Modern Latin America: “History is all about biases”

Porfirio Diaz

Place: Mexico
Time: After Age of Reform/1876-1920
  • Before Diaz
  • Diaz established elite consensus
  • Before Diaz there was absolute inability for liberals and conservatives to get along- to agree on anything
  • Elite Consensus was ab sent completely from Mexican politics
  • Before Diaz was international crises and invasions
  • Before Diaz there were fiscal deficits (inability to generate income)
  • Before Diaz there was civil war. (Remember Santa Anna?)Diaz takes reparations and invests them in Mexico.
  • Reparation: 1. the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged. “the courts required a convicted offender to make financial reparation to his victim”
  • Before Diaz there were Coups- there was lack of order
  • Coup:a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government. “he was overthrown in an army coup”
  • PS: Diaz was a war hero

Porfirio Presidency

  1. Political Order: No more Coups
  2. Elite Consensus: Balance between liberal & conservative interests
  3. Promise of the Plan of Tuxpetc: introducing term limits (didn’t exactly happen)
  4. Use of Rurales: to maintain ‘order’ in countryside
  • “Everyone has an ideology”
  • Ideology: a system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
  • Diaz encouraged foreign investment
  • Fiscal Solvency– debt crisis ended (Mexico became fiscally solvent)
  • Expansion of Mexican import and export markets
  • (“Mexico is resource rich- even today. That is why the president of France is there, reconnecting the rather turbulent history France and Mexico have had.”)
  • Foreign direct investment by France, USA, & Britain.
  • Used USA reparations money for economic improvements. 
  • (Interesting thoughts I heard to include in analysis paper: What would history be like if Mexico had maintained it’s gold supply, its oil supply- if the Mexican border when to Canada. What would life be like? Beginning of Us Century is right after that [spanish-american war where US gained Mexican territory.] Would the balance be tipped in a different direction…)
  • Improvements to infrastructure– railroads, bridges, electricity, for streets, cars– features of 19th century city life- in Mexican cities.
  • Intense investment of Infrastructure.
  • In the Cities
  • in the cities
  • in the cities
  • Population expansion of middle class- meant expansion of a taxable community.
  • This is turning point for Mexico.
  • (Remember if you are ever going to be president that if your country gets a middle class you get to tax people- heavily.)

Porfirio Presidency: Another Side

  • Term limits disregarded
  • In order to help keep plan in action- put stooges to run in his place
  • De jure and De Facto dictator
  • Invariable, he was the one in control. He put in place those who would support his presidency.
  • Rurales: used against opponents in the countryside
  • Paro y palo: bread & stick
  • He would give you one thing, but if you stepped out of line he would send them after you
  • Suppression of opposing view.
  • Subsidized newspaper.
  • Got rid of a lot of corrupt, redirected some corruption-wealthy elites corrupting government officials with his friends.
  • Increased foreign ownership of Mexican resources (silver mines, oil, mineral deposits)
  • “People sucking blood weren’t just from overseas, but from Mexico itself”
  • Industrialization- Mexico needed to industrialize- it didn’t
  • Import-Export-Issues
  • Industrial countries investing in non-industrial resources, raw materials go elsewhere for refinement
  • Although economically solvent, dependency issues start to rise.

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