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Home BIOGRAPHIES Revolution REVOLUTION / PORFIRIO DÍAZ

REVOLUTION / PORFIRIO DÍAZ

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PORFIRIO DÍAZ (1830-1915)

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resident of Mexico. He is born in Oaxaca where he studies grade school, enters the seminary and begins his law studies at the Institute of Science and Arts.

 

PORFIRIO DÍAZ (1830-1915)

 

               A follower of the Plan of Ayutla, he is made sub-prefect of Ixtlán when this liberal movement triumphs. Díaz participates in the battles that take place during the War of the Reform, fights against the French intervention, takes part in the May 5, 1862 battle, and defends Puebla in 1863. In 1865 and 1866, he fights against the imperialists and has several victories. On April 2, 1867, he takes Puebla and on June 21, Mexico City. He temporarily assumes civil and military command, subsequently handing them over to Benito Juárez on July 15.

 

               Oaxaca supports the presidential candidacy of its military hero, Porfirio Díaz, but the National Congress decides to reelect Benito Juárez. In 1871, Díaz joins the movement started by the Plan of La Noria. With Juárez’ death in March 1872, the rebellion has no raison d’être, so General Díaz accepts the amnesty granted by President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. A few months later, Díaz and his followers draft the Plan of Tuxtepec and take arms again, now against Lerdo de Tejada. Shortly thereafter, Díaz sends Congress the initiative to include the principle of no-reelection in the Constitution. As the only candidate, Díaz wins the election and is sworn in as president on May 5, 1877 until the end of his term in November 1881.

 

               During his first presidential term, he begins to centralize the government; he fights smuggling and reorganizes the system of taxation; he fights banditry, and begins to control his adversaries. After stepping down as president, he takes other positions and, in 1884, he returns to the presidency and modifies the Constitution, which enables him to remain in power until May 25, 1911.

 

               During the 35 years that Porfirio Díaz is in power, more than 20,000 kilometers of railways are built; the telegraph comes into use across the nation; huge foreign investments are made in Mexico, and national industry increases. Starting in 1893, with the arrival of Finance Secretary José Yves Limantour, the country’s finances are improved by strengthening the national credit rating and gaining the confidence of other nations. The budget generates a surplus and the banking system is organized.

 

               Although in late 1907 Díaz says that the nation is mature enough for democracy, in 1910 he again runs for re-election. His opposition is Francisco I. Madero, the head of the Anti-reelectionist Party. After the November 20 rebellion, Díaz embarks for France on the Ipiranga in 1911. He dies in Paris in 1915.

 


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