Introduction The Mexican revolution was a never-ending struggle among several leaders, which resulted in the thirty years of dictatorship in Mexico and the establishment of a constitutional republic. The Mexican Revolution, even after a hundred years, remains an important reference point in Mexican politics.
The Mexican Revolution lays the basis of the politic structure of contemporary Mexico until the present. Nevertheless, United States was one of the most important factors which led to the establishment of modern Mexico. To what extent did the united states involvement in the Mexican revolution from 1913-1917 influence Carranza’s presidency?The United States made it seem like she was only helping Mexican regain peace, yet twice the military interfered.
As historian John S.D. Eisenhower stated that the United States did nothing to help the welfare of Mexico, in fact planted hatred in the Mexicans until the present.1 From the fall of Diaz to Madero, Huerta then Carranza, one can deduce that the United States only supported leaders of their own interest. United States became interest in Mexican affairs after the assassination of Madero. The United States president Howard Taft was not pleased with the ruling of Huerta, so Huerta was overthrown by Villa and Carranza. In the end, the United States supported Carranza because Villa raided New Mexico.
This essay will address the reason of United States invasions, the similarities and differences of Madero and Carranza’s presidency, the struggles Carranza has with Villa and Zapata due to his betrayal during the Mexican Revolution with United States’ support, and the conflicts Carranza had with United states to bring his country’s oil industry under Mexican’s control, which eventually causing the fall of Carranza in 1918. Background The relationship between Mexico and the United States prior to the Mexican Revolution were close to begin with. After Porfirio Diaz comes to power in 1876, Mexico began to have a closer relationship with foreign countries, especially United States, in order to strengthen economy.2 He strengthened industries from 10,000 barrels in 1901 to around 13 million by 1911.
3 Diaz ruled for the longest time in Mexico, from year 1876 – 1910. However, he made Mexico into a well-developed Country. One of the most significant developments was the production of railroads in Mexico. By 1910, Mexico built 10,000 miles of track, which provided numerous ways to transport goods and people.4 Furthermore, the railways ran all the way to Veracruz, the capital city of Mexico. The railroad is significant because it united the country together. Not only that, Diaz was loved by his people.
Ever since his victory at the war with France in 1862, he has been viewed as a hero by the people. Yet, his desires to keep a close relationship with the United States made the few Mexicans reluctant to support Diaz, especially the indigenous groups. This resulted in bandits from both countries taking advantage of the mutual trust between the two countries and differing legal codes of both nations.
5 Even so, Diaz kept a somewhat good relationship with the United States. Furthermore, the United States also recognized Diaz government due to their supporters in congress to build a railway line between Mexico City and El Pasco, Texas.6 On the other hand, his government was considered a military government. He killed those who went against his ideas. Furthermore, he rotates his generals around regularly, to prevent forces rising up against him as well as everyone needed to by loyal to him.7 He only supported the rich, which causes the oppression of the poor and created a gap between the wealthy and the poor.
In the end, resulted in the loss of support of the people and the army.8 Without of the main source, Diaz completely grew powerless. Thus, in year 1911, Diaz lost to another leader of Mexico, Madero. Madero was a young and inexperienced leader that supported democracy.9 He had many ideas but soon realized the problems it created. In the end, Madero disappointed the people of Mexico. Twelve month later, Francisco L. Madero was assassinated in office.
This threw Mexico into confusion. Again, Mexico needed a new person to step up the leadership of Mexico. Then, Huerta, Diaz’s friend, decided to take the leadership role and became the next leader of Mexico. Huerta, on the other hand, supported Diaz’s regime. In fact, he made Mexico into a country of military government. As the famous British historian Alan Knight said, “The consistent thread which ran through the Huerta regime, from start to finish, was militarization: the growth and reliance on the Federal Army, the military takeover of public offices, the preference for military over political solutions, the militarization of society in general.
“10 With such a regime, many leaders started rising up again to overthrow a military government. Such leaders were Venustiano Carranza, governor of Coahuila during the time, Francisco Villa, also known as “Pancho” Villa, and Emiliano Zapata. All three of the forces came to importance as lastly Carranza became the leader of Mexico in 1917. Madero and Carranza The aims of Venustiano Carranza’s regime were similar to that of Francisco Madero’s during the Mexican revolution.
First of all, Madero and Carranza believed in capitalism. Both Madero and Carranza disagreed with the way Diaz had ruled the country. They thought that militarism was not the best solution, democracy is. However, both leaders failed to accomplish their goals during office. As historian Benjamin Keen and Keith Haynes stated, both Madero and Carranza promised democracy, but meant democracy for the upper class and elites only.11 Madero and Carranza did nothing to the huge gap of the upper and lower class, therefore the majorities, which were the lower class, were disappointed.
It was also ironic how both leaders in fact promised agrarian reforms but neither of them redistributed the land. They believed that the only way for Mexico to modernize was to give lands to the rich landowners.12 Furthermore, both leaders had the United States support during their years in office. The United States only recognizes governments that were willing to keep a close relationship with them, and Wilson, the United States president during the time, feared that the bond between Mexico and United States were to be broken if military leaders like Huerta continued to be in power.13 On the other hands, despite all the similarities of Carranza and Madero, there are also many contrasts of their years in office. Even though both leaders were nationalists, Carranza was a pragmatist and Madero was an idealist.
14 An idealist accepts moral principles whether it is good or bad, and a pragmatist rejects moral principles.15 Madero’s democracy used social control to promote capitalistic ideas, like limiting knowledge of the people through education.16 Madero also did not wanted re-election of presidents. Yet all Carranza hoped for was economic and political stability. Due to all the damages during the revolution and all the property taking by the United States, Carranza hoped for nothing but for Mexico to settle down. Furthermore, Carranza valued human rights and supported a constitutional government.
Thus, he drafted the constitution of 1917 during office.17 United States and the Monroe Doctrine The United States’ president Wilson always had an interest in Carranza, therefore supported Carranza during the revolution to become the upcoming leader of Mexico after Diaz. Perhaps this was not the first time United States had intervened in Latin America.
As historian Friedrich Katz stated, “Every victorious faction between 1910 and 1919 enjoyed the sympathy, and in most cases the direct support of U.S. authorities in its struggle for power.”18 It is certain that the United States intervened Mexico stems from the Monroe Doctrine theory.
The Monroe Doctrine, allows United States to intervene militarily in any region of Latin America. Thus, there was a long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America prior to the Mexican Revolution. United States had interfered in many countries other than Mexico, like Argentina.19 Due to this theory, United States intervened twice in Mexico legally, which continuously threw Mexico into confusion. As historian E. B.
Burns stated, “No nation intervened with in Mexican affairs more vigorously than the United States.”20 President Wilson became interested in Mexican affairs after the murder of Madero. First time the United States intervened was occupation of Veracruz because President Wilson from the United States were displeased with Huerta’s government. By the time, the United States had already recognized Carranza.
The second time the United States intruded Mexico was capturing Villa because of the small damage he made in the city of New Mexico, Columbus. Both of the intervention United States almost destroyed Mexico. Furthermore, President Wilson send troops to Carranza’s forces and supported Carranza, which resulted in Carranza’s rise in power as well as his fall of power. Carranza’s relationship with his allies during the Mexican revolution As Carranza was preoccupied to defend from his previous allies during the Mexican Revolution, he did little changes in office. Again, since President Woodrow Wilson and the United States had an interest of Carranza, the United States supported Carranza in his battles with Villa during the Revolution.
The United States thought that Villa was not a manipulative leader and barbaric because Villa was viewed as a great leader with terrible temper. As john S.D.
Eisenhower Stated “Villa never learned to control his passions and appetites. His principal biographer remarked, ‘Villa… had more of a jaguar about him than a man.'”21 it is valuable because it portraits the views of Villa during that time period. This resulted in Carranza getting the upper hand and Villa’s fall of power. Furious, Villa raided the city of New Mexico, Columbus, which was United States’ territory.
Then, on March 14, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson launched the “punitive expedition” to catch Villa.22 A punitive expedition meant sending a military group to punish someone from outside the border. Which meant, invading the territory of Mexico. Furthermore, the expedition took almost a year, until February 7, 1917. This meant that United States’ soldiers were in Mexican soil for almost a year. NO matter what it is more than an intervention, more of an invasion.23 Most important of all, after a year of chase, the United States were still unable to catch Villa. Eventually, president Wilson had to call off the expedition.
This event was seen as a really significant event during the Mexican Revolution which enormously influenced Carranza’s years in office. Due to United States’ intervention, Mexico was thrown into confusion. Nevertheless, Carranza stepped up as president of Mexico in 1917. However, Carranza’s relationship with his fellow comrades during the Mexican Revolution was never the same. Zapata and Obregon were both against the leadership of Carranza due to the United States support.
Furthermore, there were still Diaz’s political groups who were rising against Carranza. Every day during office, Carranza was in the danger of being attacked anytime.24 The United States and Carranza’s Government The United States continued to intervene even after Carranza’s became the president. Carranza, on the other hand, knew he needed to act to stop United States from interfering. So, he drafted the constitution of 1917, which was a way to unite Mexicans together again as well as to keep the United States out. President Wilson was not pleased with the Constitution, especially article 27.
25 Article 27 restricts land to be controlled by foreign countries. This meant that United States were no longer able to have territories in Mexico. However, Article 27 could not apply to foreign countries as it is a constitution for Mexico only, therefore it was futile to draft article 27.26 In the end, the Constitution of 1917 was considered to be a radical idea instead of liberal.27 Though the United States was not pleased with the Constitution, further intervention would ruin the relationship between Mexico, so the Constitution was implemented in the end. Carranza’s Presidency Some articles also showed that it was not mainly the United States that made Carranza’s presidency fall apart. As E.
B. Burns stated “…heCarranza exercised little control over the proceedings. Ideological differences split the delegates. The radicals, supported by Obregón, gained control and imposed their views.” 28 The reason of his fall is due to popular support, that he never had popular support when he came in power as the leader of Mexico.
This implies that Carranza was rather viewed as a traitor than a hero. This is shown through the provision of 1917. Land and labor remained the basic issues for the Mexican people, but Carranza chose to overlook the constitutional provisions dealing with these issues and returned lands expropriated during the Revolution. This suggests that Carranza failed to keep Mexico in control after suffering such loss. Though John S.D. Eisenhower argues that “Carranza triumphed over his rivals because of his political acuity, which led to his policy of unswerving hostility to the United States, an immensely popular stand in Mexico.” 29 He states that Carranza had a popular stand in Mexico and that the United States was the main cause of the fall of Carranza.
Carranza did little change in office only to gain back the oil industry that the United States took from Mexico. Furthermore, Villa attacked Columbus only due to Carranza’s recognition by the United States. By 1917, Mexico produced over 55 million barrels of crude oil, which had become of crucial strategic importance to the British, and by extension to the Allied, war effort; Carranza threatened to set fire to the oil fields if the Americans invaded.30 He was also a good leader. Carranza maintained a policy of formal neutrality during the war, influenced by the anti-American sentiment that the United States’ various interventions and invasions during the last century had caused.
31 Relations between Carranza and Wilson were often strained, particularly after the proclamation of the new constitution, which marked the participation of Mexico in the Great War.32 Nevertheless, Carranza was able to make the best out of a complicated situation; his government was officially recognized by Germany at the beginning of 1917, and by the United States on August 31, 1917, the latter as a direct consequence of the Zimmermann telegram as a measure to ensure Mexico’s continued neutrality in the war.33 Even though the United States helped Carranza to gain power, she also obtained many territories from Mexico (eg. Columbus, New Mexico).
The United States is a great factor that negatively impacted the fall of Carranza’s presidency. Conclusion Supported by the Monroe Doctrine, United States interventions in the Mexican politics of the Revolution was not light and that under pretexts of protecting foreign interests, they had to influence to choose who would be in power, thus showing their significant role. Therefore, the United States lay the basis of Mexico, economically, politically and socially. Being the president of Mexico, Carranza also struggled to bring the country together without further connections with the United States. During office, Carranza also had conflict with both his allies, and the United States. Carranza’s previous allies despised him due to his betrayal act during the Mexican Revolution. Twice the United States intervened in the Mexican Revolution through force. United States was also against Carranza of drafting article 27 of the Constitution of 1917 as it restricted the United States of owning Mexican land.
The United States involvements in the Mexican revolution invoked the hatred of the Mexicans until now. There still seems to be tension between Mexico and United States. To a great extent, the United States involvements during the Mexican Revolution influenced Carranza’s presidency. 1 John S. D.
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