José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori, better known as Porfirio Díaz is an outstanding personage in Mexican history because of all the controversy that he caused during his lifetime. He was a war volunteer who became a French Intervention hero, loyal to Benito Juarez. After refusing many offers from theImperial Forces and Emperor Maximilian to stop the war in a peaceful way, he went on to win the final battle in Puebla. Between 1871 and 1876, Porfirio led various revolts against the Mexican Government because he did not agree with the administration; but it was not until May 12, 1877 that he was officially elected president of Mexico. The period in which Porfirio Diaz ran the country is called“Porfiriato” or “Porfirismo” and it comprehends from 1877 to 1911; because of this, many historians consider him a Dictator (Krauze & Zerón Medina, 1993). It is believed that he stabilized the economical and political system after all the problems caused by the War of Independence and foreign invasions.
It is rather difficult to understand how the society reacted after Diaz became the presidentbecause his main supporters, turned against him in the end. It is believed that the difference between social classes was really accentuated during his government: the top of the society was occupied by a very small group of politicians, Creole capitalists and foreigners that agreed with Porfirio’s policies. They owned factories, commercial houses and financial business. The middle class was formedby retailers, professors, journalists and bureaucrats; although it seems that they helped in the political and economical transformation that the country needed, years after some of them started revolts against the “Porfirismo” (Cosío Villegas, Historia Moderna de México. El Porfiriato vida social", 1972). The worker class lived oppressed and in miserable conditions all these years; therefore itis understandable that they supported the middle class when they started the revolts.
During the “Porfiriato” great economical transformations caused by foreign inversions took place in Mexico. It appears that foreign commerce had a great impact on it; by the end of the 19th century Mexico exported all kind of raw materials, mainly minerals. Díaz used the tariff as a political instrument; bymeans of that he substituted some importation supplies such as manufactures destined for the urban consume. This set Mexico as one of the most protectionist countries of the world. According to the National Economical Registers from 1874-1910, the incomes of exportations increased from 27.5 million up to 146 million dollars (Cosío Villegas, Historia Moderna de México. El Porfiriato vida social, 1972).However the main consequence of the Foreign Commerce Policies was that small Mexican factories that supplied manufactures, could not value their products higher than the imported ones; therefore, that sector’s economic development was thwarted.
Another aspect that should be taken in count when we talk about economical changes is the implementation of plenty of services such as the railroad,telephone, telegraph and electricity. These services were improved with capital of foreign investors: the length of railroads was increased from 416 miles up to 15,360 miles distributed principally in the center of the country (ITAM, 1990); the president believed that it was important to improve the transportation methods and make them safer.
As a result of the industrialization process, thetelegraph was introduced in 1877; the Morse code was considered useful because it simplified the communication between people in different places and the spread of information. It became much easier to communicate when the telephone, invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, arrived to Mexico; the first years it was only used by the government and the army. By 1893 the first private telephone lines...