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Carranza, Venustiano, and the Convention of Aguascalientes

Convention of Aguascalientes, 1914

Quite a bit of agreement of need for political settlement. Agreed that the president shouldn't be Villa or Carranza. Villa oscillates as to whether he wants power. Villa violated neutral ground agreement by bringing troops.

Bulk of delegates were military men, the single most important element in politics. Some of these generals were good politicians. Each of the major armies had a little group of intellectuals. Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama (patron saint of agrarian reform) was with Zapata. Zapata's only interest was agrarian reform. Díaz Soto y Gama was with Zapata at Aguascalientes. The Zapatistas came late to the Convention of Aguascalientes.

Alvaro Obregón, two weeks before the Convention was up in Chihuahua. Villa ordered him shot, retracted it. Obregón never flinched. He had nerves of steel.

The decision was made at Aguascalientes to choose a relatively neutral person as president. Eulalio Gutiérrez chosen. Villa didn't want him to be important. Gutiérrez had a lot of support from civilian intellectuals, which shows how little intellectuals understood the situation.

Díaz Soto y Gama spat on Mexican flag. That made many generals unhappy about presence of radicals; after all, they were spilling blood for that flag.

Aguascalientes dominated by a decision made by Obregón--that the agreements reached at the Convention wouldn't work because Villa was going to try to dominate Gutiérrez. He believed that no decision could be made until Villa was overthrown or beaten, in fact, until all who opposed the Carranza faction were beaten. So Obregón withdrew. Went to the Carrancistas.

Carranza forces compromised their moral position for two months. Didn't move

The Villa army became the Army of the Convention. Went to Mexico City. Dilly-dallied on the way and once he was there. Some say he could have destroyed the Carranza forces if he had moved quickly. Villa loved women, and made love not war for a few months. Villa ordered Gutiérrez around. Intellectual such as José Vasconcelos was with Villa and Gutiérrez.

Carranza was given time to get ready. By February, 1915, he was ready to move. From then until Spring 1916, had defeated his enemies. Obregón won battle of Celaya against Villa in April, 1915, adapting WWI techniques he learned from newspapers to stop Villa's cavalry. Villa was reduced to being a guerrilla.

Carranza had the devil of a time with Zapatistas. Another Carranza general was fighting him. Zapata took Puebla in a drive to get Veracruz, the important port city with its customs revenues. Obregón stopped Zapata by retaking the city of Puebla. Zapata retreated back into Morelos, his home state.

Carranza had issued reform decrees in order to gain support. This was one of the reasons for returning to Mexico City. There was quite a bit of radical activity in local levels, Yucatán and Tabasco are examples. The military general of Tabasco in canceled peon debts, decreed minimum wages, and forbade corporal punishment of servants. In Yucatán, they created cooperatives to run the vast henequen plantations.

Carranza Decrees

12 December 1914 - emphasized agrarian reform, the return of village lands to the Indians; favored taxing real property; minimum wages; free municipios; division of church lands; new laws on national resources to end foreign monopoly. He included labor planks to draw labor support. Obregón signed an agreement with the labor organization, the Casa del Obrero Mundial, which then supported the Carrancistas against Villa. Labor contributed intellectuals and "Red" battalions.

Divorce by consent and remarriage were instituted. The church opposed these social decree as well as much of the revolution. Not surprisingly, anticlericalism grew.

Growth of discussion of all kinds of items.

Early 1915, Carranza promised to call a constitutional convention. When Carranza won, he couldn't back out of this.

Most of the fighting was over by 1916.