7
The Porfiriato, 1876-1911

It is one of the many charming inconsistencies of Mexico that Porfirio Díaz, the military caudillo and bitter enemy of Juárez, should have succeeded the lawgiver of Mexico for a third of a century as an irresponsible despot, under the cloak of the liberal constitution that Juárez and his devoted company had fought so long to establish. 1

In 1876, in an action reminiscent of the methodology frequently used to acquire power, Porfirio Díaz pronounced the Plan de Tuxtepec against the Lerdo government and seized power. One of the many ironies was Díaz's insistence that the liberal constitution of 1857 serve as the legal foundation for his almost 35-year rule. Porfirio Díaz chose to govern as an authoritarian dictator rather than adhere to a liberal democracy.

Díaz was born in 1830 into a mestizo family in Oaxaca, the same state where Juárez was born. As with Juárez and Ocampo, Díaz identified with the liberal faction that opposed Santa Anna. When the French invaded in 1862, he was one of the youngest generals who fought the French at the Battle of Puebla. By the 1870s he had become a national hero; urban and rural workers viewed him as a man who represented

-113-

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The History of Mexico
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Advisory Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Timeline of Historical Events xiii
  • 1 - Mexico Today 1
  • 2 - Mexico's Early Inhabitants 13
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - The Conquest 31
  • Notes 46
  • 4 - The Colonial Era, 1521-1821 47
  • Notes 72
  • 5 - The Wars of Mexican Independence, 1808-1821 75
  • Notes 88
  • 6 - The Aftermath of Independence, 1821-1876 89
  • Notes 110
  • 7 - The Porfiriato, 1876-1911 113
  • Notes 128
  • 8 - The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 131
  • Notes 153
  • 9 - Consolidation of the Revolution 155
  • Notes 172
  • 10 - The Revolution Moves to the Right, 1940-1970 175
  • Notes 191
  • 11 - The Search for Stability, 1970-1999 193
  • Notes 213
  • Notable People in the History of Mexico 215
  • Bibliographic Essay 227
  • Index 235
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