25th President of Mexico
11 December 1855 – 21 January 1858
|Preceded by||Juan Álvarez|
|Succeeded by||Benito Juárez|
12 March 1812|
|Died||13 November 1863
Guanajuato, Mexican Empire
Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos (12 March 1812 – 13 November 1863) was a Mexican politician and soldier. He became President of Mexico in 1855 after a revolt based in Ayutla overthrew Santa Anna. Comonfort was a moderate liberal who tried to maintain an uncertain coalition, but the moderate liberals and the radical liberals were unable to resolve their sharp differences. During his presidency, the Constitution of 1857 was drafted creating the Second Federal Republic of Mexico. The new constitution restricted some of the Catholic Church's traditional privileges regarding land holdings, revenues and control over education. It granted religious freedom, stating only that the Catholic Church was the favored faith. The anti-clerical radicals scored a major victory with the ratification of the constitution, because it weakened the Church and enfranchised illiterate commoners. The constitution was unacceptable to the clergy and the conservatives, and they plotted a revolt. With the Plan of Tacubaya in December 1857, Comonfort tried to regain the popular support from the growing conservative pro-clerical movement. The liberals failed, however, as conservative General Félix Zuloaga overthrew Comonfort in January, 1858.
He was born in 1812 in Puebla de los Ángeles, in the state of Puebla, to French parents. He participated in the Mexican-American War. He was president of Mexico from 11 December 1855 to 21 January 1858. During his term as president, Benito Juárez served as president of the Supreme Court of Mexico.
During Comonfort's administration, the country descended into the War of the Reform, a civil war launched by reactionaries against the Constitution of 1857 which, among other things, had abolished privileges for the Catholic Church.
Shortly after the adoption of the Constitution of 1857, a board of generals staged a coup d'état, proclaiming the Plan of Tacubaya, which decreed the nullification of the Constitution. President Comonfort, representing himself as a moderate, wavered but decided to go along with the generals. In exchange, the Catholic Church repealed the March 1857 excommunication decree for those who adhered to the new plan.
On 17 December 1857, anti-constitutional forces led by General Felix Zuloaga took control of the capital without firing a shot. But defenders of the 1857 Constitution did not stay calm for long. President Comonfort then decreed himself extraordinary powers, an action which alienated both the reactionary rebels as well as the constitutionalists. As unrest grew, many opponents were imprisoned or shot. Even Benito Juárez was put behind bars for several days.
On 11 January 1858, General Zuloaga demanded the ouster of the President. Comonfort resigned, and according to the Constitution of 1857, Benito Juárez, President of the Supreme Court, assumed the presidency. In opposition, the board of generals and Catholic clergy selected General Zuloaga as their president.
After seeking asylum in the United States, Comonfort returned to act again as a general against the French invasion in 1862. He died the next year on 13 November after being attacked by a group of bandits.
- Brian Hamnett, "The Comonfort presidency, 1855-1857", Bulletin of Latin American Research (1996) 15#1 pp 81-100 in JSTOR.
- Frank A. Knapp, Jr., "Parliamentary Government and the Mexican Constitution of 1857: A Forgotten Phase of Mexican Political History", Hispanic American Historical Review (1953) 33#1 pp. 65-87 in JSTOR
|President of Mexico
11 December 1855 - 21 January 1858