Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos

(President, 15 Sep 1856 - 21 Jan 1858)

A son of French immigrants, Comonfort was born in la Ciudad de Puebla (1812). The major issue of his presidency was the passage of the 1857 Constitution, which offered freedom of speech, confession, press, and assembly. The constitution also implemented many other radical reforms and basic human rights, such as the abolition of the death penalty; and it reduced the guarantees of power to the Church. Finally, the constitution also reduced the power of the presidency relative to congress.

The response of the Church was to excommunicate all who swore allegiance to the new constitution. This, for such an intensely catholic society, was intolerable. The Conservatives issued a manifesto, the "Plan de Tacubaya," which essentially abrogated the constitution and substituted a weaker document. Comonfort decided to accept this, but the Conservatives still demanded his resignation. Comonfort held out for ten days, releasing his once-and-future ally, Benito Juárez. Comonfort had created one of the most difficult and thorny constitutional crises of all time: he had illegally revoked the constitution to appease his Conservative opposition, but reversed his abrogation when the Conservatives demanded his resignation. Then, on his resignation, the president of the Supreme Court--Juárez--would become the new president. This was the beginning of the Reform War.

List of Presidents of Mexico, 1855-1911
ADDITIONAL SOURCES & READING: Wikipedia, Ignacio Comonfort, 1857 Constitution of Mexico, Reform War (1857-1861);


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