Patriotic holiday

Mexican Constitution Day

Mexican Constitution be honored as an official holiday on the first Monday of February. It is one of Mexico's Fiestas Patrias or Patriotic Holidays. This year, 2011, the holiday will be celebrated on Monday, Feb 7th.

Mexico has had various constitutions in the course of the course of history since its independence from Spain in 1810. These are the Constitution of 1824, the Constitution of 1857 and the Constitution of 1917, which is presently in effect.

  • To read the Mexican Constitution text presently in effect, click here.

The Mexican Constitution was drafted in Santiago de Querétaro by a Constitutional Convention during the Mexican Revolution. It was approved by the Mexican Constitutional Congress on Feb 5, 1917, with Venustiano Carranza serving as the first president under its terms.

Article 1 deals with the legal rights of the individual to personal freedom and forbids the practices of slavery and personal discrimination.

Article 2 establishes Mexico as a distinctive and indivisible nation and enforces the preservation of its multicultural heritage.

Article 3 establishes the right of equal and unbiased education for all.

Amongst the further articles of the Mexican Constitution figure the establishment of equality for all under the laws of the land; freedom of expression, speech and the press; the right of citizens to petition in a tranquil manner and exercise freedom of assembly; freedom of religion, the prohibition of monopolies; the protection of the rights of workers; the separation of church and state.

The holiday is generally recognized with the festivals and street celebrations.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910 was a social and cultural movement which introduced the beginning of changes in Mexico. The revolution started as a rebellion against President Porfirio Diaz.

The opposition of Díaz surfaced when Francisco I. Madero, who was educated in Europe and at the University of California, began to gain recognition and political power. Diaz had Madero imprisoned, feeling that the folks of Mexico just weren’t prepared for democracy. Through this time, several other Mexican folk heroes began to emerge, including the well-known Pancho Villa in the north, and the peasant Emiliano Zapata in the south.

Díaz was still not able to control the spread of the increasing insurgence and resigned in May, 1911, with the signing of the Treaty of Ciudad Juarez, after which he escaped to France.

Madero was then elected president, but received opposition from Emiliano Zapata who didn’t wish to wait for the orderly implementation of Madero’s preferred land reforms. In November of the same year Zapata denounced Madero as president and took the position for himself. Zapata controlled the state of Morelos, where he chased out the estate owners and divided their lands to the peasants. Later on, in 1919, Zapata was assassinated by Jesus Guajardo acting under orders from General Pablo Gonzalez

Pancho Villa joined the rebellion led by Francisco Madero, which was successful. When Madero was assassinated in 1913 Villa formed an army several 1, 000 strong which came to be known as the Division del Norte – the Division of the North. He fought on the side of Venustiano Carranza and the Constitutionalists.

Eventually, Venustiano Carranza rose to the presidency, and organized an important convention whose consequence was the Constitution of 1917, which is even now in effect today. Carranza made land reform an essential part of that constitution. This resulted in the ejido, or farm cooperative plan which redistributed much of the country’s land from the wealthy land holders to the peasants. The ejidos are even now in place today and consist of almost fifty percent of all the farmland in Mexico.

(Published by Logan Cook - February 2, 2011)

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