The Cristero Revolt Begins:
January 1, 1927
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While Obregón, fearing to jeopardize his power, had been wary of pushing revolutionary social reforms, Calles was more resolute. In the four years he held the presidency, Calles distributed eight million acres to 1,500 villages and established agricultural banks to provide loans for the new farmers. Calles more firmly allied himself with labor than had Obregón. The new president promoted public hygiene and improved sanitation. He instituted irrigation projects to put more land into cultivation. He continued Vasconcelos’ education policies, building more schools in rural areas. Calles — at least at first — seemed genuinely committed to social reform along the lines envisioned by the Constitution of 1917; but it was not long before the basic corruption of his regime undid his would-be radicalism.
Calles ruled as an absolute dictator. He worked to concentrate power in his own hands and was ruthless to those who opposed him. Those who dared oppose him were usually executed, or they “committed suicide” in prison. Calles’ dictatorship was more bitter and relentless than Don Porfirio’s had been. Continue reading