Porfirio Díaz

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Porfirio Díaz Mori
Porfirio Diaz civilian.jpg
29th President of Mexico
In office
1 December 1884 25 May 1911
Vice President Ramón Corral
Preceded by Manuel González
Succeeded by Francisco León de la Barra
In office
17 February 1877 1 December 1880
Preceded by Juan N. Méndez
Succeeded by Manuel González
In office
28 November 1876 6 December 1876
Preceded by José María Iglesias
Succeeded by Juan N. Méndez
Personal details
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori

(1830-09-15)15 September 1830
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Died2 July 1915(1915-07-02) (aged 84)
Paris, France
Resting place Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris
Political partyNational Porfirist Party
National Reelectionist Party (previously Liberal Party)
Delfina Ortega Díaz (m. 18671880)
; her death
Carmen Romero Rubio (m. 18811915)
; his death
ChildrenDeodato Lucas Porfirio (1875–46)
Luz Aurora Victoria (1875–65)
ParentsJosé Faustino Díaz Orozco
María Petrona Mori Córtés
Profession Military officer, politician.
Signature Porfirio Diaz signature.jpg
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Branch/serviceFlag of the Mexican Army.svg  Mexican Army
Years of service1848–1876

José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori ( /ˈdəs/ ; [1] Spanish:  [poɾˈfiɾjo ði.as] ; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915) was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from February 17, 1877 to December 1, 1880 and from December 1, 1884 to May 25, 1911. The entire period 1876–1911 is often referred to as the Porfiriato.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

President of Mexico Head of state of the country of Mexico

The President of Mexico, officially known as the President of the United Mexican States, is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces. The current President is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office on December 1, 2018.

Porfiriato period of Mexican history

The Porfiriato was a period in the history of Mexico when power was held by liberal General Porfirio Díaz, between November 28, 1876, and May 25, 1911. Díaz pursued a policy of "order and progress," inviting foreign investment to Mexico and maintaining social and political order, by force if necessary. There were tremendous changes economically, technologically, socially, and culturally during this period. As Díaz approached his 80th birthday and after having been continuously elected since 1884, he still had not put in place a plan for his succession. The fraudulent 1910 elections are usually seen as the end date of the Porfiriato. Violence broke out, Díaz was forced to resign and go into exile, and Mexico experienced a decade of regional civil war, the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).


A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–60) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–67), Díaz rose to the rank of General, leading republican troops against the French-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian. He subsequently revolted against presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, on the principle of no re-election to the presidency. Diaz succeeded in seizing ousting Lerdo in a coup in 1876, with the help of his political supporters, and Diaz was elected in 1877. In 1880, he stepped down and his political ally Manuel González was elected president, serving from 1880 to 1884. In 1884 Diaz abandoned the idea of no re-election and held office continuously until 1911. [2]

Reform War 1858-1861 armed conflict in Mexico

The War of Reform in Mexico, during the Second Federal Republic of Mexico, was the three-year civil war (1857–1860) between members of the Liberal Party who had taken power in 1855 under the Plan of Ayutla, and members of the Conservative Party resisting the legitimacy of the government and its radical restructuring of Mexican laws, known as La Reforma. The War of the Reform is one of many episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted to eliminate the political, economic, and cultural power of the Catholic church as well as undermine the role of the Mexican Army. Both the Catholic Church and the Army were protected by corporate or institutional privileges (fueros) established in the colonial era. Liberals sought to create a modern nation-state founded on liberal principles. The Conservatives wanted a centralist government, some even a monarchy, with the Church and military keeping their traditional roles and powers, and with landed and merchant elites maintaining their dominance over the majority mixed-race and indigenous populations of Mexico.

General (Mexico) military rank in Mexico

The military rank in Mexico of the general is divided in 4 categories:

Maximilian I of Mexico emperor of Mexico

Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy as its commander, he accepted an offer by Napoleon III of France to rule Mexico, conditional on a national plebiscite in his favour. France, together with Spain and the United Kingdom, invaded the Mexican Republic in the winter of 1861, ostensibly to collect debts; the Spanish and British both withdrew the following year after negotiating agreements with Mexico's republican government, while France sought to conquer the country. Seeking to legitimize French rule, Napoleon III invited Maximilian to establish a new pro-French Mexican monarchy. With the support of the French army and a group of Conservative Party monarchists hostile to the Liberal Party administration of the new Mexican president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian was offered the position of Emperor of Mexico, which he accepted on 10 April 1864.

Díaz has been a controversial figure in Mexican history. His regime brought "order and progress," ending political turmoil and promoting economic development. Díaz and his allies, a group of technocrats known as Científicos "scientists." [3] His economic policies largely benefited his circle of allies as well as foreign investors, and helped a few wealthy estate-owning hacendados acquire huge areas of land, leaving rural campesinos unable to make a living. It later years grew unpopular due to civil repression and political conflicts, as well as challenges from labor and the peasantry, groups that did not share in Mexico's prosperity.

Technocracy is a proposed system of governance in which decision-makers are selected on the basis of their expertise in a given area of responsibility, particularly with regard to scientific or technical knowledge. This system explicitly contrasts with the notion that elected representatives should be the primary decision-makers in government, though it does not necessarily imply eliminating elected representatives. Leadership skills for decision-makers are selected on the basis of specialized knowledge and performance, rather than political affiliations or parliamentary skills.

The Científicos were a circle of technocratic advisors to President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz. Steeped in the positivist "scientific politics", they functioned as part of his program of modernization at the start of the 20th century.

A hacienda, in the colonies of the Spanish Empire, is an estate, similar to a Roman latifundium. Some haciendas were plantations, mines or factories. Many haciendas combined these activities. The word is derived from the Spanish word "hacer" or "haciendo", which means: to make or be making, respectively; and were largely business enterprises consisting of various money making ventures including raising farm animals and maintaining orchards.

Despite public statements in 1908 favoring a return to democracy and not running again for office, Díaz reversed himself and ran again in 1910. His failure to institutionalize presidential succession, since he was by then 80 years old, triggered a political crisis between the Científicos and the followers of General Bernardo Reyes, allied with the military and with peripheral regions of Mexico. [4] After Díaz declared himself the winner of an eighth term in office in 1910, his electoral opponent, wealthy estate owner Francisco I. Madero, issued the Plan of San Luis Potosí calling for armed rebellion against Díaz, leading to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. After the Federal Army suffered a number of military defeats against the forces supporting Madero, Díaz was forced to resign in May 1911 and went into exile in Paris, where he died four years later.

Bernardo Reyes Mexican general

Bernardo Doroteo Reyes Ogazón was a Mexican general and politician. Born in a prominent liberal family in the western state of Jalisco, he served in the army, rising to the rank of general. Like his political patron, General and then President Porfirio Díaz, Reyes was a military man who became an able administrator. Reyes was one of the state governors that Díaz appointed, serving as governor of the northern state of Nuevo León. He implemented Porfirian policy, particularly eliminating political rivals, but also building his own power base. He helped in the modernization of that state, enabling local industrialization, improving public education and health, and supporting improvements in the lives of workers. While governor of Nuevo León, Reyes approved a workers compensation law. Followers of Reyes were known as Reyistas.

Francisco I. Madero 19th and 20th-century Mexican revolutionary leader and president

Francisco Ignacio Madero González was a Mexican revolutionary, writer and statesman who served as the 33rd president of Mexico from 1911 until shortly before his assassination in 1913. He was an advocate for social justice and democracy. Madero was notable for challenging Mexican President Porfirio Díaz for the presidency in 1910 and being instrumental in sparking the Mexican Revolution.

Plan of San Luis Potosí Mexican political document

The Plan of San Luis de Potosí was a political document written by presidential candidate Francisco I. Madero, who was jailed prior to the elections, and escaped to write the Plan. It was published on October 5, 1910. It called for nullifying the 1910 election of Porfirio Díaz, claimed a provisional presidency for Madero, and called for Mexicans to revolt on November 20, 1910.

Early years

Maria Petrona Mori Cortes, mother of Porfirio Diaz, photo ca. 1854 in Oaxaca. Mamadeporfirio.jpg
María Petrona Mori Cortés, mother of Porfirio Díaz, photo ca. 1854 in Oaxaca.

Porfirio Díaz was the sixth of seven children, baptized on 15 September 1830, in Oaxaca, Mexico, but his actual date of birth is unknown. [5] September 15 is an important date in Mexican history, the eve of the day when hero of independence Miguel Hidalgo issued his call for independence in 1810; when Díaz became president, the independence anniversary was commemorated on September 15 rather than on the 16th, a practice that continues to the present era. [6] Díaz was a castizo. [7] His mother, Petrona Mori (or Mory), was the daughter of a man whose father had immigrated from Spain and Tecla Cortés, an indigenous woman; Díaz's father was a Criollo. [7] [8] There is confusion about his father's name, which is listed on the baptismal certificate as José de la Cruz Díaz; he was also known as José Faustino Díaz, and was a modest innkeeper who died of cholera when his son was three. [7] [8]

Oaxaca City City and Municipality in Oaxaca, Mexico

The city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez, or simply Oaxaca, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of the same name. It is located in the Centro District in the Central Valleys region of the state, on the foothills of the Sierra Madre at the base of the Cerro del Fortín extending to the banks of the Atoyac River. The city relies heavily on tourism, which is based on its large number of colonial-era structures as well as the native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures and archeological sites. It, together with the archeological site of Monte Albán, was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is also the home of the month-long cultural festival called the "Guelaguetza", which features Oaxacan dance from the seven regions, music and a beauty pageant for indigenous women.

Castizo race

Castizo is a Spanish word with a general meaning of "pure", "genuine" or representative of its race. The feminine form is castiza. From this meaning it evolved into other meanings, such as "typical of an area" and it was also used for one of the colonial Spanish race categories, the castas, that evolved in the 17th century. In Latin America, Castizo is used to describe individuals with an admixture of around 75% European and 25% Native American or with a more European-esque appearance than a Mestizo person.

The Criollo are Latin Americans who are of full or near full Spanish descent, distinguishing them from both multi-racial Latin Americans and Latin Americans of post-colonial European immigrant origin. Historically, they were a social class in the hierarchy of the overseas colonies established by Spain beginning in the 16th century, especially in Hispanic America, comprising the locally born people of Spanish ancestry. Although Criollos were legally Spaniards, in practice, they ranked below the Iberian-born Peninsulares. Nevertheless, they had preeminence over all the other populations: Amerindians, enslaved Africans and peoples of mixed descent.

Despite the family's difficult economic circumstances following Díaz's father's death in 1833, Díaz was sent to school at age 6. [9] In the early independence period, the choice of professions was narrow: lawyer, priest, physician, military. The Díaz family was devoutly religious, and Díaz began training for the priesthood at the age of fifteen when his mother, María Petrona Mori Cortés, sent him to the Colegio Seminario Conciliar de Oaxaca. He was offered a post as a priest in 1846, but national events intervened. Díaz joined with seminary students who volunteered as soldiers to repel the U.S. invasion during the Mexican–American War, and, despite not seeing action, decided his future was in the military, not the priesthood. [9] Also in 1846, Díaz came into contact with a leading Oaxaca liberal, Marcos Pérez, who taught at the secular Institute of Arts and Sciences in Oaxaca. That same year, Díaz met Benito Juárez, who became governor of Oaxaca in 1847, a former student there. [10] In 1849, over the objections of his family, Díaz abandoned his ecclesiastical career and entered the Instituto de Ciencias and studied law. [8] [10] When Antonio López de Santa Anna was returned to power by a coup d'état in 1853, he suspended the 1824 constitution and began persecuting liberals. At this point, Díaz had already aligned himself with radical liberals (rojos), such as Benito Juárez. Juárez was forced into exile in New Orleans; Díaz supported the liberal Plan de Ayutla that called for the ouster of Santa Anna. Díaz evaded an arrest warrant and fled to the mountains of northern Oaxaca, where he joined the rebellion of Juan Álvarez. [11] In 1855, Díaz joined a band of liberal guerrillas who were fighting Santa Anna's government. After the ousting and exile of Santa Anna, Díaz was rewarded with a post in Ixtlán, Oaxaca, that gave him valuable practical experience as an administrator.

Mexican–American War Armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the Second Federal Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the Republic of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

Benito Juárez President of Mexico during XIX century

Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and president of Mexico, of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca.

Antonio López de Santa Anna 19th-century Mexican politician general

Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then fought for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and he was an adept soldier and cunning politician who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna." He was called "the Man of Destiny" who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch." Santa Anna first opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. He was one of the earliest caudillos of modern Mexico, and he "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history". Lucas Alamán wrote that "the history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions…. His name plays the major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his."

Military career

Colonel Porfirio Diaz, 1861. Young Porfirio Diaz.jpg
Colonel Porfirio Díaz, 1861.

Díaz's military career is most notable for his service in the struggle against the French. By the time of the Battle of Puebla (5 May 1862), Mexico's great victory over the French when they first invaded, Díaz had advanced to the rank of general and was placed in command of an infantry brigade. [8] [12]

During the Battle of Puebla, his brigade was positioned centered between the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. From there, he successfully helped repel a French infantry attack meant as a diversion, to distract the Mexican commanders' attention from the forts that were the French army's main targets. In violation of General Ignacio Zaragoza's orders, after helping fight off the larger French force, Díaz and his unit then pursued them and later Zaragoza commended his actions during the battle as "brave and notable".

The Third Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, oil painting on canvas depicting an entrance of Porfirio Diaz to Puebla, April 2, 1867 13488 2 de abril de 1867. Entrada del general Porfirio Diaz a Puebla.jpg
The Third Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, oil painting on canvas depicting an entrance of Porfirio Díaz to Puebla, April 2, 1867

In 1863, Díaz was captured by the French Army. He escaped and President Benito Juárez offered him the positions of secretary of defense or army commander in chief. He declined both, but took an appointment as commander of the Central Army. That same year, he was promoted to the position of Division General.

In 1864, the conservatives supporting Emperor Maximilian asked him to join the Imperial cause. Díaz declined the offer. In 1865, he was captured by the Imperial forces in Oaxaca. He escaped and fought the battles of Tehuitzingo, Piaxtla, Tulcingo and Comitlipa.

In 1866, Díaz formally declared loyalty. That same year, he earned victories in Nochixtlán, Miahuatlán, and La Carbonera, and once again captured Oaxaca. He was then promoted to general. Also in 1866, Marshal Bazaine, commander of the Imperial forces, offered to surrender Mexico City to Díaz if he withdrew support of Juárez. Díaz declined the offer. In 1867, Emperor Maximilian offered Díaz the command of the army and the imperial rendition to the liberal cause. Díaz refused both. Finally, on 2 April 1867, he went on to win the final battle for Puebla.

Early opposition political career

Porfirio Diaz in 1867 Porfirio-1867.jpg
Porfirio Díaz in 1867

When Juárez became the president of Mexico in 1868 and began to restore peace, Díaz resigned his military command and went home to Oaxaca. However, it was not long before Díaz was openly opposed to the Juárez administration, since Juárez held onto the presidency. As a Liberal military hero, Díaz had ambitions for national political power. He challenged the civilian president Benito Juárez, who was running for what Díaz considered an illegal subsequent term as president. In 1870, Díaz ran against President Juárez and Vice President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. In 1871, he made claims of fraud in the July elections won by Juárez, who was confirmed as president by the Congress in October. In response, Díaz launched the Plan de la Noria on 8 November 1871, supported by a number of rebellions across the nation, including one by General Manuel González of Tamaulipas, but this rebellion failed. [13] In March 1872, Díaz's forces were defeated in the battle of La Bufa in Zacatecas.

Following the death of Juárez of natural causes on 9 July 1872, Lerdo became president. With Juárez's death, Diaz's principle of no re-election could not be used to oppose civilian Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, who became president. Lerdo offered amnesty to the rebels, which Díaz accepted and "retired" to the Hacienda de la Candelaria in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, rather than his home state of Oaxaca. [13] In 1874, Diaz was elected to Congress from Veracruz. Opposition to Lerdo grew, particularly as his militant anti-clericalism increased, labor unrest grew, and a major rebellion of the Yaqui in northwest Mexico under the leadership of Cajemé challenged central government rule there. [14] Díaz saw an opportunity to plot a more successful rebellion, leaving Mexico in 1875 for New Orleans and Brownsville, Texas with his political ally, fellow general Manuel González. Although Lerdo offered Diaz an ambassadorship in Europe, a way to remove him from the Mexican political scene, Diaz refused. With Lerdo running for a term of his own, Diaz could again invoke the principle of no re-election as a reason to revolt.

Becoming president and first term, 1876–80

Porfirio Diaz circa 1880 Porfirio Diaz ak.jpg
Porfirio Díaz circa 1880

Diaz launched his rebellion in Ojitlan, Oaxaca, on 10 January 1876 under the Plan of Tuxtepec, which initially failed. Díaz fled to the United States. [8] Lerdo was re-elected in July 1876 and his constitutional government was recognized by the United States. Díaz returned to Mexico and fought the Battle of Tecoac, where he defeated the Lerdo's forces in what turned out to be the last battle (on 16 November). [8] In November 1876, Díaz occupied Mexico City, Lerdo left Mexico for exile in New York. Díaz did not take formal control of the presidency until the beginning of 1877, putting General Juan N. Méndez as provisional president, followed by new presidential elections in 1877 that gave Díaz the presidency. Ironically, one of his government's first amendments to the 1857 liberal constitution was to prevent re-election. [15]

Although the new election gave some air of legitimacy to Diaz's government, the United States did not recognize the regime. It was not clear that Diaz would continue to prevail against supporters of ousted President Lerdo, who continued to challenge Diaz's regime by insurrections, which ultimately failed. In addition, cross-border Apache attacks with raids on one side and sanctuary on the other was a sticking point. [16] There were a number of conditions that Mexico needed to meet before the U.S. would consider recognizing Diaz's government, including controlling the cross-border Apache raids and payment of a debt to the U.S. The U.S.emissary to Mexico, John W. Foster, had the duty to protect the interests of the U.S., first and foremost. Lerdo's government had entered into negotiations with the U.S. over claims that each had against the other in previous conflicts. A joint U.S.-Mexico Claims Commission was established in 1868, in the wake of fall of the French Empire. [17] When Diaz seized power from Lerdo's government, he inherited Lerdo's negotiated settlement with the U.S. As Mexican historian Daniel Cosío Villegas put it, "He Who Wins Pays." [18] Diaz secured recognition by paying $300,000 to settle claims by the U.S. In 1878, the U.S. government recognized the Díaz regime and former U.S. president and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant visited Mexico. [19]

During his first term in office, Díaz developed a pragmatic and personalist approach to solve political conflicts. Although a political liberal who had stood with radical liberals in Oaxaca (rojos), he was not a liberal ideologue, preferring pragmatic approaches towards political issues. He was explicit about his pragmatism. He maintained control through generous patronage to political allies. [20] In his first term, members of his political alliance were discontented that they had not sufficiently benefited from political and financial rewards. In general he sought conciliation, but force could be an option. "'Five fingers or five bullets,' as he was fond of saying." [21] Although he was an authoritarian ruler, he maintained the structure of elections, so that there was the façade of liberal democracy. His administration became famous for suppression of civil society and public revolts. One of the catch phrases of his later terms in office was the choice between "pan o palo", ("bread or the bludgeon")—that is, "benevolence or repression." [22] Díaz saw his task in his term as president to create internal order so that economic development could be possible. As a military hero and astute politician, Díaz's eventual successful establishment of that peace (Pax Porfiriana) became "one of [Díaz's] principal achievements, and it became the main justification for successive re-elections after 1884." [23]

Diaz and his advisers' pragmatism in relation to the United States became the policy of "defensive modernization," which attempted to make the best of Mexico's weak position against its northern neighbor. Attributed to Diaz was the phrase "so far from God, so close to the United States." Diaz's advisers Matías Romero, Juárez's emissary to the U.S., and Manuel Zamacona, a minister in Juárez's government, advised a policy of "peaceful invasion" of U.S. capital to Mexico, with the expectation that it would then be "naturalized" in Mexico. In their view, such an arrangement would "provide 'all possible advantages of annexation without ....its inconveniences'." [24] Diaz was won to that viewpoint, which promoted Mexican economic development and gave the U.S. an outlet for its capital and allowed for its influence in Mexico. By 1880, Mexico was forging a new relationship with the U.S. as Diaz's term of office was ending.

González presidency, 1880–84

President Manuel Gonzalez President Manuel Gonzalez.jpg
President Manuel González
Important Diaz political ally, Matias Romero Matias Romero.jpg
Important Diaz political ally, Matías Romero

Diaz stepped down from the presidency, with his ally, Manuel González, one of the trustworthy members of his political network (camarilla), elected president in a fully constitutional manner. [8] This four-year period, often characterized as the "González Interregnum," [25] is sometimes seen as Diaz placing a puppet in the presidency, but González ruled in his own right and was viewed as a legitimate president free of the taint of coming to power by coup. During this period, Diaz briefly served as governor of his home state of Oaxaca. He also devoted time to his personal life, highlighted by his marriage to Carmen Romero Rubio, the devout 17-year-old daughter of Manuel Romero Rubio, a supporter of Lerdo. The couple honeymooned in the U.S., going to the New Orleans World's Fair, St Louis, Washington D.C. and New York. Accompanying them on their travels was Matías Romero and his U.S.-born wife. This working honeymoon allowed Diaz to forge personal connections with politicians and powerful businessmen with Romero's friends, including former U.S. President, Ulysses S. Grant. Romero then publicized the growing amity between the two countries and the safety of Mexico for U.S. investors. [26]

President González was making room in his government for political networks not originally part of Diaz's coalition, some of whom had been loyalists to Lerdo, including Evaristo Madero, whose grandson Francisco would later challenge Diaz for the presidency in 1910. Important legislation changing rights to land and subsoil rights, and to encourage immigration and colonization by U.S. nations was passed during the González presidency. The administration also extended lucrative railway concessions to U.S. investors. Despite those developments, the González administration met financial and political difficulties, with the later period bringing the government to bankruptcy and popular opposition. Diaz's father-in-law Manuel Romero Rubio linked these issues to personal corruption by González. Despite Diaz's previous protestations of "no re-election," he ran for a second term in the 1884 elections. [27]

During this period the Mexican underground political newspapers spread the new ironic slogan for the Porfirian times, based on the slogan "Sufragio Efectivo, No Reelección" (Effective suffrage, no re-election) and changed it to its opposite, "Sufragio Efectivo No, Reelección" (Effective suffrage – No. Re-election!). [28] Díaz had the constitution amended, first to allow two terms in office, and then to remove all restrictions on re-election. With these changes in place, Díaz was re-elected four more times by implausibly high margins, and on some occasions claimed to have won with either unanimous or near-unanimous support. [28]

Over the next twenty-six years as president, Díaz created a systematic and methodical regime with a staunch military mindset. [8] His first goal was to establish peace throughout Mexico. According to John A. Crow, Díaz "set out to establish a good strong paz porfiriana, or Porfirian peace, of such scope and firmness that it would redeem the country in the eyes of the world for its sixty-five years of revolution and anarchy" since independence. [29] His second goal was outlined in his motto – "little of politics and plenty of administration," [29] meaning the eliminating open political conflict replaced by a well-functioning government apparatus.

Administration 1884-1896

Manuel Romero Rubio, cabinet minister and Diaz's father-in-law Manuel Romero Rubio.jpg
Manuel Romero Rubio, cabinet minister and Diaz's father-in-law

In order to secure his power, Díaz engaged in various forms of co-optation and coercion. He constantly balanced between the private desires of different interest groups and playing off one interest against another. [8] Following the González presidency, Diaz abandoned favoring his own political group (camarilla) that brought him to power in 1876 in the Plan of Tuxtepec and selected ministers and other high officials from other factions. Those included those loyal to Juárez (Matías Romero) and Lerdo (Manuel Romero Rubio). (Manuel Dublán) was one of the few loyalists from the Plan of Tuxtepec that Diaz retained as a cabinet minister. As money flowed to the Mexican treasury from foreign investments, Diaz could buy off his loyalists from Tuxtepec. An important group supporting the regime were foreign investors, especially from the U.S. and Great Britain, as well as Germany and France. Diaz himself met with investors, binding Diaz with this group in a personalist rather than institutional fashion. [30] The close cooperation between these foreign elements and the Diaz regime was a key nationalist issue in the Mexican Revolution.

In order to satisfy any competing domestic forces, such as the mixed-race Mestizos and wealthier indigenous leaders, he gave them political positions that they could not refuse. He did the same thing with elite society by not interfering with their wealth and haciendas. Covering both pro and anti-clerical elements, Díaz was both the head of the Freemasons in Mexico and an important advisor to the Catholic bishops. [31] Díaz proved to be a different kind of liberal than those of the past. He neither assaulted the Church (like most liberals) nor protected the Church. [32] Mexico's indigenous communities in central and south lost their lands by expropriation and their leader were undermined politically.

Díaz dissolved all local authorities and all aspects of federalism that once existed. Not long after he became president, the governors of all federal states in Mexico answered directly to him. [8] Those who held high positions of power, such as members of the legislature, were almost entirely his closest and most loyal friends. In his quest for even more political control, Díaz suppressed the press and controlled the court system. [8] Diaz could intervene in political matters that threatened political stability, such as in the conflict in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, placing José María Garza Galan in the governorship, undercutting wealthy estate owner Evaristo Madero, grandfather of Francisco I. Madero, who later challenged Diaz in the 1910 election. In another case, Diaz place General Bernardo Reyes in the governorship of the state of Nuevo León, displacing existing political elites, but they made do, becoming wealthy during the Porfiriato. [33]

A key supporter of Diaz was former Lerdista Manuel Romero Rubio. The relationship between the two was cemented when Diaz married Romero Rubio's young daughter, Carmen Romero Rubio. Romero Rubio and his supporters did not oppose the amendment to the Constitution to allow Diaz's initial reelection and then indefinite reelection. One of Romero Rubio's protégés was José Yves Limantour, who became the main financial adviser to the regime, stabilizing the country's public finances. Limantour's political network was dubbed the Científicos, "the scientists," for their approach to governance. They sought reforms, such as decreasing corruption and increasing uniform application of laws. Diaz opposed any significant reform and continued to appoint governors and legislators, control the judiciary. Diaz also had control of the cadre of rural policemen, the Rurales , who were directly answerable to the president. [34] Díaz knew that it was crucial for him to suppress banditry; he expanded the Rurales, although it guarded chiefly only transport routes to major cities. [35] Díaz thus worked to enhance his control over the military and the police. [32]

Economic development under Díaz

A photo of the Metlac railway bridge, an example of engineering achievement that overcame geographical barriers and allowed efficient movement of goods and people. Photo by Guillermo Kahlo. MetlacBridgeKahlo.JPG
A photo of the Metlac railway bridge, an example of engineering achievement that overcame geographical barriers and allowed efficient movement of goods and people. Photo by Guillermo Kahlo.

"It was the golden age of Mexican economics, 3.2 dollars per peso. Mexico was compared economically to economic powers of the time such as France, Great Britain, and Germany. For some Mexicans, there was no money and the doors were thrown open to those who had." [29] Economic progress varied drastically from region to region. The north was defined by mining and ranching while the central valley became the home of large-scale farms for wheat and grain and large industrial centers. [32]

One component of economic growth involved stimulating foreign investment in the Mexican mining sector. Through tax waivers and other incentives, investment and growth were effectively realized. The desolate region of Baja California Sur benefited from the establishment of an economic zone with the founding of the town of Santa Rosalía and the commercial development of the El Boleo copper mine. This came about when Díaz granted a French mining company a 70-year tax waiver in return for its substantial investment in the project. In a similar fashion, the city of Guanajuato realized substantial foreign investment in local silver mining ventures. The city subsequently experienced a period of prosperity, symbolized by the construction of numerous landmark buildings, most notably, the magnificent Juárez Theatre.

Because Díaz had created such an effective centralized government, he was able to concentrate decision-making and maintain control over the economic instability. [32] This instability arose largely as a result of the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of peasants of their land. Communal indigenous landholdings were privatized, subdivided, and sold. The Porfiriato thus generated a stark contrast between rapid economic growth and sudden, severe impoverishment of the rural masses, a situation that was to explode in the Mexican revolution of 1910. [36]

During 1883–1894, laws were passed to give fewer and fewer people large amounts of land. Land was taken away from people by bribing local judges to declare them vacant. Díaz's friend obtained 12 million acres of land in Baja California by bribing local judges. Those who opposed were killed or captured and sold as slaves to plantations. [37]

Relations with the Catholic Church

Archbishop of Oaxaca, Eulogio Gillow y Zavala, key broker of Porfirio Diaz's policy of conciliation with the Catholic Church Mons. Eulogio Gillow y Zavalza.JPG
Archbishop of Oaxaca, Eulogio Gillow y Zavala, key broker of Porfirio Díaz's policy of conciliation with the Catholic Church
Porfirio Diaz Porfirio Diaz.jpg
Porfirio Díaz

Unlike many doctrinaire liberals, Díaz was not virulently anti-clerical. Radical liberalism was anti-clerical, seeing the privileges of the Church as challenging the idea of equality before the law and individual, rather than corporate identity. The economic power of the Church was considered a detriment to modernization and development. The Church as a major corporate landowner and de facto banking institution shaped investments to conservative landed estates more than industry, infrastructure building, or exports.

However, powerful liberals implemented legal measures to curtail the power of the Church. The Juárez Law abolished special privileges (fueros) of ecclesiastics and the military, and the Lerdo law mandated disentailment of the property of corporations, specifically the Church and indigenous communities. The liberal constitution of 1857 removed the privileged position of the Catholic Church and opened the way to religious toleration, considering religious expression as freedom of speech. However, Catholic priests were ineligible for elective office, but could vote. [38] Conservatives fought back in the War of the Reform, under the banner of religión y fueros (that is, Catholicism and special privileges of corporate groups), but they were defeated in 1861.

Following the fall of the Second Empire in 1867, liberal presidents Benito Juárez and his successor Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada began implementing the anti-clerical measures of the constitution. Lerdo went further, extending the laws of the Reform to formalize: separation of Church and State; civil marriage as the only valid manner for State recognition; prohibitions of religious corporations to acquire real estate; elimination from legal oaths any religious element, but only a declaration to tell the truth; and the elimination of monastic vows as legally binding. [39] Further prohibitions on the Church in 1874 included: the exclusion of religion in public institutions; restriction of religious acts to church precincts; banning of religious garb in public except within churches; and prohibition of the ringing of church bells except to summon parishioners. [40]

Díaz was a political pragmatist and not an ideologue, likely seeing that the religious question re-opened political discord in Mexico. When he rebelled against Lerdo, Díaz had at least the tacit and perhaps even the explicit support of the Church. [41] When he came to power in 1877, Díaz left the anti-clerical laws in place, but no longer enforced them as state policy, leaving that to individual Mexican states. This led to the re-emergence of the Church in many areas, but in others a less full role. The Church flouted the Reform prohibitions against wearing clerical garb, there were open-air processions and Masses, and religious orders existed. [42] The Church also recovered its property, sometimes through intermediaries, and tithes were again collected. [42] The Church regained its role in education, with the complicity of the Díaz regime which did not put money into public education. The Church also regained its role in running charitable institutions. [43] Despite an increasingly visible role of the Catholic Church during the Porfiriato, the Vatican was unsuccessful in getting the reinstatement of a formal relationship between the papacy and Mexico, and the constitutional limitations of the Church as an institution remained the law of the land. [44]

This modus vivendi between Díaz and the Church had pragmatic and positive consequences. Díaz did not publicly renounce liberal anti-clericalism, meaning that the Constitution of 1857 remained in place, but he did not enforce its anti-clerical measures. Conflict could reignite, but it was to the advantage of both Church and the Díaz government for this arrangement to continue. If the Church did counter Díaz, he had the constitutional means to rein in its power. The Church regained considerable economic power, with conservative intermediaries holding lands for it. The Church remained important in education and charitable institutions. Other important symbols of the normalization of religion in late 19th century Mexico included: the return of the Jesuits (expelled by the Bourbon monarchy in 1767); the crowning of the Virgin of Guadalupe as "Queen of Mexico"; and the support of Mexican bishops for Díaz's work as peacemaker. [45] Not surprisingly, when the Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910, the Catholic Church was a staunch supporter of the Díaz regime. [46]

Cracks in the political system

Jose Yves Limantour in 1910 Jose Yves Limantour 1910.jpg
José Yves Limantour in 1910
General Bernardo Reyes Portrait of General Bernardo Reyes.jpg
General Bernardo Reyes

Díaz has been characterized as a "republican monarch and his regime a synthesis of pragmatic [colonial-era] Bourbon methods and Liberal republican ideals.... As much by longevity as by design, Díaz came to embody the nation." [47] Díaz did not plan well for the transition to a regime other than his own. As Diaz aged and continued to be re-elected, the question of presidential succession became more urgent. Political aspirants within his regime envisioned succeeding to the presidency and opponents began organizing in anticipation of Díaz's exit.

In 1898, the Díaz regime faced a number of important issues, with the death of Matías Romero and a major shift in U.S. foreign policy toward imperialism and its success in the Spanish American War. Romero, long-time political adviser whose efforts to strengthen Mexico's ties with the U.S. since the Juárez regime, died, creating new dynamics amongst the three political groups that Díaz both relied upon and manipulated. Romero's faction had strongly supported U.S. investment in Mexico, and was largely pro-American, but with Romero's death the faction declined in power. The other two factions were Limantour's Científicos and Bernardo Reyes's followers, the Reyistas. Limantour pursued a policy of offsetting U.S. influence by favoring European investment, especially British banking houses and entrepreneurs, such as Weetman Pearson. U.S. investment in Mexico remained robust, even grew, but the economic climate was more hostile to their interests and their support for the regime declined. [48]

With the U.S. asserting that it had the preeminent role in the Western hemisphere, with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt modifying the Monroe Doctrine via the Roosevelt Corollary, which declared that the U.S. could intervene in other countries' political affairs if the U.S. determined they were not well run. Díaz pushed back against this policy, saying that the security of the hemisphere was a collective enterprise of all its nations. There was a meeting of American states, in the second Pan-American Conference, which met in Mexico City October 22, 1901 – January 31, 1902, and the U.S. backed off from its hard-line policy of interventionism, at least for the moment in regard to Mexico. [49]

In domestic politics, Bernardo Reyes became increasingly powerful, and Diaz appointed him Minister of War. The Mexican Federal Army was becoming increasingly ineffective. With wars being waged against the Yaqui in Northwest Mexico and the Maya, Reyes requested and received increased funding to augment the number of men at arms.

There was some open opposition to Diaz's regime, with eccentric lawyer Nicolás Zúñiga y Miranda, running against Diaz. Zúñiga lost every election but always claimed fraud and considered himself to be the legitimately elected president, but he did not mount a serious challenge to the regime. [50] More importantly as the 1910 election approached and Diaz stated he would not run for re-election, leaders of two factions within his administration, José Yves Limantour and General Bernardo Reyes vied against each other for favor, with political outsider Francisco I. Madero challenging Díaz in 1910.

Diaz - Creelman interview, Pearson's Magazine, 1908. Creelman04.jpg
Díaz – Creelman interview, Pearson's Magazine, 1908.

On 17 February 1908, in an interview with the U.S. journalist James Creelman of Pearson's Magazine , Díaz stated that Mexico was ready for democracy and elections and that he would retire and allow other candidates to compete for the presidency. [8] Without hesitation, several opposition and pro-government groups united to find suitable candidates who would represent them in the upcoming presidential elections. Many liberals formed clubs supporting the governor of Nuevo León, Bernardo Reyes, as a candidate for the presidency. Despite the fact that Reyes never formally announced his candidacy, Díaz continued to perceive him as a threat and sent him on a mission to Europe, so that he was not in the country for the elections.

In 1909, Díaz and William Taft, the then president of the United States, planned a summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, a historic first meeting between a U.S. president and a Mexican president and also the first time an American president would cross the border into Mexico. [51] Díaz requested the meeting to show U.S. support for his planned seventh run as president, and Taft agreed in order to protect the several billion dollars of American capital then invested in Mexico. [52] After nearly 30 years with Díaz in power, U.S. businesses controlled "nearly 90 percent of Mexico's mineral resources, its national railroad, its oil industry and, increasingly, its land." [53] Both sides agreed that the disputed Chamizal strip connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juárez would be considered neutral territory with no flags present during the summit, but the meeting focused attention on this territory and resulted in assassination threats and other serious security concerns. [54] The Texas Rangers, 4,000 U.S. and Mexican troops, U.S. Secret Service agents, FBI agents and U.S. marshals were all called in to provide security. [55] An additional 250 private security detail led by Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated scout, were hired by John Hays Hammond, a close friend of Taft from Yale and a former candidate for U.S. Vice-President in 1908 who, along with his business partner Burnham, held considerable mining interests in Mexico. [56] [57] [58] On October 16, the day of the summit, Burnham and Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route. [59] Burnham and Moore captured and disarmed the assassin within only a few feet of Díaz and Taft. [60]

1910 Centennial of Independence

Illustrated program of the official centennial festivities over 30 days in September 1910. 97.- CCCLXXXII- - Programa Ilustrado de los festejos oficiales y particulares.tif
Illustrated program of the official centennial festivities over 30 days in September 1910.

The year 1910 was important in Mexico's history, the centennial of the revolt by Father Miguel Hidalgo that liberals saw as the start of the movement for Mexico's independence. Although Hidalgo was caught and executed in 1811 and after nearly a decade of fighting that achieved independence, it was former royalist military officer Agustín de Iturbide the break with Spain in 1821. On the cover of the official program for the centennial, three figures are shown: Hidalgo, father of independence; Benito Juárez, with the label "Lex" (law); and Porfirio Díaz, with the label "Pax" (peace). Also on the cover are the emblem of Mexico and the cap of liberty. Díaz inaugurated the monument to Independence with its golden angel during the September centennial celebrations. Although Díaz and Juárez had been political rivals after the French Intervention, Díaz had done much to promote the legacy of his dead rival and had big monument to Benito Juárez built by the Alameda Park, which Díaz inaugurated during the centennial.

1910 Election

As groups began to settle on their presidential candidate, Díaz decided that he was not going to retire but rather allow Francisco I. Madero, an elite but democratically-leaning reformer, to run against him. Although Madero, a landowner, was very similar to Díaz in his ideology, he hoped for other elites in Mexico to rule alongside the president. Ultimately, however, Díaz did not approve of Madero and had him jailed during the 1910 election.

The election went ahead. Madero had gathered much popular support, but when the government announced the official results, Díaz was proclaimed to have been re-elected almost unanimously, with Madero said to have attained a minuscule number of votes. This case of massive electoral fraud aroused widespread anger throughout the Mexican citizenry. [8] Madero called for revolt against Díaz in the Plan of San Luis Potosí, and violence to oust is now seen as the first phase of the Mexican Revolution. Díaz was forced to resign in office on May 25, 1911 and left the country for Spain six days later on May 31, 1911. [61]

Personal life

Porfirio Diaz and his second wife Carmen Romero Rubio with other members of the Porfirian ruling faction Porforio Diaz.jpg
Porfirio Díaz and his second wife Carmen Romero Rubio with other members of the Porfirian ruling faction

Díaz came from a devoutly Catholic family; his uncle, José Agustín, was bishop of Oaxaca. Díaz had trained for the priesthood, and it seemed likely that was his career path. Oaxaca was a center of liberalism, and the founding of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, a secular institution, helped foster professional training for Oaxacan liberals, including Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz. When Díaz abandoned his ecclesiastical career for one in the military, his powerful uncle disowned him. [62]

In Díaz's personal life, it is clear that religion still mattered and that fierce anti-clericalism could have a high price. In 1870, his brother Félix, a fellow liberal, who was then governor of Oaxaca, had rigorously applied the anti-clerical laws of the Reform. In the rebellious and supposedly idolatrous town of Juchitán in Tehuantepec, Félix Díaz had "roped the image of the patron saint of Juchitán … to his horse and dragged it away, returning the saint days later with its feet cut off". [63] When Félix had to flee Oaxaca City in 1871 following Porfirio's failed coup against Juárez, Félix ended up in Juchitán, where the villagers killed him, doing to his body even worse than he did to their saint. [63] Having lost a brother to the fury of religious peasants, Díaz had a cautionary tale about the dangers of enforcing anti-clericalism. Even so, it is clear that Díaz wanted to remain in good standing with the Church.

Díaz married Delfina Ortega Díaz (1845–1880), the daughter of his sister, Manuela Josefa Díaz Mori (1824–1856). Díaz and his niece would have seven children, with Delfina dying due to complications of her seventh delivery. Following her death, he wrote a private letter to Church officials renouncing the Laws of the Reform, which allowed his wife to be buried with Catholic rites on sacred ground. [64] When Díaz remarried in 1881, to Carmen Romero Rubio, the pious 17-year-old daughter of one of his advisors, Oaxaca cleric Father Eulogio Gillow y Zavala gave his blessing. Gillow was later appointed archbishop of Oaxaca. Doña Carmen is credited with bringing Díaz into closer reconciliation with the Church, but Díaz was already inclined in that direction. [45]

On 2 July 1915, Díaz died in exile in Paris, France. He is buried there in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. He was survived by his second wife (María del Carmen Romero-Rubio Castelló, 1864–1944) and two of his children (Deodato Lucas Porfirio Díaz Ortega, 1873–1946, and Luz Aurora Victoria Díaz Ortega, 1875–1965). His other five children died as infants. His widow was allowed to return to Mexico in the 1940s under the presidency of Manuel Ávila Camacho. [65]

In 1938, the 430-piece collection of arms of the late General Porfirio Díaz was donated to the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. [66]


Celebration of Mexico's first one hundred years of Independence in 1910, Porfirio Diaz (left) and Enrique Creel (center) Centenario.jpg
Celebration of Mexico's first one hundred years of Independence in 1910, Porfirio Díaz (left) and Enrique Creel (center)

The legacy of Díaz has undergone revision since the 1990s. In Díaz's lifetime before his ouster, there was an adulatory literature, which has been named "Porfirismo". The vast literature that characterizes him as a ruthless tyrant and dictator has its origins in the late period of Díaz's rule and has continued to shape Díaz's historical image. In recent years, however, Díaz's legacy has been re-evaluated by Mexican historians, most prominently by Enrique Krauze, in what has been termed "Neo-Porfirismo". [67] [68] [69] As Mexico pursued a neoliberal path under President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the modernizing policies of Díaz that opened Mexico up to foreign investment fit with the new pragmatism of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Díaz was characterized as a far more benign figure for these revisionists.

Díaz is usually credited with the saying, "¡Pobre México! ¡Tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos!" (Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States!). [70] [71]

Partly due to Díaz's lengthy tenure, the current Mexican constitution limits a president to a single six-year term with no possibility of re-election, even if it is nonconsecutive. Additionally, no one who holds the post, even on a caretaker basis, is allowed to run or serve again. This provision is so entrenched that it remained in place even after legislators were allowed to run for a second consecutive term.

There have been several attempts to return Díaz's remains to Mexico since the 1920s. The most recent movement started in 2014 in Oaxaca by the Comisión Especial de los Festejos del Centenario Luctuoso de Porfirio Díaz Mori, which is headed by Francisco Jiménez. According to some, the fact that Díaz's remains have not been returned to Mexico "symbolises the failure of the post-Revolutionary state to come to terms with the legacy of the Díaz regime." [65] [72]


List of notable foreign awards awarded to President Díaz: [73]

Austria-Hungary Grand Cross of the Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephen
Belgium Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
China's Qing Dynasty First Class Condecoration of the Imperial Order of the Double Dragon
France Napoleon's Austerlitz sword
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour
Kingdom of Italy Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus
Empire of Japan Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
Netherlands Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
Persia's Qajar dynasty First Class Condecoration with Grand Cordon of the Order of the Lion and the Sun
Kingdom of Prussia Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle
Kingdom of Portugal Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword
Russian Empire Star of the Imperial Order of St. Alexander Nevsky
Spain Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit
Sweden Knight of the Order of the Sword
United Kingdom Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Venezuela First Class of the Order of the Liberator
Kingdom of Hawaii Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Kalākaua I

The main Mexican holiday is the Day of Independence, celebrated on September 16. Americans are more familiar with the Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the date of the Battle of Puebla, in which Díaz participated, when a major victory was won against the French. Under the Porfiriato, the Mexican Consuls in the United States gave Cinco de Mayo more importance than the Day of Independence due to the President's personal involvement in the events. It is still widely celebrated in the United States, although largely due to cultural permeation.

See also

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Melchor Ocampo was a mestizo by birth, a radical liberal Mexican lawyer, scientist, and politician. He was fiercely anticlerical, perhaps an atheist, and his early writings against Roman Catholic Church in Mexico gained him a reputation as an articulate liberal ideologue. Ocampo has been considered the heir to José María Luis Mora, the premier liberal intellectual of the early republic. He served in the administration of Benito Juárez and negotiated a controversial agreement with the United States, the McLane-Ocampo Treaty. His home state was much later renamed Michoacán de Ocampo in his honor.

Treaty of Ciudad Juárez 1911 treaty during the Mexican Revolution

The Treaty of Ciudad Juárez was a peace treaty signed between the President of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz, and the revolutionary Francisco Madero on May 21, 1911. The treaty put an end to the fighting between forces supporting Madero and those of Díaz and thus concluded the initial phase of the Mexican Revolution.

The Plan de la Noria was a revolutionary call to arms with the intent of ousting Mexican President Benito Juárez. The plan was drafted by Porfirio Díaz immediately following his defeat by Juárez in the presidential election of 1871. Neither Juárez, Díaz, nor the third candidate Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada won the majority of votes. The vote went to the Mexican Congress which, being full of Juáristas, elected Juárez to his fourth term. Díaz proclaimed himself in revolt and drafted the Plan de la Noria in which he demanded electoral freedom and no re-election. He gained few supporters and was temporarily defeated in Oaxaca, where his brother Felix was killed Benito Juárez died of a heart attack in July 1872 and Chief Justice Sebastián Lerdo succeeded the presidency, as per the stipulation laid forth in the constitution of 1857. Lerdo ran for re-election in 1876 which gave Díaz another chance to revolt, and this time successfully under the Plan de Tuxtepec.

Matías Romero Mexican diplomat and politician

Matías Romero Avendaño was a Mexican politician and diplomat who served three times as Secretary of Finance and twice as ambassador of Mexico to the United States during the 19th century.


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Further reading


  • Cumberland, Charles C. Mexican Revolution: Genesis Under Madero, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1952.
  • De María y Campos, Alfonso. "Porfirianos prominentes: origenes y años de juventud de ocho integrantes del group de los Científicos 1846–1876", Historia Mexicana 30 (1985), pp. 610–81.
  • González Navarro, Moisés. "Las ideas raciales de los Científicos'. Historia Meixana 37 (1988) pp. 575–83.
  • Hale, Charles A. Justo Sierra. Un liberal del Porfiriato. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica 1997.
  • Hale, Charles A. The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1989.
  • Harris, Charles H. III; Sadler, Louis R. (2009). The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906–1920. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN   978-0-8263-4652-0.
  • Hart, John Mason. Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989.
  • Priego, Natalia. Positivism, Science, and 'The Scientists' in Porfirian Mexico. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2016.
  • Raat, William. "The Antiposivitist Movement in Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, 1892–1911", Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, 19 (1977) pp. 83–98.
  • Raat, William. "Los intelectuales, el Positivismo y la cuestión indígena". Historia Mexicana 20 (1971), pp. 412–27.
  • Villegas, Abelardo. Positivismo y Porfirismo. Mexico: Secreatria de Educación Pública, Col Sepsetentas 1972.
  • Zea, Leopoldo, El Positivismo en México. Nacimiento apogeo y decadenica. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica 1968.


Political offices
Preceded by
José María Iglesias
President of Mexico
28 November – 6 December 1876
Succeeded by
Juan N. Méndez
Preceded by
Juan N. Méndez
President of Mexico
17 February 1877 – 1 December 1880
Succeeded by
Manuel González Flores
Preceded by
Manuel González Flores
President of Mexico
1 December 1884 – 25 May 1911
Succeeded by
Francisco León de la Barra