González, Manuel (1833–1893)

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González, Manuel (1833–1893)

Manuel González (b. 18 June 1833; d. 8 May 1893), president of Mexico (1880–1884). Born in the state of Tamaulipas, González began his career as a professional soldier in 1847. During the War of the Reform (1857–1860), González fought on the losing Conservative side, but during the French Intervention (1862–1867), he served with Liberal general Porfirio Díaz and eventually became Díaz's chief of staff. Promoted to brigadier general in 1867, González served as governor of the National Palace and military commander of the Federal District (1871–1873).

After supporting Díaz's unsuccessful Plan of La Noria in 1871, González played a prominent military role in Díaz's triumph under the Plan of Tuxtepec in 1876. In March 1878 González was appointed minister of war by President Díaz. Ineligible for reelection in 1880, Díaz worked secretly for the election of González, who took office in December 1880.

As president, González adopted a policy of conciliation toward the national congress, the state governments, the Roman Catholic Church, and the military. In foreign relations, he eased long-standing border problems with the United States by agreeing to permit reciprocal crossing of troops and settled a lingering boundary dispute with Guatemala. Relations with Great Britain, broken in 1867, were renewed in 1884.

González accelerated government promotion of economic development, especially in the areas of transportation and communications. Federal lands were opened for settlement, and efforts were made to promote colonization and immigration. In 1884, the government issued a new mining code permitting private ownership of subsoil resources for the first time. Unfortunately for González, who had inherited an empty treasury, his spending for economic development only exacerbated the country's ongoing financial problems. The introduction of new nickel coinage in 1882 provoked inflation and devaluation. Negotiations aimed at settling the long-standing debt owed to British creditors also discredited González.

González completed his term of office amid mounting political crisis; he returned the presidency to Díaz in 1884. González later served three terms as governor of Guanajuato.

See alsoMexico: 1810–1910 .


Daniel Cosío Villegas, Historia moderna de México, vol. 8 (1970), pp. 575-798.

Don M. Coerver, The Porfirian Interregnum: The Presidency of Manuel González of Mexico, 1880–1884 (1979).

Additional Bibliography

González Montesinos, Carlos. El general Manuel González: El manco de Tecoac. México: C. González Montesinos, 2000.

Ponce Alcocer, María Eugenia. La elección de Manuel González, 1878–1880: Preludio de un presidencialismo. México, D.F.: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2000.

                                    Don M. Coerver

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