Benito Juarez

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Benito Juarez was one of the most prominent and resourceful leaders in Mexico’s history. He raised the standard of living and championed the poor. However, it took Juarez half his life to become such a dominant political figure. He was born in San Paulo Guelatao in the Mexican State of Oaxaca. His parents were Indians, and he was raised a shepherd boy. His parents died when he was three, leaving Benito to his unmarried uncle. His uncle believed that the only way for him to better his place in society was to become a priest. So, on December 18, 1818, Benito at the age of twelve ran away to the city to learn. He entered the city penniless, and didn’t even speak the language. He soon got a job helping a bookbinder, and attended a parish school. He soon left the school because of discrimination, and social class divisions. He worked, and was then able to enroll in the Holy Cross Seminary. Benito did not want to become a priest, but the free education kept him there. Then, at 22 he entered the Institute of Sciences and Arts, and he studies Physics, and then law. In 1831 he finished his studies, and went to work in a law office. That same year, at age 25 he was elected to the position of city alderman. Then, in 1833 he was elected to the Oaxaca State legislature. Next, in 1834 he became the attorney for the state. Governments changed, as was characteristic in Latin America, and he was thrown in jail. He then was released, and gained support of both Liberals and Conservatives and in 1841 he became a senior judge in the state’s capital court. He was a great judge, he was impartial, didn’t care about race, sex, or social class. He also followed dressing patterns similar to Abraham Lincoln, with a black wool suit, white linen shirt, black bow tie, and a “stovepipe” hat. Benito kept himself clean, and in 1843 married Margarita, the daughter of the people he had stayed with upon entering the city. Then in 1846,...
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