Benito Juarez

by Casey Carr


Benito Juarez's childhood

Benito Juarez was born on March 21, 1806 in the the village of San Pablo Guelato,Oaxaca. Marcelino Juarez and Brigida Garcia were his parents. They were both Zapotec Indians. They died when Benito had barely reached the age of three. When his parents died, he and his sister (Rosa) were cared for by thier grandfather, Pedro Juarez, and grandmother, Justa Lopez. His grandparents were also Indians of the Zapotec nation. A few years later his grandparents died, which left his uncle Bemardino Juarez his gardian. His uncle lived in the village of Ixtlan. When Benito was living there he worked on the fields and watched over the sheep.

When he wasn't working his uncle was teaching him to read in write in Spanish. Benito had a strong desire to learn. It was so strong that he gave his uncle the whip and told his uncle to beat him whenever he got answers wrong. At the time when Benito had his desire of learning there was only one method or way of doing it. In his little town the young people, both female and male would work in the private homes. In return for thier work they would be taught to read and write. In Benito's case he wanted to go to the capital, Oaxaca, to learn. he would beg his uncle to take him, but his uncle would always find a reason to say no.

His desire to go built up inside of him for so long that on December 17,1818, he packed his things and left for the city of Oaxaca. He traveled by foot and arrived in the city that night. When he arrived he stayed with a man named Don Antonio Maza. He was the man who his sister Maria Josefa works for as a cook. While he stayed there he worked. After staying there for a while he met another man who was into youth education. This man's name was Don Antonio Salanueva. He took Benito to live with him and offered to send him to school. On January 7, 1819 is when Benito had found himself settled in Oaxaca.

Benito's Education

He started in primary school , which didn't help him much because of the imperfect and slow pace of the teaching. He then moved to another school. His teacher there was Don Jose Domingo Gonzales. Benito's first assignment was to write a page. Benito's page was not acceptable for Mr. Gonzales and he then ordered Benito be punished.

Benito was not satisfied with the teaching and that was the only school in the city. So, he dropped out of school and took what he knew and somewhat taught himself.

Even though he was teaching himself the basics he still went to a seminary college in the city every day. The seminary school teaches the careers in the church. While sudying religion and what it is all about he was becoming more and more interested in becoming a clergyman. Before he could study and become a clergyman he had to ask his godfather, Don Antonio Salanueva, who was the man who had Benito confirmed.

His godfather not only okayed the idea, he urged it. He gave Benito advice by telling him that with his capability of being able to speak the Zapotec language he could be ordained, in accordance with the ecclesiasticsal laws of America, without having the patrimory(Patrimory is something that is a neccessity if living on benefice).

Now that he knew what he was going to do and he knew what he was going to have to do to acheive what he wants to he started studing latin grammer at the seminary as soon as possible. He started studing on October 18, 1821. He still was not familiar with the Spanish grammer but, he was not the only one in his class that had that problem.

Since knowing Spanish grammer was a neccessary thing in his studies he started to study with another techer who taught him the literary education. Then in August of 1823, he completed his study of latin grammer after passing two of the required exams with great grades.

After passing his godfather wanted him to become a priest. Benito had to explain to his godfather that he did not feel old enough and he was not to interested in becoming a priest. So the next year he started the study of philosophy.

In 1827, he finished his study of philosophy after passing two exams with again great grades and with other honors given to him by his synodical examiners. then in 1928 aganist his godfathers wishes of him to become a priest he enlisted in in the Oaxaca institute of arts and science to study law. In 1931 he had qualified to enter in a local law of office. There was one problem though at the time the legal professions were already full. So he began a second career as an antiestablished liberal politician.

The Beginning of Benito's Career

In 1931 Benito enrolled in the politics as an elected alderman on the Oaxaca town council. Then in 1835 he was elected to be a liberal deputy to the federal legislature by the city. He pursued his legal career by serving as a representative of impoverished indian communities in the indians struggles to save and protect thier landholdings. With his intelligence he was known as one of Oaxaca's finest lawyers.

In 1941 Oaxaca's state govermemt appointed Benito the federal court judge. At this point of his life his local standings were raised because of his marriage to Margarita Mazza. She was the daughter of one of the wealthiest Creole families.

In 1846 the liberal party of Oaxaca took control or power of Mexico. Despite his conservative connections, Benito became a liberal fedral deputy once again. Then during Mexico's war aganist the United States Benito acted as the governor and soon was elected governor. He served as governor until 1852. Then that same year he became director of the Institute of Arts and Science and he also began to serve as a lawyer again.

Revolutionary & Excile

Benito was arrested by goverment troops without any warning and was then forbidden. At first he lived in Havana and then in New Orleans. During the 1850's the future liberal leaders of Mexico started a revolutonary junta in New Orleans and started to plan the reforms with which they hopes to rebuild thier shattered nation.

In Mexico the country hit bankruptcy. This led the liberals to start a revolt. Which was known as the Revolution of Ayutla. Then Santa Ana's, place where this revolt is taking place, government fell apart with very little fighting, and then the liberals assumed power again with Alvarez as president. Then in October 1855 Benito was appointed minister of justice.

In January 1856,Benito became the governor of Oaxaca again. At that point in time he reesablished the Institute of Arts and Science and promulgated the new liberal constitution of 1857. Juan Alvarez voluntary retirement in 1857 and there hopes and expectations for a peaceful transformation of Mexico. This turned into the most pointless war and this war was known as the Three Year War.

The one and only positive thing that ended up happening as a result was the emergence of Benito as the un disputed leader of the liberal party. At first Benito served as a minister of the goverment and secondly as the president of Mexico's Surpreme court under Ignacio Commonfort. Then when Commonfort resigned Benito traveled North to orginize the divided liberal party. Since Commonfort resigned it left Benito as the president of the Surpreme Court.

Benito and the liberals held Veracruz for three years while the Conservatives held Mexico City. The church helped the Conservatives with troops, moral pursuasion, and money. After the two years of being beaten the liberal armies and took Mexico City. The Conservative armies waent into excile . In 1860 Benito was elected to be president by the Mexican people.


Benito did whatever he felt was good for Mexico. He exciled the archbishop of mexico and the spanish ambassodor because they aided in the conservative cause. Then made the reform laws and the Constituition of 1857.

In 1862 the exigencies forced the goverment to curtain it's ambitious land reform program and led to a two year suspension of the external debt. This gave other countries such as England, France, and Spain the excuse the intervene in Mexico. Then a small Conservative forces helped the french take over Mexico City in 1863. This forced Benito to flee and fight back.

The Fight with the Foriegners

The years 1864 to 1867 determined the future of Mexico and the liberal reforms. Benito wouldn't serve in a imperial party. So, he retreated north with his cabinet and a bodyguard that was in his famous black coach.

In 1867 the empire fell. Then in June Benito ordered the emporor's execution . He saw the execution as a strong warning to the other foriegn conquerors.

Again in 1867 Benito was elected president and for his first line of business he dismissed about two-thirds of the liberal army without pension. Then for the next four years of his life the government started building railroads, schools, military costs were cut, churchs were cut from their large landholds and most importantly Mexico was able to live by the constitution of 1857 which gave people their rights such as free speech, free press, and ect. Benito's life ended on June 18,1872.

My feelings of Benito Juarez

I feel that he worked hard to get to where he got. I think he deserved to be president and so on. He had many good qualities and he did wonders for Mexico. It was fun learning about him and I feel I learned a lot more about him by doing this project for spanish then I have ever learned about any- thing else I've ever studied.



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