5.0 out of 5 stars ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND MEXICO: A History of Courage, Intrigue, and Unlikely Friendships
Amazon review, August 18, 2016, by Philip Stover, former Deputy Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District, and author of Religion and Revolution in Mexico’s North. Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase.
“Writing accurate history is a science; writing it well is an art. Michael Hogan has once again demonstrated that he writes with the methodology of the former and the palette of the latter. Abraham Lincoln and Mexico brings to light that which for too long has hidden in the shadows, the fact of the interest, integrity, and involvement of our sixteenth President in the struggles and victories of our southern neighbor, be they internal or external with the United States and France. Through the extensive use of primary documents Hogan reveals the insight and intelligence with which Lincoln and his closest associates approached Mexico. He brings to light little known roles played by actors such as Matias Romero, Charge d’Affaires of Juárez to Washington DC, Philip Sheridan, Lew Wallace, and Ulysses Grant of Civil War fame. He also highlights the engagement of the unknown buffalo soldier who fought with and for the republican army of Mexico against the imperial armies of France, Austria and Belgium as they sought to impose their will on Mexico.
Hogan reveals to the reader the truth and lies bound up within the justification of the leaders of the United States as they made consistent and systemic decisions leading to war with the purpose of economic, political, and patriotic gains from “sea to shining sea.” Then with a deft pen he equally tells the story of the support of the same leaders for the survival of republican Mexico less than twenty years later. It is a story full of complicated motivations and characters. It is a tale well told.”
Remember the 2012 movie “Lincoln” that won two Oscars? Omissions in the movie prompted classroom discussions in a Guadalajara, Mexico, high school and inspired the professor to research and write the new book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico. Here’s the very interesting backstory.
It began with a simple question by historian and educator Dr. Michael Hogan in the Advanced Placement US History course (APUSH) he was teaching at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara. The students had just seen an early screening of the movie and the professor wanted to know what they learned about Mexico from the film, especially since Hogan’s course was covering Lincoln’s life and examining his relationships with Mexico.
“Nada,” was the collective response. Not a word. Click here to read the interesting article in The Guadalajara Reporter describing what happened next, and during the three years leading up to publication of Hogan’s impressive book this year.
This is a book which is long overdue and one that treats Lincoln as an international figure, not merely an American one. It begins with his impassioned speech as a young Congressman objecting to the US 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!”) Although other historians have mentioned Lincoln’s “spot resolutions” (“Show me the spot where American blood was shed…”) without exception they conclude that it was a political move. This book presents evidence that, not only was it not a calculated move, but was sheer folly, explicable only on moral grounds. The book proceeds to show the reader 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. 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, he continues to meet with the now-uncredentialed “ambassador” to provide moral support, and ultimately, with the help of Grant and Sheridan, a path to financial and military aid. How American volunteers discharged at the end of the Civil War went to Mexico and helped defeat the French is a story little known. Lincoln’s legacy in this final chapter to the end of European occupation of the Americas is a revelation which this book documents from Mexican records and Romero’s diaries. Finally, Mrs.Lincoln, whom most historians either ignore or consider a liability to the administration, comes across much better in her dealings with the representatives of foreign governments.
This is the post excerpt.
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