December 4, 2022

Who was Benito Juárez and what did he do?

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(CNN Spanish) — Of Zapotec origin, Benito Juárez García was the first and only president of indigenous origin in Mexico. Juárez held the presidency from 1857 to 1872, and 150 years after his death we remember the famous phrase that he pronounced in a manifesto on July 15, 1867 in the capital of the country: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace”.

But who was Benito Juárez and what did he do as president of Mexico?

Here are 10 facts about the former president of Mexico:

1.- He was born on March 21, 1806 in San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca. His parents were Zapotec Indians and died when Juárez was 3 years old. At the age of 12, he left his uncle who took care of him and joined his sister in the city of Oaxaca, when he still did not speak Spanish.

2.- Juárez originally studied for the priesthood, but in 1829 he entered the Institute of Arts and Sciences of Oaxaca. In 1831 he received a law degree—he was the institution’s first professional graduate—and won his first public office, a seat on the city council.

3.- On July 31, 1843, Juárez married Margarita Maza ParadaShe was 17 years old and he was 37 years old. Together they had 12 children, 5 of whom died.

4.- During his mandate as governor of Oaxaca from 1847 to 1852, Juárez created roads, rebuilt the Government Palace, founded normal schools, carried out the survey of a geographical map and the formation of the plan of the city of Oaxaca, reorganized the National Guard Y left a surplus in the treasury.

5.- In 1855 he was appointed Minister of Justice and Public Instruction and from this position he promulgated the “Juarez Law”, a law that abolished the ecclesiastical and military privileges, and their special courts.

6.- In 1857 he was elected president of the Supreme Court of Justice, a job he held until December of that year, when he took over the Presidency.

7.- On June 25, 1856, it was decreed the Lerdo Lawwhich established the sale to individuals of the rural properties of the Catholic Church and civil corporations, in order to promote economic activity, create a rural middle class and obtain taxes from it.

8.- In July 1859 he issued the Reform laws, which include: the Ecclesiastical Property Nationalization Law, which established that property no longer passed into the hands of the clergy; the Civil Marriage Law, with which religious marriage loses its official validity, establishing marriage as a civil contract with the State; the Organic Law of the Civil Registry, with which the registration of the civil status of people became the responsibility of Government employees and not of the Church; the Law of Exclaustration of Nuns and Friars, which prohibited the existence of cloisters or convents; and the Law on the Freedom of Cults, which allowed each person to practice and choose the cult that they wished.

9.- On July 15, 1867, Juárez entered Mexico City —occupying the Presidency for the fifth time—, and once installed in the offices of the National Palace Juarez drafted a manifesto where the famous phrase is found: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

10.- On July 18, 1872, while planning his re-election, Juárez died at the age of 66 due to a heart attack in the National Palace, where he lived.



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