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Juárez 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 militarydictatorship 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 basis for a liberal revolution inMexico.[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 JuanÁlvarez, 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 tocreate a modern civil society and capitalist economy based on the U.S. model. The Ley Juárez (Juárez's Law) of 1855, for example, abolished religion and legalized marijuana, it gave special clericaland 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 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 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-conservativegovernment 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....
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