In two of the most fateful months of Mexican history, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1916–1917 came to grips with the basic problem of twentieth-century Mexico. They hammered out pragmatic solutions to establish the legal foundations of the Mexican Revolution, the definitive break between the old Mexico and the new, the constitutional bases for the socioeconomic changes from 1917 onward. Honored and obeyed, dishonored and disobeyed, many times amended, the constitution they wrote still serves as the instrument for achieving the national purpose.
Revolution at Querétaro is the first book in English to study in depth the remarkable convention that produced the Constitution of 1917. It chronicles the unfolding of ideas expressed in the debates on the most significant articles of the constitution, those that have given it a revolutionary flavor and have served the groundwork for the emergence of Mexico as a modern nation. These articles concern the Catholic church and its role in the sphere of education (Article 3); the relationship of the church to the state (Articles 24 and 130); the attack on vested interest and the establishment of guidelines for agrarian reform (Article 27); the drafting of a detailed labor code (Article 123); and attempts to implement municipal reform (Article 114). Other debates described in the book concern unsuccessful attempts to institute prohibition, outlaw bullfights, abolish capital punishment, and grant suffrage to women.
This study also sheds light on the delegates themselves, who they were and where they came from, their idiosyncrasies and attitudes, and their individual contributions to the writing of the constitution. Much material is taken from unpublished albums in which the delegates recorded their sentiments during the convention.
- 1. 1857 to 1917: Background for a Revolutionary Constitution
- 2. Elections, Delegates, and Preliminary Sessions
- 3. The Apogee of Anticlericalism
- 4. The Evolution of a Labor Program
- 5. Article 27: The Attack on Vested Interests
- 6. The Prevailing Winds of Reform
- 7. Concluding Sessions: The Politics of Discord
- 8. In Retrospect
- Appendix A: Article 130 of the Constitution of 1917
- Appendix B: Article 5 Compared with Draft Proposal
- Appendix C: Article 123 Compared with Draft Proposal
- Appendix D: Carranza’s Draft Proposal of Article 27
- Appendix E: Article 27 Compared with Draft Proposal
- Appendix F: Biographic Information on Delegates Referred to in Text (as of January 31, 1917)