Goals and Outcomes of the Russian and Mexican Revolutions
Oppressive regimes. Peasants uprising. The rush of victory. The 20th century was a time of mass upheaval all over the world, where working class peoples demanded more from their governments and took up arms to get it. In Russia and Mexico, the story was no different, and their respective revolutions had similar goals, to put the power in the hands of the working class, but very different outcomes, one oppressive and one victorious.
The goals of the Russian Revolution were to take the power out of the hands of the aristocracy, but the outcome was a government just as oppressive as the previous regime. By 1917, Russia had suffered under centuries of oppression. The feudal system forced peasants to work for no pay and even after its abolition, the working class was required to pay heavy taxes and fees to own land that nearly crushed them. The Czars retained control of most of the land in Russia and the peasantry, poor and bitter, yearned for change. The Russian working class desired to overthrow their oppressive government and crush the aristocracy, appealing to Socialist ideals. Finally, Czar Nicolas the II stepped down in order to appease the unrest in Russia, but an entirely different outcome occurred. Once Nicolas was gone, the Russian proletariat knew it was now or never and rose up in a frenzy. Mass mutiny occurred within the military. In the end, Tsar Nicolas and his family abdicated the throne and fled, leaving Russia with no government at all. Initially, a provisional government was formed of revolutionaries, which was meant to be temporary until a constitution could be formed. Then Lenin appeared. Intending to destabilize Russia during WWI, Germany arranged for the exiled Lenin to be sent back to his homeland to start an uprising. Lenin denounced the provisional government and touted communist ideals. The idea of a state with no government, where everyone was equal in every respect, swelled in the hearts of the Russian proletariat who had been oppressed and disrespected for so long. However, Lenin’s main goal was to put Russia under Bolshevik (Marxist political party) control as quickly as possible. Encouraging the proletariat to condemn the provisional government, Lenin rose higher in power. Eventually, the provisional government was unable to handle the strain of WWI and the dissidents at home and the Bolsheviks took control. Initially, citizens were allowed to elect members of the Constituent Assembly, which acted as a kind of parliament with Lenin as the main leader. This type of government was undoubtedly similar to the constitutional monarchy Russia had just toppled. Little did they know things would only get worse. Lenin disbanded the Constituent Assembly, deeming all opposing political parties to be illegal. There as an assassination attempt on Lenin’s life, which he survived, but only to commence the Red Terror, a crackdown on any and all dissent in Russia, which left many casualties in its wake. The Bolsheviks crushed any sign of rebellion and took total control. Although the Russians goal was to overthrow their oppressive government, the outcome was merely an exchange of power from one pair of hands to another.
The goal of rebellion in Mexico was to overthrow the oppressive oligarchy, similar to Russia’s goals. However, the outcome of the Mexican Revolution was very different than Russia’s, ending in peace, justice, and democracy. By 1910, Mexicans had been oppressed by an oligarchic rule that left farmers with little land and disgruntled workers. In 1910, dissidents from all over Mexico gathered to battle General Porfio Diaz, who refused to give up his decades of oppressive rule. A flood of peasants, farmers, and workers, attacked Diaz’s soldiers, and after ten years of fighting and a ten percent loss in population, Diaz was defeated. Afterword, new political leaders accepted democracy and the Constitution of 1917 was formed. Workers were allowed to assemble trade unions, which were given sweeping rights. Land reform occurred and rural communes called ejidos, which resembled old villages, were built for peasants, and massive social reform occurred. From then on, Mexican political leaders appealed to the working class ideologically, and the people had the power to choose their leaders. The Mexican Revolution’s goal was to put the power back into the hands of the people and ensure justice in land distribution and political control. In the end, the outcome was victorious and Mexico remains a free nation today.
The goals of the Mexican Revolution were similar to that of the Russian Revolution, but their outcomes were completely different. Russia allowed their government to be taken over in the name of Socialist equality, while Mexicans understood democracy to be the only option and fought for its victory.