Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada y Corral
Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of...
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...
, April 24, 1823 – April 21, 1889 in New York City) was a jurist and Liberal president of Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...
He was born in Jalapa, Veracruz, into a Criollo
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...
family. After studying five years of theology as a scholarship student in the Palafoxiano Seminary in Puebla he received minor orders, but decided not to enter the priesthood. In 1851 he graduated with a law degree from the Colegio de San Idelfonso in Mexico City, a famed institution he ended up directing at the age of 29 (1852–53).
In 1855 he served as a prosecutor before the Supreme Court. He became known as a Liberal leader and a supporter of President Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...
. In 1857 he was minister of foreign affairs for three months under Ignacio Comonfort
Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos was a Mexican politician and military officer who served as President of Mexico....
and he became president of the Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Congress of the Union, Mexico's bicameral legislature. The structure and responsibilities of both chambers of Congress are defined in Articles 50 to 70 of the current constitution.-Composition:The Chamber of Deputies is composed of one federal...
in 1861. He opposed the Wyke-Zamacona Convention to resume debt payments to Britain. This convention was defeated in Congress.
During the French intervention
The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...
and the reign of Emperor Maximilian he continued to be loyal to the republicans, and had an active share in conducting the national resistance. In the face of the French invaders, the Republican government was forced to abandon the capital on May 31, 1863. The government continued at one place or another within the country, but never left the country during Maximilian's reign.
On September 12, 1863 in San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....
Lerdo de Tejada was named minister of foreign affairs, of the interior and of justice in Juárez's cabinet. He held these posts until January 17, 1871, January 14, 1868 and September 11, 1863, respectively. Throughout the French occupation and Maximilian's Second Empire, Lerdo de Tejada was President Juárez's closest ally and confident. On November 8, 1865 he signed the decree extending Juárez's term until the end of the war. In doing so, he opposed the claims of General Jesús González Ortega, who wished to succeed Juárez.
Upon the triumph of the Republic in 1867, Lerdo de Tejada became minister of foreign affairs, minister of the interior, a deputy in Congress and president of the Supreme Court (simultaneously). In 1871 he was a candidate for president of the Republic, but after Juárez's victory he returned to the Supreme Court.
As president of the Supreme Court, he succeeded to the presidency after Juárez's death (July 18, 1872), in the midst of a revolt. This made him interim president, but Congress soon elected him president in his own right, overwhelmingly.
Lerdo kept Juárez's cabinet basically unchanged and promulgated a limited amnesty law. During his term, he achieved some success in pacifying the country and began the construction of railways. The railway from Veracruz to Mexico City was inaugurated in January 1873. General Ramón Corona defeated rebel cacique Manuel Lozada at La Mojonera, thus pacifying Tepic
Tepic is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Nayarit.It is located in the central part of the state, at.It stands at an altitude above sea level of some 915 meters, on the banks of the Río Mololoa and the Río Tepic, approximately 225 kilometers north-west of Guadalajara, Jalisco....
. Lozada was taken prisoner in the battle and shot. The Laws of the Reform were incorporated into the Constitution (September 25, 1873). The Sisters of Charity were expelled from the country. In 1874 four small steamships of war were acquired for the customs service. Lerdo also reestablished the Senate
The Senate of the Republic, constitutionally Chamber of Senators of the Honorable Congress of the Union After a series of reforms during the 1990s, it is now made up of 128 senators:...
Fidencio Hernández began a revolt (Plan de Tuxtepec, Oaxaca) on January 10, 1876. This revolt was soon joined by Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...
, under the slogan of "Elective suffrage, no reelection." Lerdo was reelected on July 24, 1876, with a small majority and amid charges of fraud. He had made himself unpopular by the means he took to secure his reelection, by his disposition to limit state rights in favor of a strongly centralized government, and because of measures such as the expulsion of the Sisters of Charity. His forces were defeated by Díaz in the decisive Battle of Tecoac
The Battle of Tecoac was a battle that was fought at Tecoac in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala on November 16, 1876, between the forces of Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, then President of Mexico, and those of Porfirio Díaz. The battle was a victory for Díaz, who subsequently assumed the presidency...
on November 16, 1876. Díaz assumed the presidency on November 28, 1876. José María Iglesias
José María Iglesias Inzaurraga was a Mexican lawyer, professor, journalist and politician. From October 31, 1876 to January 23, 1877 he claimed the interim presidency of Mexico...
also claimed the presidency, by virtue of his position as president of the Supreme Court (October 31, 1876). Díaz went on to defeat Iglesias as well.
Lerdo de Tejada went into exile in New York, where he died some years later. On the orders of President Díaz, he was buried in Mexico with full honors, in the Rotonda of Illustrious Men
The Panteón Civil de Dolores is the largest cemetery in Mexico and contains the "Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres" . It is located on Constituyentes Avenue in Miguel Hidalgo borough of Mexico City, between sections two and three of Chapultepec Park...
Lerdo was very intelligent and a man of great culture. He was also a notable jurist and an excellent orator. He had many loyal friends and supporters. However, he was also ambitious and with a tendency to discount any opinions that did not support his own.
His brother Miguel Lerdo de Tejada
Miguel Lerdo de Tejada was a Mexican statesman, and a leader of the Revolution of Ayutla.Born in the port of Veracruz, Veracruz, both he and his younger brother, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, became leaders of Mexico's Liberal Party...
was also a notable political figure.
The city of Toluca de Lerdo was named after Lerdo de Tejada; however, the city is nowadays more commonly referred to as just "Toluca."
- Defense (Guerra y Marina):
- Ignacio Mejía (July 19, 1872 – August 30, 1876).
- Mariano Escobedo
Mariano Escobedo was a Mexican Army general and former Governor of Nuevo León.He was born on January 16, 1826 in Galeana, Nuevo León. He fought during the Mexican American War in the army with the rank of lieutenant...
(August 31, 1876 – November 20, 1876).
- Finance (Hacienda):
- Francisco Mejía (July 19, 1872 – November 20, 1876).
- Foreign Affairs (Relaciones Exteriores):
- José María Lafragua (July 19, 1872 – November 15, 1875).
- Juan de Dios Arias (November 15, 1875 – August 30, 1876).
- Manuel Romero Rubio (August 31, 1876 – November 20; 1876).
- Industry and Commerce (Fomento):
- Blas Balcárcel (July 19, 1872 – November 20, 1876).
- Interior (Gobernación):
- Cayetano Gómez Pérez (July 19, 1872 – September 26, 1876).
- Juan José Baz (September 27, 1876 – November 20; 1876).
- Justice (Justicia):
- Ramón I. Alcázar (July 19, 1872 – November 20, 1876).
"Lerdo de Tejada, Miguel," Enciclopedia de México
, vol. 8. Mexico City, 1996, ISBN 1-56409-016-7. García Puron, Manuel, México y sus gobernantes
, v. 2. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984.
- Knapp, Frank Averill, The Life of Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, 1823–1889: a study of influence and obscurity. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1951. Orozco Linares, Fernando, Gobernantes de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985, ISBN 968-38-0260-5.