1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Carranza, Venustiano
CARRANZA, VENUSTIANO (1859-1920), Mexican revolutionary and president, was born Dec. 29 1859, at Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila. He was educated in the Ateneo Fuentes at Saltillo and in the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria at Mexico City. Defective eyesight prevented a legal career for which he had studied. Entering politics, he became presidente municipal of Cuatro Cienegas in 1887. In 1893 he and his brother Emilio led a revolt against the repeated candidacy of Garcia Galán for the state governorship, and they succeeded in inducing President Diaz to name General Muzquiz as governor. Carranza was first elected senator suplente (alternate) for Coahuila for 1900-2. On the death of the proprietary Ortiz de Montellanos, he took his seat April 5 1901. He was elected proprietary senator for 1904-8, and again for 1908-12, but served only until Dec. 15 1910. In the position of senator he was amenable to the control of Diaz. In 1909 he became candidate for the state governorship in opposition to the wishes of the central Government. In the following year he joined the Madero revolution, serving as a member of the Junta Revolucionaria at San Antonio, Texas. Madero made him chief of the military division of Coahuila, Nuevo Léon, and Tamaulipas and later Minister of War in his provisional Cabinet. In this position he organized Madero's army. After the triumph of the revolution he returned to Coahuila and assumed the governorship, to which he was regularly elected in May 1911. After the coup of General Huerta, Feb. 18 1913, and the murder of Madero, to whom he was attached, Carranza issued the Plan de Guadalupe in March, disavowing Huerta as president. He then became First Chief of the Constitutionalist army and personally visited all northern Mexico to organize the opposition, establishing his government at Hermosillo, Sonora, whence he moved southward until he entered Mexico City Aug. 20 1914, after Huerta had fled. He was opposed by Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata after the split of the Constitutionalists, and withdrew to Vera Cruz, which he occupied when the American occupation terminated. On Oct. 9 1915, he was recognized as head of the de facto Government by the United States and seven Pan-American powers. On Sept. 30 1916 he decreed the abolition of the vice-presidency and the limitation of the presidential term to four years instead of six. He was elected to the presidency March 11 1917, under the constitution promulgated under his sanction on Feb. 5. Under this radical body of fundamental law he issued a series of decrees for the nationalization of petroleum lands, which kept his Government continually in strained relations with England, France and the United States. As the time approached in 1920 for the election of his successor, he attempted to force the election of Ignacio Bonillas, a civilian candidate. This led to an attempt to control the state government of Sonora, a stronghold of Alvaro Obregon, who was the strongest and most popular aspirant for the presidency, but who was inimical to Carranza's politics. The state revolted in March 1920, being immediately followed by the country at large. Carranza attempted to move his Government to Vera Cruz on May 7. His flight was interrupted and he himself was killed as he was fleeing the country, on the night of May 18, at Tlaxcalantongo, Puebla.