MEXICO CITY – An exhibition in this capital’s Chapultepec Castle looks back on the 100-day period in which a constituent assembly hammered out Mexico’s 1917 constitution, as well as on the contributions by artists and the press in communicating the contents of the charter to the public.
As part of the centennial celebration, the National Museum of History (MNH) is hosting this exhibit consisting of books, paintings, lithographs and furniture belonging to the collections of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, the National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico’s lower house of Congress and private donors.
MNH’s director, Salvador Rueda, and other professionals at that institution devised an exhibition centered on the Constituent Congress’ sessions in Queretaro, which was Mexico’s provisional capital during the 100 days of debates and declarations leading up to the eventual drafting of the constitution.
Those sessions were aimed at restoring a legal order shattered by Gen. Victoriano Huerta’s 1913 counter-revolutionary coup. Huerta, whose regime united disparate forces involved in the Mexican Revolution, which had erupted in 1910, was forced to resign and flee the country in 1914.
Rueda also spoke to EFE about the key roles later played by artists and the media in informing the population about the constitution’s content.
Since most Mexicans had not read the charter, artists took it upon themselves to inform people of their rights to, among other things, receive free public education and engage in the lawful industrial or commercial pursuit, profession or occupation of their choice, Rueda said.
They also informed people about other sections of the constitution, including one stating that free municipalities are the basis of the states’ territorial divisions and are to be administered by councils elected by direct popular vote, he added.
Regarding the role of the press, Rueda said its function at the time was to make people aware of how the new charter differed from Mexico’s liberal constitution of 1857.