BECK index

Latin America & Canada 1850-1935


by Sanderson Beck

      The purpose of this introduction is to introduce to readers the notable persons whose faces are pictured on the cover of this book.
      Brazil’s Emperor Pedro II (1825-91) had been reigning since 1840. In 1850 his Land Law ended squatting. He allied with Argentina and Uruguay to defeat the aggressive Buenos Aires Governor Rosas in 1852. He revised his cabinet in 1855 and helped Liberals. He studied several languages. Brazil allied with Argentina and Uruguay again to defeat Paraguay in 1865-70. In May 1867 Pedro II presented a plan to emancipate the slaves, and he noted that moral development depends on free labor. In May he left for a ten-month trip to Europe. He reformed the police and elections, and he ended military conscription in 1874. He based his reforms on education. In 1876 he left for a longer journey to the United States and Europe, and he learned many things. His illnesses became worse in the 1880s. In May 1888 Brazil freed its remaining 700,000 slaves without compensation for their former owners. In November 1889 Brazil became a republic, and Pedro II left with his wife.
      Benito Juárez (1806-72) was a Justice Minister who advised dissolving Mexico’s army in 1855, and in 1856 a Juárez law reduced the military’s jurisdiction. In 1857 he was elected president of Mexico’s Supreme Court, and he became Interior Minister. Generals opposed his reforms and had him arrested, beginning a civil war. President Comonfort asked Juárez to take his place, and Benito Juárez was President from January 1858 during the “Reform War” and in a very difficult period until his death in July 1872. He proclaimed religious liberty and called for elections. In 1861 he decreed amnesty. He led the Liberals and was elected President. In 1864 Archduke Maximilian came to Mexico to rule as Emperor for France’s Napoleon III. Juárez led the people in the struggle against the imperialism with less violence. Juárez had to move his capital. In 1865 he said they would overcome the French, and Napoleon III removed his troops in 1866. Congress gave Juárez more power, and he was re-elected. He worked to expand education.
      Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811-88) wrote many books. In 1831 he went to Chile and studied their government. Sarmiento, the poet Echeverría, Alberdi, and Mitre led an intellectual movement called the “Generation of 1837.” In 1842 he directed the first Normal school to train teachers in South America. He founded the El Progreso newspaper, and in 1843 he published My Defense and his most famous book Facundo. He edited and wrote influential articles in El nacional in 1855-58. He was for religious tolerance and secular public schools, and he was Governor of San Juan 1862-64. He was minister to the United States in 1867. He translated and edited the Life of Horace Mann. Sarmiento was President of Argentina in 1868-74. He required children to attend primary school and included schools for girls. His liberal reforms transformed Conservative rule. In 1870 he affirmed the importance of a peaceful Republic. In 1873 he established a national bank. In 1874 he published La Educación del Pueblo on pedagogy. In 1884 he organized a project to translate and publish a thousand volumes from Europe and North America.
     Young José Martí (1853-95) wrote articles about the Cuban Revolution in 1869, and he was deported to Spain twice. He earned a law degree in June 1874, and he began working with the El Socialista newspaper in 1876. That year he denounced Porfiristas and left Mexico. He joined the Revolutionary Committee in New York in January 1880, the month Spain abolished slavery in Cuba. In 1881 Cubans were given the same rights as Spaniards. In 1887 Martí described his revolutionary program, and in 1890 he started a school in New York for revolutionaries. In January 1892 in Key West he organized the Cuban Revolutionary Party. In March 1895 Martí and General Máximo Gómez issued a Revolutionary Party manifesto. Martí returned to Cuba in April and was killed in an ambush in May.
     French-Canadian Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919) became the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party in 1887. In 1891 they ran on unrestricted reciprocity with the United States. In the House of Commons he presented a fine eulogy of John Macdonald. In 1896 Laurier and the Liberals were elected, and he was Prime Minister for the next 15 years and brought about many reforms. In 1897 he worked out a compromise with Manitoba on public schools. Labour Day became a holiday on the first Monday in September 1900, and he helped workers rise to the dignity of a class. In 1904 he dismissed the British commander of Canada’s armed forces. In 1905 he restored the school system in the Northwest Territories. He finally got the United States to agree on commercial reciprocity in 1911. Laurier led the opposition, and during the Great War he opposed military conscription.
      José Batlle y Ordóñez (1856-1929) was the son of Uruguay’s President Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. In June 1886 he began publishing El Día to promote reforms, and in 1887 he worked on reorganizing the Colorado Party. He was elected a deputy in 1891 and a senator in 1898 and president of the Senate in 1899. He was elected President of Uruguay in February 1903. At his inauguration he said he hoped to exercise a moral influence, and that day he signed decrees. In the civil war of 1904 Ordóñez hoped for Argentine mediation, and he gave orders to reduce property damage. He endorsed a peace plan in May. The army defeated the rebels in September, and in October the legislature approved amnesty. In 1905 the Colorados passed a bill to legalize divorce. Ordóñez worked to make all public schools free, and he advocated autonomy for the national university. His social reforms were designed to liberate the working classes, and he supported a bill for an 8-hour workday. In 1907 he led the delegation to the Second Hague Peace Conference, and he proposed obligatory arbitration and a world federation. Ordóñez endorsed Claudio Williman who became President in 1907-11, and Ordóñez was President again in 1911-15. He suggested a state insurance bank, agricultural research stations, nationalizing the Bank of the Republic, a women’s university, a national orchestra, and a school of dramatic art. He respected the right to strike. In 1912 he called for woman suffrage in the constitutional reform. Uruguay declared neutrality when the Great War began in August 1914. Ordóñez increased the land tax and provided public libraries.
      Wealthy Francisco Madero (1873-1913) provided $2,000 so that Regeneration could be published in 1905. He also financed the political newspaper El Demócrata. Madero believed that violence was harming Mexico. In the 1909 campaign he spoke to large crowds. In 1910 he got some votes against Porfirio Díaz after four elections when no one got any. He believed the elections were unfair, and he was arrested. In November 1910 Madero called for a revolution, and he issued a plan for reforms. Emiliano Zapata decided to support Madero. After exile in Texas Madero returned to Mexico in February 1911 to lead the revolution. When Díaz said he would resign, Madero asked for a cease-fire. Many workers organized and supported Madero’s revolution. Zapata welcomed Madero to Mexico City, and they cooperated in returning land to the people. Madero urged him to prepare to disband his troops. Madero issued his “Manifesto to the Nation” and said he would govern with “serenity and wisdom” to help the poor. He started a Progressive Constitutional Party, and their convention nominated him for President. Madero was elected with 99% of the votes and served in 1911-13. He legalized unions and improved education.
      Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919) opposed President Porfirio Díaz in 1910, and his Zapatistas in Morelos joined Madero’s revolution in February 1911. Zapata’s army in May captured the cities of Cuautla and Cuernavaca. Zapata cooperated with Madero in returning land to people. Madero persuaded Zapata to stop fighting and pillaging plantations, and Zapata’s army of 1,500 men agreed to a truce in October. Zapata announced his Ayala Plan in November 1911. In April 1913 he arrested Huerta’s commissioners, and the Zapatistas defeated federal soldiers. Zapata appealed to peasants in Guerrero. He cooperated with Pancho Villa in opposing President Carranza, and in December 1914 they formed a revolutionary alliance. Zapata heard people’s petitions and took care of their needs. By 1917 the Zapatistas had regained their state. In March 1919 Zapata sent an open letter to President Carranza who invited him to a meeting. There Carranza’s soldiers killed Zapata.
      Álvaro Obregón Salido (1880-1928) led a revolution in Sonora in March 1913, and in November his army defeated a federal force. His Constitutionalist army in July 1914 captured three cities in Jalisco. In September General Obregón began meeting with Pancho Villa who recruited thousands of Yaqui Indians. On September 30 President Carranza appointed Obregón commander-in-chief of the Constitutionalist armies in the northwest. Obregón in October at the Revolutionary Convention in Aguascalientes urged compromises, and they agreed to ask Carranza to resign. Obregón declared war against Villa in November. Carranza made Obregón the Minister of War in 1916, and he resigned in 1917. In April 1920 Obregón led his army into Mexico City. Carranza left and was killed in May. Obregón was elected President of Mexico in September. He greatly increased spending on education and had over a thousand rural schools built, and by 1924 Mexico had about 2,000 public libraries. He supported workers, and the CROM union grew to 1.2 million members, though he opposed foreign leaders and Catholic unions. Obregón reduced Mexico’s debt.
      In 1926 Augusto César Sandino (1895-1934) began supporting the revolution in Nicaragua, and as a constitutionalist general he organized an independent command. When the United States founded Nicaragua’s National Guard, Sandino went into the mountains. He sent out a circular advising against fighting the North American forces. In 1927 his Defending Army captured a gold mine that was owned by a US company. Conservative newspapers agreed that US troops should leave Nicaragua. He issued a Manifesto in July. US Marines and biplanes killed 400 Sandinistas. Sandino’s army fought US Marines and the National Guard. In January 1928 he sent a message to US Senator William Borah. Sandino visited Mexico in 1929. In 1930 planes wounded Sandino. In February 1931 he wrote “Light and Truth,” and in November 1932 he announced his peace terms. In 1933 he said his revolution was political and not with arms. In 1934 he tried to negotiate with President Sacasa and Somoza who had his National Guards kill Sandino and his brother Sócrates.
      Rafael Carrera (1814-65) was a mestizo and rose through the army to become President of Guatemala in 1844-47 and in 1851-65. In 1851 his forces stopped an invasion from Nicaragua. Then he invaded El Salvador, defeated President Vasconcelos, and replaced him with Conservative Francisco Dueñas. Guatemala’s Assembly approved a new constitution and elected Carrera President. He cooperated with the Church and made a concordat with Pope Pius IX that gave him patronage. Carrera attacked Honduras with his army in January 1853 and with his navy in August. In October a respected junta made Carrera the President for life.  Guatemala made a treaty with Honduras in 1856. That year Carrera sent General Paredes into Nicaragua to fight the American filibuster William Walker. Carrera got a loan from a London firm to pay national debts. In 1859 Guatemala recognized British sovereignty over Belize. Carrera did not like El Salvador’s President Gerardo Barrios taking power from the clergy, and he invaded El Salvador and replaced Barrios with Conservative Francisco Dueñas again. Spain confirmed Guatemala’s independence in May 1863. One year after Carrera’s death Guatemala acclaimed him “Founder of the Republic of Guatemala.”
      Manuel Montt (1809-80) was a conservative and the first civilian President of Chile in 1851-61. He proposed separate schools for boys and girls, and he added more primary schools. Congress made him put some Liberals in his cabinet. Montt supported the Church and favored its jurisdiction. Liberals rebelled in 1859, and they defeated government forces. After his presidency Montt became president of Chile’s Supreme Court until his death in 1880.
       In 1851 John Alexander Macdonald (1815-91) became Attorney General for a coalition government in Canada West, and he wrote the bill that abolished the Court of Chancery. He made a habit of working with a French Canadian from 1855, the year French reformers began the Blue Party and formed a coalition with Macdonald as the Liberal-Conservative Party. They worked for a federal union, and Macdonald’s 72 Resolutions became the basis for a new constitution. In 1867 Macdonald became the first Prime Minister of the Canadian Confederation. In 1870 he negotiated with the indigenous Métis, and his government made seven treaties with natives in the Rockies from 1871 to 1877. Macdonald passed reforms that legalized and regulated labor unions. He borrowed money for railways, and he resigned during the 1873 financial panic. He was elected PM again in 1878 and served until his death in 1891. His commercial tariff policy of 1879 lasted a century.
      Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827-98) became a surgeon and studied medicine in Paris in 1848-55. He learned from France’s 1848 Revolution. In 1856 he returned to Puerto Rico during the cholera epidemic, and he helped treat 24,000. He co-founded an abolition society and gave money to parents of slaves to buy their freedom. He used aseptic surgery in 1859. Betances and his friend Ruiz were banished for advocating abolition. In 1861 they went to the Dominican Republic to work for independence. In 1865 they founded a hospital for the poor in Puerto Rico. In 1866 they started the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee in New York City. In 1867 Betances wrote “Ten Commandments of Free Men.” In 1868 he wrote a constitution for Puerto Rico. In 1892 he became a leader in the Cuban Revolutionary Party. In 1898 he asked why the Puerto Ricans were not rebelling like the Cubans. His writing was published in 14 volumes.
      Rita Cetina Gutiérrez (1846-1908) was a teacher and poet who worked for women’s rights and secular education in Mérida, Yucatán. In May 1870 she opened La Siempreviva (Everlasting) which was Mexico’s first secular school for poor girls and an art college for young women. She started the newspaper La Siempreviva and a scientific and literary society. In 1877 she became the director of the Literary Institute for Girls. Many of her students would become leading feminists. Elena Torres founded the first Montessori school in Mexico.
      Porfirio Díaz (1830-1915) fought in the Reform War of 1858-60 and became a general in the fight against the French occupation of Mexico. His army’s critical victory over the French at Puebla on 5 May 1862 became the basis for annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations. The French defeated his army in the south several times, but in June 1867 his troops occupied Mexico City. Juárez defeated Díaz in the December election. In November 1871 Díaz issued his Noria Plan, but his rebellion was defeated in March 1872. His Plan de Tuxtepec in January 1876 led to his army occupying Mexico City in November. He became President 1877-80 and then 1884-1911. He was a Liberal, and he suppressed revolts to maintain order and economic development. He changed the constitution so that he could be re-elected. Mexico paid off its debt to the United States in 1890. His administration was accused of corruption. He had two journalists murdered, and over fifty were imprisoned. Liberal leaders were also jailed. In January 1907 he decreed that strikes were banned in Mexico. Díaz got all the votes in four elections, but in 1910 Madero received 1%. Madero blamed Díaz for raising food prices while lowering living standards. A civil war began in November, and Díaz resigned in May 1911.
      José Segundo Decoud (1848-1909) was elected chairman of Paraguay’s Constitutional Convention in August 1870, and in November his family began publishing La Opinión Pública. In July 1875 José Secundo Decoud began publishing La Reforma that he edited. He wrote articles on how to get foreign troops out of Paraguay and make a treaty with Argentina. In May 1877 he founded Sociabilidad Paraguaya to promote culture and the common welfare. Decoud knew Spanish, English, French, and German, and he had the best private library in the region. He served as Paraguay’s Foreign Minister most of the time from 1879 to 1900, and he made treaties with Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil by 1884. Decoud went to London in 1885 and negotiated the capital debt down to £850,000. He was a Senator 1888-1909.
      Eloy Alfaro (1842-1912) had wealthy parents, and he became rich doing business in Panama. He worked against Ecuador’s government while in Panama in 1869. In 1878 President Veintemilla imprisoned Alfaro for conspiring against his government. In March 1882 the Municipal Council made Veintemilla the Supreme Chief, and leaders in Manabí proclaimed Eloy Alfaro their supreme chief. Alfaro supported a conspiracy against President Borrero in May 1876 and fled to Panama. He returned to Ecuador and supported the revolution in September. In 1878 Alfaro challenged Veintemilla’s abuses and was banished to Panama. In June 1882 General Alfaro returned to Ecuador to support the War of the Restoration, and he became chief of two provinces. In 1883 police in Quito destroyed the press of El Siglo (The Age), and Caamaño was elected President. Alfaro dismissed his army and said he opposed war and wanted peace. He started two colleges that were suppressed. He worked with revolutionary committees and bought weapons from the United States. In November 1884 he led a revolt. His Radical Liberals were defeated, and he fled to Colombia. He moved to Peru by 1889 and traveled for six more years. In June 1895 Radical Liberals proclaimed him dictator. In August his forces defeated government troops. In 1897 he was elected constitutional President of Ecuador. He passed reforms and in 1900 called for “Liberty, Tolerance, Civilization, and Progress.” His friend Leónidas Plaza was President 1901-05. Alfaro’s Revolution opposed the elected Liberal Lizardo García and overthrew him in January 1906, and Alfaro became President again. He reduced the power of the Church and legalized civil marriage and divorce, and he protected free speech. His former supporters removed him in August 1911.
      General Ismael Montes (1861-1933) was a lawyer and was elected to Bolivia’s Chamber of Deputies in 1890. He was elected President in 1904 and served five years. Montes signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Chile in October. In 1905 he made a trade and customs treaty with Peru. In 1906 the United States gave Bolivia a large loan. Montes instituted civil marriage and religious freedom, and he abolished ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Because of the next President’s death, Congress extended for one year the Montes term. He was elected President again in 1913 and started the Central Bank of Bolivia. Montes endorsed the candidacy of the Liberal economist José Gutiérrez Guerra, and he was elected in 1917.
      Rafael Reyes Prieto (1849-1921) became a general in Colombia fighting for Conservatives in the rebellions of 1885 and 1895. In 1886 he was Secretary of Development and Public Works for about six months. During the War of a Thousand Days he stayed in Mexico until he was chosen to lead 100,000 Colombian volunteers in 1903. He worked for reconciliation between Liberals and Conservatives and the rejected Hay-Herrán Treaty. He ran for president as a moderate Conservative and became President of Colombia from August 1904 to July 1909. He chose two Liberals for his cabinet. He made the Army more professional and less active in partisan politics. He disarmed civilians so that only the state had access to weapons, and that eliminated most of the banditry in rural areas. Congress did not support his policies, and he summoned a National Assembly in 1905 to revise the Constitution and approve emergency measures. They made reforms, and President Reyes had thousands of meetings with people. He issued 4,742 decrees and 1,316 presidential and fiscal accords. The Colombian military stopped interfering with civil authority, and that tradition lasted until 1946. He extended railroads and founded the Ministry of Public Works.
      James Shaver Woodsworth (1874-1942) was a Social Gospel pioneer in Canada. He published Strangers Within Our Gates in 1909 and My Neighbour in 1911. He supported workers and criticized participation in the Great War of 1914-18. He noted that an unfair economic system is a cause of wars. He led the protests during the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919. In 1920 he helped organize the Independent Labour Party in Manitoba. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1921 and served there until his death in 1942. In 1927 he supported the old age pension plan that led to social security. J. S. Woodsworth spoke to the Student Christian Movement of Canada at their annual conference in 1929. He rejected violent revolution and the Communist Party. He was the first chairman of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation that brought together farmers, workers, and socialists in 1932. That year he was a member of the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva.
      Robert Borden (1854-1937) was born in Nova Scotia. He studied five languages at a seminary and taught classics and mathematics. He became a lawyer and worked for a Conservative firm. He was a co-founder of the Canadian Bar Association at Montreal in 1896, the year he became a member of the House of Commons. The Conservative Party chose him as their leader in 1901, and he was Prime Minister of Canada 1911-20. He worked on cleaning up corruption in government, and he helped improve the Civil Service. Finance Minister Thomas White was his closest advisor. In 1912 Borden also worked as Secretary of State. In August 1914 he summoned the Parliament to meet, and they declared war against Germans. Canada’s national debt increased from $500 million in 1913 to $3.5 billion in 1921. In 1916 they imposed a 25% war profits tax, and a progressive personal income tax followed in 1917 up to 25% of income over $100,000. That year military conscription began in Canada, and women related to soldiers were allowed to vote. Borden made his cabinet half Conservatives and half Liberals. As the war ended in November 1918, Borden was concerned that another war would destroy civilization. Yet he sent 4,192 soldiers to Siberia in October 1918 to support the intervention against the Bolshevist revolution in Russia. He attended the Washington Conference on Naval Disarmament in 1921-22.
      Francisco “Pancho” Villa (1878-1923) was from a poor family. He lost a business to a monopoly. In 1910 he joined Madero’s Revolution, and in Chihuahua he became one of the principal generals in the Mexican Revolution. The American journalist John Reed wrote sympathetic articles that made Villa famous. In 1912 when General Huerta ordered the execution of General Villa, President Madero commuted his sentence. Zapatistas in prison taught Villa how to read and write. Villa escaped in 1913, and he recruited an army to fight the dictatorial Huerta. In 1913 local commanders in Chihuahua elected him provisional governor. In January 1914 Villa signed a $25,000 film contract. He sold confiscated cow hides to get $100,000. He helped hundreds of homeless children and paid for their schooling, and he bought arms from the United States. The Life of General Villa movie played in New York City. Carranza accepted Villa’s forces as part of his Constitutionalist Army. Zapata wrote to Villa in August and suggested that revolutionary generals set up a provisional government. In September Obregón met with Villa who turned against Carranza. Villa recruited several thousand Yaqui Indians. Secret delegates at a convention opposed Carranza and Villa, and Obregón declared war against Villa. Zapata and Villa formed an alliance in December. In 1915 Villa’s army of 11,000 took over Guadalajara without any fighting. Villa’s army fought Obregón and Carranza in the north, and Obregón’s army defeated Villistas in April. Villa was bankrupt and used guerrilla fighting in 1916. A US force tried but failed to capture Villa. The Villistas surrendered in 1920.
      Hipólito Yrigoyen (1852-1933) studied the philosophy of Karl Krause, and in 1880 Yrigoyen became a professor of history, civics, and philosophy. In 1893 he followed his brother in an uprising that failed. In 1896 Hipólito Yrigoyen became leader of the Radicals in Argentina, and they protested fraudulent elections. He helped reform elections in 1910, and he worked to influence elections. In 1916 he was elected President of Argentina, and he served for six years. Yrigoyen maintained a policy of neutrality during the Great War. His Radicals supported workers in urban conflicts. President Yrigoyen intervened 20 times to influence Congress. He supported the movement to reform the three universities. Students formed a new union, and strikes spread. In 1922 Yrigoyen endorsed Marcelo de Alvear as his successor, and Radicals won 49 more seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Yrigoyen founded the National Oil Agency. In 1927 the Radicals in the Chamber of Deputies voted to nationalize the oil fields leased by the Standard Oil company. Yrigoyen was easily re-elected in 1928. In June 1929 he approved 4,514,470 pesos for primary schools in Buenos Aires. During the depression a military coup d’état removed Yrigoyen in September 1930.
      William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) was Liberal Minister of Labor under PM Laurier in 1909-11, and he mediated several strikes. He worked as Director of Industrial Research for the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City in 1914-18 and published Industry and Humanity. King was the leader of the Liberal Party from 1919 to 1948. He was elected Prime Minister of Canada in 1921. He declined to send troops to help the British against Turks in 1922. He reduced taxes and lowered tariff rates, and he increased immigration. He lost his job for the summer of 1926 and became PM again until August 1930. In August 1928 he signed the Treaty for Renunciation of War, and he spoke to the League of Nations Council in September. He became Prime Minister again in 1935 and would serve until November 1948.
      Augusto B. Leguía (1863-1932) was born in Peru, and he became wealthy working as an insurance executive in New York. He returned to Peru and became Finance Minister in 1903-07, and he was also Prime Minister 1904-07. He started the Guano Administrative Company in 1908, and that year he was elected President of Peru. In May 1909 he was abducted, paraded in the streets, and rescued by soldiers. He had some critics arrested, and students protested. After police brutality he granted amnesty. The millionaire Guillermo Billinghurst defeated him in the 1912 election. His brother Robert Leguía was Vice President, and the Leguías were suspected of trying to kill Billinghurst. Col. Oscar R. Benevides led a coup and became Provisional President. Leguía was elected President again in 1919. Conservative candidate Aspíllaga challenged the result, and election officials threw out 15,000 votes. Ex-President Cáceres led armed forces and made Leguía Provisional President. The dictatorial Leguía dissolved the Congress. A new Constitution was adopted in January 1920. The President could veto legislation, and Leguía appointed local officers. He founded the Reformist Democratic Party. He approved a university reform law that allowed him to remove professors. The editor of the daily La Prensa was put in jail. Leguía banished prominent critics, and he took over La Prensa. He was re-elected in 1924. He canceled civil marriages and divorce laws. Leguía worked hard and added roads, bridges, and schools. He approved a Bureau of Public Health and promised to help natives. A military coup removed Leguía on 24 August 1930.
      Nellie McClung (1873-1951) was born in Ontario and became a teacher. She joined the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in 1897. She became a suffragist and helped women get the right to vote in four provinces in 1916. She wrote novels, and her feminist book In Times Like These focused on women’s rights. She was a Liberal, and in 1921 she was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and served for five years. She became a representative to the League of Nations. She was one of the five women in the Persons case of 1929 which recognized that women are “legal persons.”
      Belisario Porras Barahona (1856-1942) was born in Panama. He studied law at the National University in 1874. He became a professor and a journalist. In July 1900 he started a nationalist campaign to get Colombian troops out of Panama during the Thousand Days War in Colombia. He led a volunteer army of Panamanians, and they were defeated. Panama gained independence in 1903, and Porras became a diplomat. Panama’s President Amador canceled the citizenship of the Liberal leader Porras in 1905. In November he and others sent four questions for the United States Secretary of War Elihu Root. Porras was elected President of Panama in 1912 for four years. In 1913 he agreed to disarm police in the Canal Zone, and in 1916 he declined the US offer of help with elections. He was re-elected in 1918 and resigned in January 1920. He was elected again in 1920. In February 1921 he sent troops to fight an invasion by a force of Costa Ricans. In 1924 Porras doubled the money civil servants and police had to donate to the Conservative Party.
      Plutarco Elías Calles (1877-1945) was a justice of the peace and then a police commissioner under President Madero, and he became a general in the Mexican Revolution. He was a reforming Governor of Sonora in 1915-19. In April 1920 Calles united with Huerta and Obregón against Carranza. He supported Obregón for President in 1920, and as a Labor candidate Calles was elected President in 1924. He said the Revolution was entering a constructive phase, and he brought many reforms. He distributed eight million acres and added 2,000 rural schools. His policies increased the members in labor unions as wages were raised. A Department of Public Health improved sanitation, and he promoted housing projects, encouraged sports, and fought alcoholism. He kept US Marines out of Mexico. The penal code was revised in 1926. A new Constitution regulated religion, and religious conflicts caused the three-year Cristero War. He proposed a civilian president to make Mexico a nation of laws. He founded the National Revolutionary Party and exerted a strong influence over leaders until 1934.
      Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno (1859-1945) was the son of Costa Rica’s President Jésus Jiménez. In 1902 Ricardo Jiménez became a Deputy of the Constitutional Congress. He criticized the United Fruit Company (UFC), and he was elected President in 1909. Ricardo Jiménez was President in 1910-14, 1924-28, and 1932-36. In 1935 the UFC gave President Ricardo Jiménez 250,000 acres to be distributed to the landless.

Copyright © 2023 by Sanderson Beck

Latin America & Canada 1850-1935 has been published as a book. For ordering information, please click here.

Latin America & Canada to 1850

Brazil 1850-1935
Uruguay 1850-1935
Argentina 1850-1935
Paraguay 1850-1935 
Bolivia 1850-1935
Chile 1850-1935
Peru 1850-1935
Ecuador 1850-1935
Colombia 1850-1935
Venezuela & Guianas 1850-1935
Haiti & Dominican Republic 1850-1935
Cuba 1850-1935
Puerto Rico 1850-1935
Panama 1850-1935
Costa Rica 1850-1935
Nicaragua 1850-1935
El Salvador 1850-1935
Honduras 1850-1935
Guatemala 1850-1935
Mexico 1850-1935
Canada 1850-1935

Chronology of Latin America to 1935
Chronology of Canada to 1935
Chronology of North & South America to 1786
Chronology of North & South America 1787-1844
Chronology of North & South America 1845-1896
Chronology of United States to 1896
World Chronology to 1830


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