Week Eight

It seems that every nation has had a revolution and that this internal crisis is like a rite of passage for countries to be fully formed. In the case of many Latin American countries, revolutions tended to happen decades, or even centuries after the countries were formed. The focus this week was on the Mexican Revolution which took place from 1910 to 1920. During Porfirio Diaz’s 35-year reign, he had radically transformed the country and dragged it into his vision of modernity. This yielded the adulation of applause of many, but not all of his compatriots were as thrilled with the changes. They were chagrined by the significant amount of land and personal freedom that was taken away from them in the Profiriato and were determined to take them back. From this perspective, we can see that the revolution was a direct pushback against Diaz.

We would have never predicted this from James Creelman’s newspaper article that Diaz would be exiled just 2 years later. I think that this is also because most of the texts we read from the past were written by the privileged, which usually represents only a small fraction of the population. Emiliano represented the indigenous peoples of Mexico, whose rights and sometimes even personhood and citizenship were largely disregarded while Pancho Villa represented the frontiersman whose way of living was antagonized by Porfirio Diaz. As such, we probably would not know their experiences if they had never rose up against the state. Their fight helped raise awareness of their grievances and the injustices they faced under Diaz.

I love Dawson’s statement that one of the reasons why Villa and Zapata are still highly regarded and remain symbols of revolution today is because “they didn’t live long enough to disappoint.” Perhaps if Diaz’s life ended earlier, he would also be seen as an iconic figure as well. My question is, do you agree with Dawson’s statement or do you believe that Villa and Zapata would have persisted in fighting for what they stood for if they had had the chance to live longer?

« »

Spam prevention powered by Akismet