Mexico’s Revolution of 1910 | A brief history

The Mexican Revolution began in 1910, initiated by Francisco I. Madero to oust President Porfirio Diaz who had been in power for over 30 years.

Francisco Madero was one of many people in Mexico who were tired of Diaz’ authoritarian rule,. Along with his cabinet, Diaz was aging while holding tightly to the reins of the country. Madero formed the Anti-Reelectionist Party and ran against Diaz, but the elections were rigged and Diaz won again.

Diaz had Madero jailed in San Luis Potosi. Upon his release, he fled to Texas where he wrote the Plan of San Luis Potosi, which urged the people to rise up in arms against the government in order to re-install democracy in the country. The date of November 20th at 6 pm was set for the revolt to begin.

A couple of days before the planned date of the insurrection, the authorities discovered that Aquiles Serdan and his family, who lived in Puebla, were planning to participate in the revolution. They had been stockpiling arms in preparation. The first shots of the revolution were fired on November 18 at their home, which is now the Museo de la Revolución. The rest of the revolutionaries joined the fight on November 20th as planned, and that is still considered the official beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

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Zapata, seeing an opportunity to promote land reform in Mexico, made quiet alliances with Madero, whom he perceived to be the best chance for genuine change in the country. Although he was wary about Madero, Zapata cooperated with him when Madero made vague promises about land reform in his Plan of San Luis Potosí. Land reform was the only issue about which Zapata cared.

Zapata joined Madero’s campaign against President Diaz. When Zapata’s army captured Cuautla after a six-day battle on May 19, 1911, it became clear that Diaz would not hold on to power for long. With the support of Pancho Villa, Pascual Orozco, Emiliano Zapata, and rebellious peasants, Madero overthrew Díaz in May 1911 at the Battle of Ciudad Juárez.

In 1911, Porfirio Diaz accepted defeat and left office. He departed for Paris where he remained in exile until his death in 1915 at the age of 85. Francisco Madero was elected president in 1911, but he was assassinated just two years later. The fighting of the revolution would continue until 1920, and even beyond that.

A bandit and Robin Hood outlaw named Pancho Villa played an important role in the Mexican revolution. He became a legendary hero not just for robbing the rich and sharing with the poor, but also for leading one of the most crucial military campaigns during the uprising.

The motto of the revolutionaries was “Sufragio Efectivo – No Reelección” which means Effective Suffrage, No Reelection. This motto is still in use in Mexico today, and remains an important feature of the political landscape. Mexican presidents serve for a single six year term and are not eligible for re-election.


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