Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GOMEZ-FARIAS, Valentin (go'-meth-fah-re'-as), Mexican statesman, born in Guadalajara, 14 February, 1781 ; died in the City of Mexico in July, 1858. He studied medicine in his native City, and in 1810 was appointed professor of the University. Later he practiced in Aguas Calientes, and joining the cause of independence he equipped a battalion at his own expense. After the fall of Hurbide, he was elected a member of the first constituent congress, and attracted the hatred of the Church party by his liberal principles. After the fall of General Bustamante and the short administration of Gomez Pedraza, he was elected vice-president with Santa-Anna, and, as the latter was absent, assumed the executive on 1 April, 1833. He immediately abolished the legal expropriation for unpaid Church-tithes, prohibited the admission of new monks to the existing cloisters, and attacked the privileges which military chiefs had arrogated. In consequence there were several revolts, but these were soon quelled. The clergy now tried to bribe Gomez by the offer of a fortune; but he refused indignantly, and on 4 January 1835, a so-called constitutional congress assembled, which refused to acknowledge the authority of the president. Gomez, tired of the struggle, left the country, but in 1838 returned to Mexico, where he was received by a public ovation. The jealousy of the president, Bustamante, caused him to be sent to prison, but he was rescued by a popular rising. In 1840 he led an unsuccessful attempt at revolution, and was banished a second time. He returned to Mexico in 1845, and in 1846 was again elected vice-president, with Santa-Anna as president. As the latter had to take command of the army in the war with the United States, Gomez took charge of the executive; but in February, 1847, there was a revolt against him, which continued till 21 March, when it was quelled by Santa-Anna. The vice-presidency was abolished by a decree of the congress, and Gomez was elected a deputy to that body. In 1850 he was a defeated candidate for the presidency. When Santa-Anna declared himself dictator in 1853, Gomez-Farias took part against him, and was one of the committee that elected Alvarez president in October, 1855. He was appointed postmaster-general, and in 1857 took part in the formation of the liberal constitution.
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