Andrés Molina Enríquez

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Andrés Molina Enríquez (November 30, 1868, Jilotepec de Abasolo, State of Mexico – 1940)[1] was a Mexican revolutionary intellectual, author of The Great National Problems (1909) which drew on his experiences as a notary and Justice of the Peace in Mexico State.[2][3] He is considered the intellectual father of the land reform movement in modern Mexico embodied in Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917 "by transcending the Liberal taboo against state interference in the ownership and administration of private property."[4] He has been called "the Rousseau of the Mexican Revolution."[5]

Influence & work[edit]

Los Grandes Problemas Nacionales[edit]

Molina Enríquez is best known for publishing Los Grandes Problemas Nacionales (The Great National Problems) in 1909,[6] a book highly critical of the Porfirio Díaz government.[7] 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.[8] 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.[1][9] 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."[10]

Indigenous rights[edit]

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.[11] 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.[12]

Land reform[edit]

Molina Enríquez believed land reform was needed. In August 1911, he issued the Plan de Texcoco as a prelude to revolt, in which he called for establishing a dictatorship committed to land reform.[9] A version of the Plan de Texcoco was published in the newspaper El Imparcial, which condensed the land reform section, with the Decree over the breaking up of large properties saying

It is declared that on the basis of public utility, from the date of this decree [August 23, 1911], the partial expropriation of all the rural estates with a surface area that exceeds two thousand hectares. Popular action may denounce the real estate that should be expropriated in keeping with this law. The denouncer has the right to choose the best part of the land suitable for expropriation.[13]

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.[14][15][16][1] Molina Enríquez had helped create the legal mandate for the destruction of the hacienda system and the re-centralization of State power.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Coffman, Amador. Andrés Molina Enríquez. Toluca: Patrimonio Cultural y Artística del Estado de México 1979.
  • Sánchez Arteche, Alfonso. Molina Enríquez: La herencia de un reformador. Toluca: Instituto Mexiquense de Cultura 1990.
  • Shadle, Stanley F. Andrés Molina Enríquez: Mexican Land Reformer of the Revolutionary Era. Tucson: University of Arizona Press 1994.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Young, Eric Van (2006). Hacienda and Market in Eighteenth-Century Mexico: The Rural Economy of the Guadalajara Region, 1675-1820. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. xxi. ISBN 0-7425-5356-6. 
  2. ^ Joseph, Gilbert Michael (1988). Revolution from Without: Yucatán, Mexico, and the United States, 1880-1924. Duke University Press. p. 336. ISBN 0-8223-0822-3. 
  3. ^ Toffolo, Cris E.; M. Crawford Young (2003). Emancipating Cultural Pluralism. SUNY Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-7914-5597-1. 
  4. ^ Stanley F. Shadle, Andrés Molina Enríquez: Mexican Land Reformer of the Revolutionary Era, Tucson: University of Arizona Press 1994, p. 2.
  5. ^ Anita Brenner, The Wind That Swept Mexico: The History of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1942. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers 1943, p. 43.
  6. ^ Windows to culture II: a reading comprehension textbook. UNAM. p. 22. ISBN 968-36-6200-5. 
  7. ^ Niblo, Stephen R. (1999). Mexico in the 1940s: Modernity, Politics, and Corruption. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 368. ISBN 0-8420-2795-5. 
  8. ^ Tutino, John (1986). From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750-1940. Princeton University Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-691-02294-1. 
  9. ^ a b Henderson, Peter V. N. (1999). In the Absence of Don Porfirio: Francisco Leon de la Barra and the Mexican. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 181. ISBN 0-8420-2774-2. 
  10. ^ Eric Van Young, "Beyond the Hacienda: Agrarian Relations and Socioeconomic Change in Rural Mesoamerica," Ethnohistory 50:1 (2003): 231.
  11. ^ Gray, Andrew (1997). Indigenous Rights and Development: Self-determination in an Amazonian. Berghahn Books. p. 50. ISBN 1-57181-875-8. 
  12. ^ De Mente, Boye Lafayette (1998). There's a Word for It in Mexico. McGraw-Hill Professional. pp. xxix. ISBN 0-8442-7251-5. 
  13. ^ Plan de Texcoco by Andres Molina Enríquez published in El Imparcial, translation by Stanley F. Shadle. Shadle, Andrés Molina Enríquez, Appendix. p. 114.
  14. ^ Stanley Shadle, Andrés Molina Enríquez: Mexican Land Reformer of the Revolutionary Era. Tucson: University of Arizona Press 1994.
  15. ^ Fowler, William (1997). Ideologues and Ideologies in Latin America. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 62. ISBN 0-313-30063-1. 
  16. ^ Raat, W. Dirk; William H. Beezley (1986). Twentieth-century Mexico. University of Nebraska Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-8032-8914-6.