Beta Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity Inc

The oldest existing Latino fraternity

Don Benito Juarez

Don Benito Juarez Mexico's national hero and first president of Indian descent was Benito Juarez. During his years in the Government, he succeeded in undermining the power of the Roman Catholic Church and the wealthy landlords in order to make Mexico a constitutional democracy.

Juarez was born in San Pablo Guelatao, in the state of Oaxaca, on March 21, 1806. He studied law at the Oaxaca Institute of Arts and Sciences, receiving his degree in 1831. Within a few years he had served in both state and national legislatures. In 1841, he became a judge and served as governor of his state. From his government service he gained many ideas for political and economic reform.

Entre los Individuos, como entre Las Naciones, El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz

When liberals defeated conservatives in the elections of 1855, Juarez became minister of justice and public instruction. The new administration abolished special courts for the church and the military, forced the church to sell its enormous property holdings, and created a new, liberal constitution. In 1857 Juarez was chosen to preside over the Supreme Court and, in effect, to serve as vice-president. During a conservative revolt from 1858 to 1860, he acted as president.

He was forced to flee Mexico City but held the government together until he died at the age of 66.