In 1910, Mexico celebrated the centennial of its independence. Porfirio Díaz, at age 80, decided to continue his 35 years as president that had benefited only the few.
Inequality of Public Services (01:43)
While most of Mexico was rural, the technological advances were concentrated in the cities. Hear Diaz’s telephone message of gratitude to Edison. Only the large landowners, industrialists, and merchants benefited from the advances.
Porfirio Díaz's Aging Administration (02:31)
By the 20th century, Díaz' generals were aging. The Díaz' government opened Mexico to economic development, built a railroad system, fomented education, and instituted the National University.
Police Forces (02:17)
The Secret Police spied on journalists, like the Flores Magón brothers. State governors, according to the president’s orders, named municipal leaders. The hacenderos, which expanded at the expense of indigenous communities, controlled rural police.
Exploitation of the Peasants (01:41)
The peasants who lost their lands worked on the haciendas, accumulating debts that passed on to their children. When tenants' corn harvest failed, they became peons on the hacienda; northern haciendas outnumbered small farms. Fierce Northerners fomented the revolution.
Subjugation of Indigenous Peoples (02:32)
The indigenous peoples of Chihuahua were fierce fighters who had suffered under the government, large landowners, and mining interests; they were outcasts of society. Victoriano Huerta was sent to subdue them despite his Huichol ancestry.
National Anxiety as 1910 Elections Approach (02:17)
The agricultural program of the Porfiriato expropriated community land, privileging private property and national and foreign speculators. The global economic crisis of 1907 increased anxiety; Díaz allowed political parties and offered to leave the presidency in 1910.
Brothers Flores Magón (02:53)
In 1903, the Flores Magón brothers escaped to the U.S. where they furtively sent their paper, “Regeneration,” to Mexico. They created the opposition Liberal Party that participated with the Cananea mine strikers, facing Arizona Rangers and federal troops.
1909 Political Manipulation (02:40)
In 1907, government troops killed dissident workers after Díaz ordered strikers at the textile mills of Rio Blanco to return to work. In 1909, some elections took place, but Díaz didn't accept opposition results. Díaz sent Bernardo Reyes to Europe.
Emiliano Zapata (01:09)
In 1909, Emiliano Zapata was sent to the Governor of Morelos to reclaim traditional communal lands usurped by the local hacienda, El Hospital. When his audience was denied, Zapata gathered 70 men and retook the Anenecuilco communal land.
Francisco I. Madero (02:29)
Francisco I. Madero, wrote The Presidential Succession in 1910. Hear Madero addressing Díaz. Madero formed an opposition party and traveled the country forming anti-reelection clubs; he called for a revolution after meeting with Díaz.
Madero's Plan of San Luis Potosí (03:59)
Middle class Mexicans who wanted to join the political process favored Madero; others wanted social reforms. Peasants hoped for a return of their lands. Díaz imprisoned Madero who escaped and fled to San Antonio Texas where he issued his Plan of San Luis Potosí.
Revolution Begins (04:06)
Madero's planned attack on Piedras Negras on Nov.20, 1910, failed. Aquiles Serdán died in a police attack. Pascual Orozco and Francisco Villa lead northerners as revolutionary guerrilla bands spread across Mexico.
Revolution Grows Strong and Spreads (01:54)
Revolutionaries like Zapata attacked haciendas, while in the north they disrupted the railway system. Federal troops imprisoned political dissidents to no avail. The revolution grew stronger against a weak federal army.
Uprisings North and South (03:02)
In February 1911, Madero reentered Mexico with 100 men, joined by Maderist rebel bands. They attacked Casas Grandes unsuccessfully. Díaz conceded elections and dismissed his ministers, but it was too late.
Battle of Ciudad Juárez (02:36)
Díaz sent envoys to negotiate an armistice in El Paso, Texas, but Díaz refused to step down. Orozco and Villa attacked Ciudad Juárez against Madero's plan for pacific reconciliation. Madero saved General Navarro from the rebels' revenge after the fall of Ciudad Juárez.
Treaty of Ciudad Juárez (02:20)
Madero's merciful actions were seen as a sign of weakness. Ciudad Juárez became a seat of revolutionary government and conduit for U.S. arms. Zapata captured Cuautla and took control of Morelos. Madero and Díaz signed a peace treaty with León de la Barra as interim president.
Francisco Madero Enters Mexico City (00:48)
On May 25, 1911, Díaz was exiled to Paris. On June 7, 1911, Madero entered Mexico City to find the city suffering from an earthquake, and the Porfirio regime structure still intact.
Credits: The Uprising: The Mexican Revolution-Part 1 (01:23)
Credits: The Uprising: The Mexican Revolution-Part 1
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