Madero, Francisco Indalecio

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Madero, Francisco Indalecio

Francisco Indalecio Madero (fränsē´skō ēndälā´syō mäŧħā´rō), 1873–1913, Mexican statesman and president (1911–13). A champion of democracy and social reform, he established various humanitarian institutions for the peons on his family's vast estates in Coahuila. In 1908, after Porfirio Díaz announced that Mexico was ready for democracy, Madero published La sucesión presidencial en 1910, a mild protest against the Díaz regime; the book made Madero a national figure. In 1910 he was the Anti-Reelectionist party's presidential candidate, with a program emphasizing effective suffrage and non-reelection. Díaz, at first contemptuous of his opponent, finally imprisoned Madero and won the election, as usual, without difficulty. Madero, released, fled to Texas and there proclaimed a revolution. Returning to Mexico, he found several groups in Chihuahua already in arms. These rebels, some led by Francisco Villa, rallied to Madero's standard. On May 9, 1911, they captured Juárez; the prestige of the government was destroyed. At almost the same time an independent band rose under Zapata in the south. Throughout the republic the movement quickly gathered strength. The revolution triumphed. Díaz resigned on May 25, 1911. Madero, elected president, took office in Nov., 1911. His administration was anything but successful, and he was unable to accomplish any notable reforms because of division among his followers and his own administrative inability. Numerous revolts ensued. In Feb., 1913, an insurrection broke out in the capital. Victoriano Huerta, appointed commander of the government forces, plotted with the rebels for Madero's fall. Pretending to punish the insurgents, Huerta staged a bloody show of force. Finally, after striking a clandestine bargain, he treacherously assassinated Madero's brother, assumed power, and caused Madero's arrest and imprisonment. Madero was shot, supposedly in an attempt to escape.

See biography by S. R. Ross (1955, repr. 1970); C. C. Cumberland, Mexican Revolution: Genesis under Madero (1952, repr. 1969); D. G. LaFrance, The Mexican Revolution in Puebla, 1908–1913 (1988).

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