Following the brutal conflict between 1910 and 1920 which overthrew a powerful political regime and had divided the nation for almost a decade, it was the aim of successive governments to bring order and stability to Mexico. The need to placate various conflicting social groups, among them; industrial workers, peasants, the middle classes and hacendados, during the worldwide economic turmoil caused by the 1929 Great Depression, was one which faced the Mexican State and the individuals who fulfilled the role of President. This was no easy task in the aftermath of a bloody revolution which had cost the lives of over 1 million citizens and rewritten the political and social structures within the country. The result was an ‘institutional revolution,’ from 1920 to 1940 in which the new regime was consolidated and introduced numerous political and socioeconomic reforms to combat the challenges which occurred in the post Revolutionary State, each with varying degrees of success. 
There were a significant number of economic challenges facing the new regime between 1920 and 1940, stemming from both domestic and international developments. With the end of the armed conflict and the introduction of the new revolutionary constitution, twentieth century presidential regimes worked to turn Mexico from an economically stagnant country, with a huge disparity between the population in terms of wealth, into a modern industrial power. However, the context in which the new democratic government took office under General Obregón in 1920 involved a troubled economy. This was partly due to the post-First World War global recession and partly due to the physical damage to agriculture and the nation’s economic structure from the revolution, the instability of which bought uncertainty and risk to new investments in Mexican industry and meant that it did not expand in the immediate post-Revolutionary period. Recognising the importance of the revenues derived from Mexico’s oilfields in keeping the economy afloat (as the nation did not have the capital needed to fully exploit them), Obregón was able to successfully negotiate a mutually accepted treaty between the Mexican and American nations through the Bucareli agreement which appeased the US’ call to rights to subsoil resources in response to Article 27 of the constitution, and debt repayment demands whilst crucially ensuring their continued financial and political support. Following the end of Obregón’s presidency and the subsequent election of Calles in 1924, a number of institutions were created and policies put in place to move past the upheavals of the Revolution, particularly those focused around agriculture, pacifying the growing unrest amongst the rural population of farmers who demanded better credit and ensuring enduring public support for the new political structure. These included the (Agricultural) National Bank, expansion of the highway network and heavy investment into modern irrigation systems. However, despite the increasing exports of national resources such as oil and silver, the Great Depression of 1929 brought Mexico a sharp drop in national income and internal demand, challenging the country’s ability to fulfil its constitutional mandate to promote social equity and economic prosperity for the entire population. Still, despite the economy’s foundation of American loans, Mexico did not feel the effects of the Great Depression as directly as some other countries did, due to its lack of heavy investment in shares. As a consequence, when Rodríguez came to power in 1932, Mexico slowly crawled from the depths of the Depression, due to the state’s decision to allow the peso to float instead of being artificially pegged to the dollar, creating the best conditions in which to recover. This, combined with the increasing value of Mexican exports, increased Mexico’s monetary reserves and acted as an example of the state’s ability to protect the economy in the face of worldwide challenges. Undoubtedly, it was under the influence of Cárdenas between 1936 and 1940 that the Mexican State dealt most successfully with the economic challenges which faced them. Although the upturn in the worldwide economy helped the government’s quest for economic stability and prosperity, Cárdenas’ adoption a Keynesian approach which diversified the economy, ultimately led to widespread success, with a 25% increase in GNP and 50% rise in manufacturing production in his six year reign. It was at this point which they were also able to manage the oil industry labour unrest which occurred in 1937. Despite the increasing pressures from both foreign powers, with the true extent of US/UK influence being highlighted by their withholding of equipment and boycott of Mexican and silver, Cárdenas’ government formed the state-run oil company PEMEX, to help stabilise infrastructure and pacify striking workers. Despite the difficulties and economic hardship oil nationalisation initially caused, it was a clever tactic by Cárdenas and arguably his greatest achievement in terms of garnering the support which he needed to enact further policies inline with the Constitution. Post revolutionary nation-building and economic expansion brought about many changes in Mexico’s industrial economy, particularly under the rule of Cárdenas. The sociopolitical instability brought by the most violent phase of the Mexican Revolution had devastated the Mexican economy in the short term, but by 1940 Mexico had seen a dramatic reintegration into the international commercial system as foreign capital reinvigorated Mexican industry, mining, oil production, and railroad development and economic expansion based on stronger domestic foundations.