History ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-16-1994


This dissertation fills a gap in the scholarship of the Mexican Revolution by providing a detailed history of the northeastern state of Coahuila from the late Porfirian era to approximately 1915. It evaluates the general social, political, and economic developments that contributed to revolutionary activity within the state and that helped to shape the movements led by Francisco I. Madero and Venustiano Carranza. The social bases and characteristics of support for Madero, Carranza, and other revolutionary factions are also examined. Another major theme is the crucial role played by the extensive Coahuila-Texas border in the financing of the Mexican Revolution. Finally, the immediate outcomes of the Revolution are addressed through a study of the reforms introduced during the governorships of Carranza and Gustavo Espinosa Mireles.

The Mexican Revolution in Coahuila occurred against a backdrop of rapid modernization, economic transformation, and social change. It was also shaped by Coahuila's pattern of development, which encouraged traditions of local autonomy, political independence, and economic self-sufficiency. The Madero revolt of 1910-1911 was a reaction to both economic crisis and the effects of political centralization. Yet while it helped give expression to popular discontent, it did not address the major causes of such discontent.

Coahuila's popular movement was more successfully harnessed by Carranza, whose moderate approach to reform also helped maintain the support of the middle sectors and of some elites. A persistent economic crisis encouraged unrest just as it provided recruits for Carranza' s Constitutionalist army. Political factionalism, reminiscent of the era of Porfirio Diaz, also hampered efforts by Carranza to pacify Coahuila.

In the immediate aftermath of the Constitutionalist victory, Coahuila' s government remained highly centralized while Carranza and Espinosa Mireles sought to reconstruct the state. Cautious yet often significant reforms began to challenge the traditional socioeconomic system. Although more sweeping change would not come until the 1930s, Coahuila's broader adjustment to modernization continued apace.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Linda B. Hall

Second Committee Member

Robert Himmerich y Valencia

Third Committee Member

John L. Kessell

Fourth Committee Member

Christine Marie Sierra

Fifth Committee Member

Don M. Coerver

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