“A Gringo Guide to the Mexican Revolution” Download on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; or Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.
Excerpts from my, “Gringo Guide to the Mexican Revolution”.
by William J. Conaway
If we trace the history of most Revolutions, we shall find that the first inroads upon the laws have been made by the governors, as often as by the governed.
Charles Caleb Colton, 1825
THE REIGN OF DIAZ
By the time Mexico had become independent the rest of the world had begun to pass it by. In 1828, the first passenger railroad was begun in the U.S., and 1843, the first telegraph line was strung there, but in Mexico the «El Universal» newspaper proclaimed, in 1850, that the trans-atlantic telephone cable was a fraud.
The world’s first petroleum well was brought in during 1859, but Mexicans would wait nearly 50 more years for theirs.
Díaz had hammered his way to power, and once there he was forced to assume responsibilities he had never really understood. But he was determined to bring Mexico into the new century, the New Era.
An illiterate Mestizo (Spanish and Mixtec Indian), with the manners of a guerrilla chieftain from the mountains of Oaxaca, which he was, Díaz was dominated by a lust for power. When he took command, Mexico’s six decades of political warfare had cost the country its rightful place among the industrialized nations.
And then the over-wash of America’s post-Civil War development burst in upon a Mexico unorganized socially, culturally, economically.
The Revolution of 1910 was the only true revolution in Mexican history. The other conflicts included: the War for Independence, the War of the Reform, the War against the United States, the French Intervention, Civil Wars, Military Mutinies, and the Cristero Rebellion. But there was only one Revolution. In the context of Mexican politics it is said to have lasted until 1940, when middle-of-the-road General Manuel Avila Camacho, a «Gentleman President,» took office.
The War for Independence liberated Mexico from Spanish domination, but the previous class system remained in place. The War of the Reform elevated the Mestizo to the ruling class, but did little to help the Indian class. The Revolution was fought to help the landless Indians, but along the way the intent got lost somehow. During the 10 years of the conflict 2 million died in the fighting, from disease, and famine. No one was better off, but they had suffered together, Indian, Mestizo, and Creole, and had come together as a nation.
On November 20, 1910, a small uprising broke out in Puebla. Its leader, Aquiles Serdán, was killed immediately by police. A few other uprisings in Jalisco, Tlaxcala, and the Federal District were easily suppressed. Madero, in despair, went to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Meanwhile, in Chihuahua, which was mostly owned by the Terrazas family and governed by Alberto Terrazas, a sexual deviate scion who seduced his niece, revolutionary fervor grew. The opposition to Díaz was led by Abraham González, who found it easy to recruit the Terrazas’ cattle herders as cavalry. To lead these troops, González enlisted a storekeeper and muleteer, Pascual Orozco, pictured at lef, in southern Chihuahua, along with an old hand at stealing Terrazas livestock, Francisco Villa.
Francisco «Pancho» Villa, was born in 1877 in San Juan del Río, Durango, under the name of Doroteo Arango. He began a career as a fugitive at the age of 16, when he shot a wealthy land baron who had raped his little sister. This made him a criminal in the eyes of the people in power, and he was pursued by the Rurales for years.