Between 1910 and 1919, Morelos, Mexico, was home to a bloody agrarian revolution that saw government troops burn villages, cities stand abandoned, and two of every five people either flee the fighting or die in it. The conflict came in response to an intense economic transformation that changed the region's peasant economy into the hub of the Mexican sugar industry during the nineteenth century.
By focusing on the creation of the rural working class in Morelos, Bitter Harvest argues that developments there reflected a broader pattern shared with other parts of Mexico that erupted in revolution. The volatile nature of the sugar industry in Morelos, and the silver and cattle industries of the North, exacerbated the social problems created by an exclusionary political regime. Soon, displaced peasants, small farmers, disgruntled ranch hands, and unemployed miners joined Francisco Villa in northern Mexico, while peasants, farmers, and sugar workers rallied around the leadership of Emiliano Zapata in Morelos. When President Porfirio Díaz and the revolutionary leaders that came after him resisted the call for deep social change, turmoil engulfed much of the nation for the next decade. In the end, the Zapatistas were defeated militarily, yet they still forced major concessions out of the national government, which helped shape Mexican society for the rest of the twentieth century.
|Publisher:||University of New Mexico Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Paul Hart received his PhD in history from the University of California, San Diego. He is currently an assistant professor of history at Texas State University, San Marcos.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The revolution against the Mexican Federal government in the state of Morelos south of Mexico City beginning in 1910 and lasting most of the decade left forty percent of the inhabitants dead or refugees. The revolutionary Zapatistas--followers of Emiliano Zapata--were mainly a farmer and peasant group aiming to keep hold of their land and gain political rights against the large landholders, primarily sugar growers, who had the support of the government. The growth of the sugar farms under the ownership of Mexico's traditional large landholders of the upper class was a main economic area of industrialization in Mexico. As seen by Hart, the historical course leading up to the bloody, devastating, doomed revolution in Morelos begins in about 1840, The U. S. invasion of Mexico in the Mexican-American War of this decade and later French intervention helped to shaped Mexican internal events giving rise later to the Zapatista Revolution as well as the rebellion of Pancho Villa in the north. Although the Zapatista Revolution failed militarily, Hart shows how some of its social and political aims nonetheless came to be reflected in the government and society. Chief among these were redistribution of land and wealth, the political inclusion of the oppressed peasantry, and cooperative, somewhat socialistic or communitarian communities. Rather than a reactionary group trying to hold back industrialization and related modernization, Hart sees the Zapatistas as 'peasants and workers...trying to realize their own vision of the future' with fairly sophisticated, timely ideas and ideals. By broadening the historical time frame and the subject matter for comprehension of the early 20th century revolution in Morelos, Hart puts much of Mexican history and society since the mid 1800s in a new light.