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He studied Latin at the Instituto de Rizal in Batangas from 1900 to 1901. He moved to Manila to study at the Ateneo de Manila where he consistently obtained outstanding scholastic grades, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree maxima cum laude. He received a Masters of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas.
He cemented his name by petitioning all sectors of society to embrace the wisdom and teachings of Rizal. One of it is the teaching of two Jose Rizal’s novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, to all high schools in the Philippines. It was a controversial move especially to the Catholic schools as they viewed Rizal’s works as a rebellion to Catholicism and a disrespect to all clergies. They threatened Recto of closing their schools and rallied against his presidential aspiration. Furious, Claro M. Recto replied that all schools threatened to be closed down will be nationalized and will give a huge profit to the government. Recto was defeated and never became president. Since his time, subsequent administrations practiced with fidelity and enthusiasm what he called “subservience and colonial mentality”, most of them with greed and rapacious intents. To the judgment of Recto and many political gurus, colonial mentality towards America by the sycophant Philippine government, and its evil twin—servility to the almighty dollar, are among the major contributories to graft and corruption, which in turn have paralyzed the nation’s economy.
He is remembered mainly for his nationalism, for “the impact of his patriotic convictions on modern political thought”.