Andrés Molina Enríquez
Influence & work
Los Grandes Problemas Nacionales
Molina Enríquez is best known for publishing Los Grandes Problemas Nacionales (The Great National Problems) in 1909, a book highly critical of the Porfirio Díaz government. Molina Enríquez characterized the period after 1821 as the era of national disintegration. The book highlighted issues of sharp political divisions, recurrent armed conflicts, and periodic foreign interventions. Molina Enríquez focused particularly on two aspects, land reform and the rights of the indigenous people and their place in society socially. Molina Enríquez was arrested by the government of Francisco León de la Barra on August 25, 1911 for publishing the document, which has later been described as highly influential on the eve of the Mexican Revolution. A well-known quote from the book is "la hacienda no es negocio" [the hacienda is not a business]: "By this he meant that the large Mexican landed states of his day (and stretching back to their origins in the era of the Spanish conquest) were for the most part not profit-oriented but 'feudal' enterprises, that rural Mexico was therefore only partially capitalistic, if at all, and that the country was ipso facto only imperfectly modern."
Molina Enríquez argued indigenous people suffered because of position on national social structure. In order to resolve the suffering of the indigenous people, and create equality, Molina Enríquez believed they had to be integrated into the national state, this idea would be central to the indigenist movement when it went international. Molina Enríquez has been cited as arguing that the only true Mexicans were the mestizos and that they would be the inheritors of Mexico, classifying the other social group in Mexico as Criollos, who were Spanish/French in their thinking and ways, the mestizos to Molina Enríquez, were a new race, with a new culture of their own and the majority of Mexicans.
While focusing on highlighting the nation problems in Mexico at the time, Molina Enríquez believed land reform was needed. In August 1911, Plan de Texcoco was issued, in which Molina Enríquez called for establishing a dictatorship committed to land reform. The role of the dictatorship would be to parcel out large haciendas to individual, not communal claimants. Molina Enríquez would eventually go on to be a key adviser to the committee which drafted article 27 of the Mexican Constitution and a member of the National Agrarian Commission.
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- Eric Van Young, "Beyond the Hacienda: Agrarian Relations and Socioeconomic Change in Rural Mesoamerica," Ethnohistory 50:1 (2003): 231.
- Gray, Andrew (1997). Indigenous Rights and Development: Self-determination in an Amazonian. Berghahn Books. p. 50. ISBN 1-57181-875-8.
- De Mente, Boye Lafayette (1998). There's a Word for It in Mexico. McGraw-Hill Professional. pp. xxix. ISBN 0-8442-7251-5.
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