Valentín Gomez Farias
Valentín Gomez Farias was one of the more important political figures in early Mexico. Born in 1781 in the city of Guadalajara, Gómez Farías trained as a physician, served as a professor, read French political theory texts, and practiced medicine until 1820.
With nationalist passions raging in newly independent Mexico, Gómez Farías entered politics and eventually went to Mexico City as part of the national congress. By 1830, he had emerged as the principal spokesperson for Mexican Liberals and the Puros, or radical faction.
This liberal ideologue rose to the position of provisional president amid the Centralist and Federals feuds in 1833, and moved to enact his vision for Mexico, including the weakening the influence of the military and the church. His efforts led to a coup in 1834 and his exile for the next twelve years.
In 1846, with war looming with the United States, Gómez Farías returned to Mexico to helped topple the presidency of Mariano Paredes y Arillaga. Installed as the new acting president, Gómez Farías was on the cusp of realizing his Puro political vision and moved aggressively to solidify his power. Winning the war against the United States, he hoped, would accomplish that end. Reactions to his war financing policies led to a conservative revolt and his ouster in 1847.
His dreams dashed, Gómez Farías died in Mexico City in 1858, a vestige of the political wrangles and intrigues of early Mexico.