It was the year 1858 and the country was the scene of a struggle between various forces for the presidency of the republic.
One of these was the conservative, Felix Zuloaga, who was behind the Plan of Tacubaya, which demanded the annulment of the Constitution of 1857. The President, Ignacio Comonfort, joined forces with Zuloaga, staging a coup d’état and abolishing the Constitution. The country now had no laws to govern it.
The Minister of the Supreme Court at the time was Benito Juarez. Seeing the danger that this held for the country’s political stability, he rejected the plan and asserted his claim to the presidency, which of course brought him into conflict with Comonfort, whom he had jailed. However, subsequently, when he was forced to flee, Juarez had him freed. In the meantime, the conservatives had chosen Felix Zuloaga as president and commenced a bloody persecution of the Juarez party, while Juarez, as his first step and, seeking a safe strategic location to serve as the seat of his government, decided to head for Guanajuato, establishing himself here as the President of the Nation and, on January 19, 1858, declared the city – if only for a short time – capital of the Republic.
In his autobiographical writings, Juarez tells the story in a matter-of-fact manner: “on January 11, I left with my freedom intact… on the evening of the 17th, I left Querétaro and on the 18th at nine in the morning arrived in Guanajuato and on the 19th established the Government there.”