Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/421

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THE LAST OF SANTA ANNA.

him, probably not possessing the black characteristics ascribed to him by his enemies, he was at the best a turbulent, troublesome creature, an exponent in his own person of all the dangerous qualities of the Mexican character, which for so long a time have kept the country far away from the true path to prosperity.

The character of Juarez, on the other hand, represents precisely the opposite qualities of the Mexican race, inherited from his Indian parentage,—endurance, patience, imperturbability. Calm in the midst of exciting elements, he knew how to stand and wait for his turn. These qualities, so useful to him in adversity were supplemented by executive ability, good sense, and prompt action, which, when he returned to power, enabled him to rule wisely without losing his balance on the giddy height of success, like many of his predecessors.

His seat was not secure, and peace was not confirmed in emotional Mexico. The restless population, untrained to any permanent government, wearied of his rule, and early in his administration began to clamor that he had been President long enough. This people, scarcely yet freed from three hundred years of foreign control, found four years of one liberal leader enough to convert him in their eyes into a tyrant. As the period of election approached, in 1871, party lines became sharply divided, and the question of his return to power was warmly contested. A large body still advocated the re-election of Juarez, as of the greatest importance to the consolidation of the Constitution and reform, but the