Plan of Ayala

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Plan of Ayala (1911), Emiliano Zapata's manuscript

The Plan of Ayala (Spanish: Plan de Ayala) was a document drafted by revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata during the Mexican Revolution.[1] In it, Zapata denounced President Francisco I. Madero for his perceived betrayal of the revolutionary ideals, embodied in Madero's Plan de San Luis Potosí, and set out his vision of land reform.[2] The Plan was first proclaimed on November 25, 1911 in the town of Ayala, Morelos, and was later amended on June 19, 1914.[2][3] John Womack calls the Plan the Zapatistas' "Sacred Scripture".[4]


Emiliano Zapata had supported Francisco I. Madero against the regime of Porfirio Díaz. Díaz was deposed and Madero was elected president. He took office on June 7, 1911, and soon after had a meeting with Zapata where he demanded the disarmament of Zapata's army as a precondition for discussion of agrarian reform. Unsatisfied, Zapata returned to Morelos arguing that if the people were not able to achieve justice after rising in arms, there was no guarantee they would achieve it without them. Finally, after Madero's appointment of a governor who supported plantation owners and his failure to settle the land issue to Zapata's satisfaction, Zapata mobilized his army again.

The Plan[edit]

The Plan was drafted with the help of local schoolteacher—and Zapata's mentor—Otilio Montaño Sánchez.[1] It detailed Zapata's ideology and vision succinctly in the cry ""Reforma, Libertad, Justicia y Ley!" ("Reform, Freedom, Justice and Law!"),[5] later (after Zapata's death) shortened to "Tierra y Libertad!"[6] ("Land and Freedom!", a phrase first used by Ricardo Flores Magón as the title for one of his books).[7]

The main points in the Plan were:

  • Rejection of Madero's presidency and a call for free elections once the situation in the country had stabilized;
  • Naming of Pascual Orozco as the legitimate leader of the Revolution;
  • Devolution of land and property to townships and citizens, as opposed to being owned by large hacendados;
  • Confirmation of the agrarian nature of the Revolution.

The June 1914 amendment was prompted by Pascual Orozco's alliance with the Victoriano Huerta regime and therefore betrayal of the revolutionary movement. This shift in alliances forced Zapata to become head of the Revolution. The amendment ratified the original intent of the Plan and called for a continuation of the conflict until the overthrow of Victoriano Huerta —who had ordered Madero's murder—and the establishment of a government loyal to the principles of the Plan.


The Plan raised Zapata's profile and support from the peasantry in the Mexican South, as reflected by the increased membership to his Ejército Libertador del Sur ("Liberation Army of the South"). Allied with northern revolutionary armies, under Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa they were able to depose Huerta and bring a degree of order to the country, albeit temporary. Zapata quickly came to be in disagreement with Carranza and his Constituent Congress and took up arms once again. Carranza ultimately put a bounty on Zapata's head, resulting in his assassination on April 10, 1919.

However, Zapata's successor as a leader of the Army of the South, was able to strike an agreement with Carranza's successor Álvaro Obregón about an extensive agrarian reform in Morelos, in exchange for support for Obregon's revolt in 1920. Much of the reform was also carried out during Obregón's presidency - albeit only in Morelos.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Peter E. Newell, "Zapata of Mexico", Black Rose Books Ltd., 1997, pg
  2. ^ a b Robert P. Millon, "Zapata: The Ideology of a Peasant Revolutionary", International Publishers Co, 1995, pg. 60, [1]
  3. ^ Guillermo de la Peña, "A legacy of promises: agriculture, politics and ritual in the Morelos highlands of México", Manchester University Press ND, 1982, pg. 63, [2]
  4. ^ "Plan of Ayala". World Digital Library. 1911-11-25. Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  5. ^ Donald Clark Hodges, "Mexican anarchism after the revolution", University of Texas Press, 1995, pg. 15, [3]
  6. ^ John Noble, "Mexico, Volume 10", Lonely Planet, 2000, pg. 237
  7. ^ Letizia Argenteri, "Tina Modotti: between art and revolution", Yale University Press, 2003, pg. 101, [4]
  8. ^ Womack, John: Zapata and the Mexican revolution, New York 1968

External links[edit]