Francisco I. Madero González (30 October 1873 – 22 February 1913) was a revolutionary who served as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913.
He was born in Parras, Coahuila, the son of Francisco Madero and Mercedes González Treviño. (His middle initial, I, stood for either "Ignacio" or "Indalecio".) His parents were one of the richest families in Mexico, of Portuguese descent. Madero was educated in Baltimore, Versailles, and at the University of California, Berkeley.
Affected by the plight of the poor under the dictator Porfirio Díaz, in 1904 Madero became involved in politics with the Benito Juárez Democratic Club.
Madero was a liberal capitalist who feared that the existing regime under Díaz would inevitably breed true social revolution — a fear that proved accurate with the subsequent rise of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. Madero favored an oligarchic façade democracy that would protect the elite from popular insurrection; he wrote that "the ignorant public ... should take no direct part in determining who should be the candidate for public office." Madero thus criticized Díaz's presidency as counterproductive. He proposed that Díaz offer concessions to peasants and the proletariat to promote a climate of order and stability from which both foreign and domestic elites would benefit. Madero also hoped such concessions would curb the growth of radical ideas.
Madero ran for the Mexican presidency in the early 1900s, while Díaz was in power. He didn't back down from Díaz during the election, and was elected as candidate for the Anti-reelectionist movement. He wanted Díaz to share more power with the Mexican elite, but Díaz refused. As a result Madero became radical, and opened the door for other leaders, such as peasants, to run for election. He was arrested in June but released conditionally in July.
Díaz was declared president by an improbably massive majority in October of 1910. Madero refused to recognize the result and assumed the provisional presidency, designating November 20 for the start of what was later called the Mexican Revolution. When government discovered this action was being prepared, Madero fled to San Antonio, Texas. However, the Revolution had already spread, with Francisco Villa occupying Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez. The overthrow of Díaz was accomplished on May 17, when Madero signed the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez, in which he demanded the resignation of Díaz as a condition for an armistice. Díaz resigned on May 25, 1911.
Madero appointed Francisco León de la Barra as Interim President. De la Barra was strongly conservative and acted to neutralise the more radical ideas of the Revolution. Madero was called a traitor and Emiliano Zapata abandoned him. When Madero won the presidential elections in October of 1911 (taking office the following 6 November), the division among the revolutionaries was enormous. Both the Zapatistas and the conservatives became disenchanted with Madero's handling of agrarian problems.
In early 1913, Victoriano Huerta, the commander of the armed forces, conspired with Félix Díaz (Porfirio's nephew) and US Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson. Following their coup d'état on February 18, 1913, Madero was forced to resign. After a very brief term of office by Pedro Lascuráin, Huerta took over the presidency later that day. Francisco Madero was executed four days later, aged 39. His brother Gustavo A. Madero was also killed. The Huerta government later said that they were ordered killed after a failed rescue attempt by their supporters.
Curiosities: He was the first chief executive to fly in an airplane. Mexico City, November 30, 1911.