Porfirio Diaz: Mexico’s Gentleman Dictator
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Porfirio Diaz: Mexico’s Gentleman Dictator

Porfirio Diaz: Mexico’s Gentleman Dictator (Author: Morris M.) In November 1910, Mexico exploded. Triggered by a rigged election, the Mexican
Revolution shook the nation. You’ve probably heard of its most-famous
sons: Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. You probably even know its biggest set-pieces,
such as the 1914 US occupation of Veracruz. But how much do most of us know about the
guy who started it all? About the guy whose rule convinced hundreds
of thousands of Mexicans to take up arms and fight to overthrow him? Born in 1830, Porfirio Diaz began life as
a poor nobody before rising to become his country’s absolute dictator. Starting in 1876, Diaz ruled Mexico with an
iron fist for over three and a half decades, leaving power only when swept from it by the
tides of revolution. Yet the story of Diaz is more than just the
story of an autocrat. Although a strongman, Diaz oversaw one of
the most-sustained periods of progress in Mexican history. Under his watch, the country modernized and
transformed… even as democracy was trampled into the dust. A devil to some, an angel to others, this
is the life of Porfirio Diaz: Mexico’s gentleman dictator. Chaos Nation If you were a gambler, the odds you’d have
given on newborn Porfirio Diaz one day ruling Mexico would’ve been somewhere in the region
of several quintillion to one. When Diaz was born on September 15, 1830,
it was to dirt-poor mestizo parents in the state of Oaxaca. If you’re not up on your terminology, “mestizo”
means mixed-race. Diaz’s ancestors had been a combination
of white Spaniards and indigenous Mixtec people. But while that might sound interesting today,
in early Mexico it was pretty much a guarantee that you were gonna spend your life wallowing
in poverty. And wallow the Diazes did. When he was just three or five, Diaz’s carpenter
father died, leaving the family penniless. The family was so poor that they couldn’t
afford shoes. There are tales that, as a child, Diaz spied
on a local cobbler, trying to figure out how to make shoes for his family himself. But then life wasn’t a picnic for anybody
in 1830s’ Mexico. The reason being that the country was just
embarking on a solid half-century of chaos. OK, so, in order for us all to really understand
what’s going on, we need to take a quick stroll through Mexican history. Until only a decade before Porfirio Diaz’s
birth, Mexico had been the Viceroyalty of New Spain, an outpost of the Spanish empire. But that empire had lost its jewel in 1821,
when New Spain had won independence and declared itself Mexico. The early years of Mexico had been kinda like
watching a confused middle schooler, trying on various personalities to see what sticks. It had been an empire, been a republic. By the time Porfirio Diaz was old enough to
be spying on shoemakers, though, it had settled into a much-less welcome form. Mexico was a mess. The trouble had begun with 1828’s disputed
election. What started as a democratic wobble soon became
the norm, until Mexico was like a big plate of political Jell-o. To give you some idea just how shaky things
were; between 1828 and 1857, the Mexican presidency changed hands fifty times. This chaos was helped by a number of factors,
both internal and external. Externally, there were all the European powers
who kept invading, like the Spanish in 1829, or the French in 1838. Internally, there was the fact that Mexico’s
liberals and conservatives would rather focus on dicking one another over than actually
governing the country. Then there was Santa Anna. You might recognize Santa Anna from your American
history class. He’s the Mexican dictator who laid siege
to the Alamo and lost Texas to a bunch of revolutionaries. But he was also Mexico’s great political
survivor. Flitting between left and right, he tumbled
in and out of the presidency all the way from 1833 to 1855, adding to the general sense
of chaos. But if the decade of Porfirio Diaz’s childhood
was characterized by a Mexico constantly on the brink of crisis, it had nothing on what
was gonna come next. The 1840s would see the start of a period
when Mexico was more or less constantly on fire. And, when the entire country was nothing but
ashes, Porfirio Diaz would be the only person left standing. The Inferno There’s a parallel universe where typing
“Porfirio Diaz” into Google will get you nothing but a list of obscure Mexican priests. Not in this universe, though. In this universe, Diaz’s teenage attempts
to join a seminary were interrupted by war. On 25 April, 1846, a group of American soldiers
deliberately wandered into the disputed zone between Mexico and the newly-annexed state
of Texas. When the Mexican border guards opened fire,
the US used it as a pretext to launch a full-scale war. If Mexico in 1846 was a wobbly stack of Jell-o,
then the Mexican-American War was like a hurricane blowing the entire pantry away. The American invasion caused the government
to collapse, allowing Santa Anna to seize the presidency for the ninth time. Down in Oaxaca, 15-year old Porfirio Diaz
abandoned the priesthood and instead enlisted in a student militia to fight for Mexico’s
honor. But this wasn’t the war Diaz was destined
to shine in. Heck, he wouldn’t even become the biggest
name from his home in Oaxaca. That honor would fall to Benito Juarez. Born in 1806, Juarez was from a fully indigenous
family – unlike the mestizo Diaz – and hadn’t spoken Spanish until he was 12. He was, however, ferociously intelligent,
and had become a lawyer and leading liberal in Oaxaca. Come 1846, Juarez had been elected state governor,
just in time for the Mexican-American War. When it became clear that Mexico was destined
to lose, Juarez made a stand and refused to send any more young Oaxacan men to die in
Santa Anna’s army. The result was Juarez landing a place on both
Oaxaca’s unofficial list of Liberal heroes, and Santa Anna’s very official list of “Guys
I’m Totally Gonna Kill.” On February 2, 1848, the war ended, and Porfirio
Diaz demobilized from his student militia. But rather than return to the priesthood,
he instead returned to Oaxaca, determined to follow in Benito Juarez’s liberal footsteps. Today, Diaz is associated with Mexico’s
conservatives, but he started out learning at Juarez’s feet. This gave Diaz a front row seat for Santa
Anna’s next vindictive move – and, yes, emphasis fully on the dick. In 1853, Santa Anna returned to the presidency
for the first time since the war. Only this time, he styled himself “His Serene
Highness,” and launched a brutal consolidation of power. A consolidation that included kicking Benito
Juarez out the country. When Diaz heard his mentor was being forced
into exile, he was livid. He marched down to the town square where a
referendum was taking place on Santa Anna’s coup – watched over by Santa Anna’s armed
soldiers, naturally – and openly cast a vote against the dictator. In the chaos that followed, Diaz then managed
to mount a horse, steal a gun, and shoot his way out the town and off into the mountains
to foment rebellion. It was both the most-Mexican exit we’ve
ever heard, and a piece of excellent political timing. Santa Anna’s new regime was as unpopular
as a president returning for the eleventh time tends to be. When others took up arms against him, it was
clear his time was over. In 1855, Santa Anna resigned and fled into
exile. He would die in poverty in 1876, having never
regained the presidency. In the aftermath of Santa Anna’s two decade
hold on politics collapsing, the Liberals took power. Juarez came back to Mexico, Diaz came back
down out the mountains, and everyone cheered. It should’ve been a moment of calm. A hard-earned bit of breathing space after
decades of chaos. But this is 19th Century Mexico we’re talking
about. And if there’s one thing 19th Century Mexico
was all about, it was chaos. A Warrior’s Rise When the Liberals took power in the wake of
Santa Anna’s fall, they weren’t in the mood for compromise. They promulgated a new, hyper-liberal constitution
that not only guaranteed free speech and the right to bear arms, but also stripped the
Catholic Church of its power and property. Unfortunately for Diaz and Juarez, Mexico
had a lot of Catholics. A lot of Conservative Catholics now sure that
this Liberal government was destroying their way of life. And so we come to war #3,792 of this video:
the Reform War. Trust us, it won’t be the last. Pitting Liberals against Conservatives in
a gigantic bloodletting, the Reform War – or La Reforma – sucked for just about everyone. But not for Porfirio Diaz. Well, it did physically. In one early battle he got shot, leaving a
festering wound in his side that wouldn’t heal for two whole years. Yuck. But, politically, the war paid dividends. When La Reforma ended in 1860 with a Liberal
victory, Diaz was promoted for his heroism. That meant he became a general just in time
for the French invasion of Mexico. Yep, its more war, this time courtesy of our
old friend, Napoleon III. After winning the Reform War, Benito Juarez
had retaken the presidency and discovered the country was broke. So he suspended all repayments of foreign
debts. However, one of those foreign debts just happened
to be held by France, now under the dictatorship of Napoleon’s nephew, Louis-Napoleon. And if Napoleon III had inherited one thing
from his uncle, it was his love of invading foreign nations. We don’t have time to go into the French
invasion in detail – which is a shame as its super interesting, and involves Louis-Napoleon
proclaiming a bewhiskered Austrian named Maximilian Emperor of Mexico. If you want to learn more, check out our video
on Maximilian. For now, though, we’re gonna touch on one
key date you’ve definitely heard of: Cinco de Mayo. If you live north of the border, there’s
a good chance you only know Cinco de Mayo as the day frat boys don sombreros and get
hammered on tequila. But it was also the date of the Battle of
Puebla. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army faced the
French in a battle where they were outnumbered 3 to 1. General Porfirio Diaz was technically second
in command of the Mexicans. But, really, it was thanks to him that we
celebrate Cinco de Mayo at all. At the climax of the fighting, Diaz single-handedly
led a cavalry charge against the French. So daring was his attack that the French lines
broke, resulting in a Mexican victory. The Battle of Puebla raised Porfirio Diaz
from being a mere Liberal icon to a folk hero for the entire nation. It helped that Diaz followed his win up with
escapades like getting captured and breaking out of prison twice. By the time the French abandoned their Mexican
adventure, Porfirio Diaz was to Mexico what Davy Crockett is to America. And he knew this. When the post-invasion election of 1867 was
held, Diaz threw his hat into the ring. He probably should’ve won. The only reason he didn’t is that Benito
Juarez also ran. While Diaz might’ve been a folk hero, Juarez
was the nation’s wartime leader. It was like FDR asking the American public
for his fourth term. Of course Juarez was gonna win. So Diaz backed down. He stepped out the race and retired to a ranch
in Oaxaca. But here’s the thing. Porfirio Diaz in 1867 wasn’t retirement
age. He wasn’t even 40. More than that, he was ambitious. More ambitious than Benito Juarez realized. In less than a decade, that ambition was gonna take him from “Mexican folk hero” to “bigger
dictator than Santa Anna.” “No Reelection!” If we’ve done our job, by now it should
be clear that Mexico in the mid-19th Century was near-ungovernable. The entire period from 1828 onwards had been
nothing but invasions, wars, coups, dictators, and imposed emperors. When Porfirio Diaz finally seizes power in
five minutes’ time, you might wonder why no-one goes into rebellion against him. Why there’s no great war against his dictatorship. Well, ask yourself this. If you’d lived through all that chaos, would
you really be itching for another war? Four years after Diaz retired to his ranch,
in 1871, another election rolled around. At this point, Benito Juarez had effectively
been in power since La Reforma, a near 15-year run. It was widely expected that he would step
aside to allow some fresh blood. Someone like, oh, I dunno, a certain moustachioed
general living on his ranch in Oaxaca? But, no. Come 1871, Juarez stood for reelection. It was at this point that Diaz snapped. Back in 1867, Diaz had been deferential to
his former patron. This election, the gloves weren’t just off;
they’d been filled with dynamite and shoved up Juarez’s ass. Diaz ran on a platform relentlessly attacking
Juarez as a dictator in the making, as another Santa Anna. He made his rallying cry the phrase “no
reelection!”, and made limiting presidents to a single term a key part of his pledge. When Juarez still squeaked to victory, Diaz
jumped on his horse, picked up his gun, and rode back off into the mountains to start
another rebellion. Only, it didn’t quite work. While there were no real battles, the few
skirmishes Diaz’s men participated in resulted in the army wiping the floor with them. It’s entirely likely Diaz would’ve just
fizzled out, had fate not intervened. On July 18, 1872, Benito Juarez suffered a
heart attack and died at his desk. With Juarez gone, a dude called Sebastián
Lerdo de Tejada took over as president. Luckily, Lerdo was a guy who was all about
burying the hatchet. That summer, Lerdo issued an amnesty for everyone
who’d taken up arms against Juarez. Diaz returned from the mountains, presumably
thinking the next election was in the bag. And then 1875 rolled around and Lerdo decided
to stand for reelection. One of the major failures of Diaz’s anti-Juarez
rebellion had been a lack of funds. So, this time, Diaz didn’t instantly declare
himself in rebellion, but traveled to the USA. There, he arranged some meetings with some
very rich businessmen, and let it be known – very subtly – that, were they to help finance
his bid for the top job, he might just start opening up Mexico to wealthy American investors. Funding secured, Diaz then declared himself
in rebellion under his old “no reelection!” slogan. Tooled up with American guns and money, Diaz’s
army was now unstoppable. But there would be no major battle. When Lerdo saw which way the wind was blowing
he was all like “you know what? You can have the presidency.” Porfirio Diaz finally became president of
Mexico in early 1877. One of his first acts was to alter the constitution
to make reelection illegal. But while people in 1870s Mexico might’ve
thought this proved Diaz was for real with his slogan, from our vantage point in the
21st Century, we can see just how hollow that promise was. Porfirio Diaz was now in power, and he had
no intention of giving it up. Mexico would be under his perfumed boot for
the next thirty six years. The Porfiriato If you’ve seen Narcos, you’ll recognize
Pablo Escobar’s phrase: plata o plomo, meaning “silver or lead”. I.e. work with me and get rich, work against
me and get dead. Well, Porfirio Diaz had his own version. The period of Diaz’s rule is known today
as the Porfiriato, and its unofficial slogan was pan o palo, or “bread or stick.” The bread part was for Diaz’s old enemies,
or others who might have the power to challenge him. These guys got not only showered with money,
but guarantees they could run their power bases like personal fiefdoms, in return for
not getting any ideas about being president. The stick part… well, that was for everyone
else. Peasants who objected to their crops being
taken by greedy elites; indigenous villagers worried about haciendas stealing their land;
workers who wanted to unionize… they all got whacked with the Porfiriato’s stick. Not that this meant they were killed. Murder wasn’t Diaz’s style, he was too
refined for that. Nah, what it meant was suddenly having all
your property confiscated. Or being deported to do backbreaking labor
in some far-flung region without your family knowing where you were. Murder and torture aside, Diaz didn’t really
care what happened to you. That’s because he had a bigger project to
focus on. Diaz wanted to make Mexico great again. There were two parts to his plan. First, Diaz needed to ensure the chaos of
the last fifty years was over. So he sent waves of police and vigilantes
out into the provinces, where he let them take care of the bandits and highwaymen in
whatever way they saw fit. He had troublesome villages broken up, their
members all separately shipped off to do hard labor. That done, Diaz turned his attention to the
second part: attract money into Mexico. At the start of the Porfiriato, Mexico was
deeply in debt, with a poor international reputation. Diaz made sure all of that changed. He made debt repayments a priority. Then, once people accepted that money invested
in Mexico wasn’t money lost, he went back up north to see his American business pals
and present them with his grand vision. They would invest in Mexico, and Diaz would
ensure they had monopolies, and that any troublesome workers were dealt with using the Porfirian
stick. In return, these investors would modernize
his country. After all its warring, Mexico had almost missed
out on the industrial revolution. There were few rail lines, and some provinces
were still so isolated that they were effectively self-governing. But not anymore. Almost overnight, railroad tracks sprang up,
linking cities to ports, to the USA. Telegraph poles marched out by the thousands,
connecting villages for the first time to the modern world. Mines opened, digging up silver, zinc and
copper by the bucketload. All this created one of the most sustained
economic booms on record. Money was suddenly pouring into a Mexico that
was suddenly safe. What was there not to love? Diaz had gambled that, after a half century
of mayhem, Mexicans would accept him trampling civil liberties in return for law and order
and a chance to get rich. And he was right. The reason no-one rebelled against the Porfiriato
was because no-one wanted to. But Diaz’s boom wasn’t evenly distributed. While the elites, the foreign investors, and
the new middle class all got fat on Porfirian bread; millions of peasants, indigenous, and
urban poor got nothing but the stick. Then there was the hypocrisy. In 1880, Diaz honored his pledge and stepped
down, refusing to run for reelection. Instead, he installed a puppet president,
and made sure this puppet passed just enough unpopular laws that, come 1884, the people
were begging Diaz to return. So Diaz did as his people asked. And then he amended the constitution to make
it legal for the president to have unlimited terms. So much for “no reelection.” The Creelman Interview By 1908, the Porfiriato was less a dictatorship
than it was a fact of life. Diaz was now the longest-serving ruler in
Mexican history, making even Santa Anna look a novice. As the Porfiriato had ossified, so too had
the country. Democracy had been dead so long that no-one
could remember what it looked like. Land rights were a thing of the past. The rich kept getting richer, and the poor
kept getting poorer. It was against this backdrop of stagnation
and resentment that the 77-year old Diaz gave the interview that would destroy him. The Creelman interview – by American journalist
James Creelman – was meant to be a puff piece. It’s certainly written that way: its portrait
of Diaz is so sugar-coated that it should carry a diabetic health warning. But deep within Creelman’s sycophantic prose
was buried a landmine. One that, when it detonated, would blow up
the whole of Mexico. Amazingly, it was planted there by Diaz himself. “I have waited patiently for the day when
the people of the Mexican Republic would be prepared to choose and change their government
at every election…” he was quoted as saying. “I believe that day has come.” The words were vague, meant to reassure readers
in the democracy-loving US that Diaz wasn’t a bad guy. But they also gave everyone in Mexico the
impression that Diaz wouldn’t stand in the 1910 election. You know that phrase: “when you’re in
a hole, stop digging?” Well Porfirio Diaz was evidently of the “better
to dig straight through to Australia” school. When everyone asked if he really was gonna
stand aside and let another president take his place, he was all like, “sure, why not?” He stood by this all through 1909, as new
political parties emerged. As a pro-democracy businessman named Francisco
I. Madero declared he would run under Diaz’s former slogan of “no reelection!” Diaz even stood by his words as Madero began
campaigning in 1910, drawing enormous crowds of cheering supporters. Maybe Diaz was so blinkered that he assumed
he’d win in a fair fight. Maybe he really did want democracy in 1908,
then got cold feet as the election approached. Either way, the result was the same. Right before the election, Francisco Madero
was arrested. On polling day, everyone was given a choice:
vote for Diaz, or get a taste of the ol’ Porfirian stick. But you can’t let a genie like democracy
out of its bottle and hope to just stuff it back in. Diaz had given Mexico something unbelievably
dangerous, as dangerous as handing the electorate a loaded gun and placing the barrel against
his forehead. He’d given them hope. On October 5, 1910, Francisco Madero escaped
jail and fled into exile in Texas. There, he issued the Plan of San Luis de Potosí,
calling on the Mexican people to rise up and overthrow Diaz. At long, long last, the Mexican Revolution
was here. By the time it ended, no-one would be left
standing at all. The End of Order You might already know that November 20 is
celebrated as Mexico’s day of revolution. What you might not know is that, had you been
alive on November 20, 1910, you wouldn’t have realized anything was happening. That’s because almost nobody in Mexico heeded
Francisco Madero’s call. In the capital, the Porfiriato grinded on
like nothing had changed. But “almost nobody” is not the same as
“nobody”. Up in the north, a guy called Pancho Villa
decided to follow Madero and get his revolution on. What began as a little bit of disorder quickly
snowballed into an all-consuming avalanche. The Army had got fat and lazy on Porfirian
bread and forgotten how to fight. Villa and his armies spent the winter racking
up victories. By mid-February, Francisco Madero was back
in Mexico, ready to lead the revolt. Yet, even now, Diaz couldn’t see the danger
he was in. He remained blind to it as winter gave way
to spring. As Emiliano Zapata’s rebellion broke out
in Morelos. Even as Villa’s army laid siege to Ciudad
Juarez. It wasn’t until the city was about to fall
that Diaz seems to have woken up to the looming threat. But by then it was too late. In early May, Ciudad Juarez fell. Around the same time, the Zapatistas captured
the city of Cuautla. There were now only two options. Diaz either resigned, or he dug his heels
in and plunged Mexico into a bloody civil war. But Diaz wasn’t a dictator like Syria’s
Assad, ready to drown his country in blood to cling to power. He was a gentleman. And gentlemen knew when to quit. On May 21, 1911, the treaty of Ciudad Juarez
was signed, paving the way for an interim president and new elections. Four days later, on May 25, Porfirio Diaz
resigned the presidency and boarded a boat to Europe. After 36 years, the Porfiriato was over. As he left, Diaz famously declared of the
revolution: “Madero has unleashed a tiger, now let us see if he can control it.” Spoiler alert: he couldn’t. In the next two years, Francisco Madero would
first become president, then be assassinated by General Victoriano Huerta. Huerta’s coup would be what turned the Mexican
Revolution into an inferno, sparking the violence that killed hundreds of thousands. But all that is a story for another time. Porfirio Diaz spent the last four years of
his life in exile in Paris, watching his former country disintegrate. Possibly with sadness, possibly with a feeling
of satisfaction that he’d been right all along: Mexico really was ungovernable. Diaz finally died on July 2, 1915. He was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery. Today, Porfirio Diaz’s reputation is still
unsettled. On the one hand, there are those who point
to the stability he brought. To the real economic progress made under his
watch. On the other, there are those who point to
the millions left behind by the Porfiriato. The millions abandoned until they got so frustrated
that violent revolution was the only option. Maybe both sides have a point. Without a doubt, Porfirio Diaz was a dictator. Without a doubt, he squandered the security
and progress his regime brought by showering money on a narrow elite. But Diaz was also the lynchpin of an entire
era of Mexican history. A guy who ruled for longer than anyone else. His story may not be a pretty one, or even
an inspiring one. But it’s one we need to remember. For better or for worse, without Porfirio
Diaz, modern Mexico would be a very different place.


  • Biographics

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  • Francisco Buenrostro

    Diaz is the best leader Mexico has ever had, he wasn’t perfect but he had Mexico under control, something no other leader has been able to do

  • BioFercho García

    As mexican I can only say: Porfirio Díaz was the best president ever, his only fault was to grab himself to power besides his age, if he could organize a well planned succession Mexico nowadays must be a first world country!

  • Mario Urbina

    As a mexican I will tell you this, Porfirio Diaz was the best president Mexico ever had, he knew how to control the criminals and how to control the so called liberals that in fact were all thieves, Mexico prospered under his hand and modernized, the mexican peso was stronger that the US dollar and he stopped the americans from conquering the Isthmus of Tehuantepec un southern Mexico and building the canal that later was built in Panama, he was a man of honor, not like the mexican politicians of today that have sold every good part of Mexico to foreign interests,and if he had stayed in power Mexico would have been different and better than it is today.

  • Nathan Carr

    In some ways, Porfirio Diaz is like a Stalin 0.5. Like Stalin, he modernized the country. Like Stalin, he reduced millions of people to grinding poverty. Of course, Stalin was much more ruthless and bloody than Porfirio Diaz ever was, being the gentleman dictator that he was.

  • Rob Junco


    He was a figure in the middle of the cold war and his assassination was muddled because he had dealings with the CIA and KGB…..

  • gxd000

    Great video, but 18:13 is the most imprecise part. He has blood on his hands, and lots of it.

    Yes, people were sent into labor camps to do backbreaking labor, but people would work there until they died, often lasting only months. Check out "Barbarous Mexico" by John K. Turner, an American journalist posing as a wealthy investor who got invited in 1909 to inspect plantations and mines, and documented the living conditions in what in modern times could be considered as atrocious as the Holocaust.

    The Yaqui people were methodically exterminated in what today could only be treated as a genocide.
    The strikes at Cananea mine and Rio Blanco textile factory were violently dealt with, with around 800 workers murdered by police on the spot, and many more being disappeared.

    Also, even though he admired French culture, he was no gentleman. In fact, his wife Carmelita (16 years old when he was 40) had trouble breaking his habit of spitting on the floor of the presidential palace.

  • abel reyna

    "Perro con hueso ni ladra ni muerde"

    -Porfirio Diaz

    That's how he kept power for so long. This is how every government keeps power come to think of it. Not pretty but effective.

  • Ralph Munoz

    More Mexican Revolution videos, por favor. It’s a unique revolution known to mankind. To us Mexicans, it’s an unfinished one..

  • Eric Q

    Mi País es una tragedia tras otra..
    Thank you for recounting our history in an interesting and dignified manner👍👍👍

  • Dolores Vargas

    My dad spoke highly of Porfirio Diaz.When I told him about these cobblestone streets,he pointed out that he was responsible for this accomplishment.Tony has spoken.

  • Player Juan

    Mexico deserves it's dictators and corrupt modern politicians like the rest of latin America deserves it's quasi socialistic governments.

    We are our own worst enemies and we have learned nothing from our Anglo Saxon white American counter parts to the north.

    (I'm Puerto Rican btw)

  • Google User

    Still a better and more efficient government than the narco-democracy they have now.

    The men who died to oust him must turn in their graves knowing how disgustingly corrupt and useless the "democratically elected" Mexican government is

  • Abram Vazquez

    Here is an idea and maybe the wrong place to put it but, videos on some of the battles that describe tactics, trains armys and or commanders, just a though

  • Daniel Valdivia

    Damn! I loved this video guys, it's very unbiased and makes some excellent points! Thanks for digging into some Mexican history; saludos from Cuernavaca, Morelos! 😃👋🇲🇽 Keep up the great work!

  • Benito Gutierrez

    Great video mate, I always enjoy your videos very much, you guys put a lot of effort on researching the topics and end up doing a great job. Speaking on the subject, in this video you mentioned 3 key figures on Mexico's history: Santa Ana, Maximiliano and Porfirio Diaz, but there is one important aspect about these 3 persons that they all have in common, the 3 of them were backed by the clergy of the Catholic Church, the clergy had a lot of power in those days, they controlled a lot of land, they had a lot of wealth, some banks and had the ear of the people. they were behind the persons who brought Maximilian, they were behind all the presidency's of Santa Ana and they also were behind the 36 years of Porfirio, they didn't like the constitution of 1957 that separated State and Church, the policies that took away all of the land and riches they had, so Diaz in order to solidify his power betrayed the constitution and gave back all the land and riches to them. They backed Santa Ana as long as he didn't meddle in their affairs or took their land and riches. I know this is controversial and a lot of people may not like this and reply to my comment, but it is what it is. I'm a catholic and I believe in god, but not so much on the clergy, specially the upper echelon of it. In no way I'm trying to offend anyone! Cheers Mate!

  • F. Xavier

    I would add that after the Revolution capitalized Porfirio Díaz was demonized ever after, and he still is. His descendants haven’t even been allowed to bring back his body from France. He is still buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

  • VRT 910823

    Porfirio Diaz was the man that modernized Mexico. Yes he left many behind but we are who we are because of him. History has no goodies or baddies just those who transcend.Great Video Simon

  • flamencoprof

    I just happen to be reading a book downloaded free from Project Gutenberg, "The American Egypt: A Record of Travel in Yucatan by Arnold and Frost" 1905. There is a nice quote regarding Diaz' methods: –
    "Another stroke of real genius was the way in which he has succeeded in
    setting thieves to catch thieves. When he became President, the country
    was infested with bandits who stopped at nothing; but Diaz erected huge
    gallows at the crossways all over Mexico, and the robbers found they had
    to stop at those, and stop quite a long while till the zopilotes and
    vultures had picked their bones to the blameless white to which good
    Porfirio Diaz desired the lives of all his subjects to attain. After
    some weeks of brisk hanging-business, Diaz played his trump card. He
    proclaimed that all other bandits, known or unknown, who cared to
    surrender would be enrolled as _rurales_, country police, and, garbed in
    State uniform and armed with Winchesters, would spend the remainder of
    their lives agreeably engaged in killing their recalcitrant comrades.
    This temptation to spend their declining days in bloodshed, to which no
    penalties were attached, was too much for many. Thus fifty per cent, of
    Mexico's robbers turn police and murder the other fifty, and acute Diaz
    has a body of men who and whose sons have proved, and sons' sons will
    prove, the eternal wisdom of this hybrid Sphinx of a ruler."

  • Isak Rodriguez

    Can you do a video about the Alamo I really love learning about Mexican history because I am part Hispanic my dad is from Mexico and I love learning about the history of it can you do more videos like that please

  • AZ Independent

    The only good politician in Mexico, is a dead one because the cartels murder anyone with integrity and they never last more than a few months. If a politician lives very long, they basically have to have made a deal with the cartels where they just turn the other way and they can make it 🐍🐍

  • Totalx

    Its weird how as an American I dont remember being taught anything about Mexican history. Its mostly been European, American, and my state of Missouri's history.

  • theoutlook55

    Muchísimas gracias por haber hecho un video acerca del uno de las personas más importantes de México.
    Ciertamente, es una figura controvertida pero indudablemente fue transformador en el desarrollo industrial y hasta cultural del pueblo mexicano. Fue con él que se impulso más un nivel de apreciación como también exploración de las raíces indígenas mesoamericanas del Mexicano.
    He pensado por muchos años que él hubiera pasado a la historia como una figura muy positiva si hubiera muerto antes o si hubiera seguido con su plan original de no buscar su reelección en 1910.

  • magtovi

    It is one of the greatest videos I have ever seen about the topic, except for the complete glossing over of the immense influence and meddling the U.S. had in all of this from the very beginning of the video to the very end of it.

  • Mike Cade

    Simon , I would like to vigorously recommend to you Vernon Walters as a subject for this channel. 'Silent Missions ' is his biography. He landed in North Africa, fought through WW2, took part in the Marshall Plan, and continued throughout the Cold War, even taking part in negotiations with the Communist Chinese. An amazing story.

  • Xochitl Milagros Czesława, HIE

    Now that you’ve done Diaz and His Majesty, Maximiliano I, it’s only fair to do one on His Majesty Agustín I, Santa Ana, and that smelly little goblin Juarez. Maybe also on Haiti’s king and emperor, since you guys did Louverture?

  • Sebastian Primomija

    Its Hilarious Mexico is the Land where Dictators like Porfirio Diaz drag Mexico into the future and “Democratically” elected Presidents like Juarez drag it into the mud. Maybe Democracy in Mexico is more of a detriment

  • Jim Stone

    ONLY THE FIRST 500. That really mean BS offer. As, these videos get millions of views. Now if it is on every video? Maybe, but it is a tease. Don't even put up the offer if I can't get it. Thanks

  • Alexander R

    Santana will die in poverty in exile, having squandered the millions he stole from Mexico…Aka. The sale of Texas.

  • Clipgatherer

    Diaz is also quoted as saying before boarding a ship to Europe: "My poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the United States."

  • Alex Harris


  • Sean Brazell

    Without him Mexico would be a very different place! There would be mass unrest, no rule of law, blood on the streets and…….
    Maybe not so different after all.

  • Jonathan Naab

    Throwing Camillo Benso count di Cavour's hat into the ring. A leading figure in Italian unification and first Prime Minister of Italy.

  • Jorginho Car

    The fact that people still glorify one of the biggest traitors to Mexico is, simply put, incredibly.
    You should stop reading writers and historians that favor corruption, crimes, nepotism and money over their duties to democracy and freedom.

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