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Zapata's Justice: Land and Water Conflict Resolution in Revolutionary Mexico (1914–16)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2019

Helga Baitenmann*
Affiliation:
Helga Baitenmann is Associate Fellow, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London.
*
*Corresponding author. Email: helgabaitenmann@aol.com

Abstract

This article challenges the widely held view that, during the Mexican Revolution, the Zapatista villages governed themselves with complete autonomy from the state and according to the pueblos’ customary justice. It shows how Zapatistas in the multi-state region of south-central Mexico dealt with quarrels over small and medium-sized properties, the restitution of usurped pueblo lands and water resources, as well as village boundary disputes. They did so by blending nineteenth-century judicial procedures and civil law, limited but radical reforms to the existing judicial system and new forms of land and water management – all of which strengthened state authority.

Spanish abstract

Este artículo cuestiona la opinión generalizada de que, durante la Revolución Mexicana, los pueblos zapatistas se gobernaron con autonomía del Estado y de acuerdo a sus usos y costumbres. Muestra cómo los zapatistas en una región que comprendía múltiples estados del centro-sur de México enfrentaron los pleitos sobre propiedades pequeñas y medianas, la restitución de tierras y aguas usurpadas de los pueblos y las disputas sobre linderos entre poblados. Lo lograron hacer al combinar procedimientos judiciales del siglo XIX y la legislación civil, reformas limitadas pero radicales al existente sistema judicial y nuevas formas del manejo de la tierra y el agua – todo lo cual fortaleció la autoridad del Estado.

Portuguese abstract

Este artigo questiona a opinião generalizada de que, durante a Revolução Mexicana, os pueblos zapatistas se governaram com total autonomia do Estado e de acordo com os seus usos e costumes. Demonstra como os zapatistas numa região que compreendia múltiplos estados do centro-sul do México lidaram com disputas sobre pequenas e médias propriedades, a restituição de terras e fontes de água usurpadas dos pueblos e também disputas sobre fronteiras entre vilarejos. Fizeram isso através da aplicação de uma combinação de procedimentos judiciários do século dezenove com direito civil, reformas limitadas porém radicais ao sistema judicial existente e novas maneiras de gerenciar terra, propriedade e água – o que fortaleceu a autoridade do Estado.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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References

1 Emiliano Zapata Salazar (1879–1919), a farmer and horse trainer from Morelos, led the rural-based Liberating Army of the South and Centre during the Mexican Revolution.

2 The original handwritten version of the ‘Plan de Ayala’, dated 28 Nov. 1911, in the Jenaro Amezcua Archives at the Centro de Estudios de Historia de México (CEHM Carso JA), ended with ‘Justice and Law’. In the pre-dated (25 Nov. 1911) version published by the Diario del Hogar on 15 Dec. 1911, the text ends with ‘Liberty, Justice and Law’. See Womack, John Jr, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968), pp. 400–4Google Scholar. By April 1912, Zapatista declarations ended with ‘Reform, Liberty, Justice and Law’. See, for example, Ixcamilpa (Puebla) reparto (distribution) orders by the Revolutionary Junta reproduced in Palacios, Porfirio, Emiliano Zapata. Datos biográfico-históricos (Mexico City: Libro Mex Editores, 1960), pp. 81–2Google Scholar. Samuel Brunk notes that ‘For a brief moment in 1913 Zapata even experimented with the slogan “Land and Liberty”, which he borrowed from the PLM [Mexican Liberal Party].’ See Brunk, Samuel, ¡Emiliano Zapata! Revolution and Betrayal in Mexico (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1995), pp. 131–2Google Scholar.

3 Womack, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, chap. 8; Gilly, Adolfo, The Mexican Revolution (New York: New Press, 2006), pp. 241, 254Google Scholar, originally published in Spanish as La revolución interrumpida (Mexico City: El Caballito, 1972). There is a long-standing debate as to whether the Zapatista revolutionary movement was Indian (a different question from whether villagers involved in the movement identified as Indians – which many did). For an explanation of the ‘scholarly effort to resuscitate Zapata's Indianness in the face of Womack's insistence that he had been a mestizo’, see Brunk, Samuel, The Posthumous Career of Emiliano Zapata: Myth, Memory and Mexico's Twentieth Century (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010)Google Scholar, quote from p. 231. Womack has recently reopened this debate in his 2017 preface to the second edition of the translation of his book, entitled ‘Prólogo: Historias por estudiar sobre la Revolución del Sur (1911–1920): Lo que aún no sabemos, lo que valdría la pena saber’, in Zapata y la Revolución mexicana (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2017), pp. 21–2.

4 Espinosa, Felipe Ávila, ‘La historiografía del zapatismo’, in Espinosa, Felipe Ávila (ed.), Historia de Morelos: Tierra, gente, tiempos del Sur: El zapatismo, vol. 7 (Cuernavaca: Congreso del Estado de Morelos, 2009), pp. 23–4Google Scholar.

5 Brunk, Samuel, ¡Emiliano Zapata! and ‘“The Sad Situation of Civilians and Soldiers”: The Banditry of Zapatismo in the Mexican Revolution’, Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), 101: 2 (1996), pp. 331–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Felipe Ávila Espinosa makes a similar point in ‘El Consejo Ejecutivo de la República y el proyecto de legislación estatal zapatista’, in Ávila Espinosa (ed.), Historia de Morelos, p. 249.

6 See, for example, Ávila Espinosa, ‘El Consejo Ejecutivo de la República’, p. 265; Catherine Héau Lambert, ‘Morelos: Corridos y zapatismo’, in Ávila Espinosa (ed.), Historia de Morelos, p. 130; and Carbó, Anna Ribera, ‘El agrarismo constitucionalista en el espejo de la revolución del sur’, in López, Laura Espejel (ed.), Estudios sobre el zapatismo (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 2000), p. 146Google Scholar.

I use the term ‘pueblo’ when it so appears in the archives as well as generically for all villages that at some point had – or whose villagers believed they had – colonial rights to communal lands. For the meaning of ‘pueblo’, see Kourí, Emilio, ‘Interpreting the Expropriation of Indian Pueblo Lands in Porfirian Mexico: The Unexamined Legacies of Andrés Molina Enríquez’, HAHR, 82: 1 (2002), pp. 7782Google Scholar.

7 Chenaut, Victoria and Sierra, María Teresa, ‘La antropología jurídica en México: Temas y perspectivas de investigación’, in Chenaut, Victoria and Sierra, María Teresa (eds.), Pueblos indígenas ante el derecho (Mexico City: CIESAS [Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social] – Centro Francés de Estudios Mexicanos y Centroamericanos, 1995), p. 28Google Scholar.

8 Sierra, María Teresa, ‘Indian Rights and Customary Law in Mexico: A Study of the Nahuas in the Sierra de Puebla’, Law and Society Review, 29: 2 (1995), p. 228CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For the concept of interlegality, see de Sousa Santos, Boaventura, Toward a New Legal Common Sense: Law, Globalization, and Emancipation (London: Butterworths LexisNexis, 2002), p. 437Google Scholar.

9 See, for example, Chenaut, Victoria, ‘Honor y ley: La mujer totonaca en el conflicto judicial en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX’, in Montes, Soledad González and Tuñón, Julia (eds.), Familias y mujeres en México (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1997), pp. 131, 141, 144–6Google Scholar; Montes, Soledad González and Iracheta, Pilar, ‘La violencia en la vida de las mujeres campesinas: El distrito de Tenango, 1880–1910’, in Escandón, Carmen Ramos (ed.), Presencia y transparencia: La mujer en la historia de México (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1987), pp. 113–43Google Scholar; Schaefer, Timo H., Liberalism as Utopia: The Rise and Fall of Legal Rule in Post-Colonial Mexico, 1820–1900 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 152–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and, for the case of an Indian woman from Santa María (Morelos) who won an amparo suit (constitutional protection of individual rights) at the Supreme Court against the judge of first instance, see Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), Juzgado de Distrito de Morelos 63: 99 (1877).

10 Galante, Mirian, ‘La historiografía reciente de la justicia en México, siglo XIX: Perspectivas, temas y aportes’, Revista Complutense de Historia de América, 37 (2011), pp. 104–5Google Scholar.

11 Marino, Daniela, ‘Buscando su lugar en el mundo del derecho: Actores colectivos, reforma y jurisprudencia’, Historia de la justicia en México, siglos XIX y XX, vol. 1 (Mexico City: Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, 2005), p. 243Google Scholar. See also Pichardo, Gloria Camacho, ‘En pro de los privilegios “sin excepciones”: La desamortización del ejido decimonónico en los pueblos del Estado de México, 1889–1910’, in Ohmstede, Antonio Escobar, Falcón, Romana and Rodríguez, Martín Sánchez (eds.), La desamortización civil desde perspectivas plurales (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, El Colegio de Michoacán and CIESAS, 2017), pp. 251–83Google Scholar; Falcón, Romana, ‘El arte de la petición: Rituales de obediencia y negociación, México, segunda mitad del siglo XIX’, HAHR, 86: 3 (2006), pp. 467500Google Scholar; and Marino, Daniela, ‘La fuerza de la ley: Leyes, justicias y resistencias en la imposición de la propiedad privada en México, segunda mitad del siglo XIX’, in Irurozqui, Marta and Galante, Mirian (eds.), Sangre de ley: Justicia y violencia en la institucionalización del Estado en América Latina, siglo XIX (Madrid: Ediciones Polifemo, 2011), pp. 207–8Google Scholar.

12 See, for example, Chassen-López, Francie, From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca: The View from the South, Mexico 1867–1911 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004), pp. 92, 94Google Scholar; J. Edgar Mendoza García, ‘Desamortización y pequeños propietarios indígenas en el centro y sur de México, 1856–1915’, in Escobar Ohmstede et al. (eds.), La desamortización civil desde perspectivas plurales, p. 245; Guarneros, Porfirio Neri, ‘Sociedades agrícolas en resistencia: Los pueblos de San Miguel, Santa Cruz y San Pedro, 1878–1883’, Historia Crítica, 51 (2013), p. 31Google Scholar; Ortiz Yam, Isaura Inés, ‘Formación de ejidos en los pueblos de Yucatán, 1870–1909’, Temas Antropológicos: Revista Científica de Investigaciones Regionales, 36: 2 (2014), pp. 26–7Google Scholar; and Purnell, Jennie, ‘Citizens and Sons of the Pueblo: National and Local Identities in the Making of the Mexican Nation’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25: 2 (2002), pp. 213–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 In late 1913 or early 1914, the Revolutionary Junta of the State of Morelos became the General Headquarters, a military authority that also took charge of political, economic and social affairs. See Laura Espejel López, ‘La organización del movimiento zapatista a través del Cuartel General en el Fondo Emiliano Zapata del Archivo General de la Nación’, BA thesis, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), 1984.

14 Most Zapatista instructions demanded that chiefs and officials act with complete justice. See, for example, Jolalpan (Puebla) in AGN Fondo Emiliano Zapata (EZ) 1: 11: 5 (22 Feb. 1914); Iguala (Guerrero) EZ 17: 7: 100 (27 Oct. 1914); Temoac (Morelos) EZ 17: 8: 32 (8 Nov. 1914) and Zacualpan (Mexico State) EZ 6: 1: 78 (24 Feb. 1915). Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.

15 EZ 17: 7: 80 (22 Oct. 1914).

16 EZ 17: 7: 95 (27 Oct. 1914). A ‘juez menor’ (also called ‘juez de paz’), was a municipal judge, usually without formal training.

17 EZ 9: 2: 9–10 (12 July 1915).

18 EZ 10: 1: 59–60 (9 Sept. 1915). At the time 100 pesos was the monthly salary of a chief of police in Mexico City, for example.

19 Otilio Montaño, village school teacher and co-author of the Plan de Ayala, was an admirer of the Reforma heroes, especially Benito Juárez. On Montaño, see Ávila Espinosa, ‘El Consejo Ejecutivo’, p. 256. Knight, Alan calls Zapata a popular Liberal in ‘El Liberalismo mexicano desde la Reforma hasta la Revolución (una interpretación)’, Historia Mexicana, 35: 1 (1985), p. 6Google Scholar; Salvador Rueda Smithers says the Plan de Ayala contains ‘arguments that were a mixture of Liberalism and everyday peasant practices, of colonial laws and modernity’ in ‘Hacia la relectura del Plan de Ayala’, in Edgar Castro Zapata and Francisco Pineda Gómez (eds.), A cien años del Plan de Ayala (Mexico City: Fundación Zapata y los Herederos de la Revolución, A.C. / Ediciones Era, 2013), pp. 13–50.

20 Fabila, Manuel, Cinco siglos de legislación agraria (1493–1940) (Mexico City: Centro de Estudios Históricos del Agrarismo en México, 1990), pp. 181–4Google Scholar.

21 EZ 17: 8: 33 (10 Nov. 1914).

22 EZ 17: 7: 93 (26 Oct. 1914).

23 EZ 17: 8: 62 (17 Nov. 1914). See also Taxco (Guerrero) EZ 17: 8: 2 (1 Nov. 1914) and Tlapa (Guerrero) EZ 17: 9: 12 (7 Dec. 1914).

24 The classic text on this subject is González, Andrés Lira, ‘Abogados, tinterillos y huizacheros en el México del siglo XIX’, in Fernández, J. L. Soberanes (ed.), Memoria del III Congreso de Historia del Derecho Mexicano (Mexico City: UNAM, 1983), pp. 375–92Google Scholar. See also Falcón, ‘El arte de la petición’, p. 478.

25 Depictions and understandings of soldaderas were multiple and changing. See, for example, Guerra, María Herrerías, Construcciones de género en la historiografía zapatista (1911–1919) (Mexico City: Cámara de Diputados, LXI Legislatura, 2010)Google Scholar.

26 Knowlton, Robert J., ‘Dealing in Real Estate in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Jalisco: The Guadalajara Region’, in Jackson, Robert H. (ed.), Liberals, the Church, and Indian Peasants: Corporate Lands and the Challenge of Reform in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1997), p. 20Google Scholar. See also Chassen-López, Francie R., ‘“Cheaper than Machines”: Women and Agriculture in Porfirian Oaxaca, 1880–1911’, in Fowler-Salamini, Heather and Vaughan, Mary Kay (eds.), Women of the Mexican Countryside, 1850–1990: Creating Spaces, Shaping Transitions (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1994), pp. 2750Google Scholar.

27 See the sales contracts (contratos de compra-venta) found in the Archivo General Agrario (AGA) archives, many of which included not only the purchase and sale of private plots, but also ‘shares of primitive-rights land’ (acciones de tierra de derecho primitivo).

28 Womack writes that the ‘special disposition … on behalf of widows and orphans’ in the Plan de Ayala is without precedent in revolutionary plans (Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, p. 398). It was, however, common military policy. See, for example, the pensión federal vitalicia (life-long federal pension) for the family members of deceased soldiers in Archivo Central de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Asuntos Económicos, exp. 51096 (1901).

29 EZ 6: 1: 78 (24 Feb. 1915).

30 EZ 10: 2: 20 (15 Sept. 1915).

31 Sierra, ‘Indian Rights and Customary Law’, p. 241. Chenaut had already pointed this situation out for nineteenth-century Papantla in her ‘Honor y ley’, p. 141.

32 Manuel Palafox served as secretary of the Revolutionary Junta of the South and Centre of the Republic in the spring of 1913, secretary of General Headquarters in late 1913/early 1914, Zapatista Minister of Agriculture and Colonisation in the fall of 1914, and Minister of Agriculture and Colonisation of the Convention government in 1915.

33 EZ 17: 8: 99 (27 Nov. 1914).

34 EZ 17: 9: 123–4 (31 Dec. 1914).

35 Tepecoacuilco (Guerrero) EZ 17: 8: 65–6 (18 Nov. 1914), reproduced in López, Laura Espejel, Olivera, Alicia and Rueda, Salvador (eds.), Emiliano Zapata: Antología (Mexico City: INEHRM, 1988), pp. 314–15Google Scholar.

36 On inverting the burden of proof, see Brunk, ¡Emiliano Zapata!, p. 67.

37 Plan de Ayala, reproduced in Fabila, Cinco siglos, pp. 181–4.

38 Ixcamilpa (Puebla) reparto orders by the Revolutionary Junta (30 April 1912), in Palacios, Emiliano Zapata, pp. 81–2.

39 In October and November 1914, revolutionary leaders Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, who had jointly defeated José Victoriano Huerta's Federal Army and forced his resignation, met in Aguascalientes to create a unified government. When these meetings collapsed, civil war broke out between the Conventionist forces (followers of Villa and Zapata), who took Mexico City, and the Constitutionalist followers of Carranza, who set up a provisional government in Veracruz. On the Convention of Aguascalientes, see, among others, Espinosa, Felipe Ávila, Las corrientes revolucionarias y la soberana convención (Aguascalientes: INEHRM, 2014)Google Scholar.

40 Gómez, Marte R., Las comisiones agrarias del sur (Mexico City: Miguel Ángel Porrúa, 1961), pp. 1821Google Scholar and Womack, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, p. 231. On the Zapatista urban intellectuals such as Palafox, see Ávila Espinosa, ‘El Consejo Ejecutivo’, pp. 255–8 and Brunk, Samuel, ‘Zapata and the City Boys: In Search of a Piece of the Revolution’, HAHR, 73: 1 (1993), pp. 3365Google Scholar.

41 ‘Reglamento para fraccionar tierras’ (10 Sept. 1914), reproduced in Fabela, Isidro and de Fabela, Josefina E. (eds.), Documentos históricos de la revolución mexicana: Emiliano Zapata, el Plan de Ayala y su política agraria, vol. 21 (Mexico City: Jus, 1970), pp. 118–21Google Scholar.

42 The Plan de Ayala promised two types of land reform: the restitution of usurped pueblo lands, woodlands and water resources, and grants to villagers of expropriated or nationalised hacienda lands.

43 ‘Instrucciones a que deberá sujetarse el C… para establecer la repartición de terrenos pertenecientes a los enemigos de la Revolución y defensores del mal gobierno ilegal de Huerta’ (11 Feb. 1914), AGN Fondo Genovevo de la O (GO) 19: 7: 111.

44 Letter from Palafox to Atenor Sala (3 Sept. 1914), reproduced in Sala, Atenor, Emiliano Zapata y el problema agrario (Mexico City: Imprenta Franco-Mexicana, 1919), pp. 2931Google Scholar. See also ‘Decreto del Gral. Emiliano Zapata en la que dispone la nacionalización de los bienes de los enemigos de la Revolución’ (8 Sept. 1914) and Article 3 of the ‘Ley agraria’ (26 Oct. 1915), reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 117–18 and 246–53.

45 EZ 18: 1: 29–30 (9 Jan. 1915).

46 Letter from Palafox to Zapata (11 Jan. 1915), reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 149–52. In fact, a 1917 law gave ‘the goal of a rough equity among villagers clear priority over any particular village's titles to land’: Brunk, ¡Emiliano Zapata!, p. 197.

47 For the Zapatista laws, see ‘Instrucciones a que deberá sujetarse …’ (11 Feb. 1914), GO 19: 7: 111; Ministry of Agriculture circular no. 538 (Oct. 1915) in AGA 23/2979: 1: 59 (Metepec, Ocuituco, Morelos); ‘Ley agraria’, reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 246–53. For comparisons with federal and state laws see, for example, President Francisco L. Madero's circular no. 1 (8 Jan. 1912) in Diario Oficial de la Federación, 16 Jan. 1912, pp. 177–8; the 1851 Michoacán privatisation law in Montesinos, Fernando Pérez, ‘Geografía, política y economía del reparto liberal en la meseta purépecha, 1851–1914’, Historia Mexicana, 66: 4 (2017), p. 2095Google Scholar; circular 23 Oct. 1889 in Fomento, Secretaría de, Colección de leyes sobre tierras y disposiciones sobre ejidos (Mexico City: Imprenta y Fototipia de la Secretaría de Fomento, 1913), pp. 28–9Google Scholar; the 1901 ‘Lista de los vecinos del Barrio de San Martín que fueron agraciados en el fraccionamiento del fundo …’, in Daniela Marino, Huixquilucan: Ley y justicia en la modernización del espacio rural mexiquense, 1856–1910 (Madrid: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas, 2016), p. 123; ‘Resolución de 10 de diciembre de 1870’, in Juan de la Torre, Legislación de Terrenos Baldíos (Morelia: Imprenta del Gobierno en la Escuela de Artes, 1892), pp. 118–20; and Article 9 of ‘Decreto [federal] del 18 de diciembre de 1909’, in Secretaría de Fomento, Colección de leyes sobre tierras, p. 151.

48 EZ 5: 1: 11 (6 Feb. 1915).

49 AGA 23/2979: 1: 61 (15 Oct. 1915) (Metepec, Ocuituco, Morelos).

50 ‘Ley agraria’, reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 246–53.

51 Alejandro Tortolero Villaseñor argues that it was ‘landowners’ monopolisation of the state's abundant water resources [that] helped to make Morelos a focal point of the revolutionary upheaval’. See ‘Water and Revolution in Morelos: 1850–1915’, in Christopher R. Boyer (ed.), A Land between Waters: Environmental Histories of Modern Mexico (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2012), p. 125. See also Valladares de la Cruz, Laura R., Cuando el agua se esfumó: Cambio y continuidades en los usos sociales del agua en Morelos, 1880–1940 (Mexico City: UNAM, 2003)Google Scholar.

52 GO 1: 5: 48 (26 Feb. 1913).

53 EZ 17: 8: 13 (3 Nov. 1914).

54 Article 32 of the ‘Ley agraria’, reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 246–53.

55 AGA 23/3008: 2: 103 (9 Feb. 1916) (Atlatlahucan, Atlatlahucan municipality, Morelos).

56 ‘Ley relativa a los representantes de los pueblos en materia agraria’, GO 19: 6: 54 (3 Feb. 1917), reproduced in Espejel López et al., Emiliano Zapata, pp. 369–72.

57 EZ 7: 5: 32–3 (15 April 1915).

58 AGA 23/2979: 1: 71 (29 Dec. 1915) (Metepec, Ocuituco, Morelos).

59 Inclán, Jesús Sotelo, Raíz y razón de Zapata (Mexico City: Editorial Etnos, 1943), pp. 175–6Google Scholar. On Zapata keeping his village title, see the report of the Yautepec district agrarian commission regarding the boundary markings of Anenecuilco, Ticumán and Yautepec in AGA 23/2961: 1: 359 (Anenecuilco, Villa de Ayala, Morelos) (25 June 1915).

60 Martin, JoAnn, Tepoztlán and the Transformation of the Mexican State: The Politics of Loose Connections (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2005), p. 53Google Scholar. See also the discussion of this term in Brunk, The Posthumous Career of Emiliano Zapata, p. 121.

61 Hart, Paul, Bitter Harvest: The Social Transformation of Morelos, Mexico, and the Origins of the Zapatista Revolution, 1840–1910 (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2006), p. 159Google Scholar.

62 Soto y Gama, Antonio Díaz, Historia del agrarismo en México (Mexico City: Ediciones Era, 2002), p. 159Google Scholar.

63 Gómez, Marte R., Las comisiones agrarias en las filas villistas (Mexico City: INEHRM, 1966), p. 97Google Scholar.

64 AGA 23/2979: 1: 63 (9 Nov. 1915) (Metepec, Ocuituco, Morelos). In this context, the term ‘ejido’ refers generically to former communal lands.

65 In Morelos, land conflicts between villages were common from the seventeenth century until 1910 because of the ‘ambiguous legal situation’ that originated in colonial times. See von Mentz, Brígida, Pueblos de indios, mulatos y mestizos, 1770–1870: Los campesinos y las transformaciones protoindustriales en el poniente de Morelos (Mexico City: CIESAS, 1988), p. 77Google Scholar. In Mexico State, almost all Huixquilucan pueblos had a pending law suit against a neighbouring village. See Marino, Huixquilucan, p. 184.

66 See also Felipe Ávila Espinosa, ‘Los conflictos internos en el zapatismo’, in Ávila Espinosa (ed.), Historia de Morelos, p. 334.

67 GO 1: 7: 62 (17 April 1913).

68 On boundary disputes, see also Espinosa, Felipe Ávila, Los orígenes del zapatismo (Mexico City: El Colegio de México and UNAM, 2001), p. 280Google Scholar; Sánchez, Héctor Ávila, Aspectos históricos de la formación de regiones en el estado de Morelos (Mexico City: UNAM, 2002), p. 82Google Scholar; Brunk, ¡Emiliano Zapata!, p. 148; and Sipriano, Francisco Herrera, La revolución en la montaña de Guerrero: La lucha zapatista, 1910–1918 (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 2009), pp. 328–9Google Scholar.

69 Archivo Histórico de la UNAM, Archivo Gildardo y Octavio Magaña Cerda, Fondo León de la Barra 79: 92: 396 (2 Aug. 1914).

70 EZ 7: 5: 47–50 (16 April 1915).

71 EZ 19: 1: 94 (18 May 1915).

72 ‘Reglamento para fraccionar tierras’ (10 Sept. 1914), reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 118–21. In March 1915, Zapata informed Conventionist President Roque González Garza that disputes between villagers or villages ‘would go to the secretary of agriculture for rulings, either directly or through a special commission or a civil court’. Translated quotation from Womack, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, p. 235.

73 EZ 18: 2: 258 (20 Feb. 1915).

74 EZ 19: 2: 19 (3 June 1915).

75 See, for example, Gómez, Las comisiones agrarias del sur, pp. 62–3.

76 AGA 23/2979: 1: 72 (30 Dec. 1915) (Metepec, Ocuituco, Morelos).

77 AGA 23/2979: 1: 55 (8, 28 June 1915) (Metepec, Ocuituco, Morelos).

78 EZ 19: 2: 1–2 (June 1915).

79 Brunk, ¡Emiliano Zapata!, pp. 152–3.

80 AGN, Fondo Colección Revolución, Sección Emiliano Zapata (FCR, EZ) 3: 15: 4 (27 May 1915).

81 EZ 19: 2: 155 (28 May 1915).

82 CEHM Carso JA 3: 243: 1 (19 Feb. 1916).

83 Helga Baitenmann, Matters of Justice: Pueblos, the Judiciary, and Agrarian Reform in Revolutionary Mexico (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming).

84 Marino, ‘La fuerza de la ley’, pp. 207–8.

85 Wood, Stephanie, ‘The Social vs. Legal Context of Nahuatl Títulos’, in Boone, Elizabeth Hill and Cummins, Tom (eds.), Native Traditions in the Postconquest World (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1998), pp. 201–2Google Scholar, 210, 228.

86 EZ 19: 2: 1–2 (June 1915).

87 EZ 17: 8: 18 (5 Nov. 1914).

88 FCR, EZ 3: 15: 4 (27 May 1915).

89 Letter from Ayaquica to Zapata (10 May 1915), reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 218–19. Translation from Brunk, Emiliano Zapata, pp. 151–2.

90 Gómez, Las comisiones agrarias del sur, p. 69. The vara was an old Castilian surveying unit.

91 EZ 18: 4: 119 (22 April 1915).

92 ‘Reglamento para fraccionar tierras’ (10 Sept. 1914), reproduced in Fabela and Fabela (eds.), Documentos históricos, pp. 118–21.

93 GO 1: 7: 49 (2 April 1913); 1: 7: 56–7 (5 April 1913).

94 EZ 18: 4: 1–2 (April 1915).

95 EZ 19: 2: 153 (28 June 1915).

96 FCR, EZ 3: 15: 4 (27 May 1915).

97 EZ 9: 1: 74 (8 July 1915).

98 EZ 8: 4: 30 (2 June 1915).

99 The Zapatistas could also have radically restructured their justice system. By 1915 Zapatista leadership positions had been taken over by urban intellectuals whose ideologies included not only Liberalism but also Christian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism (Ávila Espinosa, Las corrientes revolucionarias, p. 198). Minister of Labour and Justice Miguel Mendoza López Schwerdtfeger, for example, believed that the main cause of widespread misery and oppression was private property and that the solution was to abolish it (Ávila Espinosa, ‘El Consejo Ejecutivo’, pp. 256–7). He also wanted to create municipal-level ‘people's tribunals’ with judicial authority to hear and resolve all land disputes (‘Ley general sobre la administración de la justicia’, reproduced in Espejel López et al. (eds.), Emiliano Zapata: Antología, pp. 307–12).

100 Plan de Ayala, reproduced in Fabila, Cinco siglos, pp. 181–4.

101 For example, when the Zapatistas, acting as the government of the Aguascalientes Convention, controlled Mexico City between July 1914 and May 1915, they re-established the Federal District's judicial system. See Chávez, Alicia Hernández, Breve historia de Morelos (Mexico City: El Colegio de México and Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2002), p. 176Google Scholar. And in the summer of 1915, the provisional governor of the State of Mexico, Gustavo Baz, issued a decree re-establishing the Superior Tribunal of Justice. See the letter from Colonel Gustavo Baz to the President of the Sovereign Revolutionary Convention, AGN Fondo Convención Revolucionaria de Aguascalientes (CRA) 8: 2: 20 (2 July 1915).

102 The Constitutionalists were followers of the revolutionary Venustiano Carranza, who became president on 1 May 1917. See note 39 above.

103 In fact, Carranza's National Agrarian Commission determined that resolving conflicts between villages was not the executive's responsibility and should continue to be a judicial matter – this norm existed until 1937, when President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–40) reformed Constitutional Article 27 to make the executive responsible for boundary conflicts between villages with communal lands (with the Supreme Court as the final court of appeal).

104 Kourí, ‘La invención del ejido’, Nexos, 1 Jan. 2015, p. 60. See also Brunk, The Posthumous Career of Emiliano Zapata, p. 100.

105 For an analysis of the Constitutionalist agrarian reform, see Baitenmann, Matters of Justice, chapters 4, 5.

106 However, until 1934 and again after 1947, landowners could petition for judicial review in the form of an amparo appeal to the Supreme Court. See Baitenmann, Helga, ‘Ejerciendo la justicia fuera de los tribunales: De las reivindicaciones decimonónicas a las restituciones de la reforma agraria’, Historia Mexicana, 66: 4 (2017), pp. 2013–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

107 For the most sophisticated critique of this myth, see Kourí, ‘Interpreting the Expropriation’. See also Schaefer, Liberalism as Utopia, p. 152. The quotation is from Kourí, Emilio, ‘Sobre la propiedad comunal de los pueblos, de la Reforma a la Revolución’, Historia Mexicana, 66: 4 (2017), p. 1951CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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