Comonfort, Ignacio (1812–1863)

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Comonfort, Ignacio (1812–1863)

Ignacio Comonfort (b. 1812; d. 13 November 1863), president of Mexico (1855–1858). Born in the state of Puebla, he pursued a military career from the period of the 1830s onward. After the war against the United States (1846–1848), he became the chief customs official in Acapulco and a close associate of Juan Álvarez, the caudillo of Guerrero. Comonfort was one of the authors of the Plan of Ayutla (1 March 1854), which began the military movement to oust Antonio López de Santa Anna from the presidency and put in place a Liberal government. He then traveled to the United States to raise funds for the war effort.

Returning to Mexico, Comonfort became the general in charge of operations in Jalisco and Michoacán. His mentor, Juan Álvarez, led the Ayutla Revolution to victory, became president in late 1855, and appointed his protégé his minister of war. Álvarez governed only briefly; Comonfort replaced him on 11 December 1855. A moderate Liberal, Comonfort tried to harmonize the demands of the radicals for rapid implementation of a reform program with the more gradual approach advocated by the moderates. He signed and promulgated the famous Ley Lerdo (25 June 1856) calling for the alienation of church and municipal properties, written by his treasury minister Miguel Lerdo De Tejada. He vigorously crushed a Conservative revolt in Puebla in early 1856 and he also promulgated the Constitution of 1857. By late 1857, however, he was concerned that the radicals were too influential and were leading Mexico into a civil war. He then conspired with Conservatives to bring them to power, an act that started the war he had hoped to avoid, the War of the Reform (1858–1860).

Comonfort left the presidency in early 1858, remained in exile in the United States until 1861, and then returned to Mexico. He was rehabilitated by the Liberals, given a commission, served in President Benito Juárez's cabinet, and took an active role in confronting the French Intervention. He was killed in a skirmish.

See alsoMexico: 1810–1910 .


The following works are all by Ray F. Broussard: "Ignacio Comonfort: His Contributions to the Mexican Reform, 1855–1857" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1959); "Comonfort y la revolucíon de Ayutla," in Humanitas 8 (1967): 511-528; "El regreso de Comonfort del exilio," in Historia Mexicana 16, no. 4 (1967): 516-530; and "Viduarri, Juárez, and Comonfort's Return from Exile," in Hispanic American Historical Review 49 (1969): 268-280. In addition, see Rosaura Hernández Rodríguez, Ignacio Comonfort: Trayectoría política, documentos (1967).

Additional Bibliography

Hamnett, Brian. "The Comonfort Presidency, 1855–1857." Bulletin of Latin American Research 15:1 (July-December 2001): 53-81.

Villegas Revueltas, Silvestre. Ignacio Comonfort. México, D.F.: Planeta DeAgostini, 2003.

                                        Charles R. Berry