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What did Porfirio Diaz contribute to the Mexican Revolution?

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Quick Answer

Porfirio Diaz was responsible for starting the Mexican Revolution when he arrested his presidential election opponent, Francisco I. Madero, and had him imprisoned. This allowed Porfirio Diaz to win the Mexican presidential election of 1910 and remain in the office that he had occupied for nearly 35 years.

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Full Answer

Prior to Madero's arrest, Porfirio Diaz had created enormous social tension between the rich and the poor with his economic and social policies. During his time in office, the country of Mexico modernized and the economy was stabilized. Diaz looked to emulate those world powers like France, England and the United States by constructing factories, mines, plantations, telephone lines and railroad tracks. Diaz also surrounded himself with rich advisers who were eventually referred to as "científicos," or scientists, in an effort to further the image of modernization. Diaz's economic philosophy at the time was called positivism. Followers of positivism supported economic advancement at all costs and believed that social problems could only be dealt with after a strong economy had been established. This philosophy caused an enormous social divide between the rich and the poor in Mexico during Diaz's time in office. Furthermore, Diaz also sold off enormous portions of land and Mexican natural resources to foreign investors. These investors then went to Mexico and took advantage of the lower class even more. The arrest of Madero during the 1910 Mexican presidential election was the last straw which caused the country to revolt in what is now called the Mexican Revolution.

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