Lazaro Cardenas 1934 - 1940

Lazaro Cardenas was born in the state of Michoacan in a lower middle class family and he became their only economic support after his father death when he was 16, which forced him to drop school as well.

Lazaro Cardenas was born in the state of Michoacan in a lower middle class family and he became their only economic support after his father death when he was 16, which forced him to drop school as well. However, young Cardenas took advantage of any occasion to learn and read history books mainly. He performed a lot of jobs and he wanted to be a teacher but his experiences during the Revolution made him decide for a political career in order to work for democracy.

He then managed to become very close to Plutarco Elias Calles, president of Mexico by then, and the absolute ruler behind some puppet governments scene after. For the elections in 1934 Calles offered his complete support for Cardenas’ run for office, thinking he would be just as easily influenced as the others. Never the less, once Cardenas became president differences soon stood out: Calles opposed Cardenas’ reforms such as merging all the unions.

As an answer, Cardenas openly opposed Calles fascist and violent style and ordered his detention along with some other corrupt government employees. Calles was sent to exile to the U.S. and then Cardenas could start a truly social oriented state. He performed profound reforms during his rule not only becoming very popular himself among Mexicans, but he created respect for the president’s figure and confidence towards government authorities.

Among such reforms there is salary reduction to half for the president, capital punishment abolition and moving the president’s official residence to Los Pinos, leaving space in the Chapultepec Castle to create the National History Museum. He also founded the national technical institute (IPN), and during the Spanish Civil War he admitted republican exiles that ran away from fascism, thus opening the doors to many important personalities that left indelible mark in the Mexican culture.

Although we can speculate how by merging the unions to the national affairs, Cardenas gave birth to a peculiar government system that prevailed for 70 years, he is also remembered, above all, for having nationalized oil and train companies, an action that allowed unprecedented quantities of capital to enter the country, placing Mexico in the modern world map in the middle term, clearly in the path to a comprehensive development as a nation... something no one could do for decades in the past.