Mexican Revolution: Impact on Children

Mexican boy soldier
Figure 1.--Here we see a Mexican boy soldier in a photograph taken about 1915. We do not know who he was or in which army he served. This is a well known photograph in Mexico. Perhaps some of the details about this boy are known.

Mexico was essentially at war with itself for a decade. The fighting reached every corner of the country and in some cases with terrible ferocity. Children as the weakest element of the population were among those most severely affected. They were affected in a number of ways. Many children were orphaned. Often it was only their father who was killed, but in Mexican society it was the father who was the principal bread winner which left huhe numbers of families destitute. And this was at a time when the fighting was destroying the economy. Other children were affected or even killed in the fighting. This was only in part when fighting flared in threir ton or village. One aspect of the Revolution that has not been given adequate coverage is the role that women played in the Revolution as well as the long term impact of this on Mexican society. After the Revolution we see wimen emnerging as journalist, union organizers, and awhole range of roles that they had not previously entered. Many women went to war with their men. They played a range of roles from cooking to laundry to actually engaging in combat. It was not uncommon for these women to take theor children with them. In some cases the children might be left with grandmothers or other family, but in many instances the children came along. The older children might actually join the army. Other children were involved in the forced levies that were conducted by the various warring forces. It was quite common to include teenagers in these levies and in some cases children not yet in their teen years. It shouild not be thought that the children were passive victims. Many children like their parents were caught up in the popular passions of the day. We suspect this was especially the case of peasant children. Middle-class and upper-class children were probably kept out of the fighting by their parents. Here the sane dynamic was involved as in the American Civil War. We have not yet found a good historical assessment of the impact of the Revolution on children. Hopefully our Mexican readers will have some suggestions here.


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Created: 7:34 AM 10/22/2008
Last updated: 7:34 AM 10/22/2008