mexican flagThe Mexican Revolution 1910-1917mexican flag


Porfiro Diaz


Francisco Madero

Emiliano Zapata

Emiliano Zapata

Poncho Villa

Poncho Villa

photos taken from la Revolucion de Mexico

The Revolution and the Muralists

The times were right for revolution because workers were being exploited and peasants were fed up with the favoritism being shown to the upper-class citizens. In 1910 Francisco Madero lead a political campaign to overthrow the current Mexican leader, Porfirio Diaz. With the help of the leaders of the guerrilla bands around the country, Madero forced Diaz to resign and he took over the presidency. These guerrilla leaders included Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. Madero was soon executed by Victoriano Huerta, another revolutionary, because his claims of bettering life for the peasant and workers were insincere. Total chaos erupted and all the revolutionaries fought among themselves. Emilio Zapata was a militant radical who used violence as a way to reach his goals. He sought basic reforms and wanted land over political power. His beneficiaries were peasants. Obregon was not a radical and wanted to create a more capitalist society.

THE MURALS: The Mexican Revolution gave way to a mural renaissance. The Mexican muralists transformed art to make it more accessible to the public. The Mexican muralists primary concern was for a "public and accessible visual dialogue with the Mexican people."2 Mexican muralism represents a significant challenge to the commonly accepted view of the role and position of the artist in Western society. Western artists seem to be separated, hermetic, isolated, self expression, while Mexican muralists are in touch with the Mexican society and its social problems. The muralist played a central role in the cultural and social life of the country following the 1910-1917 nationalist revolution. These artists grew up during the period of 'porfiricto' named for the pre-Revolutionary society under the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. This society was marked by enormous divisions of wealth, property, and power. All three muralists varied in "political beliefs, personal temperament, and artistic style"6 The murals are pictorial narratives involving historical topics. The murals "express a community of national experience."3 The Murals are not bought and sold but commissioned as permanent fixture in some of the most important buildings in Mexico. The murals' purpose is public art; they were painted for all to see not hidden away for the benefit of a few. Started in the beginning of the 1920's during the administration of General Obregon. The most important of the Mexican muralists were Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. They dominated the movement and defined the essence for which it stood. The murals represented the social ideas of the revolution. The Mexican muralist painted all over the world, therefore their work did not only impact Mexicans but "contemporary artists everywhere have witnessed the amazing spectacle of the modern renaissance of mural painting in Mexico, and they have been deeply moved by its profound artistry and meaning."4 Siqueiros stated that the goal of mural painting was to, "direct itself to the native races humiliated for centuries; to the officers made into hangmen by their officers, to the peasants and workers scourged by the rich"5.

Timeline of the Mexican Revolution

9/16/1810-Miguel Hidalgo rebels against colonial Spain.
1811-Hidalgo is captured and excecuted.  Jose Morelos takes control of the revolution.
1815-Morellos is executed by the Spanish.
1821-Under the command of Augustin De Iturbide Mexico’s rich plantation owners rebel, and declare Mexico is free from Spanish rule.
1822-Iturbide is declared Emperor Augustin I
1823-Unpaid troops overthrow Iturbide and set up a Republic with one of thier generals, Guadelupe Victoria, as president
1855-Age of Santa Anna begins
3/2/1836-Texas declares it’s self an independant state from Mexico
1846-Mexico becomes imbursed in the Mexican/American War
1850-Tariff’s and internal decay destroy the Mexican economy
1853-U.S. buys southern Arizona from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase for $10 million
1855-Liberals led by Benito Juarez kill Santa Anna, Juarez becomes president of Mexico
1857-Liberals led by Juarez write a constitution
1857 to 1861-Civil War called the War of Reform, between liberals and conservatives, occurs in Mexico.
1862-Conservatives get help from Napolean III of France, who wanted a French Empire in Mexico.  Napolean installs Maximillian as Emperor of Mexico
1867-French  troops withdraw form Mexico leaving Maximillian to be killed.  Juarez reclaims presidency
1867-Juarez dies
1877-Porfirio Diaz becomes dictator of Mexico
1877 to 1884-Mexicos economy greatly improves
1879-Emiliano Zapata is born in the state of Morellos
1910-Franciso Madero runs against Diaz in Mexico’s first free elections.  Diaz riggs the voting, however.
November, 10, 1910-Madero leads a revolution against Diaz.  He loses
1911-along with Zapata, Villa, and Orozco, Madero revolts against Diaz again
1911-Madero becomes President of Mexico.
November, 28, 1911-Emiliano Zapata issues the Plan de Ayala
1913-Madero is murdered by General Victoriano Huerta, who becomes president
July 1914-Huerta resigns and leaves Mexico
August 1914-Carranza occupies Mexico
Oct. 1914-Revolutionary leaders reject Carranza as Mexico’s President, force him to leave the country
November, 24, 1914-Zapata occupies Mexico city
December, 14, 1994-Zapata and Villa meet
1915-Zapatistas carry out Agrarian reforms in Morelos
December 1915-Carranzas forces retake Morelos
December 1916-Zapatas forces retake Morelos
November 1917- Carranzas forces retake most of Morelos
April 10, 1919-Zapata is murdered in an ambush arranged by Carranza
1920-Alvaro Obregon along with the Zapatistas, Villistas, and other revolutionary groups overthrow and kill Carranza.  Obregon becomes President of Mexico.  Fighting Ends

Timeline taken from la revolucion de Mexico

The Mexican Muralists: