** Mexican history mexico historia mexicano French intervention

Mexican History: French Intervention (1863-67)

Maximillian and Carlotta
Figure 1.--This romanticized CDV was made in Mexico after Emperoir Maximillian was shot by a Mexican firing squad at Querétaro in north-central Mexico where he made a stand. It shows his wife Carlotta pining for him at their home Schloss Miramare. The CDV was made by Kaeser photo in Vienna.

There was interest after the Napoleonic Wars among the conservastive forces to restablish monarchial control of the Americas. The British at the Congress of Vienna put a stop to that (1815). The United States issued the Monroe Dictrine, but it was in fact the Royal Navy that made the reimposition of European coloniasl control impossible/ It was not that republican government appealed to the British, but the trading opportunities resulting from the disolution of the Spanish Empire did create a powerful allure. Several decades later, one European Government did move to establsh an American empire. European Governments in retaliation to Juarez's default on foreign loans seized the customs house at Vera Cruz where they could use import duties to pay off loans. The French went a step further. France was the major lender and the expanonist-minded Napoleon III decided to establish a French colony. He attempted to seize the country and convinced the Austrian Archduke Maximilian to accept a Mexican throne. Napoleon's choice of an Austrian prince may seem curious, but some historians believe Maximilian's father may have actually been Napoleon II. Backed by French troops, Maximillian was able to establish control over most of the country, but was unable to completely defeat the Juaristas. Maximilian was at first supported by the Mexican conservatives who had fought against Juarez in the War of Reform. They assumed an Austrian archduke would persue conservative policies. The conservatives were, however, disappointed with Maximilian. Unlike his brother, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, Mazimilian had a liberal outlook. Not only did he refuse to repeal Juarez's reforms, but instituted further reforns of his own. This cost him the support of the only group of Mexicans who had championed him. This liberal outlook among some European royal fmilies is important to note. Juraez continued to resist Maximilian and the effort to maintain him in power became increasingly expensive for Napoleon III. The end of the United States Civil War (1865) meant increasing American oposition to the French intervention in Mexico. When Napoleon abandoned him by withdrrawing French troops, Maximilian was doomed. He sent Carlotta home, but refued to abandon his supporters. Juarez retook Mexico City (1867). Maximilian made a stand at Querétaro, north of Mexico City. Afer a seige he was captured and shot by a firing squad on Juarez's orders (June 19, 1867). Juarez did not have any personal animus toward Maximmilian who he actually liked. He thought that a death sentece was required because of all the Mexicans who had been killed in the fighting and to send a signal to other foreigners who might be tempted to interfere in Mexican affairs. Maximillin is generally seen my modern Mexican historians as neither a hero or a villan, but primarily as a well-intentioned foreigner who should not have been meddling in Mexican affairs.


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Created: 6:53 AM 4/18/2012
Last updated: 7:12 AM 4/26/2021