José María Campo Serrano
|José María Campo|
|President of Colombia
7 August 1886 – 5 January 1887
|Preceded by||Office created*|
|Succeeded by||Eliseo Payán|
|President of the United States of Colombia
1 April 1884 – 1 April 1886
|Preceded by||Rafael Núñez Moledo|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished*|
|19th President of the Sovereign State of Antioquia|
12 March 1885 – 21 September 1885
|Preceded by||Luciano Restrepo Escobar|
|Succeeded by||Marceliano Vélez Barreneche|
|17th President of the Sovereign State of Magdalena|
|Preceded by||Luis Antonio Robles Suárez|
|Succeeded by||M.S. Ramón|
|12th President of the Sovereign State of Magdalena|
|Preceded by||Manuel Abello|
|Succeeded by||José Ignacio Diaz Granados|
|Governor of Panama|
January 1900 – June 1900
|Preceded by||Facundo Mutis Durán|
|Succeeded by||Alejandro Orillac|
8 September 1832|
Santa Marta, Magdalena, Republic of New Granada
|Died||24 February 1915
Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia
|Spouse(s)||Rosa Riascos García|
|Alma mater||Seminario Conciliar de Santa Marta|
|* See Rafael Núñez, last President of the United States of Colombia.|
José María Campo Serrano (8 September 1832 – 6 January 1915) was a Colombian lawyer, general, and statesman, who became President of Colombia after the resignation of the President and the dismissal of the Vice President. He sanctioned the Constitution of 1886 that created the Republic of Colombia proceeding the United States of Colombia. A Samarian Costeño, he became president of the Sovereign State of Magdalena, and Antioquia, Governor of Panama, and held various Ministries during his career as a politician.
Early life and education
José María Campo was born on September 8, 1832 in Santa Marta, Magdalena in what was then the Republic of New Granada. He was the first child of Andrés del Campo and María Josefa Serrano. He completed his studies in the Seminario Conciliar de Santa Marta, and later attended the Colegio Provincial Santander, where he studied Law and Philosophy.
He was married to Rosa Riascos García.
Campo started his political life in his home state of Magdalena. There he served various positions at different levels of government, he was a member of the legislative assembly of Magdalena, Prosecutor General, and member of the Chamber of Representatives and Senate of Colombia for Magdalena. He also served twice as President of the Sovereign State of Magdalena, first between 1871–1874, and from 1879–1884.
His administrations were focused mainly on the construction and expansion of railways to foment commerce and industry in the region and connect the country with the port, part of this goal was accomplished in 1881 when contracts were made to start the construction of a railroad to connect Santa Marta with El Banco.
His administration's goal was to contain the civil insurgency and discourage political opposition. One way Campo did this was by redistricting some of electoral districts that favored the radical rebels, like the districts of La Unión and Pabón.
As in Magdalena, Campo was interested in the fomentation of railways, something he accomplished on August 18, 1885 when negotiations with the private sector were made to improve and expand the railways of Antioquia. General Campo left the Presidency of Antioquia to represent the Constituent Assembly in Bogotá.
General Campo became an active member in the administrations of various presidents as a member of their Council of Ministers. The first post he had in these was in 1882 during the presidency of Francisco Javier Zaldúa, where he was Minister of Public Instruction in charge of national education, a post he got again on April 1, 1884, when Ezequiel Hurtado also made Campo his Minister of Public Instruction.
In the administration of Rafael Núñez, he worked in two ministries, the Ministry of War, in which he had to confront the Civil War of 1885, and the Ministry of Finance, which he left to go to Antioquia.
|José María Campo Serrano|
|Minister of War|
April 1, 1884 – March 12, 1885
|Preceded by||Juan Mateus|
|Succeeded by||Leopoldo Cuervo|
|Minister of Public Instruction|
April 1, 1884 – August 11, 1884
April 1, 1882 – December 21, 1882
|President||Francisco Javier Zaldúa|
|Ministry of Finance|
|Minister of Government|
|President||Miguel Antonio Caro|
On December 9, 1885 the Constituent Assembly elected Rafael Núñez as president, Eliseo Payán as vice president, and José María Campo as designate. J.M. Campo came to power in a very unusual way; on March 30, 1886, president Núñez presented his resignation to Congress due to his poor health condition caused by dysentery. The Vice President, as the next in line of succession, had many enemies in congress, and on May 4, Congress revoked Eliseo Payán of his position as vice president.
On April 1, 1886, with no vice president and the president resigning, the Presidential-Designate José María Campo as the next in line to assume the executive power was sworn in as Acting President of the United States of Colombia.
Of the short presidency of Campo some of the policies of importance that were made were more of a local impact than of large national impact policy. Some of the projects of his administration were the contracts for the installation and construction of public lighting and potable water services to Bogotá. He also continued advocating for rail transportation and railways, and in 1887 the Train of the Savanna started operating connecting Bogotá with the near cities of Facatativá and Zipaquirá, and it continues in service today.
One of the Decrees made by Campo as President of Colombia was in regards to the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the house where the Libertador Simón Bolívar died. The house was of private property and the owners had offered to sell it to the government, but for an outrageous amount of money. In an executive order in 1886, Campo seized the property and placed it under the administration of the Department of Magdalena to administer it.
Constitution of 1886
The Constituent Assembly that was called in session in 1885 by Rafael Núñez to draft a new constitution passed its final resolution on August 4, 1886. The next day, President Campo and his Council of Ministers sanctioned the constitution, making it official and changing the name of the country to Republic of Colombia, and in so, Campo become its first president.
The 1st President of the newly established Republic of Colombia, stepped down on January 6, 1887 ceding the power to Eliseo Payán, who in the absence of Núñez became acting president.
José María Campo was once again called into politics and war to go to Panama, where the Liberal rebels were fighting the Conservative government, as Panama was one of the stages of the Thousand Days War. Because of his political and military credentials he was named Governor of the Department of Panama, replacing the then governor, Facundo Mutis Durán, on January 1900.
Campo came in strong, he brought reinforcements to the region from different parts of the country, as by now the war was concentrating its efforts on Panama and the Caribbean Region. He used the strategic impact of railways to mobilize troops and clear adjacent areas.
The war however was getting more complicated, and General Campo had to leave to Barranquilla to buy weapons and bring reinforcements passing on the governorship to Alejandro Orillac as acting governor. Although General Campo’s leave cause an intensification of the rebel forces, the war came to an end in 1992, cementing the way for the separation of Panama from Colombia.
Death and legacy
José María Campo died in his home in Santa Marta on February 24, 1915 at the age of 82.
He is considered by many as the most influential Samarian in history. His most enduring legacy by far was the Constitution of 1886, which was the country's fundamental law for almost 105 years, until it was replaced by the Constitution of 1991.
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|President of United States of Colombia
|President of Colombia