To check on more pobstacles: http://www.mexicanhistory.org
Obstacles To Development in Mexico ( Romania Too)
Mexico's 30 Obstacles to
Comparative Differences with the
1) Mexico's Place in World Times. New Spain
misses out on (Charts A-B):
a) Industrial, Ag, & Commercial Revolutions
b) Enlightenment & Catholic Reformation,
c) Transportation Revolution,
d) Print Revolution & Rise of Active Citizens
e) Technological Revolution
in Europe and in Britain’s 13 American
f) Rise of real town councils, free
speech and free press - all enjoyed by
British Colonies and denied in Spanish
Colonies, where printing presses only
permitted under Church supervision.
g) New Spain watches rise of capitalism in
& world trade by American colonies, which defy
the British crown’s orders to only produce raw materials.
1776 Declaration of Independence comes to legitimize a
new economic, social, political order already in place & won
by defeat of British Crown in 1783.
g) Mexico (based on mining and haciendas) hears in
1810 a call to make “Mexico for the Mexicans”
by expelling Spanish Colonial authorities--
“Independence” comes “accidentally” in 1821 to maintain
in power the Spanish monopolists & conserve the old anti-
capitalist order--not lay the legal basis for a new one, which
must await the rule of Porfirio Díaz, 1876-1911.
2) Geography (Chart 1A-2A):
a) Most of country has too much, or
too little rainfall.
b) High Mountain ranges, North to
South, impede travel between Gulf
c) Only two major sea ports
(Veracruz and Acapulco) –
no coastwise shipping.
d) No navigable rivers as enjoyed
by British Colonies - such rivers
allowed British Colonies to
engage in smuggling.
e) Tropical coasts a hardship place
to live until the advent of electrical
refrigeration and air conditioning in
3) Loss of Territory and Mineral
Wealth (Chart 2B-C):
a) Mexico “lost” Central America in
1823; reduced to 1,618,000 sq. mi
b) Mexico “lost” American West in
1848, reduced to 760,000 sq.
miles, or now only 47% of the
country in 1824.
c) Mexico lost Gold, oil, and silver
(in California. Texas, and today’s
4. Population decrease (Charts 3-4):
a}25 million in 1521 and 1950. In 1608
population fell to one million,
b} Missions brought disease, especially in the
parts of Mexico which suffer from high heat
all year, a problem not faced by the American
Colonies with their cold winters
c} New Spain’s culture for classifying social
status by degrees of “blood”, thus
stigmatizing dark people.
5) Crown "taxes" on New Spain were 35
times greater than taxes extracted in
English Colonies to the North:
a) Depleted base for Mexico wealth.
b) Long term decline in GDP/C (gross
domestic product per capita) begins in
Colonial period: In 1800 New Spain’s
GDP/C was 44% that of USA; today it
is about 21%. See Chart 6 & CIA:
6) Lost Mining Revenue because mines
destroyed between 1810 and 1876.
7) Reconstruction period after Independence
delayed by rural chaos--Hacienda becomes a
"refuge" for rural families. By 1880, a “prison”
8) Spaniards expelled so loss of:
a) Intellectuals, managers, engineers
b) Flight of Spanish capital
9) Weak central government control & police:
a) Due to lack of communication
10) Disruption of countryside by warring factions:
a) Disruption of bureaucracy
11) Three land systems:
a) Haciendas versus b) Ejidos
c) 50% of usable land to the Church,
much not used.
12) State fails to replace Church, 1821-1921:
a) The Church runs most hospitals, schools,
orphanages--State lacks necessary fund,
organization, personnel, buildings, etc
b) 3 Judicial Systems: Church, Military, Civil.
13) Govt. standing armies vs. Guerrilla Warfare.
14) High rate of illiteracy.
15) Northern European migrants not
admitted to New Spain & after 1810
migrants avoid violent Mexico. Rather they
go to America with their knowledge with
their ideas of expanding Industrial, Tec,
16) Culture of domination by one group to 1910
a) Aztecs, then b) Viceroy/Church, then
c) Generals, 1810-- d) French Army 1861-66
17) Long Struggle to Achieve in Mexico:
a) standard weights and measures
b) civil registry of births, marriages, deaths
18) Arbitrary State Intervention: History of
corruption and smuggling to protect against
excessive powers of Spanish crown.
19) System of bribery (too often called “taxes”):
Internal taxes at each state border (alcabala)
within Mexico increases cost of goods in Calif.
400 times over the landing price at Veracruz.
20) Deficient Commercial System:
a) No joint stock companies
b) No patent law
21) Tradition of learning in Mexico's
universities until the 1950s by and for
22) Mexico invented the “amparo” for a
noble purpose, which has been distorted to
protect rich criminals.
In theory, the amparo prevents persons from
being unjustly prosecuted by the Executive
Power in Mexico, by permitting judges to
assume custody over the accused.
This equals habeas corpus before the arrest.
(Compared to U.S. legal system
wherein habeas corpus takes place
after the arrest and indictment.)
23) Accidental Independence of Mexico:
a) Protest in 1810 began in New Spain by
Father Miguel Hidalgo; his movement to readdress
grievances eventually becomes movement for
b) French 1808 capture of Spanish King
Ferdinand VII led Mexico to begin its own political
culture 1810-1821, but “Independence” in 1821was
the made by conservatives seeking to maintain their
Spanish Monopoly System by preventing the rise of
democracy and private capitalism
c) 1821-1910 was occupied with battles between
Liberals and Conservatives (Chart 7B)
24) Spread of Napoleon’s legal codes:
a) Napoleon’s 1807 war against Portugal
to break its alliance with Britain that
had blockaded ships from reaching
“his Continent,” led him to seize
Spain enroute to Lisbon.
he places his brother Joseph I on the
throne of Spain, 1808.
b) Iberians flee to Latin Am taking with
them the Enlightened idea of
the “rights of man” and
c) Many Spanish colonies refuse to obey
Joseph I; as in Spain, they seek to establish
free town councils.
d) The small group that holds power in New
Spain fears losing its privileges, and seeks
to abort the idea of new freedoms many
based set to change Spanish laws by
tranferring control of towns from central
control in Madrid (now held by France) to
local control, anti-state control.
e) When Ferdinand VII returns to power in Spain, he
cannot stop the proclamation in Cádiz by a
Constitution, providing for the autonomy of town
councils in Spain and eventually the Colonies.
f) In 1821 Mexico, the Spanairds who had
controlled power and monopolies of all activity
declared themselves against the rise of capitalism
(led by USA), by breaking with Spain and
declaring “Independence” to create the Mexican
Empire (1822-1823), including Central America
and what is now the U.S. West (California, Texas,
Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and part of
Colorado). Size 1,818,000 sq. miles.
g) Civil war in Mexico 1821-1876 to determine
whether it will be Statist or Anti-Statist,
h) Napoleon, the “Man on the White Horse,” is
“model” for hundreds of “generals” who seek
unsuccessfully to organize an army and impose
“order” -- which in 1876 Porfirio Díaz finally
does (Napoleonic laws and harsh treatment of the
“guilty” have not directly contradicted many
i) Under Napoleonic Code, accused are presumed
guilty until they prove themselves innocent
-vice versa the situation in the U.S.)
25) Napoleonic Code persists through 20th
Mexico (Chart 7A):
a) no trial by jury, no right to face accuser or cross
examine police or witnesses
c) judges never met most of the accused,
only read their depositions
d) no real ability for anyone to protest torture
(Only in 21st
century is change underway for above;
Except no jury)