Benito Juarez


Peace is the respect for the rights of others.

Benito Juarez, a Zapotec Indian, was born and educated in the state of Oaxaca and practiced law there from 1834 to 1846.

In 1847, Benito was elected governor of Oaxaca. Juarez joined the liberal movement, which sought constitutional government, reduction of military and clerical power, and the redistribution of the church's huge landholdings. The dictator Santa Anna exiled Juarez in 1853.

In 1855, Juarez returned to Mexico and became the minister of justice. He had the Juarez Law enacted, which reduced the power of the army and of the catholic clergy. Juarez led the liberals as their provisional president in a civil war against the conservatives and clergy known as the War of the Reform (1858-1860). When the liberals won, he was elected to the office of President of Mexico in 1861.

He found that the government was in serious financial difficulty, and stopped the payment on all European loans for two years. The French used this action as an excuse to invade Mexico and to install Archduke Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico. Juarez directed the war for freedom against France. Then in 1866, the United States all but ordered the French out of Mexico. The French troops withdrew in 1866 and 1867 Juarez' forces then captured and executed Maximilian and his wife, Carlotta.

Juarez again became the President of Mexico in 1867. He then separated the church and state, established religious toleration, and altered the land system. In 1871, Juarez ran once more for the presidency. Since no candidate received a clear majority at the polls, the Mexican congress decided the issue by re-electing Benito Juarez as President.

Due to the many reforms, which Juarez put in place, he is sometimes called "The Lincoln Of Mexico."



Quotes by Benito Juarez

  • Among individuals, as among nations, peace is the respect of others' rights.
  • Entre los individuos como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.
  • I think we all need to be more conscious of others and their rights in order to make life a little more co-operative.
  • It is given to men, sometimes, to attack the rights of others, to seize their goods, to threaten the lives of those who defend their nation, to make the highest virtues seem crimes, and to give their own vices the luster of true virtue. But there is one thing that cannot be influenced either by falsification or betrayal, namely the tremendous verdict of history. It is she who will judge us.
  • Let us direct all our efforts now to obtain and to consolidate the benefits of La Paz (Peace). Under its auspices, the protection of the laws and the authorities for the rights of all the inhabitants of the Republic will be effective. That the town and the government respect the rights of all. Between the individuals, like between the nations, the respect to the other people's right is La Paz.