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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Manuel Gonzalez

GONZALEZ, Manuel, Mexican soldier, born near Matamoros Tamaulipas, Mexico, in 1820. He began to figure in the civil wars of Mexico about 1853, fighting with the reactionary party under the guerilla chief Marcelino Cohos. (See Cohos.) Up to 1861 he participated in all the engagements between the reactionary and the Liberal partisans, and with other guerillas was the terror of the valley of Mexico. He has been many times wounded in battle, and his right arm was twice shattered, once requiring an amputation. When the allied armies of France, England, and Spain invaded Mexico in December, 1861, he offered his sword to the Liberal leader, Juarez. He was ordered to join General Vidaurri near the northern frontier; but in 1863 the latter complained to the secretary of war that Gonzalez was of a rebellious disposition, and requested that he might be recalled. After accompanying the president in his flight from the capital as far as San Luis Potosi, he made a countermarch to the mountains of Hidalgo~ where he maintained himself till the year 1865. Toward the end of the year, he made a rapid march through the midst of the French and imperial forces, joined General Escobedo, and accompanied him in his advance toward the south. He was promoted colonel in 1866, brigadier-general in 1867, and in June entered the capital with Escobedo, Corona, and Berriozabal. In 1869 he was appointed governor of the government palace by Juarez, and he occupied this position till 1871, when he was arrested on a charge of complicity in the disappearance from the palace of the gold and silver plate which had belonged to the emperor Maximilian. He took advantage of the revolution of 1871 to escape, and joined the forces of Porfirio Diaz. He afterward refused to submit to the government of Lerdo de Tejada, and in January, 1876, joined the third rebellion of Porfirio Diaz, and organized in the eastern frontier states bodies of light cavalry that harassed and checked the government forces. On 16 November, 1876, during the decisive battle of Lomas de Tecoac, between Alatorre and Diaz, Gonzalez arrived at the head of 3,000 cavalry, and with a vigorous attack disorganized and entirely routed Alatorre. This action decided the overthrow of Lerdo's government, and in 1878 Diaz appointed Gonzalez secretary of war, in which office he did much for the Mexican army. In 1879 he was made commander-in-chief of the northwestern district, where he soon quelled all seditious movements, and, returning to Mexico, received from congress the rank of general of division, and the title of " Pacificator of the Occident." In June, 1880, he resigned the portfolio of war, as his candidacy for president had been proclaimed by Diaz. He was declared elected on 25 September, and on 30 November assumed the executive, and appointed Diaz secretary of public works. His administration was distinguished by financial mismanagement, he decreed extraordinary import duties on foreign manufactures, doubled the stamp-duty, and debased the currency by the issue of a great quantity of nickel coins, which were largely disposed of to speculators at a discount. The opposition to these culminated in a riot in 1884, which led to their withdrawal and redemption by the government. The proposition to allow the government the use of about £18,000,000 for expenses to be incurred in settling the English debt led to another riot in November, 1884 (see DIAZ). In the same year the Monte de Piedad bank was forced to suspend by the efforts of a rival institution, and through reports that government would make a demand on the bank for a forced loan, which proved unfounded. Gonzalez also published a decree suppressing the liberty of the press. On 30 November, 1884, he resigned the government to his successor, General Diaz, with a bankrupt exchequer. He has since been governor of the state of Guanajuato. On 30 October, 1885, there was presented in congress a resolution of impeachment against the ex-president for misappropriation of public funds, which in November was referred to the section for the grand jury of the congress for action. This accusation has not been pressed.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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