Restored Republic 1867-76
The modern history of Mexico begins with the liberal victory of 1867. Juarez immediately set about making economic, political and educational reforms. Schooling was made mandatory, a railway was built between Veracruz and Mexico City and to increase commerce a rural police force, the rurales was established to check banditry. There was still some unrest among the peasants for land rights that flared into rebellion in Nayarit under Manuel Lozada and in Oaxaca by the brother of Porfirio Diaz .
Juarez and his followers spent the next decade trying to consolidate their victory and implement the reforms of the Constitution of 1867 . There was still antagonisms from the conservatives, but it did not break out into civil war as it had in the 1860s .
Juarez's Third Term
Juarez entered Mexico City to jubilation on July 15, and immediately called for a presidential election and announced himself a candidate for a third term against General Jesus Ortega and General Porfirio Diaz . The 1857 Constitution limited the president to one four year term and did not permit reelection. The previous terms could be argued to have been an emergency situation since it was during the French Intervention . Despite this, Juarez won the presidential election an was sworn in late 1867 .
The Juarez administration focused on rebuilding the economy and creating a stronger educational foundation for Mexico . Matias Romero was named secretary of the treasury who developed a plan for the development of the transportation system and exploiting Mexico's mineral resources rather than industrialization to rebuild the economy .To secure the roads, a rural police force was established, the rurales, an by 1869 they contributed to the stability of the countryside and repaired Mexico's image of a land of lawlessness to foreign investors .Tariffs and taxes were reformed to encourage investment .
Repairing the Infrastructure
One of the most important projects of the era was the development of the Mexico City - Veracruz railway which was finished in 1872. The land between the cities was quite rugged and was a great engineering feat, especially the bridging of the Metlac River chasm that was 900 feet wide and 375 feet deep . In 1860 Mexico only had 150 miles of railway, in contrast with the US which had over 30,000 miles . Despite being majority owned by an arch conservative, Juarez smoothed the way for the Ferrocarril Mexicano or Mexican Railway Company because he believed in the importance of the railway to the country was greater than politics despite objections to it in Congress . Roads were improved and telegraph lines went up all over the country .
In 1867, Juarez appointed a commission to reorganize the education system of Mexico .The curriculum was changed to place more encourage science and math and primary education was made obligatory and free for the first time . Many murals extolling these new ideas were painted on the school walls themselves, beginning the Mexican muralist movement .
Juarez Runs for a Fourth Term
By the presidental election of 1871, Juarez decided to run for a fourth term against the advice of many friends on the law of the Constitution of 1857 . Two of his former supporters ran against him Sebastian Lerdo de Eejada,the former secretary of foreign relations who had the support of the professional classes and the upper classes, and Porfirio Diaz, who had the support of the military and conservatives . Both Diaz and Lerdo attacked Juarez for violating the Constitution of 1857 and the election was hotly contested .When the ballots were counted, none of the candidates had the required majority and according to the Constitution of 1857 the matter must be decided by Congress, in which the Juaristas held power and Juarez was reelected . In reaction to this Diaz announced his Plan de la Noria and rose in revolt against Juarez for violating the Constitution on November 8, 1871. Diaz was not able to gather much support and the army Diaz raised was quickly defeated by the federal army .
Juarez died in office of a heart attack on July 19, 1872 and Sebastian Lerdo de Eejada, who was then chief justice of the Supreme Court became acting president till new elections could be held in October , where he defeated Diaz easily .
The Lerdo Presidency
Lerdo continued the polices of Juarez and stressed the need for peace and order to promote the economy . A railway was planned to connect Mexico and the US and across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Lerdos had a goal of connecting all state capitals to Mexico City by telegraph was not attained, but he through this effort 1,600 miles off telegraph line was put up .Between 1870 and 1874 the number of schools doubled. A Senate was added to the legislature in 1875 and Lerdo thought this would add his centralization efforts .
Battle of Tecoac
In 1876, following the pattern of Juarez, Lerdo sought a second term in spite of the Constitution of 1857 . Lerdo was reelected on July 24, 1876, with a small majority and amid charges of fraud. He had made himself unpopular by the means he took to secure his reelection, by his disposition to limit state rights in favor of a strongly centralized government,Diaz again raised his banner of rebellion with his Plan de Tuxtepec and again raised an army. This time he had more support and his army defeated a federal army in Tlaxcala at the Battle of Tecoac on November 16, 1876. This left Mexico City wide open and Lerdo fled to America on a steamer from Acapulco .