Juan Nepomuceno Méndez Sánchez was a politician of liberal ideology, interim Mexican President between 1876 and 1877.
First, to begin with Juan N. Mendez's biography, is important to mention that he is well known as one of the "Tres Juanes de la Sierra Norte de Puebla" (the three Juanes of the northen sierra of Puebla), group completed by Juan C. Bonilla and Juan Francisco Lucas, declared as Illustrious Meritorious Mention of the State in heroic degree.
Juan N. Méndez was born in Real de Minas de Santa María Tetela de Xonotla (better known as Tetela de Ocampo) on July 2nd, 1824.
His father was a prosper merchant and insurgent Capitan. Historians refer to Juan Nepomuceno's family as prosper family, because they have an stable economic due to sell silver and gold, as well as soap and wax.
It allows that he attended to Colegio del Estado (known as Colegio Carolino) in Puebla City to study, where he followed the liberal thinking of that time. Two years later, he left his studies to be a merchant, and learnt to refine silver and gold.
Juan Nepomuceno's public life allowed him to show his liberal thinking. His domain and comprehension regarding the topic made possible the adoption of different European liberal concepts to the indigenous world -peasant in the sierra, Puebla and country, wrote in his biography of "Cartilla Moral".
Even, working as a merchant, Juan N. Méndez had a very active participation in his community. Inspired by the European liberals precepts, became an authority in his town, and was the peace attorney 1845, and Mayor of Tetela de Ocampo.
The military and political career of Juan N. Méndez spanned several periods in the defense of Mexican territory. It began with the American invasion, when he enlisted in the militia of the Tetela Party.
The book "Juan N Méndez Héroe Republicano, Maestro de Integridad", wrote by Luis Enrique Palacios Martínez, states that during the American Intervention he fought against Zachary Taylor's troops in Cerro Gordo battle.
In the Battle of May 5th, Juan N. Méndez is recognized for organizing the contingents of Tetelenses and Xochiapulcas that arrived in Puebla to defeat the French army.
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He was in charge of the 6th Battalion of the National Guard of Puebla, considered the first line of the Army of the East, commanded by Ignacio Zaragoza, to fight against the enemy in Loreto and Guadalupe hills.
He also served at the side of General Jesús González Ortega during "el sitio" of Puebla; however, he was taken prisoner by the French army. After resisting under captivity, he managed to escape and moved to Tetela where he organized the troops to resist the invasion.
At the beginning of 1865, brigadier general Fernando María Ortega, governor and military commander of Puebla, named him general in chief of the political and military line of Tetela de Ocampo and Xochiapulco.
As Mexican President
On december 6th, 1876, the General Porfirio Diaz named Juan as the interim president of Mexico, under the 6th article of the Tuxtepec Plan, proclaimed by Diaz to overturn Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada.
He was in charge until January 16th, 1877, leaving the power to Porfirio Diaz. However, during his short government Juan N. Mendez did:
- Reorganize the Mexican Army and National Guard.
- Cancel the "leva" (mandatory enrollment of civilian population to serve in the military)
- Prohibit the civilian death penalty and corporal punishment
- Promote effective freedom of worship
- Decreed mandatory elementary education
By 1884, Juan Nepomuceno Mendez was appointed as president of the Supreme Court of Military Justice. He remained in that position until his death, on November 29th, 1894 in Mexico City
His remains are in the Personas Ilustres roundabout in the Chapultepec Forest.
Translated by: Luba Michelle García Vega