Lerdo law content and consequences

Lerdo Law

Lerdo law that decreed the sale to individuals of rural properties of the Catholic Church and civil corporations.

The Lerdo law was a law, issued on June 25, 1856 in Mexico, which decreed the sale to individuals  of rural properties of the Catholic Church and civil corporations , in order to promote economic activity, create a rural middle class and get taxes from it.

Also known as the Law of Confiscation of Rural and Urban Properties of the Civil and Religious Corporations of Mexico , it was called the Lerdo law because its main promoter was Miguel Lerdo de Tejada , minister of finance at that time.

This law was part of the Reform Laws, issued between 1855 and 1861 by the liberal political system of Mexico, which initiated a reorganization of the government and the separation between the State and the Catholic Church.

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  • The confiscation of assets in the hands of the church and civil corporations, which as they were not under active production, would pass to the power of civilians, who would take advantage of these lands and generate production.
  • Land without owners would be auctioned to the highest bidder.
  • Each property to which this law would apply should have a legal rental and use contract .
  • Taxes and fines were established for the administration of said properties.

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  • Numerous farms and properties passed into private hands.
  • Most of the properties became the property of foreigners with high purchasing power, not of Mexicans who were going through serious economic crises.
  • A long and difficult relationship between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church began.
  • Many indigenous people lost their lands, since they could not pay the amount of its cost, which notably affected this sector of the population.
  • The ideological conflict between conservatives and liberals worsened , which generated the Plan of Tacubay, whose purpose was to repeal the Constitution of 1857, and produced the Reform War or the Three Years’ War.

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