The Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution, which began on November 20, 1910, and continued for a decade, is recognized as the first major political, social, and cultural revolution of the 20th century.

Two great figures Francisco Pancho Villa, from the north of Mexico and Emiliano Zapata from the south, led the revolution and remain key cultural and historical symbols in the fight for social justice. The ideals of Zapata and his followers, the Zapatistas, are summarized in their mottos: "Tierra y Libertad" (Land and Freedom) and "La tierra es para el que la trabaja" (The land is for those who work it). These slogans have not ceased to resonate in modern Mexican society.

The Mexican Revolution, (1910-20) was a lengthy struggle that began on May 25, 1911 with the overthrow of Porfirio Diaz, whose elitist and oligarchic policies had caused widespread dissatisfaction. Francisco Madero, Pancho Villa, Pascual Orozco, and Emiliano Zapata amassed supporters, and in 1911 Madero was declared president, but his slow-paced reforms alienated both former allies and foes. He was deposed by Gen. Victoriano Huerta, whose own drunken and despotic dictatorship quickly fell to Villa, Venustiano Carranza, and Álvaro Obregon. Carranza declared himself president in 1914 over Villa's objections. Following more bloodshed, Carranza prevailed. He oversaw the writing of the liberal constitution of 1917 but did little to implement its key provisions. Carranza was assassinated on May 21, 1920 at Tlaxcalamontongo. With the election of the reform-minded Obregon, the revolutionary period ended, though sporadic clashes continued until Lazaro Cardenas took office in 1934. Obregon, himself, was assassinated in the La Bombilla Cafe on July 17, 1928 by Jose de Leon Toral, a Roman Catholic opposed to the government's anti-Catholic policies. Over twice as many Mexicans died (3 million) in the Mexican Revolution as did Americans in World War II.

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