Mexico in Modern Times

INTRODUCTION

This is the fourth and final installment of my series that traces the History of Mexico. We began with Colonial Mexico, proceeded to the History of Mexico 1810 to 1910, and took a side trip to study the Mexican American War.

The purpose of this series is to comprehend America's southerly neighbor, and to understand why tens of millions of Mexicans have left their families, friends, and communities to emigrate both legally and illegally to the United States.

My primary sources are The Penguin History of Latin America by Edwin Williamson; and Latin America: A Concise Interpretive History by E. Bradford Burns and Julie A. Charlip.

MEXICO FLAG
MEXICO FLAG

THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION

The Mexican Revolution was a marathon of a civil war from 1910 to 1929. Then the  long history of violent coups that featured the routine assassination of political leaders finally ended. Stability enabled Mexico to become the second most successful economy in Latin America by 1950, when it passed Argentina and trailed only Brazil.

Capitalism fueled tremendous growth in the economy from 1870 to 1930. With this increased prosperity came industrialization and urbanization. Peasants left their rural villages to work and live in the big cities.

The Catholic Church was the guardian of the cultural identity of the common people. The social and cultural influences of the Church decreased markedly as the distractions of city life proved too tempting for many to obey rules about moral conduct.

Leftists despised the Catholic Church because they identified it with the colonial oppression of Spain. Leftists sought to forge a new cultural identity based on the failed cultures of Indians and Africans, which would require a mythological glorification of those cultures. Leftists wanted a purely secular, socialist state free of the influence of religion. The Catholic Church responded by promoting Social Justice for the working classes and the peasantry.

Political tension was building between the forces of regionalism and centralization. Established elites in various regions were alienated from the central government, particularly in the northern states of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila. Progressive liberal technocrats challenged their authority in an attempt to centralize political power.

What the progressives needed was a crisis. In 1907, they got what they wanted. Due to a recession in the United States, compounded by a series of bad harvests, Mexico's economy tanked. Food supplies dwindled, prices of staple foods skyrocketed, and all social classes were affected. Following close behind were high unemployment rates, inflation, falling wages, higher taxes, and a constriction of credit.

The recession enabled progressives to radicalize the working classes and spark labor union strikes. The strikes were brutally put down by the government, which only strengthened the progressive cause in the minds of labor union members. The masses were stirred and social revolution had begun.

The Mexican Revolution would cost more than a million people their lives. It ruined the agricultural, ranching, and mining industries.

FRANCISCO MADERO
FRANCISCO MADERO

FRANCISCO MADERO

 

Francisco Madero (1873-1913) was the scion of a powerful family in Mexico, with huge interests in cereal, textiles, mining, and cattle ranches.  Yet he was still able to present himself as the "apostle of democracy" to the lower classes.

Madero denounced the government and for his efforts was imprisoned for sedition.  Farm laborers rose in rebellion, led by former bandit Pancho Villa, and plundered a few towns in northern Mexico.  Villa promised redistribution of the wealth in Mexico.

Madero was released from prison and became the leader of an insurgency, based in the city of Juarez on the border of the United States.  This alarmed the Americans who promptly stationed 20,000 troops along the Texas border, in case the impending violence should spill over onto its territory.

In 1911, the president of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz, under pressure from progressives, agreed to leave the country.  Diaz, who had led the country for 34 years,  fled to Paris, where he died in 1915.  Free elections  were held and Francisco Madero was elected by a huge majority.  Madero was a fine revolutionary but incompetent to govern. 

After assuming power, Madero severed ties with the progressives who had smoothed the path for his election.  Understandably, the progressives were incensed and staged their own coup, which was put down; then another coup, which was put down;  at a cost of much blood—shed by innocent civilian bystanders.   The army would have to restore order.

VICTORIANO HUERTA
VICTORIANO HUERTA

VICTORIANO HUERTA

 

Victoriano Huerta (1850-1916), a general in the Mexican Army, ousted Madero in the coup of 1913, and declared himself president.  Madero and his brothers were promptly assassinated.  Then followed full-fledged civil war among at least six groups of Mexicans.  

Northern rebels were famous for their fierce stance against the Catholic Church, which resulted in numerous atrocities against priests, nuns, and ordinary people who were religious.  The northern rebels attacked on three fronts, and captured Guadalajara, Monterrey, Torreon, and Tampico. 

Victoriano Huerta resigned and went into exile.   It became a race to see which of the rebel commanders would reach Mexico City first.  The winner was Alvaro Obregon. 

PANCHO VILLA
PANCHO VILLA

PANCHO VILLA

 

 Pancho Villa (1878-1923) seized a train and murdered 16 American mining engineers in 1915. Villa did this to provoke America, and make a name for himself among Mexican peasants as one brave enough to stand up to the "gringos." 

In 1916, Pancho Villa raided the town of Columbus, New Mexico, inside the United States.  He burned down the town and murdered 17 American civilians. 

America mobilized 150,000 National Guardsmen along the Mexican border.  American General John Pershing crossed into Mexico with 11,000 troops to hunt down Pancho Villa.  For nine months Pershing made a fruitless chase after Villa.  Pershing was called home when America decided to enter World War One. 

EMILIANO ZAPATA
EMILIANO ZAPATA

EMILIANO ZAPATA

 

Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919) led an insurgency of Catholic Indian peasants against the liberal central government.  The peasants rose in rebellion in the southern Mexican state of Morelos to defend their traditions and their religion, and reclaim ancestral Indian lands.  Many of them did not speak Spanish but native Indian languages.  They sought to return to the ways of the Indian village.

Emiliano Zapata had a motto: "Land and Liberty."  He wanted the sugar plantations of southern Mexico destroyed, to be replaced by peasant farmers.  His followers seized some haciendas by force.

After Francisco Madero was elected, most Mexicans thought that the Zapata led insurgency would be over—but it continued.  Zapata and his rebels took control of two states in 1914, and then invaded the central State of Mexico, drawing close to the capital city.  Zapata was assassinated in 1919. 

VENUSTIANO CARRANZA
VENUSTIANO CARRANZA

VENUSTIANO CARRANZA

Venustiano Carranza (1859-1920) declared himself the President of Mexico in 1914. He announced his intention to exile rebel leaders Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, which didn't set well with them. Villa and Zapata made a secret deal with the victorious General Obregon, and together they ousted Carranza. Then came more civil war, during which Mexico City changed hands several times.

In 1914, Mexican officials arrested American sailors in the city of Tampico. The United States responded by capturing the city of Veracruz. 19 Americans and 200 Mexicans were killed in the fighting. The United States chose Veracruz because its port was the source of great revenue for the Mexican government. The United States withdrew from Mexico later that same year.

Zapata and Villa were eventually beaten back to their home bases, and Venustiano Carranza was recognized by the United States as the legitimate ruler of Mexico in 1915. Neither Villa nor Zapata had garnered support outside their home areas. Pancho Villa would be murdered in 1923.

In 1917, Mexico produced a new Constitution. It abolished Catholic schools and prohibited clerics from participation on politics. Workers were guaranteed eight-hour days, and the right to unionize and go on strike. The new Constitution authorized expropriation of land for its return to Indians.

President Carranza overstepped his bounds when he tried to arrest General Obregon, leading to a declaration of independence by Obregon's home state of Sonora. Another coup ensued and President Carranza was forced to flee Mexico City. He soon met a violent death.

 

ALVARO OBREGON (seated on left)
ALVARO OBREGON (seated on left)

ALVARO OBREGON

 

Alvaro Obregon (1880-1928) was elected the President of Mexico by a landslide in 1920. Obregon and his supporters from Sonora  would succeed in establishing the most stable and enduring state in all of Latin America. 

The Sonorans were able to forge a coalition that could govern effectively, and create a new national identity for Mexico.  The new order was radically anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic.  Its stability was in a new one-party governance.  

Alvaro Obregon made some smart moves.  He created a national bureaucracy based on patronage.  If you supported the government, you could get a government job; if you had a government job, you would be apt to support the government.

The official rhetoric of the new ruling party was socialist, but its economic policies were capitalist.  The former placated the masses; the latter assured much needed foreign investment, and the export of raw materials. 

Education and culture were extensively promoted.  What was specifically promoted was the idea that the future of North America was the formation of a "cosmic race" created from the interbreeding of all Whites, Indians, and Africans.  

To overcome racial divisions, the strategy was to glorify the Indian and African races, and denigrate the Spanish (or white) race, thereby artificially bringing the three races to par in the minds of the populace.  This would forge a new national identity for all Mexicans. 

A great drive for literacy was begun among the rural masses.  The Mexican government financed the production of Indian arts and crafts, to promote a sense of pride among the Indian population.  This outpouring of images and murals was meant to convince the illiterate Indian and Mestizo masses that the government represented them. The other focus of the government was to diminish the influence of the Catholic Church. 

FORMER AMERICAN PRESIDENT WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT; PRESIDENT OF MEXICO PLUTARCO ELIAS CALLES; PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALVIN COOLIDGE
FORMER AMERICAN PRESIDENT WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT; PRESIDENT OF MEXICO PLUTARCO ELIAS CALLES; PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALVIN COOLIDGE

PLUTARCO ELIAS CALLES

 

Plutarco Elias Calles (1877-1945) was named President of Mexico in 1924.   In the 1928 election, his friend Alvaro Obregon was elected to succeed him but assassinated the next day.  Calles took back the reins and founded the National Revolutionary Party (PRI).  This party was to rule Mexico for 71 years—by rigging elections. 

The PRI forged an alliance among farmers, unions, bureaucrats, and the military, while excluding business and the Church.  Thus it was settled that Mexico would be left in the dust of America over the next eighty years, resulting in tens of millions of Mexicans moving north to the United States, which thrived because it was pro-business and pro-faith. 

CRISTERO LEADERS
CRISTERO LEADERS

CRISTERO WARS

 

The Cristero Wars were a massive insurrection by Catholic peasants from central and western Mexico, in response to the abolition of Catholic schools.  The uprising soon spread to thirteen states.  The government responded by gunning down unarmed campesinos (peasant farmers), burning their homes and farms, and taking their lands.  This plan backfired.  By 1929, 50,000 peasant farmers had joined the rebellion. 

The United States, whose only interest lie in peace on its southern border, was asked to mediate the dispute, which it did.  A compromise was reached that satisfied all sides.  Anti-Catholic pistoleros continued to terrorize Catholics and burn down churches while the state looked the other way. 

LAZARO CARDENAS
LAZARO CARDENAS

LAZARO CARDENAS

 

Lazaro Cardenas (1895-1970) was elected president in 1934.  He would serve for six years, during which he practiced the progressive idea of the redistribution of wealth by confiscating 108 million acres of land from wealthy landowners and giving it to poor peasants. 

Cardenas favored the working class, and therefore the labor unions.  Living standards for laborers rose during his administration, as did their sense of dignity.  It was Cardenas who nationalized the oil industry, as well as the railroads.  The American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, refused to intervene.  American oil companies then boycotted Mexican oil for thirty years, until the oil crisis of the 1970s forced their hand.    

The Mexican Repatriation refers to a forced migration that took place between 1929 and 1939, when as many as one million people of Mexican descent were forced or pressured to leave the United States.

INFRASTRUCTURE OF OIL INDUSTRY NATIONALIZED BY MEXICO IN 1938
INFRASTRUCTURE OF OIL INDUSTRY NATIONALIZED BY MEXICO IN 1938

NATIONALIZATION

 

In the 1920s oil made Mexico temporarily rich, not for the last time.  Mexico produced one-quarter of the world's oil, which made it third among the oil producing nations. 

Mexico nationalized the oil industry in 1938.  Nationalizing means you take the physical plants built by  foreigners under certain agreements—such as those signed in 1924 with American oil companies to finance the Mexican Army in order to keep the domestic peace.  It is in effect theft. 

You invite foreigners to do what your people are incapable of doing—building infrastructure to get oil out of the ground.  Once built and running smoothly, you boot them out of your country and take what they've built.

This means that you had a few hundred peasants and their mules taking a siesta on some hardscrabble piece of land, that you considered good for nothing.  Some people from the United States figure out there is oil under there.  You have little use for the oil—mules don't use it.  You didn't know it was there, and didn't know how to extract it. 

Some Americans offer you 20% of all the profit they can get from it; you agree; they spend billions of dollars to set up oil-drilling and transport; you start making billions on your 20%; you train some locals how to run the machinery; and one day you declare it's mine now.  You justify this to your people and the history books as "The Americans were exploiting us." 

BRACEROS
BRACEROS

BRACEROS

 

During World War Two, American farms suffered from a labor shortage.  A deal was struck between the Mexican and American governments in 1942 to send 200,000 Mexican laborers to work on farms in America under a temporary work program.  The workers, known as Braceros,  were paid prevailing wages, and America provided transportation to their job sites from the Mexican border. 

The Bracero Program continued until 1964. Over the twenty-two year period, the Bracero Program sponsored some 4.5 million border crossings of guest workers from Mexico.

Operation Wetback was a 1954 operation by the United States  to remove about one million illegal aliens from Mexico from America.  Many of these Mexicans had come to America under the Bracero Program, only to disappear when it was time go home.

ACAPULCO HARBOR
ACAPULCO HARBOR

MIGUEL ALEMAN


President Miguel Aleman (served 1946-1952) promoted business and tourism. He developed the Pacific port of Acapulco as a modern luxury resort for American visitors. The state supplied easy credit for entrepreneurs, and high tariffs protected Mexican business from foreign competition.

Elite technocrats (bureaucrats) were now effectively running Mexico, most of them educated at American universities. These bureaucrats were from well connected families. I suppose the theory was: If you can't beat your government join it.

One family well connected to the government—that of Emilio Azcarraga—monopolized the cinema, radio, television, and press of Mexico, giving the ruling party sway over mass opinion.

GUADALAJARA PLAZA DE ARMAS
GUADALAJARA PLAZA DE ARMAS

ADOLFO RUIZ CORTINES

 

Adolfo Ruiz Cortines served as President of Mexico from 1952 to 1958. He boosted exports and attracted foreign investment, while keeping inflation exceptionally low. 

Mexico was hardly a democratic republic like the United States; but it was no dictatorship either. Mexico experienced tremendous economic growth from 1940 to 1980.  By 1960, half the population lived in urban areas.  By 1980, 70% did. 

The Mexican government spent massive amounts of the public treasury on welfare, health, and education.  It depended on the United States for technical and financial assistance.  The two countries had become very good friends from the 1940s onward. 

TIJUANA
TIJUANA

LOPEZ MATEOS

 

Lopez Mateos served as President of Mexico from 1958 to 1964.  He was a leftist who took 70 million acres away from wealthy landowners and gave it to peasant farmers. 

Mateos also kicked the American companies out of Mexico that had built the plants to produce electricity, and those that had built motion picture studios, while confiscating their assets. 

RADICAL LEFTIST STUDENTS PROTEST 1968 MEXICO CITY OLYMPICS
RADICAL LEFTIST STUDENTS PROTEST 1968 MEXICO CITY OLYMPICS

GUSTAVO DIAZ ORDAZ

 

Gustavo Diaz Ordaz was President of Mexico from 1964 to 1970.  He was a conservative who unfortunately was at the helm when Mexico hosted the 1968 Olympic Games. 

The government was anxious to present Mexico on the world stage as a modern country, but radical leftist students saw the international television coverage as the perfect opportunity to denounce their own country to the world.  A series of confrontations led to a bloodbath in Mexico City as government troops put down the student rebellion.

MONTERREY
MONTERREY

MEXICO IN THE 1970s

 

The unfortunate side effect of the prosperity in Mexican cities was that it attracted hordes of nearly illiterate peasants from the countryside.  The population of the urban poor grew as mortality rates fell dramatically while birth rates soared.  Mexico City today has 21 million residents. 

Cities swelled with poor people living in shantytowns.  The poor could see up close the amenities and luxuries the skilled, talented, educated, intelligent upper class had that they didn't have.  This led to social unrest, which Marxists leaped at the chance to exploit. 

The 1970s were a period of rising anti-Americanism.  There were many reports of American companies being poorly treated in Mexico.  It was easy to arouse anti-American sentiments because of envy.  It is hard to be the poor stepchild to the greatest nation in the history of the world. 

Anti-Americanism was fueled by the American Academia, which poured forth a ceaseless torrent of material lambasting their own country that was read in Mexico and around the world.  Also, America stands for individualism and the spirit of the 1970s was collectivism. 

70% of Mexican exports were to the United States, as well as 60% of its imports.

By 1980, ten million Mexicans had snuck across the border and were living illegally in the United States. 

MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO
MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO

LUIS ECHEVERRIA

Luis Echeverria was President of Mexico from 1970 to 1976. He did his best to placate the poor with food subsidies, housing, free health clinics, and expanded educational opportunities. Unfortunately, the Mexican government didn't have the money to pay for it and had to resort to borrowing from other countries and international bankers. They also simply printed more money, which led to hyperinflation that reached 27% by 1976.

Echeverria was a leftist who wanted the state to own the means of production. Under his regime, the number of state owned corporations would rise from 86 to 740. The Peso dropped in value, Mexican exports became overpriced, imports poured into the country, foreign debt rose, and foreign investment ceased.

 

PUEBLA
PUEBLA

JOSE LOPEZ PORTILLO

 

Jose Lopez Portillo was the President of Mexico from 1976 to 1982.  He procured a financial bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demanded an austerity program in return.  Wages dropped and unemployment increased sharply. 

Help was on its way: 70 million barrels of oil were discovered in 1977.  Mexico was suddenly wealthy.  It could have paid off all its debts.  Instead it embarked on a massive public spending campaign.  In 1980, Mexico spent 62% of its revenues on social spending.  This quickly led to a dependence on social programs, and on revenues from oil. 

Then the price of oil dropped worldwide, because of the increased supply from Mexico.   In 1982, Mexico was borrowing money again—and inflation reached 100%.  That year, Mexico became the first Latin American country to default on its foreign loans ($86 billion). 

JUAREZ
JUAREZ

MIGUEL DE LA MADRID

 

Miguel de la Madrid served as President of Mexico from 1982 to 1988.  His program was to save face for Mexico by accusing those who came before him of rampant corruption.  Under his administration wages rose by 30%—but inflation rose by 93%.  He also was forced to reduce welfare by 50%.  Unemployment skyrocketed.

This austerity program further impoverished average Mexicans, and limited growth and development.  At the same time, it did rehabilitate the credit rating of Mexico, and improve its standing in the international community.

CHIAPAS (CORZO CANYON)
CHIAPAS (CORZO CANYON)

CARLOS SALINAS DE GORTARI

Carlos Salinas de Gortari served as President of Mexico from 1988 to 1994. He took on the powerful and violent labor unions of Mexico, which led to shootouts in the streets.

Salinas called on the United States to help Mexico by relieving its debts. After all, it was always in the best interest of America to have peace south of the border, lest unrest spill over to its own country. The United States responded with a debt relief program for its southern neighbor in 1990.

Salinas had to cut public spending, open up Mexico to foreign trade, privatize the steel industry, and privatize the banking industry.

Mexico was saved for the moment. It was still saddled with huge unemployment, crippled by foreign debt, committed to unsustainable social spending programs, and most of all: corruption throughout its government from top to bottom. The only way out of a Mexican airport in a private aircraft is to pay the airport commandante $100 U. S.

Estimates are that in 2006 corruption cost the Mexican economy $60 billion per year. A survey by the Mexican research firm, Centro de Estudios Económicos del Sector Privado, found that 79 percent of companies in Mexico believe that “illegal transactions” are a serious obstacle to business development, and foreign investment.

 

MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY

NAFTA

In 1994, NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was signed by Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

American companies, who were being bankrupted by corrupt labor unions, were invited to build plants in Mexico. In Mexico, an American company would only have to pay 6% of the wages paid to workers in the United States, thereby enabling it compete on the global marketplace. It was also a good program for the Mexicans as it helped solve their problem of chronic unemployment. American labor unions predicted the Mexican workers would not be able to do their jobs, but studies show the Mexican plants are only 15% less productive than their counterparts in the United States.

 

CHIAPAS
CHIAPAS

CHIAPAS

Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico. It is known for coffee and timber. Chiapas is the most indigenous and impoverished state of Mexico, with earnings at about half the national average. 50% of the people have no running water or electricity.

The day NAFTA took effect in 1994, a rebel group in Chiapas called the Zapatistas rose up and occupied government buildings, demanding autonomy for Chiapas. The government of Mexico responded by sending 40,000 troops (a quarter of the armed forces) to quell the rebellion.

 

VICENTE FOX
VICENTE FOX

VICENTE FOX

 

Vicente Fox became the first President of Mexico in 71 years who was not a member of the PRI in 2000.  When Fox took office, it marked the first time in Mexico's history that an incumbent government peacefully surrendered power to an elected member of the opposition.  His first move was to withdraw those troops from Chiapas.

In 2005, a controversy arose over comments Fox made during a meeting with Texas businesspeople in which he said, "There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States." 

DRUG WARS IN MEXICO
DRUG WARS IN MEXICO

THE WAR ON DRUGS

 

The United States has a drug problem that costs 10,000 lives per year, and an estimated $66 billion in social costs.  At the same time, tobacco costs 400,000 lives per year and $88 billion in social costs—but its production and export is subsidized by the U.S. government, while that same government spends billions of dollars fighting the "Drug War" against drugs smuggled in from Mexico.  Violence from drug gangs is escalating making northern Mexico a war zone.

MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY

CONCLUSION

More than one out of every ten persons born in Mexico is living in the United States—over twenty million people, 1/3 of whom are in the United States illegally. An immigrant from Mexico can expect to make at least four times the pay for the same work as they do in Mexico. The United States is not getting the best and the brightest from Mexico, of course, but those who are poverty stricken with minimal skills—49% have not even a high school education.

The US Department of Homeland Security has criticized a program of Mexican government directed to Mexicans migrating to and residing in the United States. The assistance includes advice on how to get across the U.S. border illegally, where to find healthcare, enroll their children in public schools, and send money to Mexico. Mexico depends on the money that these illegal aliens transfer back to Mexico from America.

In 2003, then-President of Mexico, Vicente Fox stated that remittances from Mexicans in America "are our biggest source of foreign income, bigger than oil, tourism or foreign investment" and that "the money transfers grew after Mexican consulates started giving identity cards to their citizens in the United States." He stated that money sent from Mexican workers in the United States to their families back home reached a record $12 billion.

Two years later, in 2005, the World Bank stated that Mexico was receiving $18.1 billion in remittances and that it ranked third (behind only India and China) among the countries receiving the greatest amount of remittances.

Some 3.1 million United States citizens are children born to illegal immigrants from Mexico. Many of their mothers illegally crossed over the border into America for no other purpose than to deliver their babies on American soil.

Babies born in America automatically attain citizenship under an old Constitutional Amendment designed to ensure African slaves were recognized as citizens after Emancipation. These babies are called Anchor Babies, because their automatic American citizenship grants their extended families the right to immigrate to America as well under the Family Reunification Act. The babies represented eight percent of the 4.3 million births in the United States in 2005.

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Comments 69 comments

SirDent 5 years ago

WOW. Lots of info here that I never knew anything about. Mexico has had it's share of wars and then some it seems.

You should research and right a hub about the erasing of borders in North America. Not many would be able to do a great hub on that subject but I believe you could.

Thanks James for another great histrory lesson. Have you ever considered teaching?


eovery profile image

eovery 5 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Great information here!

Keep on hubbingQ


sherrylou57 profile image

sherrylou57 5 years ago from Riverside

Right about the drug wars that is going on and the border patrols. Good stuff, James and excellent writing!


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 5 years ago from Guwahati, India

It is good to know the history Mexico, nicely written.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

James, You did a marvelous job of recounting the rather complicated history of Mexico. I didn't know many of those details and found your hub excellent reading. Rated up and awesome!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Buenos días, Jaime. Qué excelente artículo completo acerca de México. Usted es más inteligente que una enciclopedia.

That's true, James. Encyclopedias are much too dull to read. You have the knack of making history much more interesting and enjoyable to read. Bravo. :)

And happy holidays to you and yours.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

James - What has always amazed me about Mexico is the vast separation between Mexico's ugly poverty, the really rotten politics, and the great beauty to be seen and heard in Mexican art and its music.

Again, your's was a very fine article.

Gus :-)))


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

I had no idea how much more complex the current immigration situation is than I had thought. Understanding Mexican history and Mexican - American commercial and economic history sheds a different light on things for me. Nicely done, James. Thank you.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

Mexico's history is literally "written in blood," and you provided a great deal of information I didn't know, James. I wish you had put a WARNING: DECAPITATED HEADS PHOTO COMING UP before I actually reached that one. (I can scroll down with my eyes closed, and that photo was truly gruesome and horrifying. Of course, the violence happening due to drug gang wars IS horrifying, and you made the point graphically.) All-in-all, quite a history lesson, and one I had not learned in such depth before now. Good job! JAYE


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

I remember when I was a young girl in school, I loved American History. Your hub made me feel like I was back in the classroom once again. A very rich and rewarding read,and you have just the right amount of pictures. The "Drug War" is horrifying and really sums it up graphically. Thumbs up James!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

SirDent— Thank you, sir, for being my first visitor! You are welcome. I have long harbored a desire to be a teacher, but I do not have the credentials.

Are you referring to the North American Union? That would be an interesting subject alright. I appreciate the excellent suggestion for a future Hub.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

eovery— Thank you! Thank you very much. :D

I'll keep on Hubbing as long as I can.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

sherrylou57— Thank you for taking the time to read my Hub. I appreciate your gracious compliments. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

H P Roychoudhury— Thank you, my friend. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Pamela99— I sure appreciate the "rated up and awesome!" Thank you for coming by to visit. I am grateful to receive your accolades, too. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

drbj— Buenas noches, drbj. Es usted muy amable. Gracias por la laudations maravilloso!

I so appreciate your gracious words. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

GusTheRedneck— Happy to see you here, my friend. Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. I love Mexican music, and the Mexican people, Gus. The landscapes are terrific too.

James


quietnessandtrust profile image

quietnessandtrust 5 years ago from Carbon Canyon, California

~=~=~=MEXICANS

It seems that the Catholic Whore has yet again turned people into a fearful bunch.

Very sad =(


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is very interesting.Your history lesson is excellent.Thank you.


Marcella Glenn 5 years ago from PA

Another interesting hub, thanks for sharing.


C.J. Wright 5 years ago

"Echeverria was a leftist who wanted the state to own the means of production. Under his regime, the number of state owned corporations rise from 86 to 740. The Peso dropped in value, Mexican exports became overpriced, imports poured into the country, foreign debt rose, and foreign investment ceased."

WOW! If that quote doesn't serve as a warning I don't know what does. Great work James!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

kimh039— You are welcome. I am delighted that you appreciate this effort. This was not easy for me to write because it was hard to condense 200,000 words worth of history down to 4,300. Thank you for the positive feedback. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

JayeWisdom— Thank you, Jaye, for the compliment. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

You are right that I should have provided a warning about the graphic nature of that "Drug War" photograph. It is indeed shocking that this is going on— and getting widespread—just over our southern border, in a land I have visited and loved visiting many times in complete safety.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

b. Malin— I am well pleased at your warm words. I am glad to find another soul who loves history. I appreciate the Thumbs Up! Thank you for visiting and commenting.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

quietnessandtrust— Ouch! Rather strident there my friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

always exploring— You are quite welcome, my dear. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for coming! :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Marcella Glenn— You are welcome. Thank you for the visit and your nice compliments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

C. J. Wright— I was hoping you would catch that little tidbit. :D

I think there is much to learn from the story of Mexico. Thank you for coming by to read my work. I appreciate your remarks.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Beautifully presented as always, James and as BJ said, you make it so easy to get an education!

Those statistics are staggering to be honest. I'm not sure how to feel about that because I can see both sides of the coin unfortunately. What will happen to us all I wonder?

On that happy note, happiest of holidays to you and yours and again, well done. I love how you present your articles and provide us with such easy reading!


gusripper profile image

gusripper 5 years ago

Hail master.Great hub as always .I heve only a word to add.......AZTECS.....Pure offsprings.And dont forget that Aztecs people name was MEXICA.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

I have seen that picture and many more like it and I cant say I wouldn't rather not but I find myself facing the future. Great write.

Polly


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

akirchner— Thank you, my dear, for your lovely laudations! Your words gave me the warm fuzzies inside. :D

I appreciate your comments. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

gusripper— Hey dude! Good to hear from you again. Thank you for visiting and commenting. For a fantastic article about the Aztecs, go here:

http://hubpages.com/education/The-Aztec-Empire


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Polly— Always good to hear from you. Yes, I understand your concerns. Thank you for coming!

James


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Great and grand hub, James. Thank you for your hard work and research. I have learned so much from it.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Sorry I forgot to say how great your hub was, naturally I do and have sent a few new young writers here to check you out that have what I see as the beginnings of what I see in your writings.


drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

Excellent Hub James1 Wow, what information you have gather! That picture of the war in Mexico with their heads all over the ground really caught my attention! lol Voted-Up!


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 5 years ago from Utah

Very informative. It helps to understand history and the present.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,— You are most welcome. Thank you for the laudations! I am grateful for your warm words. Merry Christmas to you!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Polly— I appreciate you sending a few newbies my way. Thank you for the accolades as well. Merry Christmas!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

drpastorcarlotta— Thank you for your gracious compliments and the "voted up!" :D

It is always my pleasure to hear from you, Doctor Pastor. God Bless You!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

HealthyHanna— Good! That was my intent. Thank you for taking the time to read my piece. I appreciate your comments.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Another very interesting read, James !!!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

carolina muscle— Thank you brother! I appreciate this nice note. :D


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

James, this is a very impressive hub about the history of Mexico, and some of its relations with the USA. Enlightening and educational, and glad to see more available to educate people like myself more on our Southern neighbor. Keep these hubs coming, you are a great asset here.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

oceansnsunsets— Thank you so much for your lovely compliments. This Hub is not drawing much attention. I am glad you took the time to come by and read it. Merry Christmas!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Thank you for sharing all this great information, some of it I did not know.

Merry Christmas!!!


itakins profile image

itakins 5 years ago from Irl

James

This is interesting-excessive urbanization seems to be a widespread problem throughout the world,where those traditionally involved in farming left to seek 'better lives' in cities!Now so many rural areas are left bereft of workers as subsequent generations simply haven't learned the necessary skills of their fathers /grandfathers.It's such a pity-and so many sweat shops owned by people from countries such as yours and mine,make money on the backs of these displaced people.

I think it's important to maintain a sense of charity towards immigrants,especially the poor and inadequately educated ....we never know what lies ahead of any one of us:)

God Bless and a Happy and Holy Christmas to you and yours.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

kashmir56— You are quite welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and leave your kind response.

Merry Christmas!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— As far as making money "on the backs of people" the people seem happy for the opportunity. They come from miles around to do it. They are aren't forced to leave their farming life. Maybe they are enticed by the bright lights of the big city. Big cities are fascinating, even to me.

I surely agree with you about treating all people with charity. I don't know anywhere on the planet where people who have illegally snuck across a border are or ever have been treated better: free medical care including child birth, automatic citizenship for those babies, free education, free food.

I wish you a Happy and Holy Christmas as well. God Bless You and your huge heart. :-)


itakins profile image

itakins 5 years ago from Irl

We had so many non-nationals come here especially from Nigeria,to have babies and thus gain Irish citizenship!We also have many Eastern European (ex Soviet block)men working here whose children receive benefits from our government (more correctly taxpayers)despite the fact that the kids have never set foot on Irish soil!3 children would receive the equivalent of a months wages in a country such a Lithuania ...300$.In some ways it seems unfair to Irish people who are currently being severely penalised by austerity measures through no fault of our own (banking mess) also many of these people work for cash in hand while many Irish are being bled dry!

I do see where you are coming from-it's a difficult one .I just wonder how it all fits into our lives as Christians and respect for the human person -without exception.

A wee bit off at a tangent-but there you go!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— I am surprised they gained Irish citizenship. My understanding was that birthright citizenship was not practiced anywhere in Europe.

I am also surprised that children who have never set foot on Irish soil are receiving welfare benefits. How on earth did that come about? Truly strange.

I thoroughly enjoyed your comments. I think it important for all of us to remember that Jesus' admonition about caring for the downtrodden was never to have Caesar do it. It for us to do, up close and personal, not through a cold bureaucracy. IMO.

Thanks again! :D


itakins 5 years ago

James-

As Ireland was the only country in Europe that operated a virtual open door policy and approved birthright citizenship-we were becoming swamped by large numbers of pregnant women arriving here-some almost ready to give birth(the magic words were 'asylum seeker'.Not only was the baby a citizen automatically,but mother and family members were givn a right to residency-complete with social welfare ,housing etc.A referendum was held in 2004 and from 2005 the loopholes in the law were tightened up,making it much more difficult for what effectively became an abuse of Irish generosity!

Re child benefits-this link will go a little way to explaining...

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/state-bene...

With regard to Caesar -I do believe he has a duty to use taxpayers money morally-including caring for the less fortunate in society:That shouldn't inhibit anyone from personal intervention,of course!

Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit -Happy New Year.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— I see—it is an EU thing. I should have guessed (I refer to the link you provided).

I also see that you are having the same problem with so-called "Anchor Babies" as we are here—though on a much smaller scale. Or maybe per capita a similar scale. I'm not sure of the population of Ireland. We are having hundreds of thousands of Anchor Babies born here each year, so that is probably about .1% of our total population.

Happy New Year!!


itakins profile image

itakins 5 years ago from Irl

Population 4.2 million!So per capita quite a large-scale problem.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— Is that all!? I would have thought y'all had more people over there. This does make a large scale problem. Thanks for the insights.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

James A Watkins, What a congested history that has continuously befallen Mexico! You have once again presented a concise, thorough presentation! Marvelous job Professor! Astonishing, revealing and educational narrative!

The gruesome, graphic photo was a bit much… But shockingly serves to make a powerful impact on the severe brutality of the ongoing violent “blood baths” occurring in Mexico. It is both scandalous and heart wrenching and authenticates the frequent tragic happenings! I cannot wrap my brain around that kind of violence nor do I want to… I accept the TRUTH of it… How one can devalue the invaluable preciousness of life to that extent is frightening! But then again it brings to mind that Herodias out of spite had her daughter ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter… The Word is true “there is nothing new under the sun.” Here again “man continues to do what is right in their own eyes!” The cancer is spreading to America… Lord Help us!

It is interesting to see that despite the lack of education there is a strong desire to want to work and provide a better life for their families this in itself is commendable… However, unfortunately many are forced to enter the US illegally as you say in order to immigrate “Many of their mothers illegally crossed over the border into America for no other purpose than to deliver their babies on American soil…” Much here to ponder! Truly the "last days are upon us..."

Thank you for sharing this compelling persuasive saga, In His, Love, Grace, Peace & Blessing!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you, my lady, for your gracious compliments, for which I am most grateful.

The Drug Turf War going on right now in Mexico is horrific. I am afraid that the only solution may be to legalize drugs in America, thereby putting the cartels and gangs out of business. Prohibition caused the same problems back in the 1920s here in America.

Yes, wasn't that Herodias something? Lord help us indeed.

There is a strong desire to survive! And this manifests itself in a strong desire to work. Much to ponder; yes that's right.

Well, I appreciate this visitation so much. And you are quite welcome. God Bless You!


Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 5 years ago

At one point I had a western union office where you could send money in minutes to Mexico. Just like you describe the Mexican laborers worked their butts off here to send money back to their homes in Mexico. What you sent from here was automatically skimmed over by the govt and the balance was given to the recipient. Great scam.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Bail Up !— Good to hear from you again. Is business picking up? :-)

Thank you for visiting my Hub. I enjoyed reading your thoughtful insights.


quemacoco profile image

quemacoco 5 years ago

great history lesson. thanks for the hub.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

quemacoco— You are welcome! Thank you for your kind compliment. I look forward to reading some of your Hubs.


maria 4 years ago

what inaccurate and simple minded summaries of Mexican history are given here. I can't believe it and it would take volumes to correct all of the info. This must be some dime a dozen simpleton writing a bigoted side of what he thinks Mexican history is.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

maria- Thank you for taking the time to read my article. You will have to do better than simply insult me. If you can show me anything in my article that is inaccurate, I will correct it for you. What I wrote is the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts. For that, I am sorry.


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

James, I do appreciate you very informative review. Thanks my friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir Uhri— You are most welcome, Brother. It is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my Hub.

James


Emilio M. Lamadrid 2 years ago

Aleman's name was not Manuel. It was Miguel.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 2 years ago from Chicago Author

Mr. Lamadrid—Thank you very much for bringing my mistake to my attention. It has been corrected. I do appreciate it!


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 2 years ago from upstate, NY

This has been quite educational. It's a sad history of the fruits of political exploitation by leftists in Mexico. Typical of the political left, it can only exist by enslaving its own people or sponging off individuals or countries that actually produce something.

No doubt the Democrat party would feel right at home in Mexico but I don't think Mexico would allow them in because they don't want more politicians who exploit the people like they do.

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