Photo courtesy of History.com
February is the month to honor all US presidents, and a good time to learn more about Abraham Lincoln around his birthday February 12.
In US social studies classes, most students are unaware that Lincoln was a strong supporter of Mexico, both before and during the US Civil War. Here are four facts:
- As a freshman member of Congress, Lincoln risked his political career by alleging that President Polk misled the Congress about going to war with Mexico in 1846.
- Before his inauguration as president, Lincoln offered his friendship to Mexico during a meeting in Springfield, Illinois, with Mexican ambassador Matías Romero, the first foreign envoy to meet with the president-elect.
- After French troops drove Mexican President Benito Juárez into exile, Lincoln and his cabinet maintained official neutrality with Mexico to keep France from supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, Lincoln responded to Romero’s pleas for help, and authorized covert aid to Mexico.
- After Lincoln’s assassination, continuing US support enabled Mexico to defeat the French forces and end the last empire in North America.
Lincoln’s support for Mexico is detailed in the highly acclaimed book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico by historian/ educator Michael Hogan, which examines archival documents to look at Lincoln as an international statesman and not just an iconic American political figure. The print version is in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and in college and university libraries in the USA and several foreign countries.
Educators in more than 400 schools across the USA already have copies of the eBook version, and many are using it to stimulate classroom discussions. If you know a teacher who might be interested in the book as supplemental classroom material, ask them to send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the coming academic year, the Lincoln and Mexico Project is planning a pilot project to distribute free eBook copies to students in selected high schools. Look for details in a future blogpost.
You can learn more details about Lincoln’s support for Mexico by reading this previous LAMP blogpost.