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Known for running a corrupt, undemocratic regime, Ferdinand Marcos was the president of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986.
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A lawyer, a member of the Philippine House of Representatives (1949-1959) and a member of the Philippine Senate (1959-1965), Ferdinand Marcos became the president of the Philippines in 1966, a post he held until 1986, when his people rose against his dictatorial rule and he fled.
Ferdinand Marcos went to school in Manila and later attended law school at the University of the Philippines. His father, Mariano Marcos, was a Filipino politician, and on September 20, 1935, the day after Julio Nalundasan defeated Mariano Marcos for a seat in the National Assembly (for the second time), Nalundasan was shot and killed in his home. Ferdinand, Mariano and Ferdinand’s brother and brother-in-law were tried for the assassination, and Ferdinand and his brother-in-law were found guilty of the murder. Ferdinand argued their case on appeal to the Philippine Supreme Court and won acquittal a year later.
Remarkably, while Marcos was preparing his case, he was studying for the bar exam and became a trial lawyer in Manila subsequent to the acquittal.
During World War II, Ferdinand Marcos served as an officer with the Philippine armed forces, later claiming that he had been a leader in the Filipino guerrilla resistance movement. These claims were a principal element in his subsequent political success, but it was revealed in U.S. government archives that he actually played little or no part in anti-Japanese activities during World War II.
At the end of the war, when the American government granted the Philippines independence on July 4, 1946, the Philippine Congress was created. Marcos ran and was twice elected as representative to his district and served from 1949 to 1959. In 1959, Marcos took a seat in the Philippine Senate, a position he would hold until he ran for and won the presidency in 1965.
After failing to attain the Liberal Party’s nomination for president, Ferdinand Marcos ran as the Nationalist Party candidate. At the end of the expensive and bitter campaign, Marcos prevailed and was inaugurated on December 30, 1965. His first presidential term is notable mostly for his decision to send troops into the fray of the Vietnam War, a move he had previously opposed as a Philippine senator.
Marcos was reelected in 1969, becoming the first Filipino president to serve a second term. Massive crowd violence, vote buying and fraud on Marcos’ part, however, were prominent traits of his second campaign, which was funded with $56 million from the Philippine treasury. What arose from the campaign unrest became known as the First Quarter Storm, during which leftists took to the streets to demonstrate against both American involvement in Philippine affairs and the increasingly apparent dictatorial style of Ferdinand Marcos.
Ferdinand Marcos' wife, Imelda, became a powerful figure after martial law was decreed in 1972, often appointing her relatives to lucrative governmental and industrial positions (while accumulating upward of 1,000 pairs of shoes and several Manhattan skyscrapers). These acts were akin to Marcos’ state-imposed "crony capitalism," by which private businesses were seized by the government and handed over to friends and relatives of regime members.
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