chapter  11
43 Pages

The Post-revolutionary Years, 1917–1940

THIS CHAPTER DESCRIBES HOW MEXICANS CREATED A NEW POLITICAL SYSTEM and restored their war-ravaged economy-the same problems they faced a century earlier after independence. The first major step in this rebuilding process was the promulgation of the 1917 constitution which in theory would provide structure for the new political order. Political order however was slow in coming. During the 1920s, at both the national and local level, armed force, not ballots, determined who held office. The creation of the National Revolutionary Party (PNR) in 1928 laid the groundwork for more orderly political succession. Under the aegis of the PNR Lázaro Cárdenas was elected president for the 1934-40 term. He carried out the most far-reaching reforms associated with the Revolution. The chapter then considers how the economy began to recover from wartime damage, only to be confronted by the Depression. A final section considers how the U.S. government attempted-ultimately unsuccessfully-to impose its interpretation of investor rights and subsurface mineral (i.e. oil) ownership.