Tejada, Or Lerdo De Tejada, Sebastian, president of Mexico, born in Jalapa, April 25, 1825. He was educated in the seminary of Puebla and in the college of San Ildefonso, in the city of Mexico, became rector of the college in 1852, and received the diploma of advocate in 1853. He was a judge of the supreme court from December, 1855, to June 1, 1857, when he became minister of foreign affairs and premier, but resigned in September on account of his support of the new liberal constitution, in opposition to President Comonfort. He was a member and thrice the president of the house of representatives during the sessions of 1861-'2. He opposed the treaty for arranging the English debt, and its failure led to the downfall of the Zamacona cabinet. His influence led to the ratification in December, 1861, of treaties of commerce and of extradition with the United States. He was member of congress in 1862-'3, and followed the government on its removal from Mexico, during the French invasion. On Sept. 2, 1863, he became minister of justice, and on Sept. 11 of foreign affairs. He shared with Juarez the honor of the eventual recovery of the national independence.
The presidential term of Juarez expiring on Nov. 30, 1865, Lerdo de Tejada, to avert the excitement of a new election, caused the presidential term to be extended until the termination of the war. After the capture of Maximilian, he was vainly solicited to spare his life. After the return of Juarez to the capital, in July, 1867, Lerdo de Tejada suspended all treaties with those foreign powers which had failed in neutrality toward Mexico, or had joined in the intervention; but he accorded to aliens the same security as to Mexicans. In 1868 he became chief justice of the supreme court. In that capacity, under the constitution, he became president on the death of Juarez in July, 1872; and on Nov. 1 he was almost unanimously elected to that office for the term ending Nov. 30, 1876.