- Benito Juárez
name=Benito Pablo Juárez García
President of Mexico
January 19, 1858
July 18, 1872
Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada
San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca
death_date=death date and age|1872|7|18|1806|3|21|mf=y
Mexico City, Federal District
Benito Pablo Juárez García (pronounced|benit̪o paβ̞lo xwaɾes gaɾsia) (
March 21, 1806– July 18, 1872) was a Zapotec Amerindianwho served five terms [ [http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/mexico/gobernantes/ México - Presidencia de la República ] ] (1858–1861 as interim), (1861–1865), (1865–1867), (1867–1871), and (1871–1872), as President of Mexico. For resisting the French occupation, overthrowing the Empire, and restoring the Republic, as well as for his efforts to modernize the country, Juárez is often regarded as Mexico's greatest and most beloved leader. Juárez gained power only after receiving considerable US support in money and weapons, provided because the Second Empire was not amenable to US interests. Benito Juárez was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background, and also the first full-blooded indigenous national to serve as President of Mexico and to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere in over 300 years.
Juárez was born in the small village of
San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca, located in the mountain range now known as the " Sierra Juárez." His parents, Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García were peasants who died when he was three years old. He described his parents as "Indios de la raza primitiva del país," that is, "Indians of the original race of the country." He worked in the corn fields and as a shepherd until the age of 12. On December 17, 1818, he walked to the city of Oaxaca looking to educate himself and find a better life. At the time he was illiterate and could not speak Spanish, only Zapotec.
In the city he had a sister who worked as a cook, and there he took a job as a domestic servant and eagerly made up for his lack of education. A lay Franciscan, Antonio Salanueva, was impressed with young Benito's intelligence and thirst for learning, and arranged for his placement at the city's seminary. He studied there but decided to pursue law rather than the priesthood. He graduated from the seminary in 1827 and went on to gain a degree in law.
Juárez became a lawyer in 1834 and a judge in 1842. He was governor of the state of Oaxaca from 1847 to 1853, at which time he went into exile because of his objections to the corrupt military dictatorship of
Antonio López de Santa Anna. He spent his exile in New Orleans, Louisiana, working in a cigarfactory. In 1854 he helped draft the Plan of Ayutlaas the basis for a liberal revolution in Mexico.
Faced with growing opposition, Santa Anna resigned in 1855 and Juárez returned to Mexico. The winning party, the "liberales" (liberals) formed a provisional government under General
Juan Álvarez, inaugurating the period known as La Reforma. The Reform laws sponsored by the "puro" (pure) wing of the Liberal Party curtailed the power of the Catholic Church and the military, while trying to create a modern civil society and capitalist economy on the U.S. model. The "Ley Juárez" (Juarez's Law) of 1855, for example, abolished special clerical and military privileges, and declared all citizens equal before the law. All the efforts ended on the promulgation of the new federalist constitution. Juárez became Chief Justice, under "moderado" (moderate) president Ignacio Comonfort.
The "conservadores" (conservatives) led by General Félix Zuloaga, with the backing of the military and the clergy, launched a revolt under the
Plan of Tacubayaon December,17 1857. Comonfort didn't want to start a bloody civil war, so made an auto-coup d'état, dissolved the congress and appointed a new cabinet, in which the conservative party would have some influence, assuming in real terms the Tacubaya plan. Juárez, Ignacio Olvera and many other deputies and ministers were arrested. The rebels wanted the constitution revoked completely and another all-conservative government formed, so they launched another revolt on January,11 1858, proclaiming Zuloaga as president. Comonfort re-established the congress, freeing all the prisoners and resigned as president. Under the new constitution, the chief justice immediately became interim president until proper elections could be made. Juarez took office on late January 1858. Juarez then led the liberal side in the Mexican War of the Reform, first from Querétaroand later from Veracruz. In 1859, Juárez took the radical step of declaring the confiscation of church properties. In spite of the conservatives' initial military advantage, the liberals, drew on support of regionalist forces. They had U.S. help under some terms of the controversial and never approved McLane-Ocampo treaty. This turned the tide in 1860; the liberals recaptured Mexico City in January 1861. Juárez was finally properly elected president in March for another four-year term, under the Constitution of 1857.
Faced with bankruptcy and a war-savaged economy, Juárez declared a moratorium on foreign debt payments.
Spain, Great Britain, and Francereacted with a joint seizure of the Veracruz customs house in December 1861. Spain and Britain soon withdrew, but the French Emperor Napoleon IIIused the episode as a pretext to launch the French intervention in Mexicoin 1862, with plans to establish a conservative regime. The Mexicans won an initial victory over the French at Puebla in 1862, celebrated annually as Cinco de Mayo( May 5). The French advanced again in 1863, forcing Juárez and his elected government to retreat to the north, first to San Luis Potosí, then to the arid northern city of Paso del Norte, present day Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and finally to the capital of the state, Chihuahua City where he set up his cabinetand government-in-exile. There he would remain for the next two and one-half years. Meanwhile Maximilian von Habsburg, a younger brother of the Emperor of Austria, was proclaimed Emperor Maximilian I of Mexicoon April 10, 1864 with the backing of Napoleon III and a group of Mexican conservatives. Before Juárez fled, Congress granted him an emergency extension of his presidency, which would go into effect in 1865, when his term expired, and last until 1867 when the last of Maximilian's forces were defeated. In response to the French intervention and the elevation of Maximilian, Juarez sent General Plácido Vega y Dazato the U.S. State of Californiato gather Mexican Americansympathy for Mexico's plight. Maximilian, who personally harbored liberal and Mexican nationalist sympathies, offered Juárez amnesty, and later the post of prime minister, but Juárez refused to accept either a government "imposed by foreigners", or a monarchy. A legitimate Mexican throne had existed long before him, founded by Emperor Augustine I after independence had been achieved in 1821, but was abolished only a year later, during a domestic crisis. With its own civil war over, Abraham Lincoln, who had great sympathy to the Juarista causeFact|date=April 2008, invoked the Monroe Doctrineto give diplomatic recognition to Juárez' governmentand supply weapons and funding to the Republican forces. When he could get no support in Congress, he supposedly had the Army "lose" some supplies (including rifles) "near" (across) the border with Mexico. He would not even meet with representatives of Maximilian. Gen. Philip Sheridanwrote in his journal about how he "misplaced" 30,000 muskets close to Mexico. [Mexico's Lincoln: The Ecstasy and Agony of Benito Juarez] Faced with this and a growing threat from Prussia, the French troops began pulling out of Mexico in late 1866. Mexican conservatism was a spent force and was less than pleased with the liberal Maximilian. In 1867 the last of the Emperor's forces were defeated and Maximilian was sentenced to death by a military court. Despite national and international pleas for amnesty, Juárez refused to commute the sentence, and Maximilian was executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867. His body was returned to Europe for burial. His last words had been, '¡Viva México!'
Juárez was controversially re-elected President in 1867 and 1871, using the office of the presidency to ensure electoral success and suppressing revolts by opponents such as
Porfirio Díaz. Benito Juárez died of a heart attack in 1872 while working at his desk in the National Palace in Mexico City. He was succeeded by Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, his foreign minister.
Today Benito Juarez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples, lessening the great power that the
Roman Catholic Churchthen held over Mexican politics, and the defence of national sovereignty. The period of his leadership is known in Mexican history as "La Reforma" (the reform), and constituted a liberal political and social revolution with major institutional consequences: the expropriation of church lands, bringing the army under civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, and also led to the almost-complete disenfranchisement of bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers.
"La Reforma" represented the triumph of Mexico's liberal, federalist, anti-clerical, and pro-capitalist forces over the conservative, centralist, corporatist, and theocratic elements that sought to reconstitute a locally-run version of the old colonial system. It replaced a semi-feudal social system with a more market-driven one, but following Juárez's death, the lack of adequate democratic and institutional stability soon led to a return to levels of centralized autocracy and economic exploitation under the regime of
Porfirio Díazthat surpassed anything from the colonial or conservative eras; a conservative government under liberal gowns. The "Porfiriato" (Porfirist era), in turn, collapsed at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.
Juárez's famous quotation continues to be well-remembered in Mexico: "Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz", meaning "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace." It is inscribed on the coat of arms of Oaxaca.
When Maximilian proposed a meeting with Juarez and offered him the post of Prime Minister of the Empire, Juarez was fleeing with his wife and children from Maximilian's and French armies, and he replied to the Emperor's proposal as follows:
"You assure me that you have no doubt that if I accept this meeting, the peace and happiness of the Mexican nation will result from it, and that the Empire will reserve for me a distinguished position, seeking the help of my talents and patriotism. Certainly, sir, the history of our times registers the names of great traitors who have violated their oaths, their word and their promises; they have betrayed their own party, their principles, their ancestors and everything an honorable man holds sacred. Furthermore, in all these cases, the traitor has been guided by a vile ambition of power and a miserable desire to satisfy his own passions and even his own vices. However, the man currently in charge of the presidency of the Republic, a man that came out of the dark masses of the common people, will succumb - if such is the design of Providence - after fulfilling his duty until the end, in accordance with the trust of the nation over which he presides and having satisfied the requirements of his own conscience. I must conclude due to my lack of time, but I will add a last observation. It is given to men, sometimes, to attack the rights of others, to seize their goods, to threaten the lives of those who defend their nation, to make the highest virtues seem crimes, and to give their own vices the luster of true virtue. But there is one thing that cannot be influenced either by falsification or betrayal, namely the tremendous verdict of history. It is she who will judge us."
* The anniversary of Juárez's birth (
March 21) is a national holiday in Mexico ("See: Fiestas Patrias (Mexico)").
* Juárez was given the title of "Benemérito de las Américas" ("the meritorious one of the Americas") by the government of the
Republic of Colombia, on May 1, 1865. The Congress of Colombiaproclaimed in such date: "The Congress of Colombia, in the name of the people it represents, and facing the unselfishness and the undeniable perseverance that Señor Benito Juárez, in his role of constitutional President of Mexico, has launched towards the defence of the independence and freedom of his homeland, proclaims that citizen Juárez has deserved the title of Asset of the Americas, and as a homage to such virtues, and as an example to the Colombian youth, has ruled that the portrait of this eminent statesman will be displayed at the National Library with the following script:
** Benito Juárez Mexican Citizen
The Congress of 1865 dedicates, in the name of the Colombian people, this homage attesting his fortitude in defending the freedom and independence of México.
A Colombian citizen, Alejo Morales, supported the proclamation of Juarez in a letter to the Colombian Senate and Representatives, where he describes Juarez as follows:
*: "...…Juárez is the upright statesman that makes a clear contrast with one too many traitors and betrayers; the man of good faith that chooses misery and death to shame, because the word "duty" is more flattering to him than the insignia of Great Marshall; he is the genius that will scare away, no question about it, the horrifying tempest that has blown so recently upon the New World; he is, gentlemen, Senators, the one that is being proposed that you honour through a decree. I would not believe there is a single Colombian Senator that would not want to hurry to support, through his vote, the consecration of such an act, than would honour more us than the immortal Juarez."
Warner Brothersproduced a biographical film about Juarez, simply titled "Juarez" in 1939, with Paul Muniportraying the leader. Bette Davisalso appeared in the film, which featured a powerful musical score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
* Juárez has also been played in motion pictures by
Jason Robards, Sr.(1940), Fausto Tozzi(1965), Helmut Schellhardt(1988), and Luis Valdez(1994)
Things named for Juárez
* A great number of cities, towns, streets, institutions, and other things are named after Benito Juárez; see
Juárezfor a partial list. Benito Mussolini, Dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943, was named after Benito Juarez.
Monuments to Juárez
There are monuments to Juárez not just in Mexico but in most countries in Latin America as well as the United States. Here are some examples:
Mexico City's Alameda Central
** In addition there are schools named for him throughout Mexico and his face appears on postage stamps and on the Mexican 20 peso bill.
**There is a monument to Juárez on Carrera 11 and Calle 77, in the Chicó neighborhood.
** 6th Avenue in
New York City's Bryant Park;
Washington, D.C., Opposite the Watergate Building;
** The "Plaza de las Américas" on the
Magnificent Mile(North Michigan Avenue) in Chicago;
Basin Streetin New Orleansnear where he had lived in exile during the 1850s;
** Pantoja Park, near the western end of W G St,
San Diego, California;
** Additional tributes include an elementary school in
Anaheim, Californiaand San Diego, Californianamed after Benito Juárez.
Guatemalathere are monuments to Juárez in Quetzaltenangoand Guatemala City.
New Delhi, the government of India named a major road as "Benito Juarez Marg" in his memory. The road is home to many institutes of higher education, and is where the University of Delhi, South Campus is located.
* [http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/history/jtuck/jtbenitojuarez.html Mexico's Lincoln: The Ecstasy and Agony of Benito Juarez]
* [http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=144 Historical Text Archive: Juarez, Benito, on La Reforma]
* [http://www.zermeno.com/Benito%20Juarez.html Timeline]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/planeta/sets/72057594048814666 Juarez Photos - Planeta.com]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1615 Benito Juarez at Find-A-Grave]
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Benito Juarez — Benito Júarez (21. marts 1806 18. juni 1872) var en zapotekisk indianer, som i to perioder (1861 1863 og 1867 1872) var Mexicos præsident. Júarez anses ofte som Mexicos største og mest populære leder. Benito Pablo Júarez blev født i landsbyen San … Danske encyklopædi
Benito Juárez — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Juárez. Benito Juárez Mandats … Wikipédia en Français
Benito Juarez — 1 Admin ASC 2 Code Orig. name Benito Juárez Country and Admin Code MX.09.014 MX 2 Admin ASC 2 Code Orig. name Benito Juárez Country and Admin Code MX.32.004 MX 3 Admin ASC 2 Code Orig. name Benito Juárez Country and Admin Code MX.26.071 MX 4… … World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II
Benito Juarez — 1 Original name in latin Benito Jurez Name in other language Benito Juarez, Benito Jurez, Santa Cruz de Juarez State code MX Continent/City America/Mexico City longitude 20.88601 latitude 98.20551 altitude 260 Population 13001 Date 2012 12 05 2… … Cities with a population over 1000 database
Benito Juárez — Esta página se refiere al Presidente de México. Para otras acepciones, vea Benito Juárez (desambiguación). Benito Pablo Juárez García (21 de marzo, 1806 18 de julio de 1872), político mexicano de origene indígena, héroe nacional y presidente de… … Enciclopedia Universal