In 1910, Francisco Madero, a son of wealthy plantation owners, instigateda revolution against the government of president Díaz. Even thoughmost of his motives were political (institute effective suffrage and disallowreelections of presidents), Madero's revolutionary plan included provisionsfor returning seized lands to peasant farmers. The latter became a rallyingcry for the peasantry and Zapata began organizing locals into revolutionarybands, riding from village to village, tearing down fencesand opposing the landed elite's encroachment into their villages. On November18, the federal government began rounding up (the followersof Francisco Madero), and only forty-eight hours later, the first shotsof the Mexican Revolution were fired. While the government was confidentthat the revolution would be crushed in a matter of days, the MaderistaMovement kept gaining in strength and by the end of November, EmilianoZapata had fully joined its ranks. Zapata, a rather cautious, soft-spokenman, had become a revolutionary.


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