|President Benito Juarez|
Spouse(s) Emilia Golard
|President Jose Maria Iglesias|
Political party Liberal
Name Guillermo Prieto
|Born 10 February 1818
Mexico City (1818-02-10) |
Resting place Dolores Civil Cemetery 19°24′24″N 99°12′17″W / 19.40679°N 99.20459°W / 19.40679; -99.20459 (Dolores Civil Cemetery)
Died March 2, 1897, Mexico City, Mexico
Books Lecciones de historia patria, Poesia popular, poesia patriotica
Similar People Ignacio Ramirez, Manuel Payno, Vicente Riva Palacio, Jose Maria Iglesias, Manuel Gutierrez Najera
Guillermo Prieto | Wikipedia audio article
Guillermo Prieto Pradillo audio (10 February 1818 – 2 March 1897) was a Mexican novelist, short-story writer, poet, chronicler, journalist, essayist, patriot and Liberal politician. According to Eladio Cortes, during his lifetime he was considered Mexico's national poet, and his political allegiance to the Mexican liberals allowed him to serve as Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs under different administrations.
In his writings he used several pen names, including Don Benedeno and Fidel.
Prieto was born in Mexico City, the son of Jose Maria Prieto Gamboa and Josefa Pradillo y Estanol. His childhood was spent near Molino del Rey (King's Mill), next to the historic Chapultepec Castle, since his father administered the mill and the associated bakery. When Prieto was 13 his father died and his mother had a nervous breakdown. Andres Quintana Roo and Fernando Calderon took him under his protection, and he was thus able to continue his studies. After working in a clothing store and in the customs, he entered the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
Together with Manuel Toussaint Ferrer and the brothers Jose Maria y Juan Lacunza, he founded the Academia de Letran in June 1836, with the aim of "the Mexicanization of literature". Quintana Roo was named "perpetual director" of the Academy.
Prieto began his career as a journalist and theater critic with El Siglo XX, publishing the column Los San Lunes de Fidel. He worked for El Monitor Republicano, and together with Ignacio Ramirez he founded the satirical periodical Don Simplicio. A supporter of the Liberal Party from a young age, he advocated its positions in the press and in his other writings.
Prieto became personal secretary of Valentin Gomez Farias and Anastasio Bustamante, in succession. Under Bustamante he was editor of El Diario Oficial. He was minister of finance (hacienda) under Presidents Mariano Arista, Juan Alvarez and Benito Juarez. He was a congressional deputy 15 times and a representative of Puebla in the constituent congress of 1856-57. Together with other Liberals he supported the Plan de Ayutla, proclaimed March 1, 1854 and aimed at overthrowing dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. For this he suffered temporary exile in Cadereyta, Guanajuato. As minister of finance under President Juarez, he accompanied the president into exile after the coup by Felix Zuloaga.
During the subsequent War of the Reform, he saved the life of President Juarez in Guadalajara by stepping between the president and the guns of the rebelling guardsmen (March 14, 1858). The guardsmen backed down and did not shoot. Prieto composed the satirical song of the Liberal army, "Los cangrejos" (The Crabs). It was to the tune of "Los cangrejos" that the Liberals under General Jesus Gonzalez Ortega reentered Mexico City in January 1861, ending the War of the Reform.
After the return of the Republican government to Mexico City, Prieto, again minister of finance, published the decree of February 5, 1861 declaring that ecclesiastical property was and had always been property of the nation, and that as a consequence, contracts and other dealings celebrated by the clergy without the consent of the constitutional government were null and void.
He later served as minister of foreign relations in the government of Jose Maria Iglesias.
In 1890 the periodical La Republica held a poll to choose the most popular poet in Mexico. Prieto won easily. He was named by Ignacio Manuel Altamirano the "Mexican poet par excellence, the poet of the Fatherland".
According to Eladio Cortes, in his old age "he became somewhat of an eccentric in his manners and in his general appearance". He died in Tacubaya on 2 March 1897 at age 79, in the presence of his second wife, Emilia Golard, his children and his grandchildren.
A prolific author in many genres, with a festive and ironic style, Prieto's political passion is never far beneath the surface. He is remembered especially for the following works.
Versos Ineditos (1879)
As professor of political economy and later professor of national history at the Military College, Prieto also wrote Indicaciones sobre el origen, virtudes y estado que guardan actualmente las rentas generales de la federacion mexicana (1850), Lecciones elementales de economia politica (1871–1888), Lecciones de historia patria (1886) and Breve introduccion al estudio de la historia universal (1888).