The 1917 Mexican Constitution -- A Brief Synopsis

Jan 08, 2023

Under the new Constitution, Mexico was now a federal, democratic republic, divided into three branches of government—a bicameral legislature, executive, and judicial.   Some of the most important and influential articles include Article 27, which provides for private property, outlines the bases for agrarian reform (although sweeping agrarian reform did not occur right away but eventually occurred during the presidency of Lazaro Cardenas who also expropriated the country’s oil), and allows the government to expropriate private land destined for the public benefit; Article 130, which provides for freedom of religion, restricts landownership by all churches (not just the Catholic Church) 123, a monumental article that consecrates certain labor and employment rights and would eventually lead to greater and more humane treatment of all employees.  Examples include the 8-hour workday, 6-day workweek, prohibitions on childhood labor, restrictions on expectant mothers, a minimum wage that must be paid in a legal tender currency, overtime pay, equal pay regardless of nationality or gender, protections against workplace accidents and disease, workplace health and hygiene, the right to assemble (create unions) and to strike, and severely restricted employment termination. 

Since its original promulgation, the Constitution of 1917 has been amended scores of times.  In its current form, it has 136 Articles and several other transitional articles that have either repealed, replaced, or amended other constitutional provisions.  One of the last constitutional amendments relates to presidential liability—meaning the federal president may be tried for treason, corruption, electoral crimes, and any other offense for which any Mexican may be tried.

An extended analysis and discussion of the Mexican Constitution is warranted and forthcoming.

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