He participated in the war of indepedence for the country. In 1851, Echenique won the presidential elections to succeed Ramón Castilla. Under his government, the first civil laws of Peru were promulgated. The finalizing phase of the construction of the Tacna-Arica railroad was also completed.
Echenique was overthrown by a liberal revolution led by Ramón Castilla in 1855.
His son, Juan Martín Echenique, was also active in Peruvian politics.