1954 Ricardo Lagos began studying law at the Universidad de Chile. In 1960 he completed his studies with honors and was admitted to the bar. He married Carmen Weber, earned his doctorate at Duke University and divorced again. After working through the economic faculty, he was in 1967 appointed Director of the Escuela de Ciencias y Politicas Administrativas until he was appointed General Secretary of the Universidad de Chile in 1969.
In the same year he met Luisa Durán, whom he married in 1971. At the Law School of the Universidad de Chile, he received an economic professor and worked in various offices at his alma mater and as a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the United States.
In the 1970s, Lagos described themselves as " independent left "; In 1961 he left the Radical Party of Chile, as it enters into the cabinet of the government of Jorge Alessandri. Without diplomatic experience Lagos supported the Chilean ambassador to the United Nations, where he criticized the decision of U.S. President Richard Nixon keen to abandon the gold backing of the U.S. dollar. 1972 Chilean President Salvador Allende wanted him to appoint as Chilean ambassador in Moscow, but refused the Congress. Lagos remained at the UN in various missions.
The coup of Augusto Pinochet in 1973 forced him into exile. He continued working for the United Nations, until he returned on their behalf in 1978 to Chile and there worked for the International Monetary Fund. In the same year he also took an economics professor in Santiago and was director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences ( Facultad de Ciencias Sociales Latinoamericana, FLACSO ).
In the 1980s, Lagos was one of the leaders who fought for the restoration of democracy in Chile. Lagos led the Socialist Party of Chile and was elected president of the Alianza Democrática, a coalition of opposition groups who advocated against the regime of General Pinochet. In 1983, Lagos on his job at the UN and was president of the " Democratic Alliance " in which the main set against Pinochet parties worked together. 1987 Lagos advertised as chairman of the " Committee of the Left for Free Elections" public with his compatriots for to be registered on the electoral register and to vote at the forthcoming referendum in 1988 with "No" against a continuation of the Pinochet regime.
Ricardo Lagos was becoming the undisputed leader of the opposition against the Pinochet government and also appeared on television courageously against the powerful General to. After the victory of the opposition in the referendum he renounced out, however, for the opposition coalition Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia (short: Concertación ) to run for president, leaving the candidacy of the Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, who was more in the political center.
In 1990, he was named Minister of Education to Aylwin. 1993 failed Lagos at the alliance 's internal primaries on Christian Eduardo Frei Ruiz - Tagle, but continued to support the co-sponsored by the Socialist electoral and governing coalition. Free appointed him after the election of the Minister of Construction ( Obras Públicas ).
1999 Lagos presidential candidate after he has his opponent, the Christian Andrés Zaldívar beaten in the primaries. In the elections in December, there was no absolute majority in a runoff election in January 2000, he beat his opponent Joaquín Lavín, who was close to the Pinochet regime, with 51.3 % of the votes and became the second socialist president after Allende of Chile.
2001 called the Comisión Nacional de Lagos a Prisión Política y Tortura that examined the situation of political prisoners under the Pinochet dictatorship and their torture. Lagos ' tenure was marked by the signing of several free trade agreements with several countries. He enjoys great reputation and high popularity among the people.