Ruiz Cortines, Adolfo (1890–1973)

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Ruiz Cortines, Adolfo (1890–1973)

Adolfo Ruiz Cortines (b. 30 December 1890; d. 3 December 1973), president of Mexico (1952–1958). The administration of Ruiz Cortines is best known for the stabilizing effect it produced in the wake of the political and economic excesses of his predecessor, Miguel Alemán. In terms of political leadership, Ruiz Cortines provided the last hurrah for the revolutionary generation, of which he himself was part. His selection as president, in fact, represented a generational reversal of political trends after Alemán. Socially, like Lázaro Cárdenas, he served as an apt personal model of presidential integrity, nationalizing the properties of some of Alemán's more corrupt collaborators. His administration offered no major political innovations but provided a transition for economic growth known as the "stabilizing period."

From a modest family, Ruiz Cortines left school at an early age in the port city of Veracruz to help support his widowed mother. After holding a series of unskilled jobs, he joined the Revolution in 1914 as a second captain during the U.S. invasion of Veracruz, during which he served as an assistant to two major revolutionary figures, generals Heriberto Jara and Jacinto B. Treviño. After holding a number of minor administrative posts in the military, he joined the office of social statistics in the 1920s.

His political career did not prosper until 1934, when he became secretary general of his home state of Veracruz, after which he served as the oficial mayor of the Department of the Federal District (1934–1937). In 1937, he represented his home state in the Chamber of Deputies. During the late 1930s, he became friends with Miguel Alemán, who, based on Ruiz's reputation for integrity, appointed him treasurer of Manuel Ávila Camacho's presidential campaign in 1945. When Alemán, his political mentor, was appointed secretary of government in 1940, he brought Ruiz Cortines with him as his oficial mayor (1940–1944). In 1944, Ruiz Cortines left the executive branch to serve as governor of his home state of Veracruz. After serving four years, Alemán brought him back into the cabinet as his secretary of government, a position he served in until his candidacy as president was announced in 1952.

Alemán's designation of Ruiz Cortines as the government party's (PRI) candidate provoked the last major political opposition from a group of revolutionary generals disappointed in the direction of Mexico's leadership. Their removal from decision-making authority led to the formation of an intense opposition campaign under the leadership of General Miguel Henríquez Guzmán and the lowest reported vote tallies for a government presidential candidate in many years. After his election, Ruiz Cortines did succeed in mollifying those elements and in restoring unity to his party. After leaving office in 1958, he lived modestly in Veracruz, serving as a minor consultant to the government.

See alsoAlemán Valdés, Miguel .


Frank R. Brandenburg, The Making of Modern Mexico (1964).

Manuel García Purón, México y sus gobernantes, biografías (1964).

Olga Pellicer De Brody, El afianzamiento de la estabilidad política: Historia de la Revolución mexicana, 1952–1960 (1978).

Olga Pellicer De Brody and Esteban L. Mancilla, El entendimiento con los Estados Unidos y la gestación del desarrollo estabilizador: Historia de la Revolución mexicana, 1952–1960 (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Alemán Velasco, Miguel. No siembro para mí: Biografía de Adolfo Ruiz Cortines. México: Editorial Diana, 1997.

Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico, 1810–1996. New York: HarperPerennial, 1998.

                                       Roderic Ai Camp

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Ruiz Cortines, Adolfo (1890–1973)

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