Neocolonialism During the Porfiriato

Topics: Mexico, Mexico City, Porfirio Díaz Pages: 6 (2117 words) Published: October 11, 2013
Necolonialism During the Porfiriato
In the early sixteenth century, Spain conquered Mexico and turned it into one of their most lucrative colonies. In the search for land, labor and natural resources, Spain found everything they were looking for in Mexico. During the colonial period, Mexico was simply another kingdom of the vast Spanish Empire. As Spain largely benefited, the indigenous civilizations of Mexico were ravaged and left to be entirely dependent on their foreign counterpart. It wasn’t until the independence movement in the early nineteenth century that Mexico seemed to have some hope of being released from the hands of imperialism. Unfortunately, following independence, Mexico suffered from a half a century of economic stagnation and political disruption. However, the economy took a turn for the better when Porfirio Diaz took control in 1877. Under his presidency, Diaz was able to modernize the Mexican economy through the construction of railroads and the extraction of natural resources. Although this period saw major benefits, the costs were monumental and almost entirely reliant on foreign investments. On paper, Mexico may have been an independent nation, but by the time of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, the country was largely dependent on another empire—the United States. Consequently, the early twentieth century in Mexico was a new colonial period. Mexico is naturally home to an abundance of resources that aren’t readily available in the U.S.. Once it was revealed that the U.S. could potentially profit largely off of the extraction of these resources, they immediately started devising a plan to do so. In a document written by a United States Consulate, U.S. motivations in Mexican commerce were exposed: Having shown by this short statement that the productions of mining are inexhaustible; that the products of agricultural industry and cattle raising are innumerable...naturally it arises the question of how this immense wealth could be turned to benefit the commerce of the United States. The medium to effect this desired object is railroad communication and the establishment of telegraph lines, and to make an advantageous commercial treaty with this republic. The U.S. imperialist motives led them to finance the construction of railroads knowing that they would directly benefit from them. That is exactly what followed once Porfirio Diaz came to power.         Mexico’s dependency on the United States began with Porfirio Diaz. In 1876, Diaz overthrew the government of Seabstian Lerdo de Tejada. The United States supported Diaz by supplying him with rifles, pistols, knives, grenades and money. The U.S. investors that gave him the supplies influenced the United States to recognize Mexico diplomatically. In return for the support and recognition, Porfirio Diaz granted generous concessions to the U.S. The new agreement allowed foreigners to buy land in the areas around the border, extending the tax-free zone. By doing this, Mexico was opening up to direct U.S. economic involvement. The previous strategy of the U.S. to physically conquer Mexico changed to dominate their economy through expanded trade and investment.

When Diaz became the president of Mexico in 1876, he immediately began by consolidating his power. He influenced the appointment of state governors, and approved candidates for the national Congress by giving patronage to his friends. He controlled the courts, subsidized and suppressed the press, and gained the support of the church. Diaz reformed the laws of Mexico to serve the needs of the creditor nations. The main goal of Porfirio Diaz was to promote interests of foreign investors. He reduced the number of municipals and the authority of the town councils. Although, he was able to modernize and consequently stabilize the Mexican government. He did this by balancing the budget, abolishing interstate tariffs acquiring new streams of revenue from taxes on metals, and securing international loans....

Bibliography: Chasteen, John Charles. Born in Blood and Fire. Edited by Justin Hoffman. 3 ed. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2011.
Raat, W. Dirk, and Michael M. Brescia. Mexico and the United States : Ambivalent Vistas (4th Edition). Athens, GA, USA: University of Georgia Press, 2010.
Skilton, Julius A. "United States Department of State / Index to the Executive Documents of the House of Representatives for the Second Session of the Forty-Fifth Congress, 1877- '78(1877-1878)." (1878).
United States Department of State/Executive documents printed by order of the House of Representatives (1870) .
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