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REVOLUTION / PLUTARCO ELÍAS CALLES

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PLUTARCO ELÍAS CALLES  (1877-1945)

 

P
resident of Mexico from 1924 to 1928; called the “Maximum Chief of the Revolution.” Born in Guaymas, Sonora, he is the son of Plutarco Elías and Jesusa Campuzano. His father dies when he is four years old and he takes the last name of his step-father, Juan B. Calles. Plutarco studies elementary school in Hermosillo and in 1894, begins work as a teacher. He marries Francisca Bernal, and when he becomes a widow, he marries Natalia Chacón.

 

PLUTARCO ELÍAS CALLES  (1877-1945)

 

             Plutarco Elías Calles fights against Victoriano Huerta, against the Convention, and in favor of Carranza, who makes him governor and military commander of Sonora. During Elías Calles’ administration, the making and distribution of alcoholic beverages is prohibited; the Civil Code is modified to permit divorce; the Agrarian Commission is established; the Escuela Normal (Teachers School) is founded; government spending is increased; the Supreme Tribunal of Justice is eliminated and its powers are transferred to the executive branch, and all Catholic priests are expelled from the state.

 

             In 1917, he is elected Constitutional governor and, in 1919, President Venustiano Carranza makes him secretary of industry, commerce and labor, a post from which Elías Calles resigns in order to support the presidential campaign of Álvaro Obregón.

 

             When Obregón assumes the presidency, he makes Elías Calles secretary of government, a position he holds until 1923 when he runs as a presidential candidate. During the first two years of his administration, roads and irrigation systems are built; credit financing is modernized; the army is reorganized; an efficient postal service is established; and the National Agricultural and Co-operative Bank and the Central Bank of Mexico are founded, the central bank as the sole issuer of money. He establishes a Pension Office; reorganizes the Treasury; defends the agrarian policy, conducts a dignified foreign policy, and demonstrates his abilities as a statesman.

 

             During the last two years of his presidential term, the people’s protests against the government’s actions towards the Catholic Church become an armed movement. The Cristero War intensifies.

 

             In 1929, Plutarco Elías Calles founds the National Revolutionary Party (PNR). His influence ends because of his criticism of President Lázaro Cárdenas’ administration. Elías Calles is forced to leave Mexico and live in the United States. He returns to Mexico during Manuel Ávila Camacho’s presidential term and dies in Mexico City.

 

 


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