chapter  1
8 Pages

Planting the Seeds, 1898–1923

Equally unsurprisingly, many caciques exploited their stranglehold over the political system to stymie urgent political and social change and, of course, this only raised the political temperature. Part of the problem here also lay with the entrenched attitudes of local employers whose refusal to compromise scotched many efforts to ease social tensions. The most pressing cries for change they stifl ed came from the rural poor whose weight of numbers gave their protests particular urgency. Indeed in 1900 two-thirds of the labour force still tilled the land, and even as late as 1930 farming employed 45.5% of the active population.4