A First Lady's Courageous Voyage

By Gugliotta, Bobette | Americas (English Edition), March-April 1992 | Go to article overview

A First Lady's Courageous Voyage


Gugliotta, Bobette, Americas (English Edition)


EXILED ON THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES, MARGARITA MAZA DE JUAREZ HELPED ADVANCE HER HUSBAND BENITO'S CAUSE

THE SHORT, DARK, BROAD-SHOULDERED, young man, sitting by the fire, absentmindedly prodded a nearby cradle with the toe of his boot and set it to rocking. The baby within ceased to cry. Benito Pablo Juarez, student at the Seminary of Oaxaca, was talking to his sister, Maria Josefa, the Maza family's cook, as she peeled vegetables for supper. No premonitions, no extra sensory perception informed Benito that this same infant would grow into the attractive, intelligent woman that he would claim as his bride, Margarita Eustaquia Maza.

Benito Juarez and his two sisters, Zapotec Indians from San Pablo Guelatao, state of Oaxaca, Mexico, were orphaned by 1809 when the boy was only three years old. They lived briefly with grandparents who soon made the Juarez children orphans again. Benito went to live with an uncle but ran away at age twelve. With the tenacity and endurance that would see him through a dangerous, difficult but glorious life, Benito determinedly made his way on foot to the city of Oaxaca and his sister Maria Josefa who worked there in the household of a merchant, Don Antonio Maza. Don Antonio helped the boy find work and later helped him with his schooling.

The Mazas were of Italian origin, born in Genoa. Margarita, their youngest and last child and the darling of the family, was taught to read and write, an unusual opportunity for females of that era. Early in her life she became used to the serious, black-eyed, young man who, as time went by, could hardly keep is eyes off her. Benito visited his sister regularly and, almost literally, became a member of the Maza household.

Love developed between Margarita and Benito despite a twenty year age difference which was not then uncommon. What was uncommon was the acceptance of the romance by the Maza parents. Both North and South Americans of the era guarded the so-called purity of their European backgrounds, often with the ferocity of a pit bull. Indian mistresses were acceptable but Indian husbands for girls of European family background were rare.

Seventeen-year-old Margarita and thirty-seven-year old Benito were wed in the church of San Felipe Neri, July 31, 1843. From the beginning, Margarita shared her husband's views and his commitment to revolutionary changes which would correct the inequalities in Mexico's clerical, governmental and educational systems. She would never be one of the boring, illiterate, upper-class females who spent their days puffing cigars, lolling in over-stuffed sofas and carriages, garbed in elegant, finger-stroking creations of satin and velvet.

The first year of the Juarez marriage included many weeks of intensive study by Benito for his final professional examination followed by admission to the bar. The relative peace and quiet of this beginning was abruptly terminated by the fall of the Federalist government, making it obligatory for Juarez to leave Oaxaca fast. These sorts of lightning changes were to be the rule. By 1847 Juarez had become governor of Oaxaca. He and his wife antagonized the establishment, especially army and clergy, with their advanced ideas of equality. Benito built new schools, roads and, because of frequent epidemics such as cholera, was determined to replaced the old fashioned, unsanitary burials in churches by creating municipal cemeteries for all. Upon the death of their daughter Guadelupe in 1850, Benito and Margarita insisted on the child's interment in the municipal cemetery (as a member of the governor's family she should have been buried in the church). In this instance they had each other's support, but there would be time after time when Margarita had to go it alone, in hiding and penniless, solely responsible for her growing brood.

A fine example of how Margarita faced danger and hardship on her own is the story of her safari through the mountains to reach Benito, who had become known as a dangerous, renegade rebel and was being hunted by the conservatives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A First Lady's Courageous Voyage
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.