The Fragmentation of Mexico and Central America
The Spanish Constitution formed the basis for independence that Central America and Mexico sought in this regions. There were coalitions of the liberal and conservative liberal royalist leaders who influenced the formation of new states. Mexico and Central America welcomed the restoration of the Constitution (Spanish). Local governments were now formed and the deputies would be sent to Cortes. There was a conflict between the conservatives and the liberals. The conservatives believed that the liberal regime would not last. The conservatives supported by the Church were worried that this could proceed to anti-clerical legislation and other reforms. As a result of this worries, the two sides decided to form an alliance and work together. Central America and New Spain later gained their independence. The elites of the regions offered support to the Plan of Iguala that orchestrated the Central America union with the Mexican Empire back in 1821. After two years, this region apart from Chiapas eventually withdrew from Mexico in 1823 which resulted to the formation of Federal Republic of Central America. This new conditions was in place for 17 years until special factors and needs pulled individual provinces apart in the 1840s.
This independence resulted to major changes in economy, society, government and politics. Political institutions and Spanish American economies were weakened massively by the wars thus hindering possible economic development in the region for the 19th century. The lower social classes were then involved in politics of the land as the liberals and conservatives sought to seek tyranny of numbers. With the creation of new nations, there were no clear identification for the nations. The identity creation began at this moment. As a result, countries such as Ecuador, Mexico and Columbia got their names and symbols while governments that would later be involved in federalism and centralism struggles were formed.
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Conflicts and Inequalities that Led to the Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a massive struggle basing its start in 1910 as a result of an uprising that was initiated by Francisco I. Madero against Porfirio Diaz. The revolution lasted for an entire decade. The revolution had changed from being a revolt to what now became a multisided civil war that experienced frequent power shifting struggles. Under the rule of Diaz who took the leadership in 1876 to 1911, there were massive developments in modernization and industry but liberal reforms and human rights were sacrificed. This was termed as the Porfiriato.
Diaz manipulated people to vote for him by making threats to convince individuals to vote for him and rigging in elections. To justify what he did, he claimed that Mexico was not ready to govern itself. He was a dictator. Though the country was pacified and the industry promoted, the working class suffered.
The peasants and farmers for instance continually complained of oppression and exploitation. His leadership benefitted from support from Great Britain and Imperial Germany but was not supported by the United States. His leadership can be judged that it was biased as political power, access to education and wealth was availed to handful of families only. He had changed land reforms putting in place policies that restricted any peasant or farmer from owning land. It is such actions that made the angry and hopeless landless peasants and small farmers to conclude that the only way that their conditions would improve was to be under another regime. They were prepared to support any opposition formed against Diaz.
The Mexican revolution witnessed key individual actors and leaders. The first one was Francisco I. Madero was through difficult moments offered opposition against Diaz. There was also Victoriano Huerta the commander of the armed forces who joined hands with the U. S ambassador and Mexican politicians to remove Madero from power. Pancho Villa was another individual who formed an army that led to the defeat of Diaz. There were other key players as well including Venustiano Carranza and Emiliano Zapata who in their political competitions were changing the status of Mexico.
Restoration of order began when Carranza accepted a radical constitution in 1917. The assassination of Zapata by Carranza’s forces minimized the rural violence in the south. In the Mexican Revolution, a heavy and economic toll had been exacted as there were more than 1 million deaths resulting from violence. The Revolution was then consolidated through the 1920s and 1940s through a series of strong central governments that were being led by former generals from the armies involved in the revolution. The later Mexican presidents were quick to comply with provision by the constitution in which they were mandated for a single term of six years without re-election. In the 1920s, the Mexican president Plutarco Elias Calles designed and implemented institutions which could now define how the political system of Mexico would roll out for the 20th century. In this system, Mexico would now be an authoritarian state that was controlled by a hegemonic revolutionary party, headed by a strong president, anticlericalism, peaceful resolution of social conflict channeled by corporatist representation of the interests of various groups, economic nationalism, and military subordination over the rights of the civilians and minimal collectivization of land.
Key Social Actors and Institutions in the 19th and 20th Century
The Role of the Catholic Church
The relationship between the Mexican government and the Roman Catholic Church had been stable from 1876-1911. Porfirio Diaz had been keen to maintaining good relations with this church due to worries that the American expansionist had been a threat. Diaz then lost all his support to the church when for instance he implemented anti-clerical policies such as large expropriation of tracts that were owned by the Church. Clergy was exposed to forceful laicization. Clergy were executed including the Blessed Miguel Pro in the Cristero War that was anti-clerical. Later on, there were efforts that attempted to set up the Mexican Apostolic National Church which was later subsumed in the 1970s to the Orthodox Church of America.
The Role of Students and Intellectuals
The Role of Military Leaders