Oil and the Mexican revolution




Rippy, Merrill, 1917-

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The study of recent Mexican history soon discloses that the major forces shaping that history were oftentimes external and that much of the effort of Mexico in the latest generation has been directed toward the attainment of the goal of complete sovereign independence. If the Mexican revolutionaries did not begin with that objective, they soon discovered that in reality there could be no revolution without freedom from foreign interference. The story of Mexico's struggle to free herself from foreign domination of her oil industry is the principal aspect of the revolution which I have studied here. Since, however, the oil industry in Mexico could call on resources of great weight--economic, legal, and political--as it fought to defend itself against the Mexican revolution, I have found it necessary to try to inter-relate that fact with the particular element of the problem which was the direct object of this study. Fundamentally Mexico's problem seems to have been the accomplishment of a revolution in the economic sphere. Her method was to revise her basic law and then enforce it as well as she dared in the face of internal poverty and external interference. The tenacity of Mexico in clinging to her objective throughout a generation of tenative advance and humiliating retreat is the most striking fact that emerges from a study of recent Mexican history. Mexico played something of the role of a David hurling stones for a generation at a Phoenix-like Goliath--the international oil industry--who would not be slain and who, when wounded, was succored by the great powers. The surprising development was that under the circumstances Goliath was ever dealt a final blow. To study the problem of the Mexican revolution as it tried to work its way in the economic field, in particular in the oil industry, requires recognition of the fact that the problem was an international one of significance to all countries, for it involved the basic issues raised by economic imperialism supported by great powers against the revolution of a weak country. An examination of recent Mexican history predicated on that thesis is the subject of this dissertation