Presidents of Mexico: 1822 till 2012

Mexican history is often a romantic matter for many historians and often they dedicate many pages depicting pre-Hispanic and colonial times, ignoring completely the vertiginous and even chaotic modern history of Mexico.

Once the Mexican Declaration of Independence was issued, the incipient Constituent Congress was divided between those in favor of a republic and those in favor of an empire. Likewise, imperialists were divides between those who wanted an independent empire and those who wanted the House of Bourbon to send a noble to rule. After some argumentation the ones supporting Iturbide asked and obtained the crown for Agustin I, who was crowned Emperor on July 22nd, 1822 giving raise to the first Mexican Empire:

1822-1823 Agustín de Iturbide

When the emperor tried to reduce taxes in order to earn subjects support, and cut back the army to compensate such income loss, General Antonio López de Santa Anna accused the emperor of despotism and he reacted dissolving the congress. Republicans became angry for that action and joined Santa Anna, obtaining the emperor’s abdication. Then a triumvirate was established to start shaping a republic. Once a new congress was set up, Guadalupe Victoria was elected as the first president in what is known as the Republican Transition:

1823-1824 Pedro Celestino Negrete

1824-1829 Guadalupe Victoria

1829 Vicente Guerrero

1829 José María Bocanegra

1829 Pedro Vélez

1830-1832 Anastasio Bustamante

1832 Melchor Múzquiz

1832-1833 Manuel Gómez Pedraza

1833 Valentín Gómez Farías

Antonio López de Santa Anna acted as president of the republic in several occasions, in others the president in turn was nothing more than a puppet of Santa Anna who took advantage of this situation to refine the totalitarian style that characterized him during his last period. Around this time the country suffered a split that reduced it to a half of what it was at the end of the Independence Revolution.

1833-1835 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1835-1836 Miguel Barragán

1836-1837 José Justo Corro

1837-1839 Anastasio Bustamante

1839 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1839 Nicolás Bravo

1839-1841 Anastasio Bustamante

1841 Francisco Javier Echeverría

1841-1842 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1842-1843 Nicolás Bravo

1843 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1843-1844 Valentín Canalizo

1844 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1844 José Joaquín de Herrera

1844 Valentín Canalizo

1844 José Joaquín de Herrera

1846 Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga

1846 Nicolás Bravo

1846 Mariano Salas

1846-1847 Valentín Gómez Farías

1847 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1847 Pedro María Anaya

1847-1848 Manuel de la Peña y Peña

1848-1851 José Joaquín de Herrera

1851-1853 Mariano Arista

1853 Juan Bautista Ceballos

1853 Manuel María Lombardini

1853-1855 Antonio López de Santa Anna

1855 Martín Carrera

1855 Rómulo Díaz de la Vega

1855 Juan Álvarez Benítez

1855-1857 Ignacio Comonfort

The Reform War was an armed conflict between the two sides in which the Mexican society was divided: liberal and conservative. The liberal Benito Juárez as Vice-president and supporting the president Félix Zuloaga’s resign, enacted the Reform Laws that separated the church from the state among other things. Once as head of the office, Benito Juárez occupied the presidential chair in many occasions.

1858-1861 Benito Juarez Garcia

1861-1865 Benito Juarez Garcia

1865-1867 Benito Juarez Garcia

1867-1872 Benito Juarez Garcia

1858 Felix Maria Zuloaga

1858-1859 Manuel Robles Pezuela

1859-1860 Miguel Miramón

1863-1864 Junta de Regencia

The fight between the two sides resulted in many years of political instability. Liberals and conservatives took the executive office consecutively and simultaneously at times. In one of these occasions, conservatives asked Napoleon III for military support and the presence of a European noble who would be crowned Emperor of Mexico. Napoleon accepted at first but he had to leave the affair in order to pay complete attention to his conflict in Russia, leaving his envoy to his own fate. This period is known as the Second Empire and it is simultaneous with the Reform War.

1864-1867 Fernando Maximiliano de Habsburgo

1872-1876 Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada

1876-1877 José María Iglesias

1876-1877 Juan N. Méndez

Once liberals commanded by Benito Juárez took the power back, with the time and not easily, one of Juárez’s army generals managed to obtain the presidency. Based in the modern ideas of positivism he conformed an office with which he performed a controversial era that we know as the Porfiriate. Even when it was of much economical progress, it also widened the gap between rural country and the city, leaving millions of poor Mexicans in oblivion.

1876-1880 Porfirio Díaz

1880-1884 Manuel González

1884-1911 Porfirio Díaz

1911 Francisco León de la Barra

After thirty years of oppression a social movement emerged, although it didn’t have an homogeneous profile but it consisted of a series of fights undertaken by political and military chiefs that occupied the nation’s presidency one after the other. After Francisco I. Madero’s first triumph, the arguments among the different revolutionary fractions made difficult the much-needed national rebuilt.

1911-1913 Francisco I. Madero

1913 Pedro Lascuráin Paredes

1913-1914 Victoriano Huerta Ortega

1914 Francisco S. Carvajal

1914-1920 Venustiano Carranza

1914-1915 Eulalio Gutiérrez

1915 Roque González Garza

1915 Francisco Lagos Cházaro

1920 Adolfo de la Huerta

1920-1924 Álvaro Obregón

1924-1928 Plutarco Elías Calles

The 1917 Constitution was a decisive step to organize a post revolution state. Then by creating strong political institutions, General Plutarco Elías Calles started a particular dictatorship era that characterized the following 70 years in the history of Mexico. This period is known as the Pacification and it is also marked by a confrontation between the government and the society’s conservative fraction and the arrival of the first non-military presidents at the end.

1928-1930 Emilio Portes Gil

1930-1932 Pascual Ortiz Rubio

1932-1934 Abelardo L. Rodríguez

In modern Mexico, social stability goes hand-to-hand with the prevalence of PRI, the auto proclaimed protector of the revolution ideals party, which underwent strong pressure and requirements in order to keep and conquer public power spaces. The result wasn’t a truly democratic state but it allowed a country update according to the world’s democratic tendency.

1934-1940 Lazaro Cardenas del Rio

1940-1946 Manuel Ávila Camacho

1946-1952 Miguel Alemán Valdés

1952-1958 Adolfo Ruíz Cortines

1958-1964 Adolfo López Mateos

1964-1970 Gustavo Díaz Ordaz

1970-1976 Luis Echeverría Álvarez

1976-1982 José López Portillo y Pacheco

1982-1988 Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado

1988-1994 Carlos Salinas de Gortari

1994-2000 Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León

For the first time in 71 years, Mexico experienced a political alternation in the presidency when the opponent candidate from the National Action Party defeated the official candidate. Even when some hold the idea that power is still within the same old governing class, this change could be considered as a symptom of an emerging real democracy.

2000-2006 Vicente Fox Quesada

2006 Felipe Calderón Hinojosa

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