Benito Jaurez

President of Mexico 1858-1861

About Benito Jaurez

Benito Jaurez was born in March 21, 1806. He was a lawyer and a judge in 1834 and 1841. He became governer of the state Oaxaca from 1847 to 1852. He then became President of Mexico.

His legacy

Today Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples, his antipathy toward organized religion, especially the Catholic Church, and what he regarded as defense of national sovereignty. The period of his leadership is known in Mexican history as La Reforma del Norte (The Reform of the North), and constituted a liberal political and social revolution with major institutional consequences: the expropriation of church lands, the subordination of army to civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, and also the almost-complete disenfranchisement of bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers

How he became president

In March 1861, Juárez was finally elected President in his own right under the Constitution of 1857. However, the Liberals' celebrations of 1861 were short-lived. The war had severely damaged Mexico's infrastructure and crippled its economy. While the Conservatives had been defeated, they would not disappear and the Juárez government had to respond to pressures from these factions. One of these concessions was amnesty to captured Conservative guerrillas who were still resisting the Juárez government, even though these same guerrillas were executing captured Liberals, which included Melchar Ocampo. In view of the government's desperate financial straits Juárez cancelled repayments on foreign loans.

His Famous Quotation

Famous quotation continues to be well-remembered in Mexico: "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace."