Pablo Benito Juarez Garcia

by Bethany from Spokane

Benito Juarez was the president of Mexico from 1858-1872. During his time as president he modernized the country significantly and is now thought of as Mexico’s most beloved leader. Juarez was born, with the given name Pablo Benito Juarez Garcia, in the village San Pablo Guelatao in Oaxaca. After his parents died when he was three, he worked on the corn fields as a shepherd until age twelve. He began his education late in life, but earned degrees in seminary and in law. Juarez served as a lawyer, judge, and later a governor in the state of Oaxaca.

In 1955, Juarez created La Ley Juarez which served to deny clerical and military privilege and demanded that all citizens be considered equal under the law. All citizens included citizen of indigenous heritage. Until this time, the indigenous people in Mexico had not been treated equally under the law and had suffered greatly at the hands of the Mexican people. This social revolution created opportunities for indigenous people that had previously not been available to them. Juarez believed that, “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.” Benito Juarez led the reform in Mexico which served to modernize the government of Mexico from its ancient practices. Following his time as president, Mexico was globally considered a modern nation. His actions such as confiscation of church properties, abolition of special privileges of clergy and army, and resistance of the French occupation caused Juarez to leave a legacy of modernity and equity. These values continue to be important in Mexico today.

Juarez is important to me because I recognize that without his leadership, Mexico would not be a globally respected country today. He was able to lead Mexico through one of the hardest times in its history and come out stronger on the other side. The gains he made for Mexico are impossible to ignore. Much of the responsibility for Mexico’s status as a modern nation in our world rests on Juarez’s shoulders. I also think that Juarez was an incredible leader in that he fought for equity for all citizens.

Benito Juarez is a hero in the Mexican culture because of his political success and ability to lead the country through rough times. But, he is a hero in my book because he took the necessary action to make equal right for indigenous people in Mexico a reality. I know that Mexico would be a far different place today if he had not taken the stand that he did.

Page created on 10/13/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 7/14/2017 12:39:32 AM

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