Arriaga, Ponciano (1811–1863)

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Arriaga, Ponciano (1811–1863)

Ponciano Arriaga (b. 1811; d. 1 March 1863), Mexican politician and cabinet minister, "Father of the Constitution of 1857." Born in the provincial capital of San Luis Potosí, Arriaga was an ardent federalist and radical liberal. He used his oratorical and writing skills in the movements against President Anastasio Bustamante in 1832 and later against President Antonio López de Santa Anna. Arriaga was deposed as regidor del ayuntamiento (president of the city council) of San Luis Potosí and jailed for these activities in 1841, but the following year he was elected to represent his home state in the national congress.

During the war with the United States (1846–1847), Arriaga helped to supply the Mexican army in Coahuila and Nuevo Laredo. He opposed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo for conceding territory in order to gain peace. He served briefly (13 December 1852–5 January 1853) as minister of justice under President Mariano Arista. When Santa Anna regained the presidency, Arriaga was exiled. In New Orleans, he met Benito Juárez, Melchor Ocampo, and other liberals. With the triumph of the Revolution of Ayutla (1854), Arriaga returned to Mexico and was elected to the Constituent Congress of 1856–1857. As president of the congress, he was one of the principal authors of the Constitution of 1857. During the War of the Reform (1858–1861), Arriaga supported the Juárez government and later served as republican governor of the state of Aguascalientes (1862–1863) and the Federal District (1863).

See alsoMexico, Constitutions: Constitutions Prior to 1917 .


Francisco Zarco, Historia del Congreso extraordinario constituyente de 1856–1857 (1898–1901, repr. 1956).

Jesús Reyes Heroles, El liberalismo mexicano, 3 vols. (1957–1961).

Richard N. Sinkin, The Mexican Reform, 1855–1876: A Study in Liberal Nation-Building (1979); Diccionario Porrúa de historia, biografía y geografía de México, 5th ed. (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Benítez Treviño, V. Humberto. Ponciano Arriaga: Defensor paradigmático del los pobres. Toluca: Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, 1999.

                                          D. F. Stevens

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Arriaga, Ponciano (1811–1863)

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