Benito Juarez, the Mexican President who died of sadness

Benito Juárez died on July 18, 1872 at 11:35 p.m. He died in his bedroom at the National Palace. The cause: angina pectoris.

Benito Juarez, the Mexican President who died of sadness
Benito Juarez: "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace..." Image: INAFED

Benito Juarez died on July 18, 1872, at 23:35 hours died in his bedroom at the National Palace. The cause of his death was angina pectoris. The death of the man who was president of Mexico for 14 years caused a national commotion; solemn acts in his honor were held throughout the country for a month.

The remains of Benito Juarez rest in the San Fernando Pantheon Museum in Mexico City since July 23, 1872. In the National Palace there is an enclosure in honor of the Meritorious of the Americas; what was his home during his regime is preserved in a museum in his honor. Visitors can see the furniture and objects used by the former president. The bedroom where Benito Juarez died is also preserved, including the book he was reading at the time of his death, open to the last page he read.

The sadness of Benito Juarez

Although the official cause of Benito Juarez's death was angina pectoris, his state of mind considerably reduced his health after the loss of his wife Margarita Maza. Margarita Maza de Juárez died on January 2, 1871; her death left the then President of the Republic devastated.

"Since 1868 Margarita's health began to show a clear deterioration with more and more frequent and prolonged relapses.
When Margarita became ill, the president acquired a country house at 4 Puente Levadizo Street, in San Cosme,11 where he moved the sick woman, following the idea of the time which dictated that the change of scenery would be beneficial for her health.
In May 1870 she suffered a relapse of the disease, which, according to family tradition, was cancer.14 On October 17 of that year, it was Don Benito's health was threatened when he suffered a heart attack, convalescing at his home in San Cosme. The president recovered but not his wife, who from that moment on experienced an accelerated deterioration (...).
At 4:35 minutes in the afternoon18 of January 2, 1871, Margarita Maza died prematurely at the age of 44. The press agreed that she suffered a long and painful illness", narrates a biography of Margarita Maza published by INHERM.

On July 31, 1843, he married Margarita Maza. The couple had twelve children, of which nine were girls and three were boys, and of the three girls and two boys died when they were young.

Due to the political instability that Mexico experienced in those years, Juarez spent a long time away from his family. During those episodes, the couple exchanged many letters, in which they professed great love and companionship.

Margarita Maza and Benito Juárez were a couple very much in love; despite the multiple separations they suffered, due to the political persecutions Juárez suffered, they found a way to stay united through their letters.

Anniversary of Benito Pablo Juárez García's birthday

On March 21, 1806, Benito Pablo Juárez García was born in the town of San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca, the son of Zapotec Indians Marcelino Juárez and Brígida García, who died when Benito Juárez was three years old.

His paternal grandparents, Pedro Juárez and Justa López, took care of Benito Juárez and his sisters María Josefa, Rosa and María Longinos, but they died two years later.

Juárez went to live with his uncle Bernardino, whom he helped in the care of the flock of sheep and who began to teach him to read and write Spanish.

While still a child, at the age of 12, he left his hometown and moved to the city of Oaxaca, where he received the protection of Friar Antonio Salanueva, with whom he began to work and who sent him to school to learn to read and write.

In 1821 he entered the Seminary of Santa Cruz, where he studied Latin, theology, morals, and philosophy.

In 1831, he entered the Institute of Sciences and Arts where, while still a student, he was in charge of the chair of physics; he later graduated as a lawyer from that institution.

Thanks to his education and his will, he began his political career as an alderman of the Oaxaca City Council, later facing other responsibilities such as local and federal deputy, judge of the first instance, and magistrate of the Supreme Court, until he became governor of Oaxaca.

His antagonism with President Antonio López de Santa Anna led him to suffer exile in the United States, where he established a relationship with a group of liberals with whom he sought a profound social and political transformation of Mexico.

Once in Mexico, after returning from exile, he joined Ignacio Comonfort and Juan Álvarez in the liberal revolution inspired by the Plan de Ayutla of 1854. Once this triumphed, within Alvarez's presidency, Juarez drafted the first reformist law that bears his name, the Juarez Law, enacted on November 23, 1855, which abolished the ecclesiastical and military privileges.

Given the pressures exerted on the radical government, President Alvarez resigned and his place was taken by Comonfort. In November 1857 Comonfort was elected president and Juarez was appointed president of the Supreme Court of Justice, a position that was legally considered the vice presidency.

In 1858, after Ignacio Comonfort's coup d'état, in support of the Tacubaya Plan, Benito Juárez became president of the Republic.

As president, Juarez defended the Constitution of 1857, proclaimed the Reform Laws, and successfully confronted the French Intervention and the Second Empire, preserving Mexico's sovereignty and independence.

For this he received the recognition of "Benemérito de las Américas" (Meritorious of the Americas). On May 11, 1867, in a session of the Dominican National Congress, held in Santo Domingo, Congressman Madrigal took the floor and said:

"That he put in knowledge of the House the plausible news received lately that Juarez had just achieved a splendid triumph, giving a death blow to the empire in bad hour founded in Mexico; That President Juarez by this fact was deserving of the cheers of all America since by destroying forever the preponderance of Europe in this Hemisphere, he killed all hopes of domination that Europe could cherish in the future; that by calling the attention of the House to this fact, it was with the purpose that the Dominican congress for its part, would acclaim Juarez as a Meritorious of America.

That the Dominican Republic was in aptitude to do so and could take the initiative, thus setting an example to the other republics, his sisters, who wanted to show their sympathy for the cause of Mexican freedom, which he did not doubt should be followed by that of all America from one end to the other."

In Mexico, on April 18, 1873, the Congress of the Union decreed to declare Benito Juarez a Heroic Meritorious of the Homeland and to fix his name in gold letters in the Hall of Sessions of the Chamber of Deputies.

One of the great famous phrases that identify Benito Juarez, "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace", was expressed on July 15, 1867, when the imperialist army was defeated and in which his deep nationalist convictions were established.

Juarez was reelected president in 1867 and 1871, witnessing the crumbling of the liberal group into the Juarezist, Lerdist, and Porfirist factions.

Benito Juarez died on July 18, 1872, after a life full of countless episodes. His legacy is his strength, triumphing first against the conservatives and then against the Second Empire, always carrying the liberal flag.

Sources: National Institute for Federalism and Municipal Development