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Francisco I. Madero

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Francisco I. Madero (1873-1913) was a revolutionary who became president of Mexico (1911-1913).

He was born at Parras, Coahuila, on October 30, 1873, the son of Francisco Madero and Mercedes González Treviño. (The middle initial, I, stands for either "Ignacio" or "Indalecio".) His parents were one of the richest families in Mexico, of Portuguese descent. Madero was educated in Baltimore, Versailles and at the University of California, Berkeley.

Affected by the plight of the poor under the Porfiriato[?], in 1904 Madero became involved in politics with the Benito Juarez Democratic Club[?].

He was a liberal capitalist who feared that the existing regime under Diaz would inevitably breed true social revolution—a fear that proved accurate with the rise of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. Madero favored an oligarchic façade democracy that would insolate the elite from popular insurrection, writing, "the ignorant public... should take no direct part in determining who should be the candidate for public office." Madero thus criticized Diaz's regime as counterproductive; he proposed meager concessions to peasants and the proletariat that would provide the climate of order and stability from which the elite, foreign and domestic, benefited under Diaz. Madero also hoped slight concessions would curb the growth of radical ideas.

He ran for president of Mexico against Porfirio Diaz in 1910, as candidate for the Anti-reelectionist movement. He was arrested in June and then released conditionally in July. Díaz was declared President in October 1910. Madero declared the result to be null, and assumed the provisional presidency, designating November 20 for the start of what was later called the Mexican Revolution. The government discovered the action being prepared and Madero fled to San Antonio. But the Revolution had spread in the north, where Francisco Villa occupied Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. The overthrow of Diaz was accomplished on May 17, when Madero signed the Treaty of Ciudad Juarez[?], in which he demanded the resignation of Díaz as a condition for an armistice. Díaz resigned on May 25, 1911.

Madero appointed Francisco Leon de la Barra[?] as Interim President. De la Barra was strongly conservative and acted to neutralise the more radical ideas of the Revolution. Madero was called a traitor and Emiliano Zapata abandoned him. When Madero won the presidential elections in November 1911, the division among the revolutionaries was enormous. Both the Zapatistas and the conservatives became disenchanted with Madero's handling of the agrarian problems.

In 1913 Victoriano Huerta[?], the Chief of the Armed Forces, conspired with Díaz. In a coup d'etat on February 21, 1913, Madero was forced to resign and then executed.

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