Reformers such as Zapata, Carranza, and Madero contrived laws or revisions to the constitution that would reform Mexico socially and economically. Reformers often fought to have these revisions enforced, but more often rallied the support of revolutionaries in order to carry out the revolts. Revolutionaries such as Pancho Villa also sought social and economic reform for Mexico, but they did not devise any plans or ideas; they instigated revolts in order for the reforms of others to be enforced. The Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century was not one, but two revolutions, the first against Diaz and the second against Huerta.
Zapata and Madero were revolutionary reformers whom were against the dictatorship of Diaz. They each had plans for agrarian and economic reform such as the Plan de Luis Potosi, which declared the election of 1910 null and void and called for agrarian reform, and the Plan de Ayala, which called for the land to be redistributed among the peasant and Indians. Madero criticized Diazs social policies-his genocidal Indian wars and violent repression of strikeshe proposed a policy of modest concessions to peasants and workers.(Keen, p.270) Diazs regime was marked my brutal tyranny. Under Diaz, foreign investors drained a great part of the country’s wealth, much of the ancient communal lands (ejidos) of the Native Americans was concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of landowners, and poverty and illiteracy were widespread. Daz suppressed Manifestations of the resulting social discontent with an iron hand until the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Madero, Zapata, and the revolutionist Pancho Villa, among others, led a revolt against Diaz, which forced him to resign the presidency on May 25, 1911. This concludes the first part of the revolution.
The second part of the Mexican Revolution begins shortly after the assassination of Madero by Huerta. Huertas seizure of power, which was greeted by rejoicing by the landed aristocracy, the big capitalists, and the church, was an effort to set the Mexican clock back, to restore the Diaz system of personal dictatorship.(Keen, p.274) The Mexican Revolution, which was still growing strong, rose higher in reaction to Huertas terrorist regime. Among those in opposition were Zapata, Carranza, and Villa. Zapata intensified his struggle against wealthy landowners, Huertas allies, and federal troops. Carranza devised the Plan de Guadalupe, which called for the overthrow of the dictator and the restoration of constitutional government. Villa led the Constitutionalists against Huerta and captured Cuidad Juarez and Chihuahua City. Realizing that defeat was imminent, Huerta fled to Europe on July 15, 1914. After Huertas defeat, Carranza assumed the presidency and projected far-reaching programs of social and agrarian reform and adopted a new constitution that mandated the projected reforms. Thus ended the second and final part of the Mexican Revolution.
The Mexican Revolution was comprised of two parts. Both reformers and revolutionaries led the two parts; one part was not led solely by reformers and the other solely by revolutionaries. Both the reformers and revolutionaries fought together under an equal goal; the social and economical reformation of Mexico.
Keen, Benjamin. A History of Latin America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996
Zapata, Emiliano. Encarta Encyclopedia. http://encarta.msn.com (November 13, 2000)
Diaz, Porfirio. Encarta Enclycopedia. http://encarta.msn.com (November 13, 2000)
Huerta, Victoriano. Encarta Encyclopedia. http://encarta.msn.com (November 13, 2000)