary chaos to challenge the political and economic power of wealthy landlords and local officials. In the early 1930s, President Lazaro Cardenas restored political and social order by implementing several social reforms to address extreme social and economic inequalities in the nation.
In this unit, we analyze the origins of the Mexican Revolution and examine how it affected all aspects of Mexican society. We also explore the broader consequences of the revolution for the Mexican people, the country's political institutions, Latin America, and South America.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.