Venustiano Carranza (29 December, 1859 - 21 May, 1920) was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution, and became President of Mexico. Under his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted.
Carranza was born in the town of Cuatro Ciénagas, in the state of Coahuila, to a middle-class cattle ranching family. His father, Jesús Carranza, had been a Colonel in the army of Benito Juárez and a staunch supporter of Juárez's liberal party.
Venustaiano Carranza was an early supporter of Francisco I. Madero's efforts to overthrow the Porfirio Díaz dictatorship, and when Madero came to power was appointed Secretary of War and of the Navy. After Victoriano Huerta's overthrow of the Madero regime, Carranza became one of the leaders in the opposition in revolt against Huerta. Carranza's forces were known as the Constitutionalist Army, as he advocated reinstatement of the liberal Constitution of 1857.
Carranza assumed the presidency on 1 May, 1915. Carranza implemented an independent judiciary, greater decentralization of power, and land reform under an ejido system. Carranza was a man of great intelligence with wide knowledge of Mexican conditions and history. He was strongly built, wore round glasses and a large grey beard, giving him the appearance of a benevolent father figure.
In September of 1916 Carranza saw the need for a new Constitution and called for a Constitutional convention. On 11 March, 1917 Venustiano Carranza was elected the first president under the new Mexican Constitution of 1917.
Fighting continued with factions who would not accept Carranza's rule, ranging from reactionary landowners and conservative Catholics to the forces of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa for whom Carranza's reforms were too modest. Carranza ordered a bounty put on Zapata's head, leading to Zapata's assassination.
As his presidential term drew to a close, he began grooming Ignacio Bonilla as his successor. This earned him the resentment of fellow revolutionaries Álvaro Obregón, Plutarco Elías Calles, and Adolfo de la Huerta, who rebelled against Carranza's government. Carranza was forced to flee Mexico City in early 1920. He set out towards Veracruz but was intercepted in Tlaxcalantongo in the Sierra Norte of Puebla state by supporters of his former allies and assassinated on 21 May.