Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: The Native Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911

By Mark Wasserman | Go to book overview

7
Peasants to Arms

Small landowners (rancheros) and residents of landholding villages took arms in 1910 in response to the theft of their land by hacendados and speculators under the provisions of the Chihuahua Municipal Land Law of 1905. Beset by three successive years of drought and early frost that ruined their crops and killed their livestock, and deprived by the economic depression of auxiliary income from neighboring mines, factories, construction crews, or across the border, they rose, after years of futile protest, to defend their patrimony and regain what they had unfairly lost.


A Heritage of Conflict

The struggle of the rancheros and villages against the hacienda was old and bitter in Chihuahua, as it was throughout Mexico. The violence and hardship of the nineteenth century had imbued both sides with a distinctive toughness and resilience. At various times during the Apache wars, they had fought the Indians alone or together or joined with the Indians against the other. 1 Until the 1880s, the need for cooperation against the Apaches, the deep divisions in the state's elite, and the isolation of the region had enabled the rancheros and villages to hold their own.

By the end of the 1880s, however, strengthened by the enormous giveaway of public lands by the federal government, of which they were the main recipients, and by the cattle export boom, the hacendados gained the upper hand. At the same time, the end of both the national civil wars and the Apache menace ended the need for cooperation. By the early 1890s, factionalism in the Chihuahuan elite had been replaced by the hegemony of the Terrazas. The rancheros could no longer ensure their security by playing one faction of the elite off against another.

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Capitalists, Caciques, and Revolution: The Native Elite and Foreign Enterprise in Chihuahua, Mexico, 1854-1911
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - A Harsh and Violent Land 8
  • 2 - The Rise of the Terrazas 26
  • 3 - The Economic Empire of the Terrazas 43
  • 4 - Foreign Enterprise and Economic Development 71
  • 5 - Elite and Foreign Enterprise 84
  • 6 - The Rise of the Middle Class 95
  • 7 - Peasants to Arms 104
  • 8 - The Origins of Working-Class Discontent 117
  • 9 - The Restoration of the Terrazas, 1903-1911 131
  • 10 - Revolution 139
  • 11 - Conclusion 148
  • Epilogue 165
  • Appendix the Terrazas Family Tree 167
  • Notes 171
  • Belected Bibliography 205
  • Index 225
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