“Si, Se Puede!” That was the Obama campaign rally in Spanish: “Yes, we can!”
“Yes, we can” – what?
We never really think about the “Spanic” part of Hispanic. “Spanic” as in Spain, a European nation that was at war for like, forever, with the English, first “conquered” the native peoples of the North American continent in their quest for gold, and bankrupted themselves in the 21st Century when they fell for the wind turbine scam.
The Hispanics sometimes also call themselves “Latinos”. That puts them on a level more with Italy than Spain, for while Spain indeed adopted Latin as its base language, with Spanish becoming one of the “romance” languages (as in “Romans”), that base language came from Rome itself.
La Raza (meaning “The Race”) accuses white Europeans of “conquering” the North American aborigines. But conquistador is a Spanish word, not English. The Spanish were in a bitter rivalry with England for command of the Atlantic and ownership of North America.
The English had the better Navy, the more disciplined crews, they had a female queen, Elizabeth I – and they had Sir Francis Drake, whose name American schoolchildren rarely hear (because he apparently engaged in the slave trade). Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580.
The Spanish Armada was a Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from A Coruna in August 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Tudor establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.
Elizabeth, who sought to advance the cause of Protestantism where possible, had supported the Dutch revolt against Spain. In retaliation, the Catholic Philip planned an expedition to invade England and overthrow the Protestant regime of Elizabeth, his sister-in-law, thereby ending the English material support for the United Provinces – the part of the Low Countries that had successfully seceded from Spanish rule – and cutting off English attacks on Spanish trade and settlements in the New World.
The Armada chose not to attack the English fleet at Plymouth, then failed to establish a temporary anchorage in the Solent, after one Spanish ship had been captured by Francis Drake in the English Channel, and finally dropped anchor off Calais, France. While awaiting communications from the Duke of Parma’s army the Armada was scattered by an English fireship attack. In the ensuing Battle of Gravelines, the Spanish fleet was damaged and forced to abandon its rendezvous with Parma’s army, who were blockaded in harbour by Dutch flyboats.
The Armada managed to regroup and, driven by southwest winds, withdrew north, with the English fleet harrying it up the east coast of England. The commander ordered a return to Spain, but the Armada was disrupted during severe storms in the North Atlantic and a large number of the vessels were wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Of the initial 130 ships over a third failed to return. Philip II attempted to invade England, but his plans miscarried, partly because of his own mismanagement, and partly because the defensive efforts of the English and their Dutch allies prevailed.
The expedition was the largest engagement of the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604). The following year, England organized a similar large-scale campaign against Spain, the Drake-Norris, also known as the “Counter-Armada of 1589,” which was also unsuccessful.
The Spanish didn’t fare very well in conquering the northern portions of North America. They couldn’t defeat both the English and the French. England helped the Colonials defeat France in the battle for the colonies. But the Colonies revolted, gaining their independence from England. In 1803, they purchased the French territories in the Midwest from France.
Throughout the second half of the 18th century, Louisiana was a pawn on the chessboard of European politics. It was originally claimed by Spain but subsequently settled by the French, who established the colony as part of New France. Following French defeat in the Seven Years’ War, Spain gained control of the territory. As the lands were being gradually settled by U.S. migrants, many Americans, including Jefferson, assumed that the territory would be acquired “piece by piece.” The risk of another power taking it from a weakened Spain made a “profound reconsideration” of this policy necessary.
The city of New Orleans controlled the mouth of the Mississippi River because of its location; other ports were established, but only New Orleans had direct access from the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. New Orleans was already important for shipping agricultural goods to and from the areas of the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. Pinckney’s Treaty, signed with Spain on Oct. 27, 1795, gave American merchants “right of deposit” in New Orleans, granting them use of the port to store goods for export. The treaty also recognized American rights to navigate the entire Mississippi, which had become vital to the growing trade of the western territories.
In 1798, Spain revoked this treaty, prohibiting American use of New Orleans, and greatly upsetting the Americans. In 1801, Spanish Governor Don Juan Manuel de Salcedo took over from the Marquess of Casa Calvo, and restored the U.S. right to deposit goods. Napoleon Bonaparte had gained Louisiana for French ownership from Spain in 1800 under the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, but the treaty was kept secret.
Louisiana remained nominally under Spanish control, until a transfer of power to France on Nov. 30, 1803, just three weeks before the formal cession to the United States on Dec. 20, 1803. Another ceremony was held in St. Louis a few months later, in part because during winter conditions the news of the New Orleans formalities did not reach Upper Louisiana. The March 9–10, 1804, event is remembered as Three Flags Day.
James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston had traveled to Paris to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans in January 1803. Their instructions were to negotiate or purchase control of New Orleans and its environs; they did not anticipate the much larger acquisition which would follow.
The Louisiana Purchase was by far the largest territorial gain in U.S. history. Stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, the purchase doubled the size of the United States. Before 1803, Louisiana had been under Spanish control for 40 years. Although Spain aided the rebels in the American Revolutionary War, the Spanish didn’t want the Americans to settle in their territory.
While the transfer of the territory by Spain back to France in 1800 went largely unnoticed, fear of an eventual French invasion spread nationwide when, in 1801, Napoleon sent a military force to secure New Orleans. Southerners feared that Napoleon would free all the slaves in Louisiana, which could trigger slave uprisings elsewhere. Though Jefferson urged moderation, Federalists sought to use this against Jefferson and called for hostilities against France. Undercutting them, Jefferson took up the banner and threatened an alliance with Britain, although relations were uneasy in that direction. In 1801 Jefferson supported France in its plan to take back Saint-Dominque, then under control of Tousaint Louverture after a slave rebellion.
Jefferson sent Livingston to Paris in 1801 after discovering the transfer of Louisiana from Spain to France under the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso. Livingston was authorized to purchase New Orleans.
In January 1802, France sent General Leclerc to Saint-Dominique to re-establish slavery, which had been abolished in law and in the constitution of the French Republic of 1795—both in France and its colonies—to reduce the rights of free people of color and take back control of the island from Toussaint Louverture, who had maintained St. Domingue as French against invasion by the Spanish and British empires.
Before the Revolution, France had derived enormous wealth from St. Domingue at the cost of the lives and freedom of the slaves. Napoleon wanted its revenues and productivity for France restored. Alarmed over the French actions and its intention to re-establish an empire in North America, Jefferson declared neutrality in relation to the Caribbean, refusing credit and other assistance to the French, but allowing war contraband to get through to the rebels to prevent France from regaining a foothold.
In November 1803, France withdrew its 7,000 surviving troops from Saint-Domingue (more than two-thirds of its troops died there) and gave up its ambitions in the Western Hemisphere. In 1804 Haiti declared its independence; but, fearing a slave revolt at home, Jefferson and Congress refused to recognize the new republic, the second in the Western Hemisphere, and imposed a trade embargo against it. This, together with later claims by France to reconquer Haiti, encouraged by Britain, made it more difficult for Haiti to recover after ten years of wars.
In 1803, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, a French nobleman, began to help negotiate with France at the request of Jefferson. Du Pont was living in the United States at the time and had close ties to Jefferson as well as the prominent politicians in France. He engaged in back-channel diplomacy with Napoleon on Jefferson’s behalf during a visit to France and originated the idea of the much larger Louisiana Purchase as a way to defuse potential conflict between the United States and Napoleon over North America. Now we understand the real reason for the Liberal invective against the DuPont Chemical Company, Pompton Lakes being one of the key battlegrounds for “restitution.” More about that business in another blog.
Jefferson disliked the idea of purchasing Louisiana from France, as that could imply that France had a right to be in Louisiana. Jefferson had concerns that a U.S. President did not have the constitutional authority to make such a deal. He also thought that to do so would erode states’ rights by increasing federal executive power. On the other hand, he was aware of the potential threat that France could be in that region and was prepared to go to war to prevent a strong French presence there.
Throughout this time, Jefferson had up-to-date intelligence on Napoleon’s military activities and intentions in North America. Part of his evolving strategy involved giving du Pont some information that was withheld from Livingston. He also gave intentionally conflicting instructions to the two delegates. Desperate to avoid possible war with France, Jefferson sent Monroe to Paris in 1803 to negotiate a settlement, with instructions to go to London to negotiate an alliance if the talks in Paris failed.
Spain procrastinated until late 1802 in executing the treaty to transfer Louisiana to France, which allowed American hostility to build. Also, Spain’s refusal to cede Florida to France meant that Louisiana would be indefensible. Monroe had been formally expelled from France on his last diplomatic mission, and the choice to send him again conveyed a sense of seriousness.
Napoleon needed peace with Great Britain to implement the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso and take possession of Louisiana. Otherwise, Louisiana would be an easy prey for Britain or even for the United States. But in early 1803, continuing war between France and Britain seemed unavoidable. On March 11, 1803, Napoleon began preparing to invade Britain.
A slave revolt in Saint-Dominque (present-day Haiti) had been followed by the first French general emancipation of slaves in 1793-94. This led to years of war against the Spanish and British empires, which sought to conquer St. Domingue and re-enslave the emancipated population. An expeditionary force under Napoleon’s brother-in-law Charles Leclerc in January 1802, supplemented by 20,000 troops over the next 21 months, had tried to reconquer the territory and re-establish slavery. But yellow fever and the fierce resistance of black, mulatto, and white revolutionaries destroyed the French army. This was the culmination of the only successful black slave revolt in history, and Napoleon withdrew the surviving French troops in November 1803. In 1804 Haiti became the first independent black-majority state in the New World.
As Napoleon had failed to re-enslave the emancipated population of Haiti, he abandoned his plans to rebuild France’s New World empire. Without sufficient revenues from sugar colonies in the Caribbean, Louisiana had little value to him. Spain had not yet completed the transfer of Louisiana to France, and war between France and Britain was imminent. Out of anger against Spain and the unique opportunity to sell something that was useless and not truly his yet, Napoleon decided to sell the entire territory.
Although the French foreign minister Talleyrand opposed the plan, on April 10, 1803, Napoleon told the Treasury Minister Francois de Barbe-Marbois that he was considering selling the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States. On April 11, 1803, just days before Monroe’s arrival, Barbé-Marbois offered Livingston all of Louisiana for $15 million, equivalent to about $233 million in 2011 dollars.
The American representatives were prepared to pay up to $10 million for New Orleans and its environs, but were dumbfounded when the vastly larger territory was offered for $15 million. Jefferson had authorized Livingston only to purchase New Orleans. However, Livingston was certain that the United States would accept the offer.
The Americans thought that Napoleon might withdraw the offer at any time, preventing the United States from acquiring New Orleans, so they agreed and signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty on April 30, 1803. On July 4, 1803, the treaty reached Washington, D.C.. The Louisiana Territory was vast, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico in the south to Rupert’s Land (Hudson Bay) in the north, and from the Mississippi River in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. Acquiring the territory would double the size of the United States, at a sum of less than 3 cents per acre.
Spain protested the transfer on two grounds: First, France had previously promised in a note not to transfer Louisiana to a third party and second, France had not fulfilled the Treaty of San Ildefonso by having the King of Etruria recognized by all European powers. The French government replied that these objections were baseless: the promise not to transfer Louisiana was not in the treaty of San Ildefonso itself and therefore had no legal force, and the Spanish government had ordered Louisiana to be transferred in October 1802 despite knowing for months that Britain had not recognized the King of Etruria in the Treaty of Amiens.
Although the purchase was thought of by some as unjust and unconstitutional, Jefferson determined that his constitutional power to negotiate treaties allowed the purchase of what became fifteen states. In hindsight, the Louisiana Purchase could be considered one of his greatest contributions to the United States.
The Spanish, now “Mexicans” suffered a further humiliation in 1836. After declaring their independence from the Republic of Mexico in 1836, the vast majority of Texas citizens voted in favor of the annexation of the Lone Star Republic by the United States. The leadership of both major American political parties, the Democrats and the Whigs, strenuously objected to introducing Texas, a vast slave-holding region, into the volatile political climate of the pro- and anti-slavery sectional controversies in Congress.
Moreover, they wished to avoid a war with Mexico, whose government refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of its rebellious northern province. With Texas’s economic fortunes declining by the early 1840s, the President of the Texas Republic, Sam Houston, arranged talks with Mexico to explore the possibility of securing official recognition of independence, with Great Britain mediating.
If we’re to understand the Mexican immigrants, legal and otherwise, we must delve into their history. It’s not a short story.
In pre-Columbian Mexico many Mesoamerican cultures matured into advanced civilizations such as the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuaca, the Zapotec, the Mayan and the Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, 100 years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Mass., the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, which was administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
This territory would eventually become Mexico following recognition of the colony’s independence in 1821. The post-independence period was characterized by economic stability, the Mexican-American War that led to the territorial cession to the United States, the Pastry War (the firs Franco-Mexican War), a civil war, two empires and a domestic dictatorship. The latter led to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country’s current political system.
After its independence, Mexico experienced a long and bloody history of dictatorships and revolution. The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle from 1910–20 that radically transformed Mexican politics and society.
The failure of the 35-year long regime of Porfirio Diaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Fancisco I. Madero, cheated out of the 1910 presidential election thanks to Diaz’ rigging of elections, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Postosi. It declared Díaz an illegitimate president, and declared Madero the provisional president. It called for democracy and demanded for the return of lands unjustly taken from Mexican villages by Diaz and given to foreign commercial entities.
The armed conflict lasted for the better part of a decade until around 1920 and had several distinct phases. The period 1920–1940 is often considered to be a phase of the Revolution during which power was consolidated and the revolutionary constitution of 1917 was implemented. Over time, the Revolution changed from a revolt against the established order under Díaz to a multi-sided civil war in particular regions with frequently shifting power struggles among factions in the revolution. The Constitutionalist faction of northern Mexico, led by Venustiano Carranza, were the victors in the military phase of the conflict.
The origins of the conflict were broadly based in opposition to the Díaz regime, with the 1910 election became the sparking point for the outbreak of a political rebellion. Elements of the Mexican elite hostile to Díaz, led by Madero expanded to the middle class, the peasantry in some regions, and organized labor. In October 1911. Madero was overwhelmingly elected in a free and fair election. Opposition to the Madero regime increased from both the conservatives, who saw him as too weak and too liberal, and from former revolutionary fighters and the dispossessed, who saw him as too conservative. In February 1913 Madero was assassinated.
Conservatives led by General Victoriano Huerta sought from February 1913 on to reimpose much of the old Porfirian order, but revolts against the regime ensued in the North, under the leadership of the governor of the state of Coahuila, Venustiano Carranza, and in Morelos by peasant leader Emiliano Zapata. Anti-Huerta forces were unified to oust the president. Huerta was forced to resign in July 1914 after 17 months. The Revolution had grown increasingly broad-based, radical, and violent. Many revolutionaries sought far-reaching social and economic reforms, restricting foreign investment, and empowering Mexican workers and peasants via the state while weakening conservative forces represented by the Roman Catholic Church, wealthy landowners, and foreign capitalists.
In 1914, when the winners of the anti-Huerta struggle attempted to sort out a new revolutionary order via the Convention of Aguascalientes, that solution failed. Former allies now fought each other in another round of bloody civil war. Carranza and the best general of the Constitutional Army fought against former Constitutionalist general Pancho Villa, who allied with Zapata. The outcome of that civil war between revolutionaries was not a foregone conclusion, but in 1915 Obregón defeated Villa and the Constitutionalists under Carranza consolidated power.
Following the Constitutionalists’ military victory, Carranza became the pre-constitutional president of Mexico. Then with the writing and ratification of a new constitution in 1917, he was elected the constitutional president. In 1920 when elections were to be held, Carranza attempted to impose a civilian as the leading candidate for the presidency. Northern generals Obregón and Adolfo de la Huerta challenged the decision via the Plan of Agua Prieta. President Carranza attempted to leave the country, but was assassinated en route. General Huerta assumed the interim presidency, with the election of 1920 bringing General Alvaro Obregón to the presidency.
Out of a population of 15 million, the losses were high but numerical estimates vary a great deal. Perhaps 1.5 million people died; nearly 200,000 refugees fled abroad, especially to the United States.
This armed conflict is often categorized as the most important sociopolitical event in Mexico and one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century; it resulted in an important program of experimentation and reform in social organization.
Foreign powers important economic and strategic interests figured in the outcome of power struggles in Mexico, with U.S. involvement as well as that of Communist activists like Leon Trotsky and Argentinian Marxist Che Guevara, later, playing an especially significant role.
Some scholars consider the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution as its end point. “Economic and social conditions improved in accordance with revolutionary policies, so that the new society took shape within a framework of official revolutionary institutions,” with the constitution providing that framework.
The constitution built on liberal principles of the Constitution of 1857, after which the Constitutionalist movement was named, but changes from that document recognized the importance of groups participating in the Revolution, particularly organized labor and the peasantry. Organized labor gained significant power, as seen in Article 123 of the Constitution of 1917. Land reform in Mexico was enabled by Article 27 of the Constitution. Economic nationalism (a body of policies that emphasize domestic control of the economy, labor, and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labor, goods and capital. In many cases, economic nationalists oppose globalization or at least question the benefits of unrestricted free trade. Economic nationalism may include such doctrines as protectionism and import substitution) was also enabled by Article 27, restricting ownership of enterprises by foreigners.
Also in the Constitution were further restrictions on the Roman Catholic Church, which, when implemented in the late 1920s, resulted in major violence in the Cristero War (a widespread struggle in many central-western Mexican states against the secularist, anti-Catholic, and anti-clerical policies of the Mexican government). No re-election of the president was enshrined in the Constitution and in practice.
One major result of the revolution was the disappearance of the Federal Army in 1914, defeated by revolutionary forces of the various factions in the Mexican Revolution. Former revolutionary generals turned presidents of Mexico, Alvaro Obregon, Plutarco Elias Calles, and Lazaro Cardenas took on the task in the 1920s and 1930s of diminishing the power and independence of those armies and asserting effective civilian control.
Managing political succession was achieved in 1929 with the creation of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR), the political party that has dominated Mexico since its creation, now called the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Before Christmas 1936, Russian Communist Leon Trotsky, who had headed the Red Army during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and his wife were deported to Mexico, on a freighter under guard by Jonas Lie, a member of the Vidkun Quisling government in Norway. Trotsky had been deported by Stalin, whom he bitterly opposed, in 1929, and led a transient existence, moving from one country to another, and even spending a few months in New York City before standing trial in Moscow. Mexican president Lazaro Cardenas welcomed Trotsky and arranged for a special train to bring him to Mexico City from the port of Tampico.
Trotsky lived in the Covocan area of Mexico City at the home (The Blue House) of the painter Diego Rivera and Rivera’s wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo, with whom Trotsky had an affair. His final move was a few blocks away to a residence on Avenida Viena in May 1939, following a break with Rivera.
While in Mexico, Trotsky also worked closely with James P. Cannon, Joseph Hansen, and Farrell Dobbs of the Socialist Workers Party of the United States, and other supporters.
Cannon, a long-time leading member of the American communist movement, had supported Trotsky in the struggle against Stalinism since he first read Trotsky’s criticisms of the Soviet Union in 1928. Trotsky’s critique of the Stalinist regime, though banned, was distributed to leaders of the Cominterm. Among his other supporters was Chen Duxiu, founder of the Chinese Communist Party.
In post-revolutionary Mexico, Alvar Obregon was elected the new president of Mexico. One of the major issues that faced Obregón’s early post-revolution government was stabilizing Mexico. Regional caciques (chiefs) were still fighting each other in small skirmishes. The populace was demanding reforms, promised by the 1917 constitution. Many issues faced the working poor, such as debt peonage and company stores that kept the populace poor. The military had generals who wanted to overthrow the regime and take power for themselves. There were also foreign governments, primarily the United States, who feared Mexico would take a communist turn such as Russia was to do in 1918. Obregón was in a difficult position; he had to appeal to both the left and the right to ensure Mexico would not fall back into civil war.
Obregon served his entire elected term 1920–1924; he ran for re-election in 1928, but was assassinated before he could take office, causing a crisis in managing presidential succession.
With regard to the masses, Obregón, who was conservative but still a reformer, started listening to demands to appease the populace. Obregón’s first focus, in 1920, was land reform. He had governors in various states push forward the reforms promised in the 1917 constitution. These were, however, quite limited. Former Zapatistas still had strong influence in the post-revolutionary government, so most of the reforms began in Morelos, the birthplace of the Zapatista movement.
Despite pressures from the U.S., Obregón flirted with the newly formed USSR. To appeal to intellectuals and left-leaning peasants, official Mexican propaganda began to cast a very Marxist spin. Murals with Lenin and Trotsky began to appear in government buildings. Despite the sympathy towards Socialism, the government began to ferment nationalism amongst the peasantry.
This was accomplished by memorializing revolutionary figures and creating anti-western murals. Among the artists employed was Diego Rivera (Leon Trotsky’s host), who lent a Mexican nationalist and Marxist tinge to his government murals. Despite these moves towards an anti-Western and pro-Socialist regime, Obregón did not separate the Mexican economy from foreign capitalists, allowing free trade with some restrictions.
Regarding the military, one of his first moves was to incorporate the irregulars who fought in the revolution. He tried to weaken the powers of the ultra-conservative officer corps, who were not friendly to his regime. Some of his reforms began to anger the officer corps, leading to an attempted coup in 1924 that Obregón was able to crush with relative ease.
Shortly after the failed coup, Obregón’s term ended and Sonoran revolutionary Plutarco Elias Calles took power. In an attempt to buffer his regime against further coups, Calles began arming peasants and factory workers with surplus weapons. He continued other reforms pushed by his predecessor, such as land reform and anti-clerical laws to prevent the Catholic Church from influencing the state.
One such move, in regard to land reform, was to nationalize most farmland and give it to the peasants across Mexico. He also put into effect a national school system that was largely secular to combat church influence in late 1924. After two years the church protested the movement by refusing to give the blessed sacrament to the populace. Some peasants also joined in the protests, adding greater land reforms to the list of demands by the rebelling priests. The rebellion was openly supported by the Catholic Church and received funding, beginning the Cristero War against the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, in 1927 another military coup was attempted, this time receiving support from land owners. Calles quickly crushed the rebellion with help from the newly mobilized peasant battalions, who later on were used to fight against the Church. In the midst of the mobilized worker’s militias, land reform, and anti-church actions, the American government began to openly declare Mexico a Bolshevik regime. To recover from the backlash, Calles began to tone down the radical rhetoric and slowed land reform policies in 1928. A year later, Calles defeated the church ending the rebellion.
After the war ended in 1929, supporters of Calles and Obregón began to form a united political party called the National Revolutionary Party or PNR. This was to unite the various revolutionary factions of the civil war to prevent further Cristero revolts and build stability.
After a series of interim presidents controlled by the party, Lazar Cardenas (who personally welcomed Trotsky to Mexico) took power in 1934. Cárdenas was a Socialist and began to base government policy on class struggle and empowering the masses. However, not all of his reforms were completely Socialist, making him somewhat more centrist than purely socialist. Regardless, his rule was the most radical phase of the post revolution, social revolution.
His first acts of reform in 1935 were aimed towards peasants. Former strongmen within the land owning community were losing political power, so he began to side with the peasants more and more. He also tried to further centralize the government’s power by removing regional caciques (political bosses), allowing him to push reforms easier. To fill the political vacuum, Cárdenas helped the formation of PNR-sponsored peasant leagues, empowering both peasants and the government.
Other reforms included nationalization of key industries such as petroleum, land, and the railroads. To appease workers, Cárdenas furthered provisions to end debt peonage and company stores, which were largely eliminated under his rule, except in the most backwater areas of Mexico. To prevent conservative factions in the military from plotting and to put idle soldiers to work, Cárdenas mobilized the military to build public works projects. That same year another Cristero revolt occurred. This was partially caused by Cárdena’s mandate for secular education early in his presidency in 1934. The revolt was quickly put down due to lack of official support from the Catholic Church, who told rebels to surrender themselves to the government.
The next year, 1936, to further stabilize his rule, Cárdenas further armed the peasants and workers and begins to organize them into formal militias. This proved to be useful later in his presidency as the militias came to his aid in the final military coup in revolutionary Mexico in 1938.
Seeing no opposition from the bourgeoisie, generals, or conservative landlords, in 1936 Cárdenas began building collective farms called ejidos to help the peasantry, mostly in southern Mexico. These appeased the peasants, creating long-lasting stability; however, they were not very good at feeding large populations, causing an urban food crisis. To alleviate this, Cárdenas co-opted the support of capitalists to build large commercial farms to feed the urban population. This put the final nail in the coffin of the feudal hacienda system, making Mexico a mixed economy, combining agrarian socialism and industrial capitalism (which gave rise to Marxist labor unions) by 1940. Cárdenas left office in 1940, marking the end of the social revolution and ushering in half a century of relative stability.
Although this has been a long history, it was important to review Mexico’s history to understand the real threat illegal immigrants and even legal immigrants may pose to the United States’ demographic. There may be Mexican-Hispanics who genuinely love America and freedom. But their resistance to assimilation, their loyalty to community organizations like La Raza, and their overwhelming support of Democrats, who are notoriously Socialist, to say nothing of Communist or Marxist in their policies, indicates that they do not have the United States’ best interests at heart.
Their refusal to learn to speak English, their activists’ accusations of white supremacy and white racism, and their resentment of United States’ history is supremely funny, given the fact that the Spanish, except for Brazil, wholly conquered the continent of South America. South America speaks almost nothing but Spanish, is 99 percent Roman Catholic (among those who are religious), and is notoriously Marxist, given to bloody revolution after bloody revolution, dictator after dictator, and one unstable government succumbing to yet another unstable government.
Given this history (and again, I apologize for the length) is it any wonder that “European-Americans” are dismayed by the Hispanic incursion. Their supporters crow that America will be Hispanic (or will it be Muslim) by the year 2050.
Is this cultural and political seismic shift really anything to embrace, enshrine and enable, much less celebrate? Is this the “political change” that Republican candidate Jeb Bush not only predicted for the GOP but heralded as one we must welcome as inevitable? Is this what we’re expected by the “Cavers” to do? Cave in to Communism and Socialism?
No, no debemos!