- NAME: Francisco Madero
- OCCUPATION: World Leader
- BIRTH DATE: October 30, 1873
- DEATH DATE: February 22, 1913
- EDUCATION: Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris, University of California, Berkeley
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Parras, Coahuila, Mexico
- PLACE OF DEATH: Mexico City, Mexico
- Full Name: Francisco Madero
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"Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees."
"Intelligence and will in greater or lesser degrees may or may not be attributes of incarnate spirits, but in all human personalities, there exist in embryo other powers susceptible to great development."
"Effective suffrage—no re-election!"
Francisco Indalecio Madero was born on October 30, 1873 in Parras, Mexico, to a very wealthy family. Educated at a Jesuit college in Saltillo, Mexico, he also studied in the United States and Europe. After his schooling, Madero operated one of the family farms in San Pedro, Mexico. During this time, he introduced modern farming methods and improved conditions for his workers.
Since 1876, Mexico's government was under the complete control of iron-fisted dictator Porfirio Díaz. Although he had modernized the country and grew the economy, Díaz squashed all political opposition and dispossessed peasants from their land. The stark contrast between rapid economic growth for the elite and sudden impoverishment for the masses eventually led to the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
In the early 1900s, unrest among Mexican citizens began to build, eventually transitioning into protests. In 1903, a political demonstration against the Díaz regime was violently crushed. This prompted Francisco Madero to oppose Díaz. However, Madero had to overcome some image problems in the macho world of Mexican politics. He had a small stature and high-pitched voice. A devout vegetarian and teetotaler, he followed homeopathy and spiritualism, once declaring he "channeled" the spirit of former Mexican President Benito Juarez.
In 1905, Madero backed several political candidates opposing the Díaz regime. Although initially unsuccessful, he published an influential political newspaper, El Democrata. By 1908, Díaz relented to growing pressure and proclaimed that Mexico was "ready" for democracy, thus the 1910 elections would be free. Madero formed the Anti-Reelectionist Party to challenge Díaz's presidency.
As Election Day in 1910 neared, it became clear that Madero would win. Díaz reneged on his promise of free elections and had Madero jailed, allowing Diaz to win the fraudulent election. Madero was soon bailed out of jail and escaped to Texas, where he issued the "Plan of San Luis Potosi," declaring the 1910 election null and void and calling for armed revolution.
Rebel armies organized by Emiliano Zapata, Pascual Orozco, Casulo Herrera and Pancho Villa rose up all over Mexico. Madero returned to lead an unsuccessful attack on a military garrison, but the effort gained the respect of the rebels, who recognized Madero as the leader of the revolution. The rebel armies continued their push to oust Díaz. In May 1911, Díaz relinquished power and a provisional government was formed. On November 6, 1911, Madero was elected president of Mexico.
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