Birth of Benito Juarez

Birth of Benito Juarez

  benito J2Celebrating Benito Juarez- Mexican President and Hero-

March 21

by Tara A. Spears

Benito Juarez’s birthday on March 21st calls for celebration in Mexico, with schools and banks closed. Benito Juarez was one of Mexico’s most loved presidents for the way he lead the country: he defied the French occupation, brought the country up to modern standards, and really started the country towards liberal thinking. Benito Juarez is honored as Mexico’s first indigenous president and a founding father of Mexico’s constitution.

benito JJuárez was born March 21, 1806, in a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico, to parents who had a small farm. They were Indians, a huge factor to overcome in a country run by Europeans. Benito Juarez was the first president that had no military background. He became a lawyer in 1834 and a judge in 1841. Benito Juarez served five terms as president, as an interim from 1858-1861, then until 1872 he was the elected leader of Mexico. During this time, Benito Juarez brought social and economical advancements to Mexico that are still in effect today. In fact, his whole time as president is now called La Reforma, the reform, because he made so many changes in the way that the indigenous people were treated; he began civil equality that went against the caste system brought by the European ruling class.

benito J 1Benito also lessened the hold of the Roman Catholic Church, which had too much power at that time when it came to government issues. He made a sort of separation of church and state. His way of running the country totally counteracted the almost feudal social system and the locally run colonial style of previous Mexican presidents.

“Among nations as among individuals, respect for the rights of others is peace,” Juárez said in a famous speech at the end of the Reform War in 1861. Today it is one of the country’s most quoted phrases and applies to any type of political conflict according to Luis Cabrera Cuaron, a Mexican consul general in the US. “He is one of Mexico’s most important figures,” said Cabrera, “He was a great statesman and fighter for liberty.”

 

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