The transition to independence was a difficult one, with many changes in leadership over the next century. The Mexican-American War further debili- tated the country, as over 500,000 square miles (1,295,000 sq km) was ceded to the United States, including much of present-day southwestern and western United States. Unrest continued into the twentieth century, when peasants revolted against the government in 1910 to protest unfair distribution of wealth and power. Two million lives were claimed by the Mexican Revolution, and the end result was rule by a single political party—the Industrial Revolutionary Party—for the remainder of the century. In 2000 Vicente Fox became the first president from outside this party, though its power was restored in 2012 with the election of Enrique Peña Nieto. PRESENT PROBLEMS Modern Mexico faces many challenges of global significance. Emigration of residents to the United States, active drug cartels, and 50 percent of the population living in poverty are a few of the most pressing issues. While foreign investment as a result of globalization has benefited some of the states in the north, the more agrarian, rugged, and rural south has consistently been left behind.
Hand-colored lithograph depicting General Scott’s entrance into Mexico during the Mexican-American War, by Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot (1851).
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