Convention of Aguascalientes

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The Convention of Aguascalientes was a major meeting that took place during the Mexican Revolution between the factions in the Mexican Revolution that had defeated Victoriano Huerta's Federal Army and forced his resignation and exile in July 1914.

The call for the Convention was issued on 1 October 1914 by Venustiano Carranza, head of the Constitutional Army, who described it as the Gran Convención de Jefes militares con mando de fuerzas y gobernadores de los Estados ("Great Convention of Commanding Military Chiefs and State Governors") and seen as "the last attempt to create unity among the revolutionaries."[1]

Its first sessions were held in the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City, but were later transferred to the city of Aguascalientes, whence its name, where it met from 10 October to 9 November 1914.

Background[edit]

General Victoriano Huerta, who had usurped the presidency in a coup d'état in February 1913, resigned the office in July 1914 on account of Revolutionary pressures and left the country. He was replaced by Venustiano Carranza, who wished to discuss his government's policies with the other revolutionary leaders, and so called for the Convention to take place. But, faced with the absence of the Zapatistas (who did not recognise Carranza's authority) and the refusal of Francisco Villa to attend a meeting in Mexico City, it was agreed to relocate the Convention to Aguascalientes, Ags.

Convention[edit]

Villa (L), Gutiérrez (C), and Zapata (R), following their triumphant entry into Mexico City

The convention was intended to settle the differences between the "big four" warlords who played the biggest roles in overthrowing Huerta: Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza and Alvaro Obregon.[2]

A question that the various factions had to settle in advance of the convention was whether participants would only be revolutionary military men or could include civilians as well. Carranza had a large and strong civilian backing, and argued for their inclusion but lost.[3]

Tensions were already high between Carranza and Villa, his former ally. Although Zapata had not openly sided with Villa initially, but was hostile to Carranza with Carranza returning feeling. "The southerners had never liked Carranza and his pretensions, and Carranza despised the Zapatistas as ignorant, narrow-minded troublemakers."[4]

From the onset, however, the Convention was dominated by the Villistas, who imposed their points of view on the other delegates. The supporters of Emiliano Zapata did not arrive until 26 October (a delegation of 26, led by Paulino Martínez and Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama).

When the Convention first met on October 10, 1914, it declared itself sovereign, which meant that it was a deliberative body, not a consultative one. Carranza rejected the notion of sovereignty and did not himself attend the convention or send representatives.[5] Zapata had not yet arrived and the delegates made the decision to not conclude any major business until he and his advisers attended.[6] Zapata arrived with an entourage of men with military titles, "but most of them [were] in fact civilians who had never led troops in any form."[7]

There was a plan to merge revolutionary armies into a single military, which would have structurally taken the place of the Federal Army that ceased to exist with the fall of the Huerta regime. There was some support for this in theory, but the revolutionary armies had formed and fought under the command of particular leaders (Villa, Obregón, Zapata, Abraham González) and so in the current circumstances was impossible to implement.[7]

The convention elected General Eulalio Gutiérrez Ortiz as President of Republic for the limited term of 20 days,[8]

It appointed Villa commander of the Conventionalist Army, which then took up arms against Carranza's Constitutionalist Army.[9] Due to the disagreements that Carranza had with Zapata and Villa, the three refused to attend the convention and little developed as a result.[2]

After the meeting, the newly reconciled Villa and Zapata entered Mexico City on 6 December, at the head of an army of 60,000 men. Carranza and his supporters consequently retreated to Veracruz. Subsequently, Zapata returned to his stronghold in Morelos, so that the alliance with Villa was largely in principle only.

References[edit]

General
  • A collection of original documents from the Convention of Aguascalientes can be found at Documentos de la Convención de Aguascalientes on Wikisource
  • Barrera Fuentes, Florencio (1964). Crónicas y debates de las sesiones de la soberana Convención Revolucionaria (Tomos I, II y III). 
  • Alessio Robles, Vito (1950). "La Convención Revolucionaria de Aguascalientes". Revista Todo. Retrieved 13 November 2008. 
  • Sánchez Lamego, Miguel A. (1983). Historia militar de la revolución en la época de la Convención. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana. ISBN 978-968-805-234-1. 
  • Reyes Heroles, Federico (1985). "De la junta a la Convención Soberana", in: Así fue la Revolución Mexicana. El triunfo de la Revolución. Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación Pública. 
Specific
  1. ^ Friedrich Katz, The Secret War in Mexico, Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1981, p.267.
  2. ^ a b 1914: The Aguascalientes Convention
  3. ^ Charles C. Cumberland, Mexican Revolution: The Constitutionalist Years. Austin: University of Texas Press 1972, p. 166.
  4. ^ Cumberland, Mexican Revolution, p. 168.
  5. ^ Cumberland, Mexican Revolution, pp. 170-2.
  6. ^ Cumberland, Mexican Revolution, p. 170
  7. ^ a b Cumberland, Mexican Revolution, p. 171.
  8. ^ Cumberland, Mexican Revolution, p. 172.
  9. ^ Lucas, Jeffrey Kent (2010). The Rightward Drift of Mexico’s Former Revolutionaries: The Case of Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama. United States: Edwin Mellen Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-7734-3665-7.