Benito juarez

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Juárez was born in the village of San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca on March 21, 1806, located in the mountain range now known as the "Sierra Juárez". His parents, Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García, were peasants who both died when he was three years old. Shortly after, his grandparents died as well, and his uncle then raised him.[4][5] He described his parents as "indios de la raza primitiva delpaís," that is, "Indians of the original race of the country."[5] He worked in the corn fields and as a shepherd until the age of 12, when he walked to the city of Oaxaca to attend school.[3] At the time, he was illiterate and could not speak Spanish, only Zapotec.

In the city, where his sister worked as a cook, he took a job as a domestic servant for Antonio Maza.[3] A lay Franciscan, AntonioSalanueva, 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. In 1843 Benito married Margarita Maza.

[edit] Political career
Benito Juárez with his sister Nela (left) and hiswife Margarita (right), 1843Juárez became a lawyer in 1834 and a judge in 1841.[6] He was governor of the state of Oaxaca from 1847 to 1852; in 1853, he went into exile because of his objections to the corrupt military dictatorship of Antonio López de Santa Anna.[7] He spent his exile in New Orleans, Louisiana, working in a cigar factory.[8] In 1854 he helped draft the Plan of Ayutla as the basisfor a liberal revolution in Mexico.[7]

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 themilitary, while trying to create a modern civil society and capitalist economy based on the U.S. model. The Ley Juárez (Juárez'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) presidentIgnacio Comonfort.


Benito Juarez circa 1868.The conservatives led by General Félix Zuloaga, with the backing of the military and the clergy, launched a revolt under the Plan of Tacubaya on December 17, 1857. Comonfort did not 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 someinfluence, 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 aspresident. Under the new constitution, the chief justice immediately became interim president until proper elections could be made. Juárez took office in late January 1858. Juárez then led the liberal side in the Mexican War of the Reform, first from Querétaro and later from Veracruz. In 1859, Juárez took the radical step of declaring the confiscation of church properties. In spite of theconservatives' 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.

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