Corazon Aquino: Heroic Housewife

Nathan Chandler

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

She preferred to stay in the shadows, but circumstances led Corazon Aquino into the brightest spotlight imaginable. She didn't shy from her new challenges but instead led a wounded people to new glory. How much do you know about this unforgettable female leader?

Corazon Aquino was a powerful woman in the 20th century. In which country did she make her mark?

Aquino became a powerful politician in the Philippines. She rose to the position of president in the 1980s.

Aquino became known for what sort of political activity?

The Philippines languished for more than two decades under the authoritarian control of Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino brought a democratic revolution to the forefront of the country's consciousness.

Aquino was better known as what?

At birth, her full name was Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco. But everyone just called her "Cory."

Aquino rose to power even though she was born into an impoverished family.

Aquino had every advantage as a child. She was born into a rich family that helped her pursue her dreams.

How did Aquino's family make money?

Her family was heavily invested in a sugar plantation and banking business. Their wealth allowed her to pursue all sorts of higher education, and later, even bigger goals.

As a young woman, Aquino attended a convent in which country?

She traveled to the United States and attended Notre Dame Convent School in New York. She went on to get a degree in French and also a minor in mathematics.

Aquino returned to the Philippines to attend law school. Why did she drop out?

She met and married a man named Benigno Aquino Jr., who was in steadfast opposition to the dictator named Marcos. The couple had five children during their marriage.

As her husband pursued a career in politics, what did Aquino do?

While her husband became a young, rising star in the political scene, Aquino stayed at home and raised their children. The family lived in a modest home even though she had the means to live a wealthier lifestyle.

Aquino was raised in a Catholic home. She was a very religious woman.

When it came to religion, Aquino didn't just go through the motions. She was a very religious woman who brought her convictions to public life.

What did President Ferdinand Marcos do in 1972?

Marcos pointed to domestic bombings and used them as an excuse to declare martial law. Slowly but surely he was creating a dictatorship.

What happened to Aquino's husband after the president declared martial law?

Because her husband was in opposition to the president, he was arrested and imprisoned. Later, he received a death sentence.

In 1980, Benigno Aquino was released from prison, in part to seek medical treatment. Where did he go?

Thanks to the help of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Benigno Aquino and his family were allowed to leave for America. They spent several years in the Boston area.

In 1983, Benigno Aquino decided it was time for him to return to the Philippines. He left behind his family and headed to his homeland. What happened next?

Benigno Aquino was an extremely well-known political opponent and his return generated waves in the Philippines. He was shot to death before he even left the airport. President Marcos likely orchestrated the killing.

What did Aquino do after her husband was shot and killed?

Aquino was heartbroken and returned to the Philippines to take part in the funeral procession. As many as two million citizens mourned the killing of the popular politician.

Benigno Aquino had no idea how much danger he was in when he landed at the airport.

He wore a bulletproof vest and bemoaned the fact that there was no way to protect his head from attack. He knew full well that Marcos would not be happy to see him return to the country. He was right.

What did Aquino do following her husband's killing?

Filipino society was in many ways permanently changed following the assassination. Aquino became a potent political activist and a symbol of the opposition.

How did Aquino feel about running for president against Marcos?

She never loved the spotlight, but the people of her country encouraged her to run for office. Reluctantly, she decided to vie for the presidency.

How did Marcos respond when Aquino announced her candidacy?

Marcos was none too happy that the wife of his dead political rival was becoming a force in the Philipines. He attacked her relentlessly and mocked her for being a woman in a political climate dominated by men.

In the first week of February 1986, Marcos declared an unexpectedly early election. Who won?

Thanks to vote-rigging, fraud and intimidation, Marcos declared himself the winner of the election. But Aquino disputed the results, saying publicly that she was the true winner.

How did Filipinos respond to the election results?

The country's citizens found their voices and marched against Marcos. Millions of protesters clogged city streets until Marcos finally stepped down, and Aquino took his place.

What was the name given to the revolution that swept Aquino into power?

The People Power Revolution demonstrated the power of masses of people to peacefully remove a dictator from his throne. Aquino, the political neophyte, suddenly became the leader of a huge country.

Aquino had no political experience when she took office. How was her administration perceived?

Her inexperience was obvious to everyone, and she was considered naïve. These traits exposed Aquino to attacks from many different quarters of Filipino society.

How did leaders of the armed forces react to Aquino's ascension to power?

Aquino abruptly ended martial law, a fact that diminished the military's power. As a result, military leaders began plotting against her.

Aquino immediately took up major economic and social reforms.

Corazon's inexperience showed. She put off reforms that could have transformed the country, a fact that had a negative effect on her popularity.

The Philippines was notoriously unstable during Aquino's time in office. She survived how many coup attempts?

Opposition forces launched not two or four, but seven coups in an attempt to overthrow Aquino. She somehow managed to thwart all of those coups, in part thanks to support from the Catholic church.

Aquino introduced a new constitution that overhauled parts of the old Marcos dictatorship. How did the Filipino people respond?

The people were ready to be done with the Marcos legacy. They overwhelmingly approved the new constitution and ushered the country into a new age.

In 1992, Aquino's presidency ended. What happened?

In 1992, Aquino was finished as a politician. She decided to retire, but it turned out that her political life wasn't quite over.

She retired in 1992. She disappeared from the spotlight.

In retirement, she was still a strong political voice and was very critical of eventual president Joseph Estrada. She helped lead a protest that removed him from power, an act that Aquino ultimately regretted.

Aquino became an icon for women around the world. How did she die?

In 2008, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, and the prognosis was not good. She underwent treatment but died in 2009.

In retrospect, what is the legacy of Aquino and her presidency?

Aquino helped to create a new democracy in the Philippines, and the people are ever grateful for her service. She always pushed away compliments, saying that the people -- not her -- were responsible for the revolution.

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