The schism of the constitutionalists and the convention government of Eulalio Gutierrez

Date

1973

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Abstract

The Mexican Constitutionalist revolution, nominally led by Venustiano Carranza, erupted in reaction to the military coup d'etat of General Victoriano Huerta which overthrew and murdered the constitutionally-elected President Francisco I. Madero. The Constitutionalist revolution had no more than begun when schismatic influences emerged challenging Carranza's leadership. Francisco "Pancho" Villa of Chihuahua was the most significant of these challengers. The dissidents against Carranza united in the summer of 1914 making it appear that a fraternal war among the victorious revolutionaries was imminent. Patriotic Mexicans of all factions made futile efforts to solve the differences of the antagonists. The most important effort, the Convention of Aguascalientes, brought generals and governors of all factions together to discuss peaceful solutions. The acts of the Convention proved to be much more ambitious than the caudillos expected. To the surprise and chagrin of Carranza and Villa, the Convention decided to retire them from their positions of leadership and declare itself sovereign, electing a provisional president, Eulalio Gutiérrez. Also, the Villistas and Zapatistas gained control of the Convention, putting the Carrancistas on the defensive. Observing these developments, First Chief Carranza refused to recognize the Convention's sovereignty or its president. Gutiérrez, desiring peace and taking his new position seriously, futilely attempted to persuade Carranza to subordinate himself to his authority. The First Chief rebelled, seconded by many supporters. Gutiérrez, lacking any military support, was forced to turn to Villa and his Division of the North, thus destroying the original aim of the Convention; warfare erupted between the caudillos. The Convention president, still hoping to achieve the original aims of the Convention, vainly attempted to govern for six tumultuous weeks. The military leaders and their troops refused to subordinate themselves to his authority, yet opportunized on the legitimacy his government gave their cause. In total frustration, Gutiérrez abandoned his military supporters and the Convention in mid-January, 1915, fleeing into the north. From a remote hideaway, the President quixotically attempted to assert his position as the legitimate executive of Mexico and sought support, both foreign and domestic. In May, 1915, in total frustration, he abandoned all claims to the presidency. Mexico was not ready for a return to peace and constitutional order in late 1914 and early 1915. The intense passions, loyalties, and ambitions released by the Revolution were too strong. Before peace could be restored to the ravaged nation, more bloodshed had to occur until one of the factions emerged victorious. In the midst of such circumstances, the Convention of Aguascalientes and Eulalio Gutiérrez had tried to restore peace and order; they met total failure.

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Keywords

History, Mexico, Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920, Gutiérrez, Eulalio

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