On December 19, 2016, the Electoral College formalized the election of a new U.S. President, giving the Republican Party control of the Presidency and the Congress. With many questions swirling about partisan party positions on several issues, it’s a good time for Republican officeholders to seek guidance from the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln.
One primary issue that begs for consulting the actions of Lincoln is relationships with Mexico. The intertwined issue of immigration policies toward Mexicans living in the USA is another.
Fortunately, a timely new history titled Abraham Lincoln and Mexico offers guidance to Republicans now entrusted with control of two branches of the U.S. government. It uses archival documents to examine Lincoln’s support for Mexico both as a Congressman and as President, and also offers guidance about the risks and consequences of invading foreign countries. It’s researched and written by historian/ educator Michael Hogan, an active member of three international historical associations and author of twenty-four published books.
Hogan’s book forms the basis for the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP), which is designed to inform educators, students, and the general public about the history of relationships between Lincoln and Mexico. The primary goal of LAMP is to promote better relations between the USA and Mexico.
To further this goal, the project wants to make this award-winning book available to all members of the incoming Congress, regardless of political party. If you would like to help, please consider sending a copy of the book to your U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative. You can locate their office contact information at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members. And if you send a copy, submit a comment to our blog so we can recognize you for your help.
“This is a book that is long overdue and one that treats Lincoln as an international figure, not merely an American one,” notes Hogan. “It begins with his impassioned speech as a young Congressman objecting to the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846 and the false information provided by President Polk at the time to convince Congress to declare a war (‘American blood has been shed on American soil!’). The book documents how Lincoln was lambasted in the press, had his political fortunes reversed, and yet, in letters to his law partner, assures him that he would do it again despite the consequences.
“Lincoln’s affinity for Mexico and its people continues after he becomes president, in his cabinet choices and in day-to-day executive decisions,” continues Hogan. “Although engaged in a bloody Civil War, he still makes time to meet with twenty-four-year-old Matías Romero, the Mexican consul, to assure him of his support for the Liberal government. Then, when Maximilian and the French invade and take over the country, Lincoln continues to meet with the now-uncredentialled ‘ambassador’ to provide moral support, and ultimately, with the help of Generals Grant and Sheridan, a path to financial and military aid.
“How American volunteers discharged at the end of the Civil War—including black soldiers—went to Mexico and helped defeat the French is a story little known,” concludes Hogan. “Lincoln’s legacy in this final chapter to the end of European occupation of the Americas is a revelation this book documents from Mexican records and Romero’s diaries.”
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