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date: 07 December 2023

Benito Juárez and Liberalismfree

Benito Juárez and Liberalismfree

  • Guy ThomsonGuy ThomsonDepartment of History, University of Warwick


Benito Juárez was born on March 21, 1806, in San Pablo Guelatao, a Zapotec-speaking hamlet in Sierra de Ixtlán (renamed the Sierra de Juárez on July 30, 1857) in Mexico’s southeastern state of Oaxaca. He died in the National Palace on July 18, 1872, as President of the Republic, an office he had occupied since January 1858, when, as President of the Supreme Court, he had succeeded the moderate Liberal Ignacio Comonfort, who had been driven into exile by a Conservative military revolt. During his fifteen years as president, a younger generation of Liberals, few of whom could remember the revolution of Independence (1808–1821), radically transformed Mexico’s laws and institutions. In October 1855, when Juárez was the minister of justice in the newly formed Liberal government, he implemented the “Law of Restriction of Corporate Privileges,” which is credited with setting in motion the wider Reform movement.

Between 1855 and 1860, in what was at the time called La Revolución but soon became known as La Reforma (the Reformation), Mexico moved from being a “Catholic Nation,” in which many of the social and racial hierarchies and corporate privileges of colonial rule still held sway, to becoming a secular federal republic regulated by a liberal constitution based on the sovereignty of the people and equality before the law, reducing the legal immunities and special privileges of the army and the Catholic Church and establishing a single system of civil law that guaranteed a wide range of freedoms and social rights. In the face of a Conservative uprising in January 1858, which broadened into the Three Years’ War (1858–1861), Liberals pressed ahead with an ambitious project of religious and civil disentailment (desamortización) that abolished corporate or communal property in favor of individual private ownership. The Liberal revolution was further strengthened in 1859 by the “Laws of Reform,” which ordered the wholesale nationalization of Church wealth and the closure of nunneries and monasteries; barred Roman Catholicism, the national religion until 1857, along with any other religion, from external manifestations of the cult; and established a civil registry and a strict separation of church and state.

Conservatives, undeterred by their defeat in the Battle of Calpulalpan, in December 1860, and in spite of Juárez receiving his first full popular mandate in the elections of March 1861, redoubled their resistance to the Reform by encouraging Napoleon III’s colonial ambitions, efforts that culminated in January 1862 in the occupation of Veracruz by forces from France, Britain, and Spain and the imposition of Maximilian Habsburg as emperor in April 1864. Juárez now led the defense of the Liberal republic on two fronts, and he retreated to northern Mexico, from where he coordinated resistance to the Empire.

Following the defeat of the Second Empire, which culminated in the execution of Maximilian alongside the principal Conservative generals at Querétaro on June 19, 1867, Juárez returned to the national capital wearing the twin laurels of Liberal law giver and savior of the nation. Although at his death, in 1872, he faced many enemies, especially in the Liberal camp, Juárez soon became enshrined as Liberal Mexico’s undisputed founding father and moral guide, much in the mold of his contemporaries Giuseppe Garibaldi and Abraham Lincoln. Under his leadership, liberalism had become insolubly fused with patriotism in the republican victory over European monarchy—Mexico’s second revolution of independence. La Reforma is recognized as a major watershed in Mexico’s history on a par with the revolution of Independence from Spain and the Revolution of 1910–1917.


  • History of Mexico
  • 1824–c. 1880
  • Legal and Constitutional History

Figure 1. Benito Pablo Juárez García, c. 1867.

Prints and Photographs Division. Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Juárez, liberal lawgiver and savior of the nation, and Reform Liberalism, Mexico’s closest thing to an official civic religion, have spawned a fertile historiography and become permanent features of the cultural landscape, inscribed on statues, busts, portraits, murals, shrines, and memorials; on the ritual calendars of schools, states, and the nation; and in the nomenclature of streets, towns, cities, and states. The centenaries of Juárez’s birth in 1906 and death in 1972 inspired outpourings of official commemorative literature, newspaper debate, and scholarly reflection.1 Even Felipe Calderón, presidential candidate of the conservative and Catholic-inspired Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN), which in 2000 achieved the first break in Liberal party rule since 1867, acclaimed Juárez’s laicism and achievement of religious tolerance as the foundations of national unity in a campaign speech given in Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl on March 21, 2006, the bicentenary of Jurárez’s birth.2

During the fifteen years Benito Juárez was head of state, he was not a popular leader comparable to his friend and fellow oaxaqueño, Porfirio Díaz, although he did enjoy prestige in republican circles abroad for standing up, first, to ultramontane Mexican bishops, and then to the bullying of Napoleon III.3 Nor was Juárez an intellectual comparable to such fellow radicals as Ignacio Rámirez, Ignacio Altamirano, Melchor Ocampo, Ponciano Arriaga, or Francisco Zarco. Rather than seek popularity through patronage or the press, true to his legal training, Juárez focused on legality and constitutional propriety, developing a stern style of leadership that was appropriate to polarized and conflictive times, and, at the same time, cultivated an image of selfless and dogged adherence to the greater causes of the Law and the Nation, a civic gravitas that transcended personal or regional interests, the main incentives of both his allies and opponents.

He embodied these somber republican values in a code of dress and conduct, which remained unchanged until his death, described in his account of his second governorship of Oaxaca (January 1856–October 1857):

From becoming governor I abolished this custom [of dressing up to attend religious functions], using the hat and jacket of common citizens and living in my own house without a guard of soldiers or a weapon of any kind [although he later kept a pistol], because I am convinced that the respectability of a governor comes from the law and from proper behavior and not from dress and military apparatus proper only to kings in the theatre. I am pleased that the governors of Oaxaca have followed my example.4

Such was the image. But how was Juárez able to remain in office for so long, and under such adverse circumstances? President of the Republic over a period of federalist and democratic revolution against conservative centralism, beliefs which he had embraced since entering politics in the early 1830s, the challenge for Juárez was how to establish presidential authority while respecting the severe limits placed on federal and executive power by the 1857 Liberal Constitution. This meant maintaining a balance between the revived assertiveness of the states and the need to use federal power to promote and protect the Liberal Reform and the republic. Although Conservatives backed by the Church were the ostensible enemy, Juárez continually faced challenges from Liberal regional strongmen, such as Jesús González Ortega (Zacatecas), Santos Degollado (Michoacán), Santiago Vidaurri (Nuevo León), Manuel Doblado (Guanajuato), Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada (Veracruz), Juan Nepomuceno Méndez (Puebla), and Porfirio Díaz (Oaxaca), who sought to use their states as power bases for challenging the central power. He achieved this not simply by investing the executive with emergency powers, enjoyed for much of his fifteen years in office, but by allowing the states to control their own armed forces. In return, the National Guards of the states were expected to support a federal army answerable to Juárez and the civil power. This small “model” army was placed under trusted commanders rewarded with long and illustrious commissions: fellow oaxaqueño Porfirio Díaz between 1858 and 1867; Ignacio Mejía, also from Oaxaca, minister of war between 1865 and 1872; and, Ignacio Alatorre from Sonora, chief of the Army of the East from 1863 to 1872.

Believing in the necessity of a small army, Juárez nevertheless favored an active state and expected results from the ministers, whom he frequently circulated among the five other ministries. During the Reform War, or the Three Years’ War, he relied on a small cadre of talented reformers and radicals to press on with the Liberal Reform: Melchor Ocampo, Ignacio Ramírez, Francisco Zarco, José Antonio de la Fuente, Manuel Ruiz, José Emparán, León Guzmán, Miguel Lerdo de Tejada, and Guillermo Prieto.5 Juárez was helped by active support from his home state, particularly from fellow graduates of Oaxaca’s Institute of Science and Arts, such as Matías Romero, Manuel Ruiz, and Porfirio Díaz, and from the wealthier mestizo families of his native Sierra de Ixtlán, such Miguel Castro, Francisco Meijueiro, and Fidencio Hernández.

Juárez was Mexico’s most successful leader since Independence by any measure; he possessed longevity, was skilled at handling rivals and managing conflict, executed a legislative program, protected the country’s sovereignty, and restored international credit and respect. His success reveals much about the nature of nineteenth-century Mexican liberalism; how it was received and implemented in a territorially extensive and ethnically diverse postcolonial society, still tied by blood and tradition to Spain, in the face of the looming power of the United States.

Juárez, the South, and the Revolution of Ayutla

Between 1857 and 1911, for all but eight years, Mexico was governed by two leaders from the mountainous and largely indigenous southeastern state of Oaxaca: Benito Juárez (1857–1872) and Porfirio Díaz (1876–1880, 1884–1911). The first presided over Mexico’s Liberal revolution; the second, its economic modernization.6 This would have surprised Lorenzo de Zavala, a prominent federalist who, after a journey through the United States in 1830, predicted quite the opposite; that the democratic revolution and economic development would spread from the North as Mexico’s southern states emulated the “liberty and tolerance” of the frontier states. This revolution would come only after decades of conflict, while the central and southern states remained “firmly in the grip of the military and ecclesiastical arm as penalty for their prejudices.” A radical, and a native of the state of Yucatán, Zavala also predicted that a “glorious and enlightened generation” from the north would “bring the indigenous group, until today debased and vilified, into association with the civilized family that will teach them to think and to hold in esteem their dignity by lifting their thoughts to a higher level.”7 Zavala, who died in 1836 as vice president of secessionist Texas, would therefore have been surprised to observe Mexico’s democratic revolution being forged by leaders from the South under leadership of a Zapotec Indian who, through his own efforts, had raised himself from this “debasement.”

Far from fulfilling any providential design in fomenting democratic revolution in the Center and the South, the northern states, particularly Nuevo León under secessionist Santiago Vidaurri, posed a threat to the Reform and to Mexican sovereignty during the European intervention, although Juárez’s peripatetic government did receive crucial sanctuary in Chihuahua and support from Sonora, Sinaloa, and Durango during the bleakest period of the European intervention, in 1865–1866.8 The northern states would have to await the Revolution (1910–1917) before assuming the catalytic role in transforming the culture and institutions of central and southern Mexico that Zavala had predicted.9

The Reform arose, then, from within “old Mexico” rather than from the lightly populated polities of the North, where the corporate institutions of colonial rule were weaker, and society already more “democratic,” than in the Center or South. Zavala was correct, however, in predicting decades of conflict until the “complete though bloody victory … (of the) … American (Liberal) system” was achieved.10 It was the intensity of political conflict in the South, and its long duration over a full half-century following Independence, encompassing four foreign invasions (from Spain in 1829, France in 1838, the United States in 1846, and France, Great Britain and Spain in 1861), that explains why Mexico’s southern states provided the crucible for La Reforma.

The part the southern provinces might play in any future Liberal revolution first became evident during the wars of independence. While the initial rebellion, led by parish priest Miguel Hidalgo was defeated within two years, his successor and fellow clergyman, José María Morelos, held out in the southern parts of the provinces of Michoacán, Mexico, Puebla, and Oaxaca until his capture in 1815, leaving his successor, Vicente Guerrero, an African Mexican landowner from the Pacific coast, in control of the same region until Independence in October 1821. Apart from the survival of the Independence movement in the South, insurgencies also continued in the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico, Puebla, and Veracruz throughout the decade, regions that later became Liberal strongholds.11 In a personal memoir, Juárez acknowledged the contribution of the South to the consummation of Independence: “The war of independence initiated in the town of Dolores on the night of 15 September of 1810 by the venerable priest don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla with a handful of indígenas armed with shotguns, lances and stakes (was) kept alive in the mountains of the South by the illustrious citizen Vicente Guerrero.”12 The northern provinces, by contrast, offered no sanctuary for Hidalgo on his retreat, and he would be captured and executed in Chihuahua in the summer of 1811.

The “South” (the mountainous southern districts of the former colonial provinces of Guadalajara, which became the state of Colima after 1857, and of Michoacán, México, and Puebla, which became the states of Guerrero after 1849 and Morelos after 1869, and Oaxaca), and the Sierra Madre Oriental in the states of Mexico (which became the state of Hidalgo in 1869), Puebla, and Veracruz, remained rebellious territories over the first thirty years of Independence serving, in the view of regional historians, as cradles of “popular federalism.”13 Following the triumph of Revolution of Ayutla in October 1855, with the entry of the southern “Pinto”14 army to Mexico City led by Juan Álvarez, former insurgent and friend of Vicente Guerrero, “popular federalism” transmuted into a “popular liberalism” as the Liberal Reform encouraged active support in the ethnologically complex societies of the South through the sale of Church and common lands, tax reform, secular schooling, and the National Guard.15 Juárez was familiar with this terrain having served as governor of his home state between 1847 and 1852 when, in the opinion of his friend and first biographer, Anastasio Zerecero, Oaxaca became “the Model state of the Republic.”16 We will return to Juárez’s first governorship in the section “Childhood, Education, Political Apprenticeship, and First Governorship.”

The South, then, heart of the Independence movement, finally came into its own with the Revolution of Ayutla. Beginning in February 1854 as a set of loosely coordinated provincial uprisings against the oppressive, proto-monarchist dictatorship of Antonio López de Santa Anna, and drawing support across the spectrum of political opinion, including even some Conservatives, such as Antonio Haro y Tamariz, the Revolution of Ayutla culminated in August 1855 in a distinctly radical federalist movement.17 Juárez claims some of the credit for this in his memoir, and it is a view supported in recent historiography.18 First, by remaining in cosmopolitan New Orleans rather than moving with other exiled Liberals to Brownsville to join his close friend and mentor, Melchor Ocampo, Juárez was able to remain more closely in touch with the revolution in the South. Second, Juárez describes how he encouraged fellow exiles in New Orleans to resist invitations from Santa Anna to return home in exchange for submitting to the regime, urging them instead to remain in exile to prepare for the revolutionary movement. Finally, Juárez’s decision, in June 1855, to join Álvarez and Comonfort, the leaders of the Ayutla movement, in Guerrero, a full five months before Melchor Ocampo and the members of the “Revolutionary Junta of Brownsville” crossed the northern border to join the forces of Santiago Vidaurri, served to demonstrate to his fellow exiles his confidence in the revolutionary potential and insurgent traditions of the South, political judgments that events would soon prove to be sound.19 Had Juárez waited until October 1855 to accompany his fellow exiles across the northern border, the outcome of the Ayutla revolution might have been quite different.

Juárez’s arrival at Álvarez’s camp in July 1854 was recalled later by poet and writer Ignacio Altamirano, who, at age twenty, had abandoned his studies at the College of San Juan Letrán in Mexico City to join the uprising in his home state. Justo Sierra prefaced his biography of Juárez, published on the centenary of his birth in 1906, with Altamirano’s account of the incident:

During the Revolution of Ayutla there appeared in the entourage of the old general Juan Álvarez, an insignificant person, a kind of priest of Indians, riding without any sign of impatience or tiredness, on a mule accustomed to the abruptness and the ups and downs of the interminable mountains that separate the coast from Chilpancingo and Cuernavaca. This señor, who frequently spoke with the general who held him in the greatest of respect, was, the ancient cacique replied, “el licenciado juárez, an excellent liberal exiled by Santa Anna to the United States, and who has been the best governor that the oaxaqueños have ever had; I value him and I respect him very much.”20

Although Álvarez was at first unaware of presence of Juárez in his army, because of the future president’s ragged dress upon arriving in the camp and proverbial modesty, once letters addressed to “the attorney” began to arrive, Álvarez realized that the Ayutla movement had gained a valuable asset. He appointed Juárez as his secretary and offered him the portfolio of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs on consummation of the revolution.21

The dispatch of Juárez to join the southern revolutionaries in June 1855 has been explained as a strategy pursued by the more radical secularizers in exile, especially Melchor Ocampo, to counteract the moderate Ignacio Comonfort, who it was feared would take the revolution in a moderate direction.22 Traditional historiography portrays Juárez as a provincial moderate, especially in regard to his conciliatory position toward the Church, in comparison with the other exile in New Orleans, especially the cosmopolitan and more intellectual Melchor Ocampo, who convinced Juárez in 1855 to take a stronger line against the Church.23 Juárez’s own political convictions and motives, however, also need to be taken into account. His memoir demonstrates how his political experience since the 1820s confronting moderate Liberals (known in Oaxaca first as Aceites and later, as Borlados), “reactionaries” (Conservatives) and the Church amply prepared him for ensuring that moderates in 1855 would not prevent an outcome to the revolution that would satisfy his passionate belief that Mexico would not progress until the civil law had achieved supremacy.24 Many of Juárez’s experiences as a provincial lawyer and state governor of Oaxaca echo those of Ocampo in Michoacán, particularly his struggle against excessive parish fees, the difference being that Juárez faced a weaker and less ultramontane cathedral chapter in Oaxaca than did Ocampo in Morelia.25 Neither man, therefore, needed any example from the other in 1855 to take their common, consistently critical position regarding the fueros (fiscal, juridical, and political immunity) of the Church, a step further.

Juárez was a quiet, circumspect, and pragmatic political operator. But he also held deep political beliefs based on twenty-five years of involvement in Oaxaca’s political struggles, which reflected quite closely the country’s wider conflicts. As a lawyer he believed in energetic and determined action to promote his beliefs and the rule of law. Hence, once appointed Álvarez’s secretary, he warned the old insurgent against having any truck with General Martín Carrera, whom Santa Anna had placed in the presidency and who had seconded the Plan de Ayutla following the dictator’s flight into exile, in August 1855. Personally facing off against the commissioners Carrera dispatched to Chilpancingo to negotiate with the southern revolutionaries, Juárez convinced Álvarez to issue a “manifiesto a la Nación” promptly, from the safety of the Guerrero town of Iguala, fearing that to leave it until after taking Mexico City would risk handing the Revolution to the moderates. A “consejo” was then selected comprising a single representative chosen from each state; Juárez represented Oaxaca.26 Meeting in Cuernavaca, the council immediately convened elections for a constituent congress—from which the clergy would be excluded—to deliberate on a new constitution, appointed Álvarez as president with immediate effect and selected a cabinet containing key radicals: Melchor Ocampo for minister of internal and external relations, Guillermo Prieto for minister of finance, and Juárez for minister of justice, leaving the Ministry of War to Ignacio Comonfort, who, as a moderate, was considered best placed to handle the sensitive task of demobilizing the standing army, the bastion of Santa Anna regime.27 Hence, before even entering the capital, the Liberal Reform was well underway in the south, with Juárez as its quiet but influential authority in matters of law.

Childhood, Education, Political Apprenticeship, and First Governorship

The quiet authority, single-mindedness, tactical skill and radical liberalism that Juárez brought to the Ayutla movement in Guerrero in 1855 can be better understood against the background of a testing childhood, an unusual education, and a long and chastening experience in legal practice and public office in his home state of Oaxaca. With a population of around 600,000 in 1810, of whom 90 percent were tribute-paying Indians who lived in semi-autonomous rural communities and spoke twenty-one indigenous languages, most with no resident Spanish speakers apart from the priest, Oaxaca would seem an obvious candidate for Lorenzo de Zavala’s prophecy in 1829 that one day a “glorious and enlightened generation” from the North would redeem the Indians of the South.28 Juárez’s success as reformist governor of his home state over a decade of unprecedented political and social upheaval following the war with the United States, shows that Zavala underestimated the potential of Mexico’s southern multiethnic societies and their capacity for “progress.”

Zavala’s skepticism about the potential for internally generated reform derived, perhaps, from his native Yucatán, where the onset of liberalism in the 1810s resulted in a century of ethnic conflict, political disorder, and territorial secession. Karen Caplan has explored the reasons for this divergence. Yucatan’s elites had since the 18th century been determined to break the autonomy of the state’s indigenous communities and to open their territories for economic development. Oaxaca’s small non-Indian elite, in contrast, focused on trade, mining, and administration and allowed the Indian communities to retain their land and political autonomy.29 Had Juárez been born in Yucatán he would not have been able to rise from a rural indigenous background, acquire an enlightened education, become the state’s first-ever locally trained and licensed judge, or be elected Oaxaca’s first indigenous state governor. What in Oaxaca’s social, cultural, and institutional makeup made this success possible?

Juárez’s memoir offers many suggestions.30 Hispanic political culture has been averse to public confession and autobiography. It is therefore remarkable that a leader renowned for his silence and impassiveness should have written such a frank and personal memoir.31 Notes for My Children is also an excellent example of the political formation of a Mexican Jacobin Liberal of the first post-Independence generation. Not intended for publication, the memoir appears to have been intended as a series of lessons to inform his children of the dangers their father had faced, at school and in his legal and political careers, and to demonstrate how in Mexico a person’s dignity, liberty, even life, were constantly jeopardized by the “privileged classes” and by institutions inherited from colonial rule. The only remedy to this unhappy situation was personal struggle, education, firmness of manner—“dignity” is used frequently—in the face of slights and insults, and living within the law while also struggling to change unjust laws.

The customary route by which a Zapotec who had left his community might achieve dignity and respect was by entering the clergy. Indeed, Altamirano was not far off the mark when he described the ragged Juárez who arrived in Álvarez’s camp in July 1854 as “a kind of priest of Indians.”32 Juárez recalls that his uncle, with whom he had spent his childhood from age two, after the death of both parents, “wanted me to become a priest.”33 Given the demographic preponderance of the indigenous population in Oaxaca, the colonial authorities had long encouraged the formation of an indigenous clergy to administer the sacrament in the province’s nine hundred or so Indian communities. This, then, would have been Juárez’s expectation, at age twelve, when leaving home and the “tender companions of childhood with whom the deepest sympathies and relations are formed and whose absence withers the heart,” in search of an education the state capital.34

Arriving in Antequera in 1818, unblemished by any schooling and with only a smattering of spoken Spanish, Juárez was taken in by Antonio Maza, a wealthy Genoese merchant (who was already employing his sister Maria Josefa as cook), and put to work for two centavos a day in Maza’s granary. For his education, Maza placed him under the wing of Antonio Salanueva, a freethinking ex-cloistered friar, who funded his education, first in a Royal School, then in the provincial seminary. Although as poor indigenous student, Juárez faced insults and discrimination at the Royal School, there were some advantages to being an Indian in the provincial capital. He recalls in his memoir that “according to the ecclesiastical laws of America,” indigenous seminary students were exempt from the fees charged to “gente de razón” (Creoles and mestizos) while they obtained their benefices.35 Hence, from October 18, 1821, Mexico’s future great secularizer received a free seminary education, though he resisted encouragement from his “padrino” Salanueva to progress to ordination, “a career for which I had an instinctive repugnance.” Instead, the young Juárez transferred, in 1828, to the newly opened Institute of Science and Arts where he completed a law degree to become Oaxaca’s first fully (federally) licensed judge in 1834, at the age of twenty-eight.36

While still completing his legal education, Juárez was drawn into politics, as the state experienced “analogous events, although on a smaller scale, to those of the nation.”37 He recalls how during the 1820s, Antequera became deeply divided between “Liberal” and “retrograde” factions, “the former calling itself ‘Vinagre’ and the latter ‘Aceite.’”38 Juárez sympathized with the Vinagres (known as radical liberals or Puros or Exaltados elsewhere in the Republic) who were led by Miguel Méndez, a fellow Zapotec from the Sierra de Ixtlán. Controlling the state congress and senate, in 1827 Vinagres approved “the most important measure because of its transcendental benefits … the establishment of a Civil College to be called the Instituto de Ciencias y Artes.” This allowed oaxaqueños, for the first time, to study law, art, or science without having to move to the capital or abroad, “which for poor people such as myself, was to lose all hope.”39 Most other provinces, including Michoacán under its strong ultramontane bishop Clemente de Jesús Munguía, lacked such institutions until after the Reform; the radical liberal Melchor Ocampo, for example, had to travel to the capital to study law.

In his memoir Juárez exaggerates the “systematic and cruel war” waged by the clergy and “Society” against the institute and also overplays the hostility of Vinagre students, such as himself, to the clergy.40 Although the Institute of Sciences and Arts soon became the nursery for Oaxaca’s nascent liberal professions and administration, the first three directors and most of the professors were priests.41 Along with most other Oaxacan liberals, including the more radical Vinagres (several of whom were clerics), Juárez was not noticeably anticlerical and saw an active clergy and Catholicism as necessary pillars of stable republican society.42 All the same, studying law and philosophy instead of Latin and theology, and expecting to hold public office upon graduation, Juárez and his fellow students were inevitably drawn into the bitter political struggles that were dividing Mexico.

Oaxaca’s plebeian Vinagres, in contrast to upper-class Aceites, were inspired by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, and identified closely with Insurgent (Independence struggle) leaders, such as Vicente Guerrero and Juan Álvarez, and later with secularizers, such as Valentín Gómez Farías and Melchor Ocampo.43 With the creation of the first federalist republic, in 1824, radicals joined the Yorkino masonic lodge established by the US minister to Mexico, Joel Poinsett. In 1827–1828, they rallied behind Guerrero’s presidential campaign. And in 1833, they supported Gómez Farías, the first liberal to challenge the wealth and privileges of the Church.

An external threat from an absolutist Spain seeking reconquest further dramatized politics in Antequera. In 1829, all the institute’s students were enlisted in the civic militia to confront an anticipated Spanish invasion of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and Juárez was named “lieutenant of one of the companies organized to defend national independence”; it was his first experience of armed citizenship, so important to the later political success of the Liberal party through the National Guard, created in 1846 at the start of the American War.44 In 1831, the judicial execution of fugitive radical president Vicente Guerrero at the monastery at Cuilapan, on the outskirts of Antequera, on the instructions of leading Conservatives, greatly moved Juárez, who had recently been elected by popular vote to the city council. Two years later, following the restoration of the Liberal regime, he was elected deputy to the state congress and appointed adjutant to the military commander of the state. One of the first acts of the Liberal congress was to arrange for the exhumation and reburial of Guerrero’s remains in the rosary chapel in Antequera’s Dominican convent, in an elaborate ceremony. Juárez then proposed that Cuilapan, the site of Guerrero’s murder, be renamed “Ciudad Guerrero” in honor of the consummator of Independence.45

With the fall of the Gómez Farías in April 1834 and the return to centralism following General Santa Anna’s abandonment of the federalist cause, Juárez was arrested and exiled to Tehuacán in the state of Puebla for “no other motive than that of having served with honor and loyalty in the post with which I was charged.”46 Disgusted with politics, he withdrew to his legal practice. He eventually dedicated several paragraphs of his memoir to the protracted legal battle he had waged in 1834 on behalf of the villagers of Losicha to have their parish dues reduced to the Church’s own legal limit. This had resulted a short period of imprisonment, and Juárez recalled that “the blows that I suffered and saw others suffering almost daily when protesting against the arbitrariness of the privileged classes in league with the civil power … reinforced my determination to work constantly to destroy the fatal power of the privileged classes.”47 Two years later he suffered a further spell of imprisonment for suspected involvement in a federalist plot.48 By the late 1830s, however, Juárez had come to terms with centralism, becoming secretary of the secretary of Oaxaca’s Tribunal of Justice, in April 1838, and a full magistrate, in December 1839.

Centralism in Oaxaca was tolerant of a wide spectrum of political opinion, and on September 16, 1840, Juárez was chosen to give the oration on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Hidalgo’s uprising; it was a speech in which his radical liberal and anticolonial convictions enjoyed free rein.49 In 1842, he was appointed a civil and fiscal judge of the Department (the centralist term for a state) and departmental deputy, and two years later, he became secretary of government under General Antonio de León, Oaxaca’s premier caudillo (from the Mixteca), regarded as Santa Anna’s “pro-consul.” In 1843, Juárez married Margarita Maza, whom he had observed since infancy in the house of her father, his former guardian, Antonio Maza.50 By now, surely, Juárez counted as one of Oaxaca’s hombres de bien.

Figure 2. Juárez and Margarita Maza on their wedding day, accompanied by his sister María Josefa Juárez, Oaxaca, 1843 (Recinto Homenaje a Don Benito Juárez, Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Palacio Nacional, Mexico City).

Source: Letras Libres, May 2001, Year III, No. 29, p. 62.

With the return of federalism, in August 1846, Juárez was chosen to be part of a triumvirate to deliberate a revised state constitution. By September, he had been appointed by the new governor, José de Simeón Arteaga, to serve as president of Oaxaca’s Supreme Court of Justice. Federal elections followed in which Juárez formed part of the liberal majority among Oaxaca’s ten-strong representation in the national congress, his debut in national politics. In the federal Congress in Mexico City, he joined fellow radicals in backing Gómez Farías’s successful bill to auction Church property to the value of fifteen million pesos to fund the city’s defense against the US army. The ensuing decree, on January 11, 1847, provoked the so-called Polko clerical rebellion in the capital, echoed in Oaxaca with the removal of Governor Arteaga in a military coup, leaving Juárez without his patron and monthly stipend.51

Soon after arriving the capital, Juárez was initiated into the “Independence No. 2” lodge of the National Mexican Rite in a ceremony held in the Senate chamber, which had been temporarily decked out as a Masonic temple. Juárez’s choice of William Tell, hero of the Swiss national resistance against the Austrians, as his Masonic pseudonym presaged an uncompromising patriotism that he would later reveal in his stubborn resistance to the European intervention. Likewise, Juárez’s refusal, in June 1867, to give way to pressure from colleagues to commute the order of execution on Emperor Maximilian to imprisonment echoed William Tell’s obduracy in showing no mercy to oppressive Austrian bailiff Albrecht Gessler in 14th-century Switzerland.52 After 1858, though Juárez’s peripatetic life as head of state would prevent him from assisting regularly at meetings, his lodge membership reinforced ties of trust and fraternity among fellow Liberals. Initially, in 1847, accepting the modest rank of Temple Guard, Juarez later served on two occasions as Venerable Master. By 1871, he held the Diploma of Grand Inspector of the Ancient Scottish Lodge and also accepted the invitation to become a “Member of Honor” of French masonry.53

The polko coup in Antequera was soon reversed by José María Castellanos, commander of the city garrison, who appointed Marcos Pérez, a Zapotec lawyer from the Sierra de Ixtlán with whom Juárez had studied at the institute, as first magistrate of the Supreme Court and acting governor. The reconvened legislature then designated Juárez as governor of Oaxaca, on October 29, 1847. Receiving a full constitutional mandate in the election of August 1848, Juárez completed a full four-year term in spite of a serious rebellion in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Prevented by the state constitution from serving a second term, Juárez eased his friend Ignacio Mejía into the governorship, where he remained until Santa Anna returned from exile in January 1853 and brought an end to the federal republic and installed a regime of unprecedented conservatism and centralism. Mejía later became Juárez’s most trusted commander and his minister of war during the European intervention and beyond.

The liberal hold over office in post–American war Oaxaca was matched nationally by the moderate Liberals Joaquín Herrera and Mariano Arista, who occupied the presidency between 1849 and 1853, in the first unbroken constitutional term since the republic’s first presidency under Guadalupe Victoria, between 1824 and 1828. But Herrera and Arista were handicapped by a bankrupt treasury and a demoralized and undisciplined conservative army, while cholera afflicted the cities, bandits controlled the highways, and indigenous regional rebellions raged across much of the territory.54 How, under such unfavorable circumstances, was Juárez able to govern Oaxaca, earning it a reputation for being a liberal Estado modelo?

Juárez’s two terms as governor of Oaxaca (October 22, 1847–August 12, 1852, and January 10, 1856–October 25, 1857) exhibited many of the innovations and techniques of government that would characterize Liberal administration elsewhere in the republic over the subsequent two decades, particularly in neighboring Puebla, with which Oaxaca’s Liberals, under Porfirio Díaz, would successfully coordinate forces during the Three Years’ War and the European intervention.55 With Oaxaca’s principal “conservative” caudillo out of the way—Antonio de León had died leading his indigenous National Guards from the Mixteca in a heroic defense of the capital in the Battle of Molino del Rey on September 8, 1847—it became easier for Juárez to govern over the heads of Oaxaca’s warring Rojo and Borlado factions (which by the 1840s had replaced the Vinagres and the Aceites), a rule he would later seek to apply in national politics.56

Juárez’s guiding principle of civil governorship was to increase of the presence and the authority of the administration in the application of Liberal laws, as a counterpoise to, and a replacement for, the soon-to-become unconstitutional powers of harmful corporate institutions left over from colonial rule, particularly the Indian communities that continued to behave as autonomous Indian republics; an overmighty clergy that regarded the Indian population as its own personal fiefdom; and, most importantly, intrusive military commanders, who were unaccountable to the civil power but routinely acted as conduits for centralist and conservative pressures. To achieve this, Juárez focused on reforming district administration by establishing a system of prefects and subprefects, renamed jefes políticos during his second governorship, directly answerable to the state governor. Juárez stressed in his governor’s report in 1851 that rather than regard themselves as “minor functionaries,” “prefects and sub-prefects should (learn) something nobler and more difficult: what is absolutely indispensable in order to govern towns, is aptitude, honor and action. Those who do not possess such qualities, should not expect the government to entrust the fortune of towns to their hands.”57 Commenting on the second governorship, Luis Medina concludes that “Juárez left behind a reformed state constitution which established the most finished system of jefaturas políticas which would be the model and example for other states.”58

The new prefects/jefes políticos were charged with implementing a much fuller program than their predecessors. They were instructed to launch new contributions to fund the National Guard and primary schools in every community (Juárez believed that “the desire to know and educate one’s self is innate in the heart of man”)59; supervise community funds more closely; reduce the number of public holidays and religious festivals; stimulate voluntary labor for road and bridge construction; expand access to the judiciary; protect communities from the excessive fees charged by the clergy; free up markets, restrict monopolies, and forbid forced labor; encourage small property ownership through the application of the Ley Lerdo; publish government decrees; and maintain up-to-date tax records and electoral registers—in short, put into place all the accoutrements of an active liberal civil administration. In view of the troubled times ahead, perhaps Juárez’s most significant reform was to sideline the state regular army commander and bring the National Guard directly under the authority of the civil governor and greatly expand its size and remit. Between 1848 and 1852, Oaxaca’s National Guard grew from 410 to 761 men on permanent duty with 2512 others available to be called on at short notice, such as to confront the secessionist rebellion in the isthmus led by José Gregorio Meléndez in 1851.60

Juárez’s first governorship could hardly be rated a success in terms of achieving the ambitious objectives laid down in advanced Liberal legislation. By the end of his term of office, most oaxaqueños still lived in monolingual indigenous communities that were without schools and governed more according to “custom” than liberal law. Long after the application of the law of civil and religious disentailment (the Ley Lerdo of June 1856) during Juárez’s second governorship, most indigenous communities chose to own land in common rather than become individual property owners. Yet his first governorship of Oaxaca was extremely important, both in terms of how his term in office was seen by neighboring governors, such as Juan Alvárez, as a “model governorship,” and in terms of how five quite bruising years in office prepared Juárez for the challenges of national politics.

Between 1847 and 1852, the organs of the Liberal state had established a more palpable presence, particularly in municipal seats (cabeceras) and district capitals, evident in the new system of prefects/jefe políticos and the new fiscal and judicial officers, commanders of the National Guard, masters of wind bands,61 school teachers, and keepers of electoral registers. The Liberal Reform would build on this presence, particularly the organization and funding of the National Guard, voluntary military service providing a medium through which citizens could demonstrate their loyalty to the Liberal state in exchange for benefits such as tax exemptions or appointment to public office. It is these new areas of Liberal sociability, away from the state capital, that Marcello Carmagnani has described as tantamount to a “second Conquest” of the indigenous communities.62

The encouragement of martial aspects of liberal citizenship had its risks and limits. The isthmus rebellion continued despite three campaigns of pacification, overburdening the state budget and diverting funds from education, Juárez’s real passion. Yet failing to defeat the rebellion contained useful lessons for Juárez, showing him the importance of understanding the roots of regional problems, particularly the strength of ethnic and community attachment to land and territory and the importance of choosing reliable and talented military commanders who were skilled at conciliating the opposition rather driving it into the hands of your enemies. In 1853, Meléndez’s rebellious lowland Zapotecs pronounced for Santa Anna, who rewarded them with their own federal territory of the isthmus of Tehuantepec. This would have given particular pleasure to Santa Anna, who had not forgotten how Juárez, while governor of Oaxaca, had denied him entry to the state in March 1848, when the General was being pursued by his enemies. Upon his return to office, Santa Anna ordered Juárez’s arrest, imprisoning him in various garrisons around his Veracruz fiefdom between May and September 1853 before escorting the troublesome Zapotec lawyer from the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa to an English packet destined for Havana and transport to his final place of exile in New Orleans on December 29, 1853.63

The Constituent Congress, the Comonfort Presidency, and Juárez’s Second Governorship

Until joining Juan Álvarez in Guerrero in July 1854, Juárez’s sphere of action had been confined to Oaxaca or briefly, in 1847, to representing his state in the federal congress. As secretary to the southern Ayutla movement, Juárez had gained the trust of its leaders, Álvarez and Comonfort, who, upon entering Mexico City in October 1855, appointed him minister of justice and ecclesiastical affairs, a post he held between October 6 and December 9 before returning to Oaxaca to take up his second term as state governor. Helped by fellow graduates of Oaxaca’s Institute of Science and Arts, Manuel Dublán and Ignacio Mariscal, Juárez drafted the “Organic Law on the Administration of Justice of the Tribunals of the Nation, the (Federal) District and Territories,” which became known as the “Ley Juárez.” This Law of November 23, 1855, restricted the jurisdiction of Church and military courts to only criminal cases, abolished the special mercantile courts, and established equality of all Mexicans under the civil law. It also empowered the federal executive to name Supreme Court judges, who since 1824 had been proposed by state legislatures before being elected by the federal Congress. The sitting Supreme Court magistrates were promptly dismissed, and new members were appointed and required to swear allegiance to the Plan de Ayutla, a foretaste of the confessionalism of the new Liberal state.64

In his memoir, written several years later, Juárez cites the “Law of Restriction of Corporate Privileges” as an essential first step to remedying the abuses he had observed and experienced since entering politics in the early 1830s:

With the triumph of the revolution it was necessary to put the promises into effect reforming the laws which consecrated the abuses of despotic power which had just disappeared. The former laws relating to the administration of justice suffered from this defect, because they established special courts for the privileged classes making inequality permanent in society, offending justice and keeping the social body in a constant state of agitation. Not only in this branch, but in all those comprising the public administration, changes had to be made, because the revolution was social … Imperfect as this law was, it was received with great enthusiasm by the progressive party; it was the spark which ignited the conflagration of the reform which later would consume the worm-eaten edifice of abuse and fear.65

In fact, belying the revolutionary character Juárez later ascribed to it, the law on the administration of justice was moderate in content and conciliatory in tone. The Church and military courts remained intact for the purpose of regulating internal discipline; the new law simply excluded them from hearing civil cases while allowing them continued authority over criminal cases.66 As state governor of Oaxaca, Juárez had sought a modus vivendi with the Church, which he regarded as an important ally in his ambition to educate and enlighten the people. However, with the opening of the Constituent Congress in February 1856, from which the clergy had been excluded, the principle of equality before the civil law sent out alarming signals to the Church, which had enjoyed a special status since Independence as the national religion and embodiment of the nation. What other new laws would the new congress pass? Moreover, from December 1855, Juárez was no longer able provide guarantees to an anxious clergy or participate in the Constituent Congress, having been sent back to Oaxaca to serve his second governorship.

The Juárez law provoked immediate condemnations from the archbishops of Mexico, Puebla, and Michoacán, the start of a rupture between the Mexican Catholic Church and the Liberal state that would not be healed until the renewal of relations with the Holy See in 1992.67 Conservatives generals, urged on by exiled clerics in Havana and led by Santa Anna’s former minister of finance, Antonio Haro y Tamariz, took up arms in Puebla, which became the theater of armed conflict over the subsequent nine months, culminating in the expulsion of Bishop Labastida.68 Although the Puebla revolt had been defeated by December 1856, the battle lines of the Three Years’ War and the European intervention had been drawn.

Reflecting the federalist ideals of the Revolution of Ayutla, the new Constitution promulgated in February 1857 diminished the power of the executive, established the supremacy of a unicameral legislature and re-established the sovereignty of the states, though it required their constitutions not to contravene the federal charter. The Constitution guaranteed freedom of conscience, association, press, and petition and required the state to provide free and universal secular education; prohibited the death penalty for political offenses, cruel corporal punishments, and private jails (still present on many large estates); and abolished forced recruitment into the army (leva), imprisonment for debt, compulsory labor services, and compulsory payment for Church services. From the perspective of the indigenous and laboring populations, who for centuries had been subject to hefty parish dues, forced labor, beatings, arbitrary imprisonment, and the hated leva, these constitutional guarantees were truly revolutionary. Apart from the Ley Juárez, the Constitution also incorporated the Lerdo Law, passed in the heat of the battle over Puebla, which required the sale of property held by religious and civil corporations, and the Iglesias Law, abolishing Church fees and tithes.

During the Three Years’ War, the Liberal government was driven by the wartime exigencies to adopt stronger secularizing measures, nationalizing Church wealth; separating church and state, removing the Church’s involvement in the registry of births, deaths, and marriages; forbidding monastic vows and dissolving religious orders; establishing a civil code and requiring a pledge of loyalty to the Constitution from anyone entering public office.69 For Catholics, taking up arms now became a matter of faith and conscience, just as for Liberals, pledging loyalty to the Constitution became the first rite in a civic religion. “The constitution was the Bible,” in the words of French historian François-Xavier Guerra.70

In 1857, however, moderate Liberals under the conciliatory Ignacio Comonfort, who was backed by a newly elected Congress divested of most of the radicals who had drafted the Constitution, still hoped that the Church and the army could be persuaded to accept the Liberal Reform. However, the division within the Liberal party between moderates and Puros, and Comonfort’s “vacillating and indecisive” character, gave Conservatives hope that they could modify or even repeal the new laws.71 In October 1857, Comonfort recalled Juárez from Oaxaca to the Ministry of the Interior in the hopes that he would help to reconcile the Liberal party’s warring factions. The Zapotec lawyer had already been elected president of the Supreme Court in the national elections, which under the Constitution gave him the presidential succession.

The conspiratorial movement within the army, however, grew as Conservative generals observed that the newly empowered Liberal state governments were strengthening their National Guards. Having failed to convince Congress to support legislation to reform the army and federal finances, Comonfort turned to what under Juárez would become a necessary feature of effective Liberal government: emergency powers. A military rebellion in Cuernavaca obliged Congress to grant these, allowing Comonfort to proceed with a plan to reduce the standing army from 40,000 to 10,000 men and to limit the National Guards of the states to a policing role. The president then sought to bolster his powers by allowing Felix Zuloaga, commander of the Mexico City garrison, to issue the Plan de Tacubaya, on December 17, 1857, which called for the dissolution of Congress and the convocation of a convention to draft a more workable constitution that would invest greater powers in the executive. Although Juárez was dismissed as minister of the interior, along with the rest of the cabinet, he remained with Comonfort in the national palace.

Juárez’s memoir concludes on the eve of these dramatic events with an account of his second governorship of Oaxaca (January 1856–October 1857) which is useful to briefly review before embarking on a discussion of the fifteen momentous years of Mexico’s first indigenous head of state since death of Emperor Cuautémoc. On his return to Oaxaca, Juárez reformed the state constitution in accord with the new federal Constitution, receiving a popular mandate of 120,000 votes through indirect election by all the state’s adult male citizens. He took particular satisfaction at circumventing a trap laid by canons of the cathedral, who had barred the cathedral doors, preventing the normal Te Deum to be sung in honor of the newly elected governor. Rather than be provoked into breaking into a religious building, a mistake which Comonfort had made in Puebla in May 1856, precipitating riots, the flight of Bishop Labastida into exile, and the deepening the conservative rebellion, Juárez simply ignored the closure of the cathedral and arranged a civil ceremony instead. Thereafter, this became the norm in Oaxaca and, after 1867, throughout the Republic:

Even though I could count on sufficient force to make myself respected and to proceed against the seditious (canons) in accord with the still current law on the ceremony for a governor taking office, which authorized me to take such action, I resolved instead to omit attending the tédeum, not through any fear of the canons, but because of my conviction that governors in civil society should not be present in their official capacity at any religious ceremony, even if as men they may go to church to practice the acts of devotion which their religion dictates.72

Juárez’s second governorship reveals a continuation of his conviction that active district administration, through carefully selected and well-briefed jefes politicos, was the key to effective liberal government, essential if Conservatives and the clergy were to be kept at bay.73 These jefes políticos would ensure electoral victories for the Liberal party and maintain the National Guard in a state of readiness to confront conservative reaction or indigenous rebellion. Secessionist Tehuantepec, now that Meléndez was deceased, was successfully reintegrated into the state, and Juárez visited the rebel towns in person in May 1857. The application of the Lerdo Lerdo opened Church and community land to private ownership, and Juárez instructed his officials to allow communities to retain lands in common ownership if they chose. A state mint encouraged mining in the Sierra de Ixtlán, which was becoming a valuable source of revenue for future Liberal leaders, much as mining strengthened the Liberal stronghold of Tetela de Oro (soon to be renamed Tetela de Ocampo) in the Sierra de Puebla over the same period.74 An extension of the network of rural primary schools was encouraged with the establishment of a teacher training college at Tlaxiaco. The Institute of Sciences and Arts, closed under Santa Anna, was reopened. By the time of his recall to Mexico City in October 1857, the Liberal revolution in Oaxaca was well established. Juárez’s political skills were now needed elsewhere, and he would never return to his home state.

Comonfort’s risky attempt to appease the Conservative army by allowing General Félix María Zuloaga to issue the Conservative Plan de Tacubaya in December soon backfired. On January 11, Zuloaga launched a pronunciamiento, which removed the moderate poblano from the presidency. Comonfort showed some honor and respect for the Liberal cause by allowing Juárez to escape with an armed guard before leaving the capital himself, on January 21, for exile in the United States. According to the Constitution, as president of the Supreme Court, Juárez now became acting president, traveling first to Querétaro, then to the mining city of Guanajuato, where he established the Liberal capital. Zuloaga’s forces, in hot pursuit, soon forced Juárez to retreat to Guadalajara and on to Colima, from where a boat carried the Liberal president and ministers to Veracruz. The battle for Mexico had begun.

The Three Years’ War, the European Intervention, and Restored Republic

In his address to the newly installed congress of Oaxaca on June 21, 1857, Juárez expressed the liberal and republican principles that had inspired his legal and political career since the early 1830s, which were now invested in the federal Ley Juárez and would continue to imbue his public statements and correspondence until his death:

The mission of republican government is to protect mankind in the free development of his moral and physical facilities with the sole limitation being the right of other men. I shall take scrupulous care to ensure that individual guarantees remain intact and that no one individual, no sectional interest, and no class shall oppress the rest of society. I shall respond with a firm hand to anyone who attempts to undermine the rights of other men.75

Such ideas were common currency across the midcentury Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds.76 Juárez’s success in occupying the presidency between 1857 and his death in 1872 can partly be explained by the legitimacy and fluid diffusion these ideas enjoyed among his fellow Mexican Liberals and internationally, among republicans throughout Latin America, Unionists in the American Civil War, Democrats in Italy’s Risorgimento, opponents of the Bourbons in Spain and Cuba, and republican-socialists in the France of Napoleon III. The opposing ideas of monarchism and ultramontane Catholicism, and the defense of caste divisions and slavery are found mostly on the back burner during this period, described by their opponents as “reactionary,” however modern in their presentation or judged by elites to be necessary in particular contexts.

Juárez had become more versed in this international context during his exile in New Orleans, from 1853 to 1855, where he had met Cuban separatist and radical, Pedro de Santacilia, who in May 1863 would marry Manuela, Juárez’s eldest daughter. Cuba became a haven for conservative exiles after 1855 and Spain regarded the island as a springboard for renewed colonial expansion in the Americas, a project soon to be realized in Santo Domingo and reaching its political limits in Spain’s brief and vacillating participation in the European intervention in Mexico in 1861–1862. Brian Hamnett explores Juárez’s little known Cuban connection showing how Santacilia introduced him to fellow Cuban radicals Domingo de Goicuréa and Juan Clement Zenea; the former’s commercial house in New Orleans had sent arms to Álvarez during Revolution of Ayutla before becoming the Liberal government’s commercial agent in that city during the Three Years’ War. During the French intervention, Santacilia looked after Margarita and the children during their difficult exile in New York, between 1863 and 1867.77

Sudden ascent to the presidency, without an electoral mandate, on the occasion of the onset of a bloody three-year religious war, placed Juárez in the hands of a coalition of Liberal state governors from a central band of states that had resisted Zuloaga’s coup d’état: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Querétaro, and Oaxaca. His survival as president would require extreme caution and political skill in handling this alliance. Juárez was now in the hands of Liberal state governors, many of whom, such as Miguel de Lerdo y Tejada (Veracruz), were prepared to take stronger measures against the Church than Juárez had hitherto judged wise. He had also moved away from the south, home of the insurgent traditions that had drawn him to join Álvarez in the Ayutla movement and the familiar terrain of his political career so far.

To narrate the complex series of regional alliances that sustained Juárez in office through a civil war, a foreign intervention, and the stormy and rebellious “Restored Republic” until his death in July 1872, would exceed the boundaries of this article. Rather, these fifteen years will be briefly reviewed thematically, identifying the challenges and risks Juárez faced and the responses he devised in order to secure his premiership, ensure the survival of the Liberal Reform and protect and restore the Nation’s sovereignty.

As we have seen, in reaction to Conservative tyranny and centralism, the 1857 Constitution established a weak executive, a strong federal unicameral legislature and independent sovereign states with their own popular armies in the National Guard; this arrangement resembled the “Old Republic,” between 1889 and 1930, in Brazil, where two states dominated the federal government in Rio de Janeiro at the expense of all the others, as men from the mining and cattle state of Minas Gerais and the coffee state of Sao Paulo alternated in the presidency. In Mexico, there were many more provincial rivals for the control of the central power, and no single state enjoyed an obvious natural advantage over the others. Unable to reform the Constitution to increase the power of the federal executive, the challenge for Juárez was how to encourage Liberal state governors, several of them presidential aspirants, to defer their own ambitions, form coalitions with other states, and allow the resources of their states to serve the requirements of the defense of the Liberal Reform and the Republic.

How did Juárez respond to this challenge? Three aspects of his leadership help to explain how he succeeded in concentrating enough power to be able to outwit rivals and defeat his enemies: the itinerant character of his leadership and his mastery of geopolitics, his democratic persona and leadership style, and his ability to convince enough of his Liberal friends and allies that by adopting emergency powers he was abiding by the spirit of the Constitution.78

During the Three Years’ War and the European intervention the Conservatives and the Europeans succeeded in capturing and controlling the capital and main provincial cities of the economic and demographic heartland of the central Mexican altiplano, requiring the Liberal government to seek sanctuary in peripheral locations. For much of the Three Years’ War (from May 1858 until December 1860), Juárez chose Veracruz as the capital, benefiting from the port’s customs revenues, commercial connections with New Orleans for the purchase of arms and ease of contact with Washington, which granted diplomatic recognition to the Liberal government in April 1859.79 Neighboring National Guard strongholds in the Sierra de Puebla and the Sierra de Ixtlán in Oaxaca, under Juan N. Méndez and Porfirio Díaz respectively, provided military cover for the Liberal government in Veracruz and offered critical support for the Liberal army once the war turned against Conservatives in the autumn of 1860.

For two years during the Second Empire (October 10, 1864–December 10, 1866) Juárez based the republican capital at El Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárez) in the northern state of Chihuahua, again benefiting from access to arms and revenues from border trade, facilitating diplomatic contact with Washington via his trusted oaxaqueño envoy, Matías Romero, while keeping separatist Santiago Vidaurri, chieftain of Nuevo León, at bay. In northern Mexico, with his black coach symbolizing the “tabernacle of the Republic,” Juárez was able to establish an austere dignity for the Republic and the presidential office.80 By 1866 he could rely upon active support, not only from Luis Terrazas, a regional strongman who had emerged in 1859 as colonel of the National Guard and jefe político of Chihuahua City, but also from the governors and National Guards of neighboring states of Sonora, Sinaloa, and Durango. Through the lean years of the Empire, the North provided, in Hamnett’s view, the “rear base of juarismo” which had “increasingly acquired a profoundly northern character.”81 Lorenzo de Zavala’s prediction, in 1830, that progress in central and southern Mexico would be brought from the North, was therefore, to an extent, vindicated.

Over the first half of 1866 Juárez was able use this republican base in the northern states to spearhead the liberation of north-central and central Mexico from “Habsburg tyranny,” behind his best general, Mariano Escobedo, from Nuevo León. Escobedo commanded the final battle of the “second war of Independence” in the siege of Querétaro and presided over the execution of Emperor Maximilian and his Mexican generals, Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejiá, while Juárez tactfully delayed his journey south at San Luis Potosí. In Juárez’s view the executions were a just and necessary punishment for the crimes of attempting to destroy the Liberal republic and the nation of “Anáhuac,” a hint, Hamnett suggests, that the Zapotec lawyer viewed Maximilian’s execution as avenging the brutal and duplicitous conquest of Mexico by his ancestor Charles V.82

If Juárez’s itinerant leadership was successful in mobilizing the resources of the peripheral regions necessary for defeating the Conservatives and the Second Empire, his appearance, personality, and style of leadership also contributed importantly to this success. In January 1858, a Guanajuato newspaper commented on the arrival of Juárez in the mining city, in flight from Zuloaga’s coup in the capital: “An Indian has arrived here who says that he is President of the Republic.”83 Long accustomed to such slights, if we believe his memoir, Juárez felt secure in the knowledge that he had reached his elevated position through merit, based on a sound legal education, long administrative experience, and deeply held republican and democratic beliefs. And he believed he had earned his elevated rank by the actions he had taken and the hardships he had suffered in the struggle for these beliefs. No gold encrusted tunic or cocked hat was necessary to prove his status.

Viewing the remarkably few photographs of Juárez kept in the National Photographic Library at Pachuca, Hamnett sees

a Juárez dressed in his characteristic black civilian suit with tails and black bow tie. His expression, as always, is ominous, as the years pass, from bitter, to bilious to completely disillusioned. He is dark, rugged and of low of stature, has a round head and neck which is lost in his collar. The corners of his lips turn down. The eyes, which hide what he thinks, reveal that he trusts no-one … The portraits of Juárez in his black lawyer’s suit form so much the accepted image that it can be forgotten how drastic this would have appeared at the time. Mexico was a society of generals, bishops and resplendent landowners, all anxious to exhibit their wealth and their power. Juárez must have appeared to his opponents as a Robespierre, even worse, due to his obscure origins and brown skin. And yet precisely these elements rooted him deeply in the thought of his contemporaries.84

Juárez’s indigenous appearance, dark democratic and civilian clothing, impassive demeanor and modesty of manner, were not unique in this period. Juan N. Méndez, Liberal chieftain of the Puebla Sierra during the Three Years’ War and the European intervention and, later, Puebla state governor and interim president of the republic in the aftermath the Tuxtepec Revolution in 1876, shared Juárez’s indigenous ancestry and appearance, short stature, impassive expression, and taste for black civilian attire. Like Juárez, Méndez endured long periods of privation in the most remote and abject locations and combined military preparations with Liberal reforms, such as the provision of elementary schooling, the granting of land titles in exchange for military service, and the abolition of parish dues and compulsory services.85 Both men inspired loyalty and respect due to their modesty of manner, refusal to compromise with the enemy, and unwavering pursuit of liberal ideals and national sovereignty. Democracy, republicanism, and radical liberalism at this time possessed strong popular appeal, endowing their advocates with prestige and mystical powers, as Garibaldi was finding in Europe.86

Respected by a sufficient number of provincial Liberal leaders, who judged it worthwhile to restrain their personal ambitions and give him their support, and popular among sections of the “people,” such as recipients of land grants or fiscal exemption in exchange for military service, Juárez nevertheless accumulated a growing number of enemies within the Liberal camp. He was frequently accused of abuses and infractions of the Constitution, particularly excessively using emergency powers and denying his rivals’ rights to succession, intervening in the internal affairs of the states, allowing capital punishment for political offences, and promising foreign powers access to territory in exchange for loans (most notably, in the McLane-Ocampo Treaty, signed in December 1859, though never ratified, which conceded transit rights to the United States across Mexico’s northern states and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec). However, given the menacing threat to the Republic, first from the Conservatives backed by the clergy, and then from Napoleon III, Juárez judged emergency powers to be necessary for national survival and always took great care to justify them with due attention to legality.87 Such was the case at the end of his first presidential term, in 1865, when Jesús González Ortega, as president of the Supreme Court, claimed his right to succeed because of the impossibility of holding an election in wartime. Juárez dismissed the claim on grounds that the zacatecano general had been out of the republic without leave, inferring also that he had intended to negotiate with the Empire, an illegitimate entity given the absence of any formal belligerent status between the Liberal government and Maximilian.

Upon returning to the capital following the defeat of the Empire, still armed with emergency powers (finally renounced on December 8, 1867) and keen to avoid a return to the legislative disorder of the 1856–1857 and 1860–1861 periods of parliamentary rule, both preludes to catastrophic wars, Juárez made a special appeal to the electorate, over the heads of the Liberal party, to support fundamental reforms to the Constitution intended to strengthen the executive and make Mexico more governable. This appeal accompanied a call (convocatoria) for presidential and congressional elections to be held in October, when electors would be invited on the same ballot to approve the constitutional reforms. The most important of these was the introduction of a second chamber; others reforms would grant the president a veto on legislative bills and free ministers from having to report in person to Congress and face direct questioning. The convocatoria caused an immediate storm of protest and threats of rebellion, and Juárez had to withdraw the proposals and govern the Republic the rest of his life under the extremely democratic and federalist 1857 Constitution.

Facing a strong and assertive legislature that was divided between rival factions gathered around the leading Liberals, José María Iglesias, Porfirio Díaz, and Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, each with allies in the states, Juárez was obliged on occasions to request emergency powers, but deployed now at the state level, to confront the rebellions that punctuated the Restored Republic.88 To keep the potentially hostile federal legislature at bay, Juárez, supported by his minister of the interior, Lerdo de Tejada, and minister of war, Ignacio Mejía, used top-down management of the electoral machinery, through loyal state governors (often, controversially, men who had made peace with or even served the Empire), carefully selected jefes políticos,89 and obedient municipal presidents who would ensure the desired electoral outcomes—hardly democratic but common practices across the Atlantic World. When such methods failed to achieve order, the federal army, backed by state National Guards, ensured that rebellions were suppressed in a conciliatory rather than punitive manner, followed swiftly by amnesties and offers of patronage.90

Figure 3. Benito Pablo Juárez García (c. 1867). From James Hunter, Young People’s History of the World. Chicago: International Publishing, 1897.

Beyond the daily struggle of maintaining executive authority over a rowdy legislature and potentially unruly states, with the attendant accusations of “presidential dictatorship,” Juárez promoted other reforms promised by the 1857 Constitution. Press freedom (article 7) enjoyed a golden age between 1867 and 1876.91 Freedom of conscience flourished after 1867, and evangelical sects, such as the Methodists, swiftly established congregations. Juárez returned to his former, and preferred, conciliatory treatment of the Catholic Church: clergy were permitted once more to vote; oaths of allegiance to the Constitution were no longer so strictly required from public officials; new religious orders licensed under Maximilian were allowed to remain92; and external manifestations of the Catholic cult were less strictly policed. And the anticlerical Reform Laws issued in Veracruz in 1859 were only incorporated into the Constitution by President Lerdo on September 25, 1873, after Juárez’s death. In 1870, following a grant of amnesty to all those who had been complicit in the Empire, Archbishop Labastida returned to Mexico and Pius IX appointed six new bishops from a list nominated by the Mexican government.93 However, to emphasize the Republic’s hard-won independence, Mexico broke off relations with the Holy See in 1867, which were not to be renewed until 1992. That on his deathbed, in July 1872, Juárez was reading a work by a French libertarian, Jean Louis Eugène Lerminier (1803–1857), confirms, in Roberto Blancarte’s view, that Juárez identified with “those radical liberals who saw the clergy as a retrograde class and the Church as an institution opposed to progress,” attitudes reflected fully in his own memoir.94

Juárez also made sure that obligatory free secular education (article 3) received a boost. One of his first acts upon returning to the capital in July 1867 was to place Education with Justice in a single ministry and to draft a new “Organic Law of Public Instruction for the Federal District and Territories,” requiring states to draft their own laws based on principles of lay, free, and obligatory education for all. In the preamble to the law, Juárez wrote that “the spread of enlightenment among the people is the most secure and effective means of moralizing them and establishing in a permanent way their liberty and respect for the Constitution.” Higher education also absorbed him. So impressed was Juárez by Gabino Barreda’s independence-day civic oration, given in Guanajuato on September 15, 1867, that he placed the young poblano, who had recently returned from the Paris of Auguste Comte, in charge of reopening the National Preparatory School, which he equipped with a strictly secular, scientific, and liberal curriculum.95

The Ley Lerdo (article 27), requiring Church and municipal corporations to put up for sale all property not required for fulfilling their pastoral and administrative functions, is often cited as the Liberal law with the most harmful social consequences, particularly for the indigenous population from which Juárez had emerged. Research is revealing wide local and regional differences in the application and reception of the law.96 Under his second governorship of Oaxaca, in 1857 when the Ley Lerdo was first applied, Juárez drafted a new state constitution that recognized the right of municipalities to manage communal lands (article 68), contradicting, as Frances Chassen observes, “the national magna carta.” Chassen writes that though Juárez was keen to see corporate lands enter circulation, he was “concerned that the initial social goal of the Lerdo Law be respected, in order to aid (in his words) ‘those of the indigenous race, so deserving of sympathy and a better lot.’” In 1857 Juárez wrote twice to President Comonfort to request that communities be allowed to distribute their lands among native villagers before lessees from beyond the community could impose their rights. Two years later Juárez, now president, decreed that sales and transfer taxes should not be charged, to encourage indigenous access to land ownership.97 Indigenous communities in Juárez’s native Sierra de Ixtlán were little affected by the law, and highland Oaxaca did not experience the expansion of large landholdings at the expense of peasant communities that was evident other parts of the Republic.98

Juárez was no believer in the sanctity of private property. During the European intervention, he had sanctioned the extensive use of the state’s power to confiscate the properties of “traitors” and political enemies, which in many cases benefited the small farmers and peasants who made up the ranks of the republican army.99 After 1867, he continued to use this power of confiscation as a pacifying measure, as was evident in 1870, when the government distributed the estate of a landowner who had supported the Empire among the indigenous peasants of Xochiapulco in the Sierra de Puebla.100


Exploring the personality and career of Benito Juárez helps to shed light on Mexican liberalism. Under the long watch of this Zapotec lawyer from the southeastern state of Oaxaca, enduring features of Mexico's legal, institutional, and constitutional landscape took shape. The country emerged from civil and foreign wars during the late 1860s with an extremely advanced Liberal constitution, which, subject to revisions, such as the addition of a second legislative chamber in 1877 and a more explicit social chapter in 1917, has remained Mexico’s guiding charter ever since. This Liberal carte blanche, which seemingly banished Conservatives and the Catholic Church from the public arena, owed much to the troubled circumstances surrounding the constitution’s origins; twenty years of violent conflict during which Conservatives turned to monarchy to bolster their flagging political fortunes. They paid dearly for this error. Triumphant Liberals were able to surround their Liberal constitution with an aura of patriotic sacrifice. Combined with liberalism’s own moralizing appeal, the celebration of Liberal victories and the commemoration of patriotic heroes enlivened the public arena, occupying space left by the forced removal of the Church and Catholicism to the private sphere. Liberal patriotism became a civic religion and Juárez was the messiah.

Juárez’s steely resolve to resist Europeans continued even after their defeat. Determined to send a message that Mexico’s liberty, territorial integrity, and liberal institutions were sacrosanct, he dismissed pleas from numerous European leaders and writers, republican and monarchist, that Maximilian's death sentence be commuted to exile. Europeans were stunned. But, as Juárez reminded his fellow Mexicans upon returning to the national capital on July 15, 1867, it was the law: “The people and the government must respect the rights of all. Between individuals, as between nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”101

Fellow Latin American states strongly supported this position. At the height of the Empire, in May 1865, the Colombian Congress had declared that “this citizen’s abnegation and unyielding perservance … in the defense of the independence and liberty of his Fatherland … has merited the honor of America (“ha merecido bien de la América”) I … in homage to such virtues and as an example to Colombian youth, a portrait of this eminent man of State (will) be placed in the National Library with the following inscription: Benito Juárez, Mexican Citizen.”102

As a further lesson to the Europeans for their contempt for this principle, Juárez, in the autumn of 1867, decided not to seek renewal of diplomatic relations with France, Spain, and Britain, which were judged to have been broken off voluntarily by their aggressive actions in 1862, and announced that Mexico would receive requests to renew relations only if these countries forfeited all claims prior to 1862 and agreed to negotiate new accords based on “just and fair” premises.103 Sacrificing diplomatic relations with France, Spain, and Britain was only possible thanks to the rapprochement with the United States, achieved by Juárez’s man in Washington, fellow oaxaqueño Matías Romero. Juárez achieved further compensation for the rupture of diplomatic ties with France, Spain, and Britain by establishing diplomatic relations with the newly unified states of Germany and Italy. This did not prevent him, however, from writing to French republicans in 1870 urging them to resist the Prussian invasion by adopting the guerrilla strategy he had used so effectively against the Empire, and promising to send six hundred “veterans from the war of Independence” who would join “the forces of the glorious Garibaldi.”104

Apart from serving as focus of veneration in a Liberal-patriotic civic culture and acting as a symbol for Mexico’s newfound international security and prestige, from the start of his political career Juárez strove to set an example of good Liberal administrative practice, convinced that the civilizing and evangelizing role of the Catholic clergy had run its course and needed to be replaced by active and capable secular officials at all levels of government. However, during the Restored Republic, under constant pressure from his opponents, electoral considerations began to take precedence over ensuring model Liberal administration, and under his successor, Porfirio Díaz, abusive jefes políticos became a focus of local resentment and unrest.105

Local resentment at electoral intervention by state and federal governments lay at the heart of the regional rebellions that confronted Juárez throughout the Restored Republic. Opposition gathered around National Guard commanders who, believing that their patriotic sacrifices had been insufficiently rewarded, claimed to speak for the citizen-soldiers who had shed their blood during the Reform wars and the European intervention and resented the way lawyers appointed from the Center were displacing local men. In the Revolt of La Noria (1871–1872) Juárez was confronted by forces from the North, as well as the southeast, led by former friend and fellow oaxaqueño Porfirio Díaz. In November 1876, Díaz led a victorious coalition of regional National Guard commanders, Mexico’s Liberal armed citizenry, to victory in the Revolution of Tuxtepec.

From soon after his death, most of Juárez’s opponents in the Liberal camp swiftly forgave his crimes against the Constitution and turned to the democratic myth of the Indian lawyer from Guelatao to underscore the legitimacy of the Liberal republic.106 However, fostering the “cult of Juárez” would have unforeseen and adverse consequences, especially in his home state. In 1903, a project of the citizens of San Pablo Guelatao to honor the centenary of the birth of their illustrious native son with the construction of a new primary school for Zapotec boys and girls, to be named the “Benito Juárez School” and funded from contributions from across the Republic, was blocked by the jefe politico of Ixtlán, Guelatao’s head town, despite Porfirio Díaz’s strongly expressed support for the project.107 And research has shown that in the state of Oaxaca as a whole, the commemorative events during the centenary year of 1906 did not reinforce Díaz’s hegemony but instead provided occasions for questioning and undermining it.108

Figure 4. Recuerdo del Centenario, Benito Juárez 2, Picture postcard by M.Álvarez, Dibujador, 1906.

Díaz’s brilliant reputation at the start of the 20th century would soon be shattered, never to be restored. By contrast, Benito Juárez retained his usefulness, both for sustaining the legitimacy of successive post-revolutionary regimes and for aiding those seeking to challenge and subvert the unequal and unjust postcolonial order the Zapotec lawyer had dedicated his life to challenging.

Discussion of the Literature

Befitting modern Mexico’s foremost national figure and guiding ideology, the literature on Benito Juárez and Liberalism is vast.109 The ending of single-party rule in 2000 with the accession of the Catholic-inspired Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN) to power did not dampen but spurred interest in Juárez and his relationship with the country’s republican and liberal traditions.110 After ten years of PAN rule, Mexico’s strictly secular constitution has remained intact, Catholic Mexico seemingly able to thrive within its constraints. This would have pleased Juárez, who always sought cordial relations with the Church as long as bishops, priests, and the laity abided by the founding maxim of the Restored Republic in July 1867: “The people and the government must respect the rights of all. Between individuals, as between nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”111

The bicentenary of Juárez’s birth in 2006 prompted something of a publishing flourish.112 But the overall tone was scholarly and detached in comparison with the passionate polemics of the 1906 commemorations.113 And there was no official cultural broadside in 2006 of the kind Luis Echeverría bombarded Mexico’s citizens with in 1972 in his “Año de Juárez.”

Despite the continued affection for Juárez and a shared sense of his national relevance, research trends in Mexico over the past thirty years have moved way from a focus on a stultifying historia patria of heroes and villains and toward economic, socio-ethnic, and cultural approaches set within local, regional, and, more recently, “Atlantic” and global contexts, leaving Benito Juárez somewhat stranded as a ghostly reminder of a heroic past. No biography appeared in the bicentennial year, or has since, that is comparable to Justo Sierra’s magnificent Juárez: Su obra y su tiempo (1905).114 The competitive research world of the early 21st century, with its short production cycles and grant-funded team work, seems to militate against weighty biographies. There is no recent biography that compares with Brian Hamnett’s Juárez (1994) in depth and breadth of analysis. Fortunately, however, such was Juárez’s national prominence and peripatetic presence across the territory during the middle decades of the 19th century that many historians since the 1990s have appreciated his contribution to the local scene, if not centrally, then often obliquely.

The interest in and affection for Juárez, yet reluctance to explore his career in depth, may be partly explained by the impassive and reserved demeanor he adopted once he took up the reins of government. His frank and lively personal memoir, written around 1860, is a wonderful source for understanding his childhood, education, and early career, but it ends abruptly in the autumn of 1857 with his return to Mexico City to assume the presidency of the Supreme Court.115 Luis Medina finds little in his copious official correspondence116 to reveal the man behind the calm and impassive mask:

He wrote in an arid official language with multiple legal references. What stands out is the cold blade of the legality and majestic parsimony of supreme republican power. Juárez does not entrust his personal reactions or more drastic orders to the written word. The hardest and most difficult decisions he managed through verbal instructions imparted to envoys, messengers and agents who came and went with all the most important aspects of the communication of the moment; or he allowed his ministers to sense his mood and opinion in a personal letter to the recipients of such and such an order, disposition or measure. He never exercised an abrupt or categorical order. He exercised the hard part of leadership orally. All that was signed by him was for History, exalting his presidential and republican greatness.117

Moving from primary to secondary sources, recommended syntheses of the Reform period in English are those by Pani, Hamnett, Vanderwood, and Wasserman, bolstering the classic accounts of Scholes and Sinkin.118 Silvestre Villegas Revueltas and Pani show how useful a shift of focus from puros to moderate Liberals, Conservatives, and monarchists can be for making sense of the Reform.119 The memory and commemoration of Juárez remain a fertile area of the historiography.120 The images and cultural meaning of Juárez have received some attention.121 How the secularizing and confessional aspects of the Reform affected the religious beliefs of Mexicans has been attracting attention.122 Because it was largely a legal and constitutional revolution, the political and legal aspects of the Reform have rarely been neglected by historians.123 Nor has the international context of the Reform Wars and the intervention.124 Regional history and microhistory have been the primary direction of scholarship since the 1970s, Juárez’s home state of Oaxaca being a particular focus of attention.125 As a national leader over fifteen years and a prime patriotic symbol ever since, Juárez’s impact in other regions has also been traced.126

Primary Sources

  • Benavides Hinojosa, Artemio, ed. Correspondencia Benito Juárez, Santiago Vidaurri, 1855–1864. Vol. 3 of Historia del Noreste Mexicano: Anuario del Archivo General del Estado de Nuevo León. Monterrey: Archivo General del Estado de Nuevo León, 2005.
  • Cosío Villegas, Emma, ed. Diario personal de Matías Romero (1855–1865). Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1960.
  • Galeana, Patricia, ed. La correspondencia entre Benito Juárez y Margarita Maza. Mexico City: Secretaría de Cultura del Gobierno del Distrito Federal, 2006.
  • González y González, Luis, Eduardo Turrent y Díaz, Jorge Valle Ruiz, and Francisco Montellano, eds., Epistolario liberal: en el archivo histórico del Banco de México: Benito Juárez, Matías Romero: correspondencia 1856–1872. Mexico City: Banco de México, 2003.
  • Juárez García, Benito. “Apuntes para mis hijos.” In Lecturas históricas mexicanas. Edited by Ernesto de la Torre Villar, vol. 2, 220–249. Mexico City: Empresas Editoriales, 1965.
  • Juárez García, Benito. Semblanza y correspondencia. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003.
  • Mendieta Alatorre, Angeles, ed. A Margarita Maza de Juárez: Epistolario, antología, iconografía, efemérides. Mexico City: Comisión Nacional para la conmemoración del centenario del fallecimiento de don Benito Juárez, 1972.
  • Mejía, Francisco, Memorias. Mexico City: Senado de la República, 2004.
  • Puig Casauranc, J., ed. Archivo privado de D. Benito Juárez y D. Pedro Santacilia. Mexico City, 1928.
  • Tamayo, Jorge L., ed. Benito Juárez: Documentos, discursos y correspondencia. 15 vols. Mexico City: Secretaría del Patrimonio Nacional, 1964–1971.
  • Tamayo, Jorge L., ed. Epistolario de Benito Juárez. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2006.
  • Torre Villar, Ernesto de la, ed. Correspondencia Juárez-Santacilla: 1858–1867. Mexico City: Secretaría de Marina, 1972.
  • Torre Villar, Ernesto de la. El triunfo de la república liberal, 1857–1860. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1960.

Links to Digital Materials

Further Reading

  • Allen Smart, Charles. Viva Juarez! The Founder of Modern Mexico: A Biography. New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1963.
  • Ballard Perry, Laurens. Juárez and Díaz: Machine Politics in Mexico. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1978.
  • Berry, Charles R. The Reform in Oaxaca Microhistory of the Liberal Revolution. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981.
  • Blancarte, Roberto. “El modelo de laicidad de Benito Juárez.” In Juárez: Historia y mito. Edited by Josefina Zoraida Vázquez, 269–292. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2010.
  • Cadenhead, Ivie E. Benito Juárez. New York: Twayne, 1973.
  • Cosío Villegas, Daniel. La Constitución de 1857 y sus críticos. Mexico City: Sep-setentas, 1973.
  • Covo, Jacqueline. Las ideas de la reforma en México 1855–1861. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1983.
  • González Navarro, Moisés. Benito Juárez. 2 vols. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2006.
  • Hamnett, Brian R. Juárez: Profiles in Power. Harlow, UK: Longman. 1994.
  • Hernández López, Conrado, and Israel Arroyo, eds. Las rupturas de Juárez. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2007.
  • Hernández Silva, Héctor, ed. Los mil rostros de Juárez y del liberalismo mexicano. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Público, 2006.
  • Ohmstede, Antonio Escobar, ed. Los Pueblos Indios en los tiempos de Benito Juárez (1847–1872). Mexico City: University Autónoma Metropolitana, 2007.
  • Roeder, Ralph. Juárez and His Mexico: A Biographical History. New York: Viking, 1947.
  • Sánchez Silva, Carlos, ed. La formación política de Benito Juárez. Mexico City: University Autónoma Metropolitana, 2007.
  • Scholes, Walter V. Mexican Politics during the Juárez Regime, 1855–1872. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1969.
  • Sierra, Justo . Juárez: Su obra y su tiempo. Mexico City: J. Ballescá, 1905.
  • Sinkin, Richard N. The Mexican Reform, 1855–1876: A Study in Liberal Nation-Building. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979.
  • Zoraida Vázquez, Josefina, ed. Juárez: Historia y mito. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2010.
  • Weeks, Charles A. The Juárez Myth in Mexico. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 1987.


  • 1. Charles A. Weeks, The Juárez Myth in Mexico (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1987). See the essays by Josefina Zoraida Vazquez, Erika Pani, and (especially) Manuel Ceballos Ramirez, in Juarez: Historia y mito, ed. Josefina Zoraida Vazquez (Mexico City: El Colegio de Mexico, 2010). For Porfirio Díaz’s promotion of the Juárez myth, Luis Medina Peña, Invención del sistema político mexicano: Formas de gobierno y gobernabilidad en México en el siglo XIX (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2004), 319–320.

  • 2. La Jornada (Mexico City), March 22, 2006.

  • 3. Measured by share of the vote in presidential elections, Juárez saw his popularity increase, from 55 percent in 1861 to 72 percent in 1867, and then fall to 47 percent in 1871. Daniel Cosío Villegas, La Constitución de 1857 y sus críticos (Mexico City: Sep-setentas, 1973), 133–136.

  • 4. Benito Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Ernesto de la Torre Villar (Mexico City: Empresas Editoriales, 1965), 2:249. Brian Hamnett argues that despite the austere civilian image, Juárez was throughout his career acutely aware of military authority and the need for the civil authorities to monopolize armed force and deploy it effectively. Brian R. Hamnett, Juárez: Profiles in Power (Harlow, UK: Longman. 1994), 39–40.

  • 5. Luis Medina Peña, Los bárbaros del Norte: Guardia Nacional y política en Nuevo León, siglo XIX (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2014), 285–289.

  • 6. Paul Garner, “The Civilian and the General, 1867–1911,” in A Companion to Mexican History and Culture, ed. William H. Beezley (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 288–301.

  • 7. Lorenzo de Zavala, Viage a los Estados-Unidos del Norte de América (Paris: Imprenta de Decourchant, 1834), cited in Guy Thomson, “Mexican Liberals and the Uses of the United States, 1829–1910,” in Americanisms: Discourses of Exception, Exclusion, Exchange, ed. Michael Steppatt (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag, 2009), 304–306.

  • 8. Hamnett, Juárez, 180; Miguel Ángel González Quiroga, “La patria en peligro: Juárez en Monterrey,” and Luis Aboites Aguilar, “Juárez en Chihuahua en Chihuahua: La dificultad de la nación,” in Vázquez, Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Josefina Zoraida (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2010), 459–493, 495–507; and Luis Medina Peña, Los bárbaros del Norte.

  • 9. Barry Carr, “The Peculiarities of the Mexican North 1880–1928: An Essay in Interpretation” (Occasional paper no. 4, Institute of Latin American Studies, Glasgow University, 1971). Spanish edition: “Las peculiaridades del norte Mexicano 1880–1928: Ensayo de interpretación,” Historia Mexicana 22 (1973): 320–346.

  • 10. Thomson, “Mexican Liberals,” in Americanisms, ed. Steppatt, 304–306.

  • 11. Ramón Kuri Camacho, José Francisco Osorno, Líder insurgente en los llanos de Apan y en el departamento de Zacatlán, 1811–1824 (Puebla: Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, 2015).

  • 12. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:226.

  • 13. The term “popular federalism” is used by Peter Guardino, Peasants, Politics and the Formation of Mexico’s National State: Guerrero 1800–1857 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), and Guardino, The Time of Liberty: Popular Political Culture in Oaxaca, 1750–1850 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005); Michael Ducey, A Nation of Villages Riot and Rebellion in the Mexican Huasteca, 1750–1850 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004); Emilio Kouri, A Pueblo Divided Business, Property, and Community in Papantla, Veracruz (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004); Mark Saad Saka, For God and Revolution Priest, Peasant, and Agrarian Socialism in the Mexican Huasteca (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2013); and Paul Hart, Bitter Harvest: The Social Transformation of Morelos, Mexico and the Origins of the Zapatista Revolution, 1840–1910 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005). For a critique of the use of the term for explaining indigenous participation in Guerrero’s political struggles during the 1840s, see Jesús Hernández Jaimes, “Actores indios y estado nacional: Las rebeliones indígenas en el sur de México, 1842–1846,” Estudios de Historia Moderna y Contemporánea de México, Núm. 26, 2003, (this is an online journal).

  • 14. The term Pintos used to describe the southern army is derived from the disease “mal del pinto” present in coastal region of Guerrero, although there is possibly a racial element in the pejorative use of this term by urbanites in the highlands, since many of Álvarez’s troops were of African slave descent.

  • 15. Alicia Hernández, La tradición republicana del buen gobierno (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1993); Romana Falcón, México descalzo: Estrategías de sobrevivencia frente a la modernidad liberal (Mexico City: Plaza y Janés, 2002); Enrique Florescano, Etnia, Estado y Nación Ensayos sobre las identidades colectivas en México (Mexico City: México, 1998); Alicia Hernández and Marcello Carmagnani, “La ciudadanía orgánica mexicana,” in Ciudadanía política y formación de naciones: Perspectivas históricas de América Latina, ed. Hilda Sábato (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1999), 371–404; Alan Knight, “El liberalismo mexicano desde la Reforma hasta la Revolución (una interpretación),” Historia Mexicana 35 (1985): 59–85; Florencia Mallon, Peasant and Nation: The Making of Post-Colonial Mexico and Peru (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Guy C. Thomson, Patriotism, Politics and Popular Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: Juan Francisco Lucas and the Puebla Sierra, with David G. LaFrance (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resource, 1999); Yvette Nelen, “Local Government and State Formation in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: The Case of San Pablo Apetatitlán, Tlaxcala,” in The Challenge of Diversity: Indigenous Peoples and Reform of the State in Latin America, eds. Willem Assies, Gemma van der Haar, and André J. Hoekema (Amsterdam: CEDLA, 2000), 153–164; Ariadna Acevedo-Rodrigo, “Playing the Tune of Citizenship: Indian Brass Bands in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, Mexico, 1876–1911,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 27 (2008): 255–272; Acevedo-Rodrigo, “Ritual Literacy: The Simulation of Reading in Rural Indian Mexico, 1870–1930,” Paedagogica Historica 44 (2008): 49–65; and Carlos Barreto Zamudio, Rebeldes y bandoleros en el Morelos del siglo XIX (1856–1876): Un estudio regional (Cuernavaca: Gobierno del Estado de Morelos, 2012).

  • 16. Anastasio Zerecero, Biografía del C. Benito Juárez (Puebla: Imprenta del Gobierno en el Hospicio, 1867). I have used the version edited by Ernesto de la Torre Villar in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, 2:154.

  • 17. Brian Hamnett, “The Comonfort Presidency, 1856–1910,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 15 (1996): 81–100; Erika Pani, “Revolution of Ayutla,” in Encyclopedia of Mexico, ed. Michael S. Werner (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997), 119–121; Jan Bazant, “La iglesia, el estado y la sublevación conservadora de Puebla de 1856,” Historia Mexicana 35 (1985): 93–109; José Roberto Juárez, “La lucha por el poder a la caída de Santa Anna,” Historia Mexicana 10 (1960): 72–93; Walter V. Scholes, “A Revolution Falters, 1856–1857,” Hispanic American Historical Review 32 (1952): 1–21; Edmundo O’Gorman, “Antecedentes y sentido de la revolución de Ayutla,” and Felipe Tena Rodríguez, “Comonfort, los moderados y la Revolución de Ayutla,” in Plan de Ayutla: Conmemoración de su primer centenario, ed. Mario de la Cueva et al. (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1954), 169–204, 285–319; Richard A. Johnson, The Mexican Revolution of Ayutla, 1854–1855: An Analysis of the Evolution and Destruction of Santa Anna’s Last Dictatorship, no.17 (Rock Island, IL: Agustana Library Publications, 1939); Anselmo de la Portilla, Historia de la revolución de México contra la dictadura del General Santa-Anna, 1853–1855 (Mexico City: Imprenta de Vicente García Torres, 1856); and José Herrera Peña, “Juárez en el destierro (1853–1855),” in Benito Juárez en América Latina y el Caribe, eds. Adalberto Santana and Sergio Guerra Vilaboy (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2006), 51–68.

  • 18. Pablo Muñoz Bravo, “‘Largo y sinuoso camino’: La incorporación a la Revolución de Ayutla de los liberales exiliados en Estados Unidos,” Signos Históricos 31 (2014): 160–190; and Felipe Tena Rodríguez, “Comonfort, los moderados y la Revolución de Ayutla,” in Plan de Ayutla, ed. Cueva et al., 285–319.

  • 19. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:239.

  • 20. Justo Sierra chose this encounter between Alvarez and Juárez for the prologue of his centennial biography. Justo Sierra, Juárez: Su obra y su tiempo (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1971), 3.

  • 21. For this anecdote, see Mark Wasserman, Everyday Life and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico: Men, Women and War (Alburquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000), 4.

  • 22. Muñoz Bravo, “Largo y sinuoso camino.”

  • 23. Hamnett, Juárez, 53; Ralph Roeder, Juárez y su México (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1972), 158–159; Ivie E. Cadenhead, Benito Juárez y su época: Ensayo histórico sobre su importancia (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1975); and Charles Allen Smart, Juárez (Mexico City: Grijalvo, 1971).

  • 24. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar.

  • 25. Pablo Mijangos y González, The Lawyer of the Church: Bishop Clemente de Munguía and the Clerical Response to the Mexican Liberal Reform (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015), 140–141, 147–148.

  • 26. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:239–241.

  • 27. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:241.

  • 28. Thomson, “Mexican Liberals,” Steppat, Americanisms, 304–306.

  • 29. Karen D. Caplan, Indigenous Citizens: Local Liberalism in Early National Oaxaca and Yucatán (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010).

  • 30. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar.

  • 31. Contemporaries and historians have remarked on Juárez’s impassiveness, coldness, and stubbornness, qualities believed to have derived from his Zapotec ancestry. Rafael Rojas, “Juárez: Un legado en disputa,” Letras Libres, May 2001, 44–46; and Manuel Ceballos Ramíres, “Del impasible al republicano: Cien años de juarismo y anti-juarismo en la historiografía mexicana,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 59–88.

  • 32. Sierra, Juárez, 3.

  • 33. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:224.

  • 34. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:222–223.

  • 35. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:223–230.

  • 36. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:224–225, 230–231.

  • 37. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar.

  • 38. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar. For party factionalism in Antequera, Guardino, Time of Liberty, 156–222.

  • 39. Juarez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:228.

  • 40. Juarez, in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:229.

  • 41. Annick Lémperiére, “La formación de las elites liberales en el México del siglo XIX: Instituto de Ciencias y Artes del estado de Oaxaca,” Secuencia 30 (1994): 57–94; and Guardino, Time of Liberty, 216.

  • 42. Guardino, Time of Liberty, 217.

  • 43. For party factionalism in Oaxaca, Guardino, Time of Liberty, 156–222.

  • 44. Juarez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:229.

  • 45. Hamnett, Juárez, 24.

  • 46. Hamnett, Juárez, 231.

  • 47. Hamnett, Juárez, 233.

  • 48. Zerecero, Biografía, 152.

  • 49. Hamnett, Juárez, 27–28.

  • 50. Juárez, age thirty-seven, married Mararita Maza, age seventeen, in the church of San Felipe Neri, Oaxac, on July 31, 1843. They had eleven children, five of whom reached adulthood. Two died in New York during Margarita’s exile and were returned embalmed to be buried in Oaxaca in 1867. Angeles Mendieta Alatorre, ed. A Margarita Maza de Juárez: Epistolario, antología, iconografía, efemérides (Mexico City: Comisión Nacional para la Conmemoración del Centenario del Fallecimiento de don Benito Juárez, 1972).

  • 51. Hamnett, Juárez, 32–34.

  • 52. La Redacción, “Del Juárez masón a Guillermo Tell,” Proceso no. 2103, April 3, 2006; Carlos Francisco Martínez Moreno, “Benito Juárez: ¿más que un Aprendiz de Masón?,” En-claves del Pensamiento, June, 2008; Maria Eugenia Vazquez Semadeni, “Juarez y la Masoneria,” in “Juárez Desconocido,” special number, Metapolítica 10, no. 46 (March–April 2006); and Vazquez Semadeni, “La masonería durante el período juarista,” in Las rupturas de Juárez, eds. Conrado Hernández López and Israel Arroyo (Oaxaca: Universidad Autónoma “Benito Juárez,” 2007), 287–312.

  • 53. Mario Morales Charris, “Recordando a Benito Juárez en el bicentenario de su nacimiento,” August 24, 2007,

  • 54. This little-studied period is analyzed by Moisés González Navarro, Anatomía del poder en México 1848–1853 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1977).

  • 55. For the expansion Liberal district administration in Puebla following the American war, Guy Thomson, “Order through Insurrection: The Rise of the District of Tetela during Mexico’s Liberal Revolution, 1854–1876,” in In Search of a New Order: Essays on the Politics and Society of Nineteenth-Century Latin America, ed. Eduardo Posada-Carbó (London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1998), 84–106.

  • 56. Hamnett, Juárez, 52–55.

  • 57. Carlos Sánchez Silva, “Juárez, gobernador de Oaxaca, y la administración política de los pueblos de indios, 1847–1857,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 415–430.

  • 58. Luis Medina Peña, Los bárbaros del Norte: Guardia Nacional y política en Nuevo León, siglo XIX (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2014), 329.

  • 59. Juárez, “Apuntes par mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:157.

  • 60. Hamnett, Juárez, 34–45; Sánchez Silva, “Juárez, gobernador de Oaxaca,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 415–430; Caplan, Indigenous Citizens, 149–180; and Robert Pastor, Campesinos y reformas, La Mixteca, 1700–1856 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1987).

  • 61. Charles V. Heath, The Inevitable Bandstand: The State Band of Oaxaca and the Politics of Sound (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015), 23–33.

  • 62. Marcello Carmagnani, Estado y mercado la economía pública del liberalismo mexicano, 1850–1911 (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1994).

  • 63. Juárez dwells at length on his various prisons in Veracruz in 1853. Five months of incarceration followed by one and half years of exile, was the start a fifteen-year period during which, for much of the time, he lived a peripatetic life apart from his family. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:237–239.

  • 64. Hamnett sees the law as a blow to the independence of the judiciary and to the role the legislature had played in the selection of magistrates. “Juárez subordinated the court to the requirements of the Reform. His action clearly revealed a belief that only strong executive power could carry through the Liberal programme.” Hamnett, Juárez, 61; and Linda Arnold, “La política de la justicia: Los vencedores de Ayutla y la Suprema Corte mexicana,” Historia Mexicana 39 (1989): 441–473.

  • 65. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:244.

  • 66. Hamnett, Juárez, 96.

  • 67. Hamnett, Juárez, 96–97; and Mijangos y González, Lawyer of the Church.

  • 68. Guy Thomson, “The End of the “Catholic Nation”: Reform and Reaction in Puebla, 1854–1856,” in Malcontents, Rebels, and Pronunciados: The Politics of Insurrection in Nineteenth-Century Mexico, ed. Will Fowler (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2012), 148–170.

  • 69. Richard N. Sinkin, The Mexican Reform, 1855–1876: A Study in Liberal Nation-Building (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979)

  • 70. In 1888, the 1857 Constitution was translated into Nahuatl in Puebla. François-Xavier Guerra, Le Mexique: De l’ancien régime à la révolution (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1985), 1:27.

  • 71. Ernesto de la Torre Villar, El triunfo de la república liberal, 1857–1860 (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultural Económica, 1960), x–xi.

  • 72. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, ed. Torre Villar, 2:248.

  • 73. Hamnett, Juárez, 75–79; Carlos Sánchez Silva, “Benito Juárez gobernador de Oaxaca o la obsesión por el poder, 1847–1857,” in La formación política de Benito Juárez, ed. Carlos Sánchez Silva (Mexico City: University Autónoma Metropolitana, 2007); and Sánchez Silva, “Juárez, gobernador de Oaxaca,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 415–430.

  • 74. Thomson, Patriotism, Politics, 32.

  • 75. translated by Hamnett, Juárez, 77.

  • 76. James A. Saunders, The Vanguard of the Atlantic World: Creating Modernity, Nation, and Democracy in Nineteenth-Century Latin America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014); and Guillermo Palacios and Erika Pani, eds., El poder y la sangre: Guerra, estado y nación en la década de 1860 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2014).

  • 77. Hamnett, Juárez, 51–52; Ernesto de la Torre Villar, ed. Correspondencia Juárez-Santacilla: 1858–1867 (Mexico City: Secretaría de Marina, 1972); Mendieta Alatorre, ed. A Margarita Maza de Juárez; Patricia Galeana, ed. La correspondencia entre Benito Juárez y Margarita Maza (Mexico City: Secretaría de Cultura del Gobierno del Distrito Federal, 2006); Julia Tuñón, “Estimado … Sr. presidente Benito Juárez,” Historias 66–67 (2007): 135–137; and Vicente Quirarte, “Liberales Mexicanos en Nueva York, 1864–1867,” in Cultura liberal, México y España 1860–1930, eds. Aurora Cano Andaluz, Manuel Suárez Cortina, and Evelia Trejo Estrada (Santander, Spain: Universidad de Cantabria, 2010), 181–200.

  • 78. Abelardo Villegas, “Juárez,” in Los hombres de la historia: La historia universal a través de sus propagandistas (Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1970), 40, cited in Silvestre Villegas Revueltas, “Doce años de reforma (1855–1867): Reflexiones en torno a tres cuestiones fundamentales,” in Interpretaciones del periódo de Reforma y Segundo Imperio, ed. Josefina Zoraida Vázquez (Mexico City: Patria, 2007), 185.

  • 79. Carmen Blázquez Domínguez, “El gabinete juarista y su residencia en el puerto de Veracruz durante la guerra de Reforma,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 435–459.

  • 80. Hamnett, Juárez, 177–178.

  • 81. Hamnett, Juárez, 180

  • 82. Hamnett, Juárez, 189–195.

  • 83. Villegas Revueltas, “Doce años de reforma,” 185.

  • 84. Brian Hamnett, “Imagen, Método, Trascendencia,” Letras Libres 3.29 (2001): 14.

  • 85. Guy C. Thomson, La Sierra de Puebla en la política mexicana del siglo XIX (Puebla: Educación y Cultura, 2010), 15–38.

  • 86. Lucy Riall, Garibaldi Invention of a Hero (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007).

  • 87. Jaime del Arenal Fenochio, “Juárez: Uso y abuso de las facultades extraordinarias,” in Juárez: Historía y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 163–176; José Antonio Aguilar Rivera, El manto liberal: Los poderes de emergencia en México, 1821–1876 (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2001); Brian Hamnett, “Benito Juárez: Técnicas para permanecer en el poder,” in Presidentes mexicanos, vol. 1, ed. Will Fowler, Biblioteca del INEHRM (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, 2004).

  • 88. Hamnett, Juárez, 198–234.

  • 89. Frank S. Falcone, “Benito Juárez versus the Díaz Brothers: Politics in Oaxaca, 1867–1871,” The Americas 33 (1977): 630–651.

  • 90. Emergency powers were restored for short periods in May 1868 and January 1870. Vázquez, “Los partidos y la consolidación,” 36; Andrés Lira, “Juárez y la Reforma de la Constitución,” in Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 149–161; Mallon, Peasant and Nation, 249–251; Laurens Ballard Perry, Juárez and Díaz: Machine Politics in Mexico (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1978), 38–44, 54–55; and Thomson, Patriotism, Politics, 127–200.

  • 91. Freedom of the press was suspended in 1870 for “those writings which directly or indirectly affect independence, public order or the prestige of the powers (el prestigio de los poderes),” Vázquez, “Los partidos y la consolidación,” in Interpretaciones del periodo, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 36; and Elías José Palti, La invención de una legitimidad: Razón y retórica en el pensamiento mexicano del siglo XIX (un estudio sobre las formas del discurso político) (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005), 291–460.

  • 92. Silvia Marina Arrom, “Mexican Laywomen Spearhead a Catholic Revival: The Ladies of Charity, 1863–1910,” in Religious Culture in Modern Mexico, ed. Martin Austin Nesvig (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), 60.

  • 93. Josefina Zoraida Vázquez, “Los Partidos y la consolidación del Estado Mexicano: Reforma y Segundo Imperio,” in Interpretaciones del periodo, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 35.

  • 94. Roberto Blancarte, “El modelo de laicidad de Benito Juárez,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 288–289.

  • 95. Elías José Palti, La invención de una legitimidad, 292; and Guadalupe Muriel, “Reformas Educativas de Gabino Barreda,” Historia Mexicana 13 (1964): 551–577.

  • 96. Leticia Reina, “La leyes de reforma de 1856: ¿Inicio o culminación de un proceso?,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 309–365; Romana Falcón, “Pueblos comuneros en una era de transición: Contrapuntos durante el Imperio y la República,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 367–390; J. Edgar Mendoza García, “Las cofradías de la Mixteca Alta ante el embate liberal del siglo XIX,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 391–411; Antonio Escobar Ohmstede, ed., Los Pueblos Indios en los tiempos de Benito Juárez (1847–72) (Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2007); J. Edgar Mendoza García, “La desamortización de la propiedad comunal en los pueblos chocholtecos, 1856–1900,” in La desamortización civil en Oaxaca: Colección del bicentenario del nacimiento de Benito Juárez, ed. Carlo Sánchez Silva (Oaxaca: Universidad Autónoma “Benito Juárez” de Oaxaca, 2007), 65–102; Helga Baitenmann, “Ejerciendo la justicia fuera de los tribunales: De las reivindicaciones decimonónicas a las restituciones de la reforma agraria,” Historia Mexicana 65 (2017), 2013–2072; Antonio Escobar Ohmstede, Romana Falcón, Martén Sánchez Rodríguez, eds., La desamortización civil desde perspectivas plurales (Mexico City: El Colegio de Michoacán, 2017); Romana Falcón, “Litigios interminables: Indígenas y comuneros ante la justicia agraria liberal (1857–1928),” in Sociedades en movimiento: Los pueblos indígenas de América Latina en el siglo XIX, eds. Raúl J. Mandrini, Antonio Escobar Ohmstede, and Sara Ortelli (Tandil, Argentina: Instituto de Estudios Históricos Sociales, 2007), 81–97; Romana Falcón, “El arte de la petición: Ituales de obediencia y negociación, México, segunda mitad del siglo XIX,” in Hispanic American Historical Review 86.3 (2006): 467–500; J. Eduardo Zárate Hernández, “Comunidad, reformas liberales y emergencia del indígena moderno: Pueblos de la Meseta Purépecha (1864–1904),” Relaciones 32 (2011): 17–52; Daniela Marino, “La fuerza de la ley: Leyes, justicias y resistencias en la imposición de la propiedad privada en México, segunda mitad del siglo XIX,” in Sangre de ley: Justicia y violencia en la institucionalización del Estado en América Latina, siglo XIX, eds. Marta Irurozqui and Miriam Galante (Madrid: Polifemo, 2011), 203–234; Daniela Marino, “‘La medida de su existencia’: La abolición de las comunidades indígenas y el juicio de amparo en el contexto desamortizador (Centro de México, 1856–1910),” Revista de Indias 76 (2016): 287–313; and Robert J. Knowlton, “La división de las tierras de los pueblos durante el siglo XIX: El caso de Michoacán,” Historia Mexicana 40 (1990): 3–25.

  • 97. Francie R. Chassen-López, From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca: The View from the South, Mexico 1867–1911 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004), 89–90; Hamnett, Juárez, 67–68; and Manuel Esparza, “Los proyectos de los liberales en Oaxaca (1856–1910),” in Historia de la cuestión agraria en Oaxaca (1887–1922), ed. Leticia Reina (Mexico City: Juan Pablos Editor, S.A., 1988), 294.

  • 98. Patrick J. McNamara, Sons of the Sierra: Juárez, Díaz, and the People of Ixtlán, Oaxaca, 1855–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), 34.

  • 99. Jan Bazant, “Secuestro por infidencia, 1863–1867,” Historia Mexicana 32 (1983): 554–557. For confiscation of the latifundio of the Sánchez Navarro family in 1865, Hamnett, Juárez, 176–177; for the evocation of patriotic service by the indigenous peasants in the Sierra Tarahumara during the French intervention to bolster land claims, Alonso Domínguez Rascón, “Juárez: Historia y tradición en el Chihuahua indígena,” in Los Pueblos Indios, ed. Escobar Ohmstede, 299–327.

  • 100. Thomson, Politics, Patriotism, 175–182; and Mallon, Peasant and Nation.

  • 101. Juárez, Semblanza y correspondencia (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003), 35.

  • 102. Andrés Becerril, “La distinción a Benito Juárez, por un supuesto intercambio epistolar con Maximiliano,” Excelsior, May 2, 2015.

  • 103. Jürgen Buchenau, “Foreign Policy, 1821–76,” in Concise Encyclopedia of Mexico, ed. Michael S. Werner (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001), 219.

  • 104. José López Bermúdez, introduction to Juárez, Semblanza y correspondencia, 15–18.

  • 105. Romana Falcón, El jefe político: Un dominio negociado en el mundo rural del Estado de México, 1856–1911 (Mexico City: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 2015).

  • 106. Charles A. Weeks, The Juárez Myth in Mexico (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 1987).

  • 107. John Radley Milstead, “Party of the Century: Juárez, Díaz, and the End of the ‘Unifying Liberal Myth’ in 1906 Oaxaca” (master’s thesis, East Tennessee State University, 2012), 67; and McNamara, Sons of the Sierra, 158–166.

  • 108. Milstead, “Party of the Century,” 68–72.

  • 109. A useful bibliographical essay on the state of the literature on Benito Juárez in 1994 is found in Brian R. Hammett, Juárez (Harlow, UK: Longman. 1994), 244–251.

  • 110. For fresh views on Juárez written shortly after the accession of PAN leader Vicente Fox to power in 2000, see essays by Moisés González Navarro, Andrés Henestrosa, Brian Hamnett, Enrique Krauze, Carlos Monsiváis and Rafael Rojas in “Ecos de Juárez,” special issue, Letras Libres 3, no. 29 (2001).

  • 111. Juárez, Semblanza y correspondencia (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003), 35.

  • 112. Conrado Hernández López and Carlos Sánchez Silva, “Juárez desconocido,” Metapolítica 46 (2006); Daniel Cosío Villegas, “Por qué admiro a Juárez,” Metapolítica 46 (2006); David A. Brading, “Juárez: Conductor de hombres,” Letras Libres 7 (2006): 50–54; Hernández López and Arroyo, Las rupturas de Juárez; Zoraida Vázquez, Juárez: Historia y mito; Héctor Hernández Silva, ed., Los mil rostros de Juárez y del liberalismo mexicano (Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Público, 2006); Sánchez Silva, La desamortización civil en Oaxaca; Sánchez Silva, La formación política de Benito Juárez, 1818–1872; Josefina Zoraida Vázquez, Juárez, el republicano (Mexico City: Secretaria de Educación Pública, 2006); and María del Carmen Vázquez Mantecón, Muerte y vida eterna de Benito Juárez (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2006).

  • 113. Juan Sánchez, Vida literaria del Benemérito de las Américas C. Lic. Benito Juárez (Oaxaca: Imprenta del Estado, 1902); Adalberto Carriedo, Biografía de Juárez: Que deberá ser leída en todas las escuelas del estado de Oaxaca, el 21 de Marzo de 1906 (Oaxaca: Ediciones de la Universidad “Benito Juárez” de Oaxaca, 1971); Francisco G. Cosmes, El verdadero Bulnes y su falso Juárez (Mexico City: Talleres de Tipografía, 1904); Ramón Prida, Juárez: Como lo pinta el Diputado Bulnes y como lo describe la historia (Mexico City: Imprenta de Eusebio Sánchez, 1904); Genaro García, Juárez: Refutación a Don Francisco Bulnes (Mexico City: Librería de la Viuda de Charles H. Bouret, 1904); Francisco Bulnes, Juárez y las revoluciones de Ayutla y de Reforma, 2nd ed. (Mexico City: Editorial Milenario, 1967), originally published in 1905 by Antigua Imprenta de Murguia, Mexico City; and Bulnes, El verdadero Juárez y la verdad sobre la intervención y el imperio, 2nd. ed. (Mexico City: Ediciones Ateneo, 1989). The first edition of El verdadero Juárez was published in 1904 by Librería de la Viuda de Charles H. Bouret. Andrés Portillo, Oaxaca en el Centenario de la Independencia Nacional: Noticias históricas y estadísticas de la Ciudad de Oaxaca, y algunas leyendas tradicionales (Oaxaca: Imprenta del Estado, 1910); Ignacio Mariscal, Juárez y el libro de Bulnes (1904); Carlos Pereyra, Juárez discutido como dictador y estadista a propósito de los errores, paradoja y fantasías del Sr. Don Francisco Bulnes (Mexico City: Económica, 1904); and Moisés Guzmán Pérez, “Benito Juárez y Francisco Bulnes desde la mirada de un escritor jacobino,” in Las rupturas de Juárez, eds. Hernández López and Arroyo, 253–286.

  • 114. Sierra, Juárez.

  • 115. Juárez, “Apuntes para mis hijos,” in Lecturas históricas mexicanas, Torre Villar, 2:220–249. The earliest biographies of Juárez depend heavily on this memoir: Anastasio Zerecero, Biografía del C. Benito Juárez (Puebla: Imprenta del Gobierno en el Hospicio, 1867). A more recent edition was published by H. Ayuntamiento del Municipio de Puebla de Zaragoza in 1972. Gustavo Baz, Vida de Benito Juárez (Puebla: Editorial José M. Cajica Jr., 1972). This was originally published in 1874. Ricardo Pérez Verdía, Juárez (el impasible) (Mexico City: Espasa Calpe, 1949).

  • 116. Jorge L Tamayo, ed. Juárez: Documentos, discursos y correspondencia, 15 vols. (Mexico City: Secretaría del Patrimonio Nacional, 1964–1971).

  • 117. Luis Medina Peña, Los bárbaros del Norte: Guardia Nacional y política en Nuevo León, siglo XIX (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2014), 322–323.

  • 118. Erika Pani, “Republicans and Monarchists, 1848–1867,” in Companion to Mexican History, ed. Beezley, 273–287; Brian R. Hamnett, “Benito Juárez, Early Liberalism, and the Regional Politics of Oaxaca, 1828–1853,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 10 (1991): 3–21; Hamnett, “Liberalism Divided: Regional Politics and the National Project during the Mexican Restored Republic 1867–76,” Hispanic American Historical Review 76 (1996): 659–689; Paul Vanderwood, “Betterment for Whom? The Reform Period: 1855–1875,” in The Oxford History of Mexico, eds. Michael C. Meyer and William H. Beezley (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 371–396; Mark Wasserman, Everyday Life and Politics in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Men, Women and War (Alburquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000); Walter V. Scholes, Mexican Politics during the Juárez Regime, 1855–1872 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1969); and Sinkin, Mexican Reform, 1855–1876.

  • 119. Silvestre Villegas Revueltas, “Doce años de reforma (1855–1867): Reflexiones en torno a tres cuestiones fundamentales,” in Interpretaciones del periódo, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 159–200; Villegas Revueltas, El liberalismo moderado en México, 1852–1864 (México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1997); Erika Pani, Para mexicanizar el Segundo Imperio: El imaginario político de los imperialistas (Mexico City: Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora, 2001); and Pani, “La innombrable: Monarquismo y cultura política en el México decimonónico,” in Prácticas populares, cultura política y poder en México, siglo XIX, ed. Brian Connaughton (México: Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa, 2008), 369–394.

  • 120. Weeks, The Juárez Myth; Milstead, “Party of the Century”; Manuel Romero de Terreros, “Los funerales de Juárez,” Historia Mexicana 7 (1957): 216–220; Mary Kay Vaughan, “The Construction of the Patriotic Festival in Tecamachalco, Puebla, 1900–1946,” in Rituals of Rule, Rituals of Resistance: Public Celebrations and Popular Culture in Mexico, eds. William H. Beezley, Cheryl English Martin, and William E. French (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1994), 213–246; Nora Pérez-Rayón, “The Capital Commemorates Independence at the Turn of the Century,” in ¡Viva Mexico!¡Viva La Independencia! Celebrations of September 16, eds. William H. Beezley and David E. Lorey (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2001), 141–166; and Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, Visions of the Emerald City: Modernity, Tradition, and the Formation of Porfirian Oaxaca, Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

  • 121. Brian Hamnett, “Imagen, método, trascendencia”; Carlos Monsiváis, “Benito Juárez: Informe sobre la conveniencia de una serie televisa”; and Andrés Henestrosa, “Nacer para estatua,” all in Letras Libres 3.29 (2001), 12–19, 32–38, 60–69; Rafael Barajas, La historia de un país en caricatura: La caricatura mexicana en combate, 1829–1872 (Mexico City: Conaculta, 2000); and Milada Bazant, ed., Ni héroes ni villanos: Retrato e imagen de personajes mexicanos del siglo XIX (Mexico City: El Colegio Mexiquense, 2005).

  • 122. Manuel Olimón Molasco, “La leyes liberales como conflicto de conciencia: Reflexión inicial,” in El buen ciudadano: Benito Juárez, 1806–2006, ed. Estela Guadalupe Jiménez Codinach (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 2006), 65–80; Jaime Olveda, ed., Los obispados de México frente a la Reforma liberal (Zapopam: El Colegio de Jalisco, 2007); Daniela Traffano, Indios, curas y nación: La sociedad indígena frente a la secularización, Oaxaca, siglo XIX (Turin, Italy: Otto, 2001); Brian Connaughton, “The Enemy Within: Catholics and Liberalism in Independent Mexico, 1821–1860,” in The Divine Charter: Constitutionalism and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Mexico, ed. Jaime E. Rodríguez (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), 183–202; I. T. G. Powell, “Priest and Peasant in Central Mexico: Social Conflict during ‘La Reforma,’” Hispanic American Historical Review 57, no. 2 (1977): 304–310; Pamela Voekel, Alone before God: The Religious Origins of Modernity in Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002); Voekel, “Liberal Religion: The Schism of 1861,” in Religious Culture in Modern Mexico, ed. Martin Austin Nesvig (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007), 78–105; Edward N. Wright-Rios, Revolutions in Mexican Catholicism: Reform and Revelation in Oaxaca, 1887–1934 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009); Carlos Monsiváis, Los rituales del caos, 2nd ed. (Mexico City: Era, 2003); Monsiváis, El estado laico y sus malquerientes (crónica/antología) (Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma de México, 2008); Roberto Blancarte, Laicidad y valores en un Estado democrático (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2000); and Monsiváis, “El modelo de laicidad de Benito Juárez,” in Juárez: Historia y Mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 269–292.

  • 123. Martín Quirarte, Relaciones entre Júarez y el Congreso (Mexico City: Miguel Ángel Porrúa-Cámara de Diputados, 2006); Emilio Rabasa, La Constitución y la dictadura: Estudio sobre la organización política de México (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1956); Daniel Cosío Villegas, La Constitución de 1857 y sus críticos (Mexico City: Sepsetentas, 1973); Linda Arnold, “La política de la justicia: Los vencedores de Ayutla y la Suprema Corte mexicana,” Historia Mexicana 39 (1989): 441–473; Lucio Cabrera Acevedo, La Suprema Corte de Justicia a mediados del siglo XIX (Mexico City: La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, 1987); Ivie E. Cadenhead, “González Ortega and the Presidency of Mexico,” Hispanic American Historical Review 32 (1952): 331–346; Covo, Jacqueline, Las ideas de la reforma en México 1855–1861 (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1983); Charles A. Hale, Liberalism in Mexico in the Age of Mora, 1821–1853 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press 1968); Hale, The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1989); Ernesto de la Torre Villár, El triunfo de la República Liberal, 1857–1860 (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1960); Jesús Reyes Heroles, El Liberalismo mexicano, 3 vols. (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1957–1961); Brian Hamnett, “Juárez y la ruptura con Santos Degollado: Su significación,” in Las rupturas de Juárez, ed. Hernández López and Arroyo, 19–38; Conrado Hernández López, “Juárez y los militares,” in Las rupturas de Juárez, ed. Hernández López and Arroyo, 161–181; Edmundo O’Gorman, “Procedentes y sentido de la revolución de Ayutla,” Secuencia 16 (1990): 63–96; Antonia Pi-Suñer Llorens, “Benito Juárez y Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada: De la colaboración a la ruptura, 1863–1872,” in Las rupturas de Juárez, ed. Hernández López and Arroyo, 39–65; and Silvestre Villegas Revueltas, “La ruptura González Ortega-Juárez,” in Las rupturas de Juárez, ed. Hernández López and Arroyo, 67–94.

  • 124. Brian Hamnett, “Benito Juárez: La perspectiva internacional,” in Juárez: Memoria e imagen en el bicentenario de su natalicio (Mexico City: Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Público, 2006), 135–229; José Herrera Peña, “Juárez en el destierro (1853–1855),” in Benito Juárez en América Latina y el Caribe, eds. Adalberto Santana and Sergio Guerra Vilaboy (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2006), 51–68; Palacios and Pani, El poder y la sangre; and Thomson, “Mexican Liberals,” in Americanisms, ed. Steppatt, 301–316.

  • 125. Paul Garner, “The Civilian and the General, 1867–1911,” in Companion to Mexican History, ed. Beezley, 288–301; Gustavo Pérez Jiménez, Historia gráfica del Instituto de Ciencias y Artes erigido en Universidad Autónoma “Benito Juárez” de Oaxaca (Oaxaca: Universidad Autónoma “Benito Juárez” de Oaxaca, 1999); Luis Alberto Arrioja Díaz-Viruell, Leticia Gamboa Ojeda, and Carlos Sánchez Silva, Historia gráfica del Teatro Macedonio Alcalá: Centenario (Oaxaca: Teatro Macedonio Alcalá, 2009); Francie R. Chassen, Los precursores de la revolución en Oaxaca (Oaxaca: Instituto de la Administración Pública de Oaxaca, 1985); Chassen, From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca: The View from the South; Mexico, 1867–1911 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004); and Chassen, “El desarrollo económico de Oaxaca a finales del Porfiriato,” with Héctor G. Martínez, in Lecturas históricas del estado de Oaxaca, vol. 4, 1877–1930, ed. Maria de los Angeles Romero Frizzi (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1990), 47–72; Manuel Esparza, “Los proyectos de los liberales en Oaxaca (1856–1910),” in Historia de la cuestión agraria en Oaxaca,1887–1922, ed. Leticia Reina (Mexico City: Juan Pablos Editor, S.A., 1988), 271–339; and Sánchez Silva, “Juárez, gobernador de Oaxaca,” in Juárez: Historia y mito, ed. Zoraida Vázquez, 415–430.

  • 126. Miguel Galindo y Galindo, La gran década nacional, 1857–1867, 3 vols. (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución, 1987); Thomson, Patriotism, Politics; Medina Peña, Los bárbaros del Norte; Cesar Morado Macías, Santiago Vidaurri: El poder en los tiempos de cólera (Monterrey: Gobierno del estado de Nuevlo León, 1994); Jorge Pedraza Salinas, Juárez en Monterrey (Monterrey: Editorial Alfonso Reyes, 1872); Luis Aboites Aguilar, “José Fuentes Mares y la historiografía del norte de México: Una aproximación desde Chihuahua (1850–1957),” Historia Mexicana 69 (2000): 477–507; Francisco R. Almada, Juárez y Terrazas: Aclaraciones históricas (Mexico City: Libros Mexicanos, 1957); Flor de María Salazar Mendoza, Dos estancias de Benito Juárez en San Luis Potosí, 1863 y 1867 (San Luis Potosí: Gobierno del Estado de San Luis Potosí, 2007); Carmen Blázquez Domínguez, Veracruz Liberal, 1858–1860 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1986); Sebastián I. Campos, Recuerdos históricos de la ciudad de Veracruz y costa de Sotovento del estado durante la campaña de Tres años: La Intervención y el Imperio, 3 vols. (Mexico City: Oficinas Tipográficas de la Secretaria de Fomento, 1895); and José Luis Melgarejo Vivanco, Juárez en Veracruz (Xalapa: Gobierno de Veracruz, 1972).