It is not only one of the most relevant historical events of the 20th century, but also one of the most complex: like a Russian doll, the Mexican revolution contains within itself other revolutions that lead to a conflict between factions and culminate, in 1917, with the drafting of the Mexican Constitution.
Do you want to know what happened on November 20, 1910and who was who in the Mexican revolution
We will tell you so that you can understand this exciting fact.

  • Learn more about the history of Mexico through the Constitution of 1824.

1. What happened on November 20, 1910?
2. Characters of the Mexican Revolution.
3. Women in the Mexican revolution.

The Mexican Revolution: What happened on November 20, 1910
The armed conflict opened in Mexico on November 20, 1910 has its roots in deep causes and is considered the most important political event of the 20th century . It is about a revolution of the petty bourgeoisie and the popular classes, especially the peasantry, against the perpetuation in power of Porfirio Diaz.

The outbreak of the revolution: the Plan of San Luis
The Porfiriato had established itself as an absolute power at the service of the privileged classes for more than thirty years, from 1876 to 1911. During this period , the country progressed rapidly with the extension of communications and the entry of foreign capital in strategic sectors. such as mining, agriculture and oil.
However, growth had been sustained in the exploitation until the exhaustion of the most disadvantaged classes, accumulating in the lower social strata, the majority on the other hand, discontent and rebellion. Although Porfirio Diaz had the support of the political and economic elite and the army, his regime began to feel threatened.
Between a rock and a hard place, the regime mistakenly tried to counter social demands by twisting the repressive machinery, and trying to consolidate the dictatorship through corruption and electoral fraud .
Popular discontent was turned into a political platform with a view to defeating Porfirio in the elections, but when their leader Francisco Ignacio Madero was arrested and the dictator won the elections again, Madero called for arms and obtained the resignation of Porfirio Diaz. .
It was on November 20, 1910, when Madero proclaimed the San Luis Plan to combat Porfirio Diaz, when the date on which the Mexican revolution began was established.
Manifesto to the nation of November 5. | Wikimedia Commons.

From the Plan of San Luis to the Plan of Ayala
But after the establishment of the government of Francisco Ignacio Madero, the new government found itself with a tension that was difficult to overcome . On the one hand, the forces of the old regime pressured him to maintain the status quo and push through a controlled reform plan, while the radicals who had supported him demanded that he continue the revolution.
Specifically, three characters who had helped him put an end to the Porfiriato now accused him of having given in to the blackmail of the old oligarchies . Thus, Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa and Pascual Orozco began to accumulate forces to fight again, this time against the government of Madero whom they considered a traitor.
The culminating point was the proclamation of the Plan de Ayala, on November 28, 1911 , where Emiliano Zapata called to rise up in arms against the Maderistas to complete the revolution and hand over the land to the peasants. Here began another revolution within the revolution, which would end with a reaction from Victoriano Huerta.
This, who had established himself as a tough military officer against the radicals and at the service of Madero, in 1913 rebelled against Madero himself and established an authoritarian regime that sought the restoration of the old regime .

The triumph of constitutionalism and the end of the revolution
After the coup and the assassination of Madero, in 1913, Victoriano Huerta consolidated his power,but again the rebels rose up against the power and, in this case, the coordinated action of Pancho Villa and Pascual Orozco was decisive. In addition, Huerta’s erratic alliance policy had left him with little support.
In 1914 he resigned and went into exile, while the rebels and constitutionalists continued to engage in their factional struggles. To resolve the issue, the first head of the Constitutionalist Army, Venustiano Carranza, called the Aguascalientes Convention , from which came the commitment to end the fractions and approve a constitution.
At that time, Pascual Orozco had already betrayed his comrades and was in exile with Valeriano Huerta, but Zapata and Villa continued their struggle to complete the revolution to its ultimate consequences.
Valeriano Carranza, consolidated in power as constitutional president and supported, among others, by the United States, ended up liquidating the most radical elements of the revolution and assassinating their leaders: Zapata, in 1919, and Villa, in 1923.

Characters of the revolution Mexican
In a revolutionary process that is so complex and full of political factions, it is better to know who is who in the events of November 20, 1910 and the Mexican revolution that followed.

1. Porfirio Diaz
Porfirio Diaz. | Urban character.
Porfirio Diaz was able to perpetuate himself in power with the support of the elites and the army and thanks to the great prestige that his figure had accumulated since his courageous participation in the War of Reform and the defense of the republic against French occupation. . Thanks to his direction in the capture of Puebla and Mexico City , Benito Juarez achieved victory.
Then a hard fight began between Benito Juarez, who intended to perpetuate himself in power, and Porfirio Diaz, who after being defeated in the presidential elections, retired to his farm in La Noria. From there he called on all the military to revolt against the government of Juarez : the so-called Plan de la Noria managed to add more and more followers and strengthen the ranks of Porfirio Diaz.
The last hurdle to come to power was the Tuxtepec revolution, the last armed conflict of the 19th century in which Porfirio Diaz, supported by the landowners, a large part of the army and the Church, managed to win the contest and set himself up as president.
After consolidating his power, he launched a series of reforms in order to achieve peace, progress and order, but he was always against the left of the country, who considered that growth had been obtained through the exploitation of the popular classes. and the maintenance of an unacceptable semi-feudal latifundist system.
After the uprising of November 20, 1911, an aged Porfirio Diaz submitted his resignation and went into exile with his family in Paris, where he died on July 2, 1915..

2. Francisco Ignacio Madero
Francisco Ignacio Madero. | Urban character.
Francisco Ignacio Madero was trained as an agricultural businessman and in 1905 he began to participate in politics defending his liberal positions . The image of him gained popularity at the head of the Antireelectionist Party, which opposed the Porfirio Diaz regime, and in 1910 he ran for election during which he was imprisoned.
Madero went down in history for the call to take up arms on November 20, 1910, when he escaped from the prison where he had been confined and went into exile in the United States.. The Plan of San Luis began the Mexican revolution with two promises: the holding of free and democratic elections to restore political rights, and peasant reform. After his call there were several uprisings by the main rebel leaders: Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Pascual Orozco.
However, after defeating the Porfiriato and ascending to the presidency, Madero began to show limitations in his will to satisfy the most radical demands . After winning the 1911 elections, Madero joined a staunch government that ended up creating a new rebellion, this time by Zapata and Orozco against Madero.
The firm command of the military officer Valeriano Huerta helped him quell the uprisings, but his tragic end would be written ironically thanks to the betrayal of Huerta himself, who led a coup together with Felix Diaz and Bernardo Reyes. The period known as the Tragic Decade ended with the assassination of Francisco Ignacio Madero.

3. Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata. | Urban character.

Emiliano Zapata, the “caudillo of the south” , is one of the great icons of the Mexican revolution and one of the great referents of the revolutionary left of the last century. It even inspired, many years after his death, a peasant revolution led in 1994 by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. But who was Emiliano Zapata
He was the most radical element of the revolution, defending that the overcoming of the capitalist dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz had to come through the radical subversion of the system at all levels. In this change, Emiliano Zapata placed agrarian reform at the center of all other social advances towards a new communal state.
Undoubtedly, one of the great legs of the conservative regime of Porfirio Diaz had been the maintenance of a latifundist agrarian structure where the majority of the peasants were slaves of the land. Zapata led the peasant communities of the south in Madero’s call to end the profiriato.
Zapata’s great legacy to Mexican history, however, is the Ayala Plan, which in 1911he called on the peasants to rise up against Madero for having betrayed his cause. Their slogans: Reform, Freedom, Justice and Law.
During the 1917 constitution Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata managed to force the inclusion of social clauses that would remain forever in the text. Even so, the new leaders of the process, wanting to iron out the most radical aspects of the revolution , orchestrated a trap to assassinate, on April 10, 1919, the peasant leader Emiliano Zapata.

4. Pancho
VillaPancho Villa. | Urban character.
Francisco Pancho Villa, whose name was also forever linked to the Mexican revolution, had a major role in the defeat of Victoriano Huerta in 1914 .
Before the revolution, Pancho Villa had stood out as a courageous defender of the rights of the peasants and against the abuses of the landowners , with the participation also in some bandit groups that operated outside the law.
In fact, when the revolution breaks out, Pancho Villa is just an outsider who fights on the Madero side without any charge, but it is in Chihuahua where an influential politician in the service of Madero instructs him and makes him see the importance of the organization. Pancho Villa recruited some men and revealed himself as a bold and effective military strategist.
His trail grew until in 1913 he led the rebellion against Valeriano Huerta and, after his fall, held the post of Governor of Chihuahua for a short time. During that period he carried out a deep institutional reform and legislated in favor of the peasants, but his radical tendency would end up taking its toll on him.
After the Convention of Aguascalientes that the leaders of the revolution called to solve the factional struggles, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata consolidated an alliance to fight to the end for the ideals for which they believed the revolutionary process had broken out. Something that was not well seen by President Carranza.
Pancho Villa continued to fight a guerrilla war against the government that ended on July 20, 1923, when government forces supported by the United States set up an ambush and killed him.

5. Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco. | Urban character.
After the proclamation of the Plan of San Luis, on November 20, 1910, Pascual Orozco put part of his small capital obtained during years of work at the service of the Maderista uprising against the Porfiriato. His revolutionary star grew until the capture of Ciudad Juarez together with Pancho Villa and the total victory of Madero.
Thanks to his participation in numerous battles, he was awarded the position of Commander of the Rural Forces of Chihuahua, a position he voluntarily abandoned when he realized that Madero had given in to the demands of the most involutionist sector of the Porfiriato . This is the key moment in Pascual Orozco’s definitive turning point as a revolutionary.

Considering that Madero had betrayed the Plan of San Luis , Orozco decided to join the revolutionary forces gathered around the Plan of Ayala against the Madero government. The latter, however, turned to the Porfirista officer Valeriano Huerta, who crushed Orozco’s rebellion in La Cruz and Bachimba.
However, ironies of history, from exile Orozco recognized the legitimacy of Victoriano Huerta as president when he perpetrated the coup d’etat and established a fierce reactionary dictatorship. In the last period of his life, Orozco fought against Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa until he died in 1915.

6. Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta. | Urban character.
Victoriano Huerta is one of those dark characters of the Mexican Revolution whose personality was always, from the beginning, surrounded by opportunism and betrayal . In his youth he rose rapidly in the military hierarchy until he consolidated himself at the top of the army under the regime of Porfirio Diaz.
Huerta had shown his toughness on several occasions, for example by putting down rebellions by the Mayan Indians. That is why when Madero seized power, I did not hesitate to go to him to try to quell the rebellions of Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa and Pascual Orozco. His cruelty managed to defeat the radicals, and he managed to rise in the regime.
But after Madero’s push and pull with the radical demands of Zapata and Villa, and fearful that the Porfirio Diaz regime would just completely crumble, Huerta led a military coup that defeated Francisco Ignacio Madero and brought him to power. Since then his figure has always been remembered as “the usurper”.
After an erratic policy in which he was making enemies,all his allies ended up withdrawing their support and his military forces were left at the mercy of the constitutionalist revolutionaries led by Pancho Villa. She ended her days in exile, where she died of liver cirrhosis while trying to return to Mexico to seize power.

Women of the Mexican Revolution
During the revolution, and in the process of radical transformation that the rebel leaders intended to carry out at all levels, there was also a great participation of women. These are some of the names of outstanding women of the Mexican revolution.

1. Juana Belem Gutierrez de Mendoza
Juana Belem Gutierrez de Mendoza. | Urban character.
During the years of the Porfiriato, this woman had developed an intense intellectual work in defense of women’s rights and against the moral and cultural yoke of the Catholic Church. During those years she was imprisoned and tortured several times , but she showed great tenacity in her ideas and a firm loyalty to the revolution.
During the most difficult years of the revolution she was always on the side of the rebels, but after the assassination of Emiliano Zapata she fell into a depression and considered that all hopes of real change had vanished. Until her death in 1942, she always considered Zapata her true leader .
She is known, in her work as a writer and journalist, as one of the pioneers in defending women’s right to vote (suffrage).

2. Dolores Jimenez and Wall
Dolores Jimenez and Wall. | Urban character.
Known as “the revolutionary teacher”, this teacher and journalist actively participated in the revolutionary uprising of 1910. From the beginning she joined the female groups of teachers, workers, peasants and intellectuals who fought for the total conquest of the social rights of the classes. popular.
From her prison where she was imprisoned she continued to write in favor of women’s rights, especially with a revolutionary theory of equity in wages. This attracted the attention of Emiliano Zapata, whohe called a meeting in Morelos in 1913 and integrated it into his army, also endorsing one of his proposed reforms.
Dolores JImenez died in 1925 at the age of 77 as a conscientious Zapatista.

3. Margarita Neri
Margarita Neri. | Urban character.
During the revolution some soldaderas also emerged, among which the figure of Margarita Neri should be highlighted. The curious thing in this case is that she was a landowner who, when the revolution broke out, abandoned everything to support the rebellion . Initially, she managed to concentrate a group of 200 men under her command.
This small army commanded by a woman soon grew to house a thousand combatants who fought in Chiapas and Tabasco.. His biography is a confusing web of truths and fictions with a tragic ending: his execution along with other rebel leaders.
Along with the name of Margarita Neri, other brave fighters survive in memory, such as Maria de la Luz Espinosa, who in 1911 received the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Zapata army, demonstrating her ability as a horseman, or the names of Carmen Velez and Clara de la Rocha.

4. Edith O’Shaughnessy
Edith O’Shaughnessy. | Urban character.
A very interesting character from the Mexican Revolution is Edith O’Shaughnessy, a South Carolina writer married to the director of the business office at the US embassy in Mexico. While residing in Mexico City, Edithhe wrote his mother some very literary and expressive letters about the events.
Later, these letters were compiled and formed one of the most interesting documents on the North American perspective of the Mexican Revolution. Among other events, Edith O’Shaughnessy described the seizure of Veracruz by North American ships , in great detail, and the exchange of impressions between her husband and Valeriano Huerta.

  • Discover what Cardenismo is and who Lazaro Cardenas was.