International acclaim from historians and authors

This is the post excerpt.

Welcome to our site. We hope you’ll sign up to follow our blog, and click to share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. You can learn more details about the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico by clicking the link for the title to see international acclaim from historians and authors, and where you can “look inside” the Kindle version on Amazon. Thanks.PORTADA Abraham Lincoln and Mexico

Chicago events boost LAMP outreach


Three special Chicago events October 27-29 will feature presentations by internationally-respected historian and educator Michael Hogan discussing US relationships with Mexico during the 1840s-1860s.


Two presentations focus on Abraham Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican-American War as a freshman congressman and President Lincoln’s role as an international statesman in helping exiled Mexican President Benito Juárez although Lincoln was preoccupied with the Civil War. The third presentation examines the role of Irish soldiers who left the US Army to join Mexican troops in fighting against US invasionary troops.


The first event is a luncheon and discussion Friday October 27 hosted by the Civil War Roundtable, which will focus on Hogan’s latest book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico. The presentation will examine at length how President Lincoln helped Mexico, partly due to concerns that French occupation forces in Mexico might join forces with Confederate troops against the Union. The diplomacy and subsequent military aid helped the Mexican Republican Army overthrow the French Imperial Army of Napoleon III and restore Juárez to the presidency, ending French presence in North America. The private event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm, at the prestigious Union League Club of Chicago, which can trace its roots back to 1862 when businessmen and professional citizens banded together to help preserve the Union.


Later that same afternoon, Hogan will appear live from 5-6 pm on the national Author’s Voice program during an interview with host Daniel Weinberg to discuss Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. Here’s the link to see details of the event, which will include on-air sales of autographed copies of the book. The event will originate at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, 824 W. Superior St., Suite 100, and is open to the public. If you can’t make it, you can watch the interview live by going to http://authorsvoice.net/our-programs/


On Saturday and Sunday, October 28-29, Hogan will be at the special Irish Books and Music event. During the two days, he’ll have press availabilities and sign copies of his best-selling book The Irish Soldiers of Mexico based on the history of Irish soldiers who helped Mexico. The history, honored at ceremonies in Mexico City, formed the basis for an MGM film starring Tom Berenger. The two-day event is at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 North Knox Avenue. You can get further information from the website at www.ibamchicago.com, or by calling 312-282-7035.


All three events come from outreach efforts of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP), an international project to inform and educate people about Abraham Lincoln’s support for Mexico. We have volunteer representatives in Guadalajara, San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago, and are expanding to Washington DC, New York City, and Boston. If you’re interested in joining our volunteer project and helping arrange events, please send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org


Thanks, and best regards.

Lincoln and Mexico Lesson Plans Available

Great news! Comprehensive lesson plans about Abraham Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico are now available for high school and colleges. They’re based on the authoritative book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico and the three-act play Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story. Both are written by historian and educator Michael Hogan.

The lesson plans help educators guide classroom discussions of Lincoln’s opposition as Congressman to the Mexican-American War and his later support as President to help Mexico defeat French occupation forces. If you know a high school or college that might be interested, just contact us and we’ll follow up. The email address is lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org.

This is a major milestone in efforts to help educators and students get access to factual information missing from current textbooks,” said Hogan. “The lesson plans facilitate classroom discussion, and include student worksheets to distill and capture what students learn. It’s a great way to gain new perspectives about historic relations between Mexico and the USA.”

The book focuses on Lincoln as an international statesman by using archival documents, many of which are in the 137-page appendix. It’s in the Lincoln presidential library and in several university libraries and public libraries. It’s also has been nominated for the prestigious William M. LeoGrande Prize as the best book on U.S.-Latin American relations, and the Smithsonian magazine online published a feature article about the book. The play, developed for students and community theatres, received enthusiastic responses by audiences at several performances this spring.

In both the USA and Mexico, educators are beginning to use the book as supplemental classroom material. At the California State University-Channel Islands Campus, the book will be part of the HIST 270 course this fall. In Arizona, the Academy of Tucson High School plans use the book and lesson plans in its curriculum this fall. And at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, where Hogan is Emeritus Humanities Chair, the book and lesson plans will be part of the History curriculum. In fact, the book was inspired by AP US History students at the school during the 2012-2013 academic year because they wanted to learn more than what was in textbooks.

During the coming months, the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) will reach out to colleges and high schools to offer a package of the book and the play and the lesson plans for the 2018 academic year. Meanwhile, here’s a sample from the first few pages of the lesson plans.



For use with the text Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships, and with Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story, a play in three acts. Both by Michael Hogan.

Note: All items in this packet are protected by US and international copyright agreements. Copyright ©2016, 2017 by Michael Hogan. Portions may be copied and used for teaching purposes as long as the author is properly credited.


  1. Lincoln’s “Spot Resolutions” objecting to the Declaration of War with Mexico.
  2. Honest Abe or a typical politician?
  3. The Agreement of Velasco, and the Texas border.
  4. The Emancipation Proclamation and the United States Colored Troops (USCT).
  5. Why Lincoln Supported Mexico Against the French.
  6. Nineteenth Century Networking.
  7. Undermining the Great Man Theory of History.
  8. Forgotten Heroes: The blank pages of history.


Central Historical Question: “What was the basis for Lincoln’s objection to Polk’s decision asking Congress to declare that a state of war existed between Mexico and the US?”

Background: The Mexican War (1846-48) was the largest land acquisition in North America since the Louisiana Purchase. From it, the US added the states of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming. Yet, it is barely mentioned in US history books. Sometimes it is simply known as the “Mexican Cession,” as if Mexico government simply granted the US all of its northern territories in that geographical area. Other times it is referred to as a “border dispute.” However, in Mexico (and elsewhere in non-US histories) it is known as the American Invasion of Mexico or the War of Intervention.

            It all began when President James K. Polk decided to purchase California from Mexico and a land route across what is now New Mexico. He offered the Mexican government $25 million for the former and another $5 million for the latter. The Mexican congress refused to sell. Polk sent a negotiator to the Mexican capital. The government refused to meet with him. Annoyed, Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor and a large army contingent to Corpus Christi in Texas, the border with Mexico at the time on the Rio Nueces, to pressure the Mexican government into making the deal. When that did not work, he ordered Taylor south to the Rio Grande that was then part of Mexico, and Taylor’s troops began building a fort in January 1846 at what is now Brownsville. In April of 1846, one of Taylor’s patrols encountered a troop of Mexican cavalry along the Rio Grande. In the brief skirmish that ensued, eleven American soldiers were killed.

            Polk then went to Congress and said that since “American blood was shed on American soil,” a state of war now existed between Mexico and the United States. He asked Congress for money and men to carry on the war. Congress approved on May 13, since the hostilities had already commenced.

            Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress that year. However, he did not take his seat until late 1847. On December 22 of that year, he questioned President Polk’s decision to wage war in a series of “Spot Resolutions.” He felt the war was unconstitutional, an abuse of presidential power, and based on false information. Many agreed with him including former president John Quincy Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, and Henry David Thoreau who wrote his famous essay “Civil Disobedience” on the subject and refused to pay his taxes in protest.

Assignment: This is a two-day lesson. Day 1. The students will read Polk’s Declaration of War and Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions and will take notes on the worksheet provided. Day 2. The teacher will lead a discussion among the students based on their comments on the worksheet.

Student Worksheet                             Name:

Central Historical Question: In your own words state the six arguments or rhetorical questions that Lincoln advanced in his Spot Resolutions.

#1. Argument summary




#2. Argument summary







#3. Argument summary







#4. Argument summary.




#5.  Argument summary



#6.  State which two arguments are the most persuasive and why.








#7. Do you think that Lincoln was right, or was Polk justified in seeking a declaration of war? Explain.










Primary documents:

Map of the region between the Rio Nueces and the Rio Grande.

Two documents from the Appendix of Michael Hogan’s Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships. San Diego: Egret Books, 2016.

·         Document #3 Polk’s War Message to Congress. May 11, 1846. pp. 189-197.

·         Document #6 Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions, Dec. 22, 1847. pp. 255-257.


The book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships is in the Lincoln presidential library, university libraries, and public libraries. “This book is a must-read for any student of US-Mexico relations.” Jay Lacroix, Harvard Law School.

Educators with existing accounts at the Ingram Content Group can order discounted print copies of the book (EAN 9780985774493) by going to https://ipage.ingramcontent.com/. To create a new account, go to https://getstarted.ingramcontent.com/. You can also call Ingram by phone at 800-937-8200 and select option 4 to talk with a customer representative for help, or send email to newaccounts@ingramcontent.com.  

Print and eBook versions are also available online from Barnes&Noble and from Amazon. The Spanish version is available from Amazon.us http://amzn.to/2n7minY and Amazon.mx http://amzn.to/2s3dqRS.

July events show enthusiasm for Lincoln book

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Slideshow of events in Chihuahua and Parral, and in Los Angeles.

Three July events by the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) to present and discuss the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico attracted enthusiastic audiences in Mexico and California. All three focused on Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico as Congressman and President, and produced substantial publicity and news media attention before and after the events.


Two events were in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, arranged by Carlos Mendez, Secretaria de Cultura de Chihuahua. The first presentation was July 7 at Museo Casa de Juárez in Chihuahua, the city where exiled Mexican president Benito Juárez fled after French troops overthrew his elected government in 1863. Cindy A. Medina, the LAMP PR and news media representative from Austin spoke about the book in Spanish and answered questions for two hours, especially Lincoln’s support for Juárez in exile. Edelmiro Ponce de Leon, Director and Curator of Museo Casa Juárez, coordinated the event. Mario Trillo, Chihuahua enthusiast historian and athlete, was a great help to Cindy during her 1st week there showing her around the city and helping learn more about Chihuahua. We thank him for his hosting.


On July 14, the historic Palacio Alvarado in Parral, also in the state of Chihuahua, hosted an event in which Medina spoke in Spanish again for nearly two hours. Martìn Raùl Màrquez, director of the Museo Palacio Alvardo, coordinated the event that included discussion how Lincoln’s support helped Mexico defeat the French occupation forces to end the reign of Maximilian who was installed as emperor by Napoleon III. Thanks also to Lupita Martinez, director of the Secretaria de Cultura en Parral, and Angelica Nava, the Archivos Historicos Director of Parral.

Both events attracted enthusiastic crowds, mostly Mexican citizens, but also some US expats. During the rest of July, Medina traveled throughout the state of Chihuahua to discuss the book with individuals, and participated in live Spanish television and radio interviews about historical relationships between Mexico and the USA focusing on Lincoln’s legacy of support as both Congressman and President.


On July 22, 2017, Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum in the Los Angeles area featured a presentation by Mikel Miller, co-founder of LAMP. The event was hosted by Executive Museum Director, Luis Fernandez and arranged by veteran docent Sylvia N. Contreras. She recently became a LAMP representative for Southern California. An overflow audience participated in the follow-up discussion with Miller and Contreras.

The two-hour multimedia presentation and discussion included maps and excerpts from archival documents regarding Spanish and Mexican settlements in North America. Contreras also discussed local library exhibits that offer education about Mexico’s history. She also demonstrated photos in Mexico in which U.S. Civil War descendants (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States [MOLLUS]) participated in the 150th re-enactment of 1862 Battle of Puebla while Mexican students proudly carried images of Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juárez.

The Dominguez Rancho was the first Spanish land grant in southern California in 1784, recognized as California Landmark #152 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States. Many audience members also toured the museum, a site of an 1846 Mexican-American War known as Battle of Dominguez Rancho (or Dominguez Hills) in which outnumbered Mexican forces repelled invasionary U.S. Marine troops.

Since it began a year ago, LAMP has attracted international volunteer representatives such as Medina and Contreras in Guadalajara, San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago. This summer and fall, we plan to expand to Washington DC and New York city. We invite you to become part of the project to inform and educate people to Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. Just submit a comment to the blog, or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org, and we’ll get in touch with you. Thanks.

P.S. If you don’t already have a copy of the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, the English version is available online from Barnes&Noble http://bit.ly/2sx2oEs and from Amazon http://amzn.to/2jQRPnI. The Spanish version is also available from Amazon US http://amzn.to/2n7minY and Amazon Mexico http://amzn.to/2s3dqRS.

High School, College, and Beyond




We’re delighted that supporters of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) come from different age groups and different backgrounds. Three new members of the international advisory group are examples of this diversity, and we welcome their support and active involvement.


Luciana Mendez Gonzalez is dedicated to the Lincoln and Mexico Project in order to encourage historical literacy and strengthen the valuable Mexico-US relationship. She is currently a Junior at DePaul University studying a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, and is helping the LAMP with computer applications and outreach to the Chicago community. Before moving to Chicago, she was a student at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara and student of Dr. Hogan for four years, where she took Advanced Placement Capstone and United States History. In fact, she was the student in Dr. Hogan’s Advanced Placement US History (APUSH) course in 2012-2013 who encouraged him to research and write the book!


Mark Sconce was Peace Corp volunteer in Nepal. A graduate from Antioch College, he also attended Berkeley School of Journalism on a fellowship, and studied at Trinity College in Dublin, the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, and the Goethe Institute in Berlin. He’s a former businessman from Omaha, Nebraska, turned poet and writer after meeting Alexander Pushkin (in spirit only) in Moscow, and still serves as President of the Pushkin Project. Now retired, he’s an editor for El Ojo del Lago magazine at Lake Chapala, Mexico, where he and his wife and companion Lell Ellerbee Sconce have lived for eight years. He wrote a review of the Abraham Lincoln and Mexico book for the magazine in February 2017, and has written follow-up articles. He arranged for two performances of the play Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story in May at the Lakeside Little Theatre at Lake Chapala. Now, he’s using his international contacts to spread the word about the book and the play beyond Mexico.


Brenda Irene Prado Jiménez has committed herself to the Lincoln and Mexico Project because she believes that having great knowledge of history is crucial for the strengthening of Mexican and US relations. She’s a student at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara taking several Advanced Placement courses — last year in AP World History, and this year in APUSH, AP Composition, and AP Capstone. She is currently working with Michael Hogan to get the Abraham Lincoln and Mexico text into schools and colleges in the US. In addition, she is Dr. Hogan’s summer intern and she is currently working on projects regarding marketing and design. She has always been part of the performing arts, from singing and dancing to acting. She has been in many plays throughout her school career. She was last seen in Michael Hogan’s play Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story. She played the librarian at Brown University.

Whatever your age or background, we invite you to become part of the project to inform and educate people to Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. Just submit a comment to the blog, or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org, and we’ll get in touch with you. Thanks.

P.S. If you don’t already have a copy of the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, the English version is available online from Barnes&Noble http://bit.ly/2sx2oEs and from Amazon http://amzn.to/2jQRPnI. The Spanish version is also available from Amazon US http://amzn.to/2n7minY and Amazon Mexico http://amzn.to/2s3dqRS.

Build bridges, not walls


Annual friendship celebration on Juàrez y Lincoln International bridge at Laredo/Nuevo Laredo –Photo courtesy of Jorge Haynes

The 28 bridges across the Rio Grande between the USA and Mexico are proof of positive and longstanding relationships between people in the two countries. In addition, the Juàrez y Lincoln International bridge based on Abraham Lincoln’s friendship with Mexico is a tangible symbol of binational relationships the Lincoln and Mexico Project hopes to build.

Three “bridge builders” who recently joined our international advisory group have strong commitments to education and improving relationships between Mexico and the USA. Together, they give a big boost to our outreach efforts to inform and educate people about historic relationships based on the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico. The book uses archival documents to examine Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico as Congressman and as President, including helping exiled Mexican president Benito Juàrez end French occupation of Mexico in the 1860s.


Janet Heinze is the recently-retired director of the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, where historian and educator Michael Hogan taught the Advanced Placement US History (APUSH) course that inspired his book. The ASFG began in 1908 and is one of 193 schools abroad sponsored by the US Department of State. During her tenure, the ASFG expanded its commitment to the highest quality education in a bilingual, bicultural, and secular environment. Now, she’s an education consultant based in Guadalajara and working to improve curriculum and teaching standards at schools throughout Mexico and Latin America. And she’s agreed to help LAMP with outreach to a number of schools, including working with educators to get the book into classroom discussions using lesson plans developed and vetted by APUSH teachers and students. She has a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and has a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in International Teaching.


Jorge Haynes recently retired as Senior Director for External Relations in the California State University Chancellor’s Office at Long Beach, which oversees the nation’s largest public university system with 23 campuses and a 2016 enrollment of 478,638 students. He’s still active as a board member of two other education entities in California, including the Families in Schools organization based in Los Angeles. A Texas native now retired to his home state, he also works with the Texas Association of Businesses and the Mexican Consul as a member of the Aguila Alliance, a support group for trade with Mexico. Now, he’s agreed to help LAMP connect with education and civic leaders from California across the Southwest to Texas. He earned his B.A. in Political Science and Government from CSU-Sacramento.

“As kids growing up on the border in Laredo, we were taught that President Juàrez was a Lincolnesque president of Mexico,” says Haynes. “In fact, every February during President’s Day celebration, there is a ceremony on the Juàrez y Lincoln International bridge to commemorate the close ties of our two countries.”


Sylvia Noemi Contreras is dedicated to sharing Mexican and Spanish heritage with Californians, and travels extensively in both Mexico and the USA. In 2010, she joined Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, Rancho Dominguez, CA (near Long Beach) as a volunteer docent. Its history dates to the year 1784, and was the first land grant in Southern California. The rancho was also the site of an important battle in the Mexican-American War on October 8-9, 1846, in which 50 Californio Lancer troops defeated more than 200 invasionary US Marines. She’s also a docent at Banning Museum in Wilmington, CA, an 1864 Greek revival style house. Its history includes that Dominguez sold land to Banning. Further, Banning, considered “Father of Port of Los Angeles Harbor,” was critical in planning the Los Angeles railroad that runs through Dominguez land. Both museums are on the National Register of Historical Landmarks and are also California Landmarks (#152 and #147 respectively).

Now, she’s helping LAMP with outreach to museums, libraries, and schools throughout southern California. She earned a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Phoenix in 1997, and participates in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU Dominguez Hills, where the campus is built on land donated by the Dominguez family estate. As a California realtor, she also educates the public to the fact that California is a community property state because its practice is derived from Spanish law. Showing historical properties is a favorite part of her business as it leads to talks about yesteryear’s lifestyles.

At the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP), we believe one of the keys to success is connecting with people who share enthusiasm for the same goals. With their background and enthusiasm, Janet and Jorge and Sylvia are helping LAMP become an international movement to inform and educate people on both sides of the border about the history of Lincoln’s friendships with Mexico. In the coming weeks, we’ll profile more members of the LAMP advisory group.

If you’re a “bridge builder,” and want to build better relationships between the USA and Mexico, we invite you to become part of the project. Just submit a comment to the blog, or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org, and we’ll get in touch with you. Thanks.

P.S. If you don’t already have a copy of the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, the English version is available online from Barnes&Noble http://bit.ly/2sx2oEs and from Amazon http://amzn.to/2jQRPnI. The Spanish version is also available from Amazon US http://amzn.to/2n7minY and Amazon Mexico http://amzn.to/2s3dqRS.

Students Inspired the Book

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Students at The American School Foundation of Guadalajara with historian and educator Michael Hogan

It’s always interesting to learn what inspired an author to write a book. For historian and educator Michael Hogan, students in a history class he was teaching inspired him to research and write his latest book.

The resulting book, Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships, is now in the Lincoln presidential library. Washington DC author and book blogger Deborah Kalb featured the book in May 2017, and here are some excerpts from her Q&A interview with Dr. Hogan:

Q: Why did you decide to focus on Abraham Lincoln and Mexico in your new book? A. I was teaching an Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) class at the American School Foundation in Guadalajara, Mexico back in 2013. One weekend, my students went to see Lincoln, the movie directed by Stephen Spielberg. 

 After they came back to class, I asked them how the movie dealt with Lincoln’s speech in Congress objecting to the Mexican War. I had told the students earlier in class about how it was a very courageous act. They told me that there was nothing at all about it in the movie. 

 When I expressed my annoyance, one student by the name of Luciana Mendez, said, ‘Well, if anyone is going to tell the story about Lincoln and Mexico, maybe you should be the one to do it.’ So, I took her advice and began my research.”

You can click here to see the entire Q&A by Kalb. By the way, she’s a respected author of several books, including a history of presidential decision-making during the Vietnam War co-authored with her father, veteran journalist Marvin Kalb.

Hogan’s book was published in 2016 by an academic publisher in Guadalajara and the first edition paperback sold out, with a second edition now available in Mexico. A small press publisher in San Diego published a USA Kindle version in 2016, followed by a paperback version distributed worldwide by Ingram. The print versions are available from Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and on Amazon. It’s in several university libraries and public libraries, and has received national news media attention including a feature article in the Smithsonian magazine.

An audio book version is also available, and now, the book is available in Spanish in both paperback and Kindle versions.

So, what else did Dr. Hogan’s APUSH class inspire? Well, one thing is a play based on the second half of the book, which examines Lincoln’s role as President in helping Mexico defeat French forces and end European occupation of North America. Titled “Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story,” the play has wowed audiences in Guadalajara and nearby Lake Chapala. We covered that in a recent blog post, which you can see by clicking here.

The interest of Dr. Hogan’s students in learning about Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico also led to creation of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP). In January 2017, the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC embraced the international project to facilitate understanding of historical relationships between the two countries. Now, LAMP is working with Mexican consulates to contact educators and civic and business leaders across the USA and arrange presentations.

If you’re interested in becoming part our outreach efforts, just submit a comment to the blog or write an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. As always, we welcome your feedback. Thank you.


Lincoln Play Wows Little Theatre


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If you want to see the strength of mutual friendships between the USA and Mexico, look at Lake Chapala, Mexico—the largest community of USA expats in the country.

This past weekend, expats and Mexicans alike stood and applauded and cheered as high school students from nearby Guadalajara staged two performances of the play “Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story” celebrating bi-national friendships that helped Mexico defeat French occupation forces in 1867.

Critic Mark Sconce recommended the student play to Lakeside Little Theatre president Peter Luciano after seeing students perform it in March at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, where historian and playwright Michael Hogan is emeritus humanities chair. After the May 19-20 performances at Lake Chapala, Sconce wrote a piece for a forthcoming issue of El Ojo del Lago magazine describing the lakeside event Saturday night. Here’s part of it:

The Little Theatre was jam-packed with gringos and Mexicans. Excited chatter filled the hall and patio. You could tell that something special was about to happen.

When the chime sounded, we all took our seats and paid attention to Peter. He said that tonight’s performance represented a major move for the 50-year-old theatre, a move to create a long-term relationship with the ASFG, one of the top 15 American schools in the world. He praised the kids, the school’s drama department, especially its fantastic director Stacy Ohrt-Billingslea, the author/playwright, and then (bombshell) announced that the Board had decided therefore that all the proceeds from the two performances would be given the school’s drama department. Cheers rang out loud and clear.

Then it was Dr. Hogan’s turn, and beside him stood a young woman of perhaps 21. A thunderous applause ensued and continued and got louder with sustained cheers. A somewhat embarrassed Hogan thanked us all and introduced Luciana Mendez, one of his longtime students, who had just flown in from Chicago where she now attends DePaul University. He explained that without the nagging of Luciana, he would never have completed the book or begun the play. She was his muse. The Luciana character actually appeared in the play, and yes, she nagged and cajoled.”

The play focuses on the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Matìas Romero, the Mexican ambassador to Washington without portfolio after the French Imperial Army forced Mexican president Benito Juárez into exile in 1862. As president, Abraham Lincoln was preoccupied with the US Civil War, with little time for anything else.

From Romero’s journals, playgoers learned that Mrs. Lincoln was happy to have Romero squire her on frequent shopping trips. Lincoln thanked Romero for that, befriended Romero, and rewarded him with access to General Grant who was sympathetic to Mexico. That led the US to supply Juárez with military equipment and troops, and opened doors to bankers from Boston to San Francisco who bought Mexican bonds. Here’s a little more of Sconce wrote:

“The play itself was better than the performance I saw in Guadalajara, in this writer’s opinion. Of course, the kids knew their lines cold, so the acting was better. Mary Todd in Susie’s Millinery Shop was a thigh-slapper. The play was a huge hit, the ovations rolled on. Hugs and kisses and tears of joy prevailed. It was a Triumph of the first water for Dr. Hogan. He was caught up in the evening and he was celebrated…What a night!”

We salute Sconce for his efforts to arrange for the play at Lake Chapala, because the play informs and educates–and entertains–people about Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. If you’re interested in looking at the play script for a possible performance at your community theatre, or perhaps your college or high school, we would be happy to send a review copy. Just submit a comment to this blog post, or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. Since the play debuted in March, we’ve received inquiries from local theatre groups in Arizona and California.

The whole story of Lincoln’s support for Mexico, including a factual history of Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican-American War as Congressman, is in the book “Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships” authored by Hogan. It’s based on archival documents in both the US and Mexico, and it’s in the Abraham Lincoln presidential library and many university libraries.

We believe the book, and now the play, can promote better relations between the two countries. Paperback and Kindle versions are available online from Amazon in English http://amzn.to/2jQRPnI and Spanish http://amzn.to/2n7minY, and the paperback is available from Barnes&Noble and other bookstores.

P.S. Here’s another interesting tidbit: In 1974, Mexico recognized the importance of Romero’s contributions to foreign affairs by naming its formal foreign service training academy Instituto Matìas Romero. Retired Mexican Emb. Carlos Gonzalez-Magallon revealed this fact to the LLT audience just before curtain time in his brief remarks praising the book and the play. ¡Bravo!

Slideshow: photos from Lakeside Little Theatre at Lake Chapala, Mexico — oldest English-language stage theatre in Mexico.