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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

In the Heart of Texas

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Slideshow photos from May 4 Texas-Mexico Summit in Austin, Texas

If the book Abraham and Lincoln in Mexico can make it in Texas, it can make it anywhere (to paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s song about New York).

That’s why we appreciate the warm welcome in Austin May 4 at the 2017 Texas-Mexico Summit, hosted by AEM, Asociacion de Empresarios Mexicanos Austin. The event featured 16 stellar speakers who received the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico as a gift.

“I can’t wait to read this book,” Jeff Moseley, CEO, Texas Association of Business, told the audience as he received the book from Jorge Euran, President of AEM Austin. Euran presented books individually to each speaker at the podium after they spoke.

The book uses original archival documents to examine Lincoln’s support for Mexico as Congressman and President, and it’s in the Lincoln Presidential Library and in a growing number of university libraries. It helps understand historic relationships between Mexico and the USA, and facilitates discussion of how to build better relationships between the two countries.

More than 125 people attended the sold-out Austin event to discuss building stronger binational businesses, including Carlos Gonzalez Gutiérrez, Consul General of Mexico in Austin. The keynote speaker was George P. Bush, Texas Land Commissioner – the AEM Facebook page even has a video of Bush receiving the book https://www.facebook.com/AEMAUSTIN/videos/1913715565509767/.

The event featured a panel discussion titled Strategic Importance of Mexico to Texas Trade & Economy with panelists Samuel Pena, Undersecretary for Investment & Industry of the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico; Bryan Daniel, Executive Director, Economic Development & Tourism for the State of Texas; Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, President & CEO, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation; and Olivia Varela, Executive Director, Laredo Development Foundation.

Other featured speakers receiving the book included Rafael Herrera, Chairman at AEM USA; Adriana Cruz, President, Greater San Marcos Partnership; William Hurley, American entrepreneur; and Raul Allegre, legendary professional football player and sportscaster. Special guests included Jorge Salcido Zugasti, Consul Asuntos Politicos y Economicos, Consulado General de Mexico Austin.

Cindy A. Medina, PR and News Media representative for the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP), arranged for the complimentary books from historian and educator Michael Hogan and spent all day networking with attendees. It’s part of her ongoing outreach to build support for LAMP activities, including speaking to business and civic groups in Austin, El Paso, and other Texas cities, and across the border in northern Mexico.

In January of this year, the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC embraced LAMP activities, and former Mexican Emb. Carlos Gonzalez-Magallon is helping coordinate LAMP contacts with Mexican consulates across the country. This summer, LAMP will enter a new phase to identify surrogate speakers for events in key cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, and New York City.

If you’re interested in becoming involved in LAMP outreach activities, maybe even become a surrogate speaker, just send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. We welcome your interest and your support.

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Photo credits: Battle of Puebla courtesy of Wikipedia; White House South Lawn celebration with Bush from Time magazine; East Room celebration with Biden and Obama from AP.

People celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the United States may not know the history of the date, and the special significance in Mexico. Here’s a quick look at both.

In the USA, historians at the University of California at Los Angeles have traced origins of observances in California to the 1860s. Time magazine traces the rise of popularity in the mid-1900s to the Chicano movement. According to Wikipedia, Cinco de Mayo celebrations of Mexican culture and heritage spread from Los Angeles and San Jose to other cities with large Mexican-American populations, such as Houston and Chicago. By 2006, the Journal of American Culture reported official Cinco de Mayo events in more than 150 cities across the USA.

In Mexico, it’s a day to commemorate El Día de la Batalla de Puebla on May 5, 1862, mostly through ceremonial military events. The battle was an important military victory by ill-equipped and out-manned Mexican troops over French invasionary troops. In 1862, Mexican president Benito Juárez declared the date a national holiday, as verified by the Congressional Record.

However, the victory was short-lived. The French regrouped, captured the Mexican capital within a year, forced Juárez into exile, and installed a French puppet monarchy. Nowadays in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a major event celebrated in the historic city of Puebla. Many schools throughout Mexico close for the day, but government offices and banks and other businesses remain open because it’s not a statuary national holiday. Historian Christopher Minster has an overview.

Historians and educators including Michael Hogan rightfully recognize the importance of the day in Mexico history, and the importance of ensuing events. His book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico examines how Juárez in exile sought and received help from Lincoln as president to oppose the French occupation.

Based on archival documents, Hogan examines why and how Lincoln refused to recognize the French monarchy in Mexico as the legitimate government, and tacitly approved providing military support for Juárez in Chihuahua across the border from El Paso.

US civic and business leaders from Boston to San Francisco raised $18 million in war bonds to help Juárez, and Generals Grant and Sheridan sent more military equipment and former Union troops from the Civil War to Mexico to fight alongside Mexican troops. After Lincoln’s death in 1865, president Johnson continued the support. Eventually, Mexico forced the French troops out of Mexico in 1867, ending European presence in the Americas.

In the early 21st century, US political and civic leaders boosted Cinco de Mayo activities as a way to honor Mexican heritage and traditions. President George W. Bush hosted annual events at the White House complete with Mexican folkloric dancers, and in 2005, the Congress approved a resolution calling for national observances. President Obama continued the tradition of White House observances.

Despite such efforts to pay homage to history, the day in the USA has also become another opportunity for merchants to cash in on ethnic celebrations—not much different than St. Patrick’s Day. As Wikipedia notes, further: “Commercial interests in the United States have capitalized on the celebration, advertising Mexican products and services, with an emphasis on alcoholic beverages.” In fact, Time magazine even ranked Cinco de Mayo #4 on its 2011 list of “Top 10 Drunkest Holidays.” Sad.

The book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and in many university libraries. It’s available from Barnes&Noble, at independent bookstores, and also available from Amazon in English and Spanish.

 

Thoughtful Reviews Matter

Thanks to everyone who has posted a review on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Goodreads for the book “Abraham Lincoln and Mexico.” Thoughtful customer reviews matter because they boost credibility for the book, which Amazon ranks very high for relevancy among more than 3,200 titles about Abraham Lincoln biography and history. Here are excerpts from a few of the 60+ reviews thus far from readers including Lincoln buffs, historians, educators, authors, and students – all with hyperlinks to the actual reviews online. If you haven’t posted a review yet, we hope you’ll do that in the next few weeks.

“As a historian, I appreciate his succinct explanation of the U.S. Invasion of Mexico, Polk’s egregious and premeditated land grab, and the American disgrace of Manifest Destiny, the attitudes and values of white supremacy at the root of the political, intellectual, and moral vacuum gripping the contemporary American character. Hogan’s kind of historical mirror needs to be placed before American faces more often.” – Robert Richter, Goodreads

“Dr. Michael Hogan is a renowned historian who has thoroughly documented this book. His intellectual honesty rivals President Lincoln’s. I was amazed at the remote details that Dr. Hogan wove into the story, and flabbergasted that neither victor nor vanquished gave proper credit to the “Buffalo Soldiers” for their heroic service to Mexico in the expulsion of the French and their mercenaries. Abraham Lincoln is a hero in Mexico for sure. Thank you, Dr. Hogan, for your masterful work.” – Miles Beacom, Amazon

“The world should welcome this very late in coming correction of US history’s most egregious omission. The truth about the land grab known as the Mexican-American War was simply too outrageous to acknowledge. Hogan’s book supports his shocking revelations through careful research quoting directly from original documents, many of which were previously unpublished. Let us hope the true story finds its way to US classrooms.” –Margaret Van Every, Amazon

“Where to begin – I’ve read many references on the Mex-Am War (1846-1848), but this goes beyond it. Hogan speaks to us from a neutral point of view (as well as any man can). This was not a war of defense, but a war of expansion, a war of oppression, a war of manifest destiny. How one of our greatest Presidents before he was a President viewed it at the time & after is the heart of the book. But there are things said here that transcend history and point to our current political situations. Please read this – you’ll find it is relevant to the world today, and it’s a fun read.” – Jon Heron, Amazon

“The Lincoln presidency continues to intrigue and Dr. Hogan has found a little-explored yet fascinating angle with real relevance for today. In a well-crafted and meticulously researched narrative, he sheds new light on the relationship between Washington and the various unstable authorities in Mexico during the two decades following 1846. Like David McCullough’s The Path Between the Seas, this book is essential reading for historians of the modern Americas.” – Carmen Amato, Goodreads

“Having lived in Mexico for the past twelve years, and having read a half-dozen or so books, I considered myself to be well enough informed regarding the history of USA/Mexico relations. However, having just finished reading what Professor Michael Hogan has gifted us with, I find myself somewhat humbled, and thoroughly enlightened. The book’s publication is very timely. Many of us, for far too long, have been misled by the absence of these facts. If there is any justice, and I believe there is, one would hope that how the USA citizenry relate to Mexico and its citizens, will be dramatically altered once these new facts are disseminated and fully understood.” –Niail John Kavanagh, Amazon

“This is a fascinating and fresh look at the early relationship between the USA and Mexico. It completely upended what I had been taught about the US invasion of Mexico, and, its well-documented and new source material illustrates just how brave and principled a leader was the Republican statesman and President, Abraham Lincoln. If you are a seeker of truth, insight, and historical accuracy – or just a fan of Abraham Lincoln – this is a must read. I wish it had been available to me in High School, when I formed so many false impressions of Mexico that later served to devalue and underestimate the loyal and complex giant that is our neighboring entrée to the rest of Latin America.“ –Bajalover, Amazon

“Quintessential read! As a Mexican college student in the US, this book has given me a fresh new perspective to analyze Mexican American relationships, and as a history buff/reader, it has delighted me.” –Luciana Mendez, Goodreads

“Digging deep into the documented record of Abraham Lincoln times, Dr. Hogan builds a solid case to boldly state the truth of how United States acted illegally to take a massive swath of Mexican territory for no other reason than President Polk wanted it and United States could take it. I sincerely hope this valuable book gains wide notice. –D. Grant Fitter, Amazon

“This book really opened my eyes. The Texas history I was taught when I went to college in Texas was in retrospect terribly biased and abridged from actual events. The author has a remarkably unbiased, even-handed view of history. His narrative is carefully researched with an eye to ferret out the truth, not what we want to hear. He bolsters his truth-telling with original documents in an extensive appendix, with translations side-by-side so you can see the full context of the words often that are often parroted out of context by others. If you have any interest in Lincoln, Texas or Mexican history, I urge you to read this book.” –Kerry Watson, Amazon

“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. It is a tale well told.” –Phil Stover, Amazon

“Professor Michael Hogan adds to the Great Emancipator’s legacy with his “Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships.” Dr. Hogan does an excellent job of clearly and comprehensibly explaining the complex situation surrounding the Mexican/American War and Lincoln’ views and actions regarding it. I heartily recommend this book to everyone interested in Lincoln and/or Mexico, and indeed, to world history buffs everywhere.” –Eugene Brady, Amazon

“What a fascinating book! Very illuminating and refreshing to see history presented so bilaterally. The author’s documentation of Lincoln’s calling out President Polk’s devious and illegal entry into the war with Mexico hurt Lincoln politically, but his integrity overrode political expediency. The comparisons between that war and later wars, between those politicians and later ones, are striking.” –Greg Niemann, Amazon

“As a Hispanic student from Mexico I remember taking Advanced Placement U.S. History during my junior year of high-school. However, the textbook that I read never mentioned some sort of relationship between Lincoln and Mexico. That is why this new insight provided by Dr. Michael Hogan was so shocking and delightfully surprising for me. I would’ve wished to have read this book as a supplement while I was taking the course back in high-school. There are supporting real-life documents for every claim made and if you get the e-book version as I did, it’s very easy to navigate around the documents. Overall, a must read for any student that is currently studying U.S. history and is a fan of Abraham Lincoln especially if you live in Mexico and want to know more about how this courageous president played a crucial role in Mexican politics.” –Alejandro, Goodreads

“Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is the first history book I have read in forty-five years and what a delightful surprise. This is not the history presented to me in the required high school course for American History. An enlightening look at the extraordinary Abraham Lincoln, his analytical mind that searched for justice without aspiring to feed political ambitions. Informative and interesting, Mr. Hogan presents the Mexican American War (1846-48) from a holistic vantage point. So very relevant to understanding the relationship between the USA and Mexico with the misunderstood border. A fresh perspective on reading history! –Ellen Akerman, Amazon

“As the moral standard for our country, Abraham Lincoln was front and center in opposing our annexation of Texas and the subsequent rush to war with Mexico, based on falsified claims, outrageous lies, and over-nurtured greed. Michael Hogan, with deft slashes from his academic sword, annihilates the lies and later misrepresentations of Lincoln’s position as fostered by future lazy thinkers. He then proceeds to elucidate the framework by which the United States became a better partner to their southern neighbor, sometimes at the cost of lives sacrificed in battle to oust another foreign interloper: France. This is an important read for both cultures as well as devoted Abe Lincoln admirers.” –Joel Dennstedt, Amazon

“Dr. Hogan began this book because of a student’s comment that the famous Spielberg movie on Lincoln did not even mention Mexico. Annoyed and exasperated by this omission he decided to explore this gap. Luckily for us, Hogan came up with an all-embracing and well-researched ‘biography’ that comprehensively narrates the turbulent period beginning with the Mexican-American war in 1846 and ending with the fall of the French Empire in Mexico in 1867…allowing every one of us to understand how we got to where we are and where we might be tomorrow. –Mauricomoel, Goodreads

“Michael Hogan twists together the disparate strands of the anti-slavery movement, foreign interventions and rights of self-determination in the mid-nineteenth century, into a compelling narrative about geopolitics and the pragmatic approaches to political understanding required by two neighboring nations. This mix of factual, well-sourced material, along with keen insights into the motivations of the parties concerned, is, surely, how all history books for a general readership should be written.” –Tony Burton, Amazon

“Hogan seeks to correct a number of common views of Lincoln that he thinks are not based on a full assessment of the documents available, many of which he reprints in the lengthy appendix to his book. These documents, along with the extensive bibliography, provide a firm basis for a reevaluation of Lincoln in this area and help to explain why he remains one of the most revered American presidents in Mexico. Like his previous book on the San Patricios, ‘Abraham Lincoln and Mexico’ shines bright light on an important area of history that has remained in the shadows for a century and a half. It is an important contribution to understanding Mexican-American history and a step forward in the journey toward truth.” –jsbeauchamp, Barnes&Noble

“This book is as much about the American leader’s moral objections to the war against Mexico and slavery as it is about his hesitations, his political evolution and the people that surrounded him. Unlike other accounts of the Mexican-American War which have robbed Mexicans, former slaves and immigrant soldiers of their complexity, Hogan reminds us that they were not only passive victims of injustice, but also men and women who rose up against it and fought. Most importantly, this text displays Hogan’s gift as a professor and as a writer: his ability to analyze specific events in order to contextualize broader cultural and political trends of the past and the present. I hope that it will help students confront the U.S.’ historical abuses and temper the negative effects of blind patriotism.” –A.S. Carbonell, Amazon

“Dr. Hogan’s meticulous research brings to light an era of Lincoln’s life often ignored by other biographers. Although Lincoln’s opposition to the war is well-documented, some have dismissed it as political posturing or partisan bluster. The historical record, however, shows us that Lincoln’s opposition came from his personal belief that the war represented a terrible injustice unworthy of his beloved United States of America. This book is apt for anyone interested in Abraham Lincoln, US/Mexico relations, political history or imperialist/expansionist policies in historical context. Highly recommended.” –Christopher Minster, Amazon

“Michael Hogan has unearthed and analyzed a crucial aspect of Abraham Lincoln’s political evolution: His stance towards the Mexican-American war of 1846 to 1848. The annexation of former Mexican lands led to the destruction of the north-south balance of power, which led directly into the civil war. Hogan assembles a well-documented case for Lincoln’s distaste for the aggressive war that robbed Mexico of half its territory. Thanks to this book Lincoln emerges once again as the brilliant statesman that he was and, once again, we see him as a guardian and defender of the most precious principles our republic was founded upon. This book is a worthy read and highly recommended.” –Heribert Feilitzsch, Goodreads

“Michael Hogan has written a valuable addition to the long list of histories about Abraham Lincoln. Hogan addresses directly those who minimize Lincoln’s opposition as primarily an expedient political. Instead, Hogan persuasively argues that Lincoln’s opposition to Texas annexation and further expansion in the Southwest was at the core of his free-soil beliefs. Hogan’s narrative covers the lead up to the war as well as U.S. diplomatic relationship with Mexico during the Lincoln Presidency. Abraham Lincoln and Mexico also reminds us of the complicated history of the US and Mexico regarding our shared border.” –Peter Catapano, Amazon

“Dr. Michael Hogan tells the true and intriguing story of the Mexican – American War (1846-1848) which to this day remains untaught and almost unmentioned in the American high school curriculum. As a student who has studied in both the United States and Mexico, this book was particularly interesting due to its truthful portrayal of the United States. Dr. Hogan uses a variety of vital sources which brilliantly contribute to the powerfulness of the history which is being told. Overall, it is a highly recommended read for anyone interested in the true story of the Mexican-American War or the incredible brilliance of President Lincoln.” –Sofia Gates, Goodreads

“Michael Hogan’s Abraham Lincoln in Mexico is a must read for students of US/Mexico relations. It should be read by all high school students north and south of the border! Hogan, with his in-depth research and his superb storytelling, gives us a timely gem!” –Kristen R. Fry, Amazon

“I never knew about Lincoln’s opposition to the war with Mexico. I’ve read quite a bit of history, and I was quite surprised to learn how much I didn’t know about this era… I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, and doesn’t want to be limited by what we learn in U.S. schools.” –Jennifer Silva Redmond, Amazon

Thanks again for your interest in the book and in the overall Lincoln and Mexico Project. Don’t forget to check the official Facebook page for frequent posts related to our activity.

The New York Times looks at the US-Mexican War

Photo credits: Image from NYTimes article courtesy of the newspaper. Photo of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas (l) and author Michael Hogan courtesy of the author.

Sometimes, the gods bestow gifts on authors by focusing attention on content in their books. That’s what happened this week when The New York Times ran an op-ed piece based on a possible lawsuit by Mexico focusing on the legal issues stemming from the illegal US 1846 invasion, conquest, acquisition, and the controversial 1848 treaty that took nearly half of Mexico’s sovereign territory.

The complete 1848 treaty is in Michael Hogan’s book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, available on Amazon http://amzn.to/2jQRPnI, which discusses how the US reneged on key treaty provisions before Senate ratification. The effort to consider a lawsuit against the United States is led by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the highly-respected founder of the PRD (Mexico’s liberal party) and former presidential candidate. Although the book doesn’t advocate legal action, Hogan and Cárdenas have a long-standing friendship, as you can see by the photo.

As the op-ed points out, “….even if one admits the legal validity of much of the treaty, there are a number of crucial articles — such as those dealing with citizenship, property and the security of 100,000 Mexicans who remained on what became American territory — that have been ignored from the beginning.” The op-ed continues: “The United States owes Mexico and itself an honest reconsideration of its first imperial war, not only in its schools and universities but also in its museums and books.”

In Mexico, the book and the play based on the book continue to receive very positive coverage. Here are two examples:

— Recent coverage includes a lengthy feature article in The Guadalajara Reporter about the World Premiere of the play March 23-25. The play brings to light the friendship between President Lincoln, Mrs. Lincoln, and Mexican envoy Matìas Romero that led to Lincoln’s support for the exiled government of Benito Juárez. Performances at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara were first class, thanks the cast and crew under the direction of Stacy Ohrt-Billingslea, assistant director Tania Romero, and production assistant Paulina Aragon. (Screenshot courtesy of The Guadalajara Reporter.)

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— An excellent in-depth feature article in El Ojo del Lago examines Romero’s illustrious career as a diplomat in the USA, beginning with his initial visit to see Lincoln in Illinois just before Lincoln’s inauguration. It also mentions a gala dinner in New York City attended by luminaries including Theodore Roosevelt to honor Romero for his service. History textbooks or other books about Lincoln don’t cover these details, but Hogan found them in archival documents among Lincoln’s papers in the United States and Romero’s diaries in Mexico. (Screenshot courtesy of El Ojo del Lago.)

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Heads up, amigos!!! The Spanish Kindle version, Abraham Lincoln y Mexico, is coming!! The official release date is May 13, the anniversary of the date the US Congress declared war on Mexico in 1846. You can pre-order on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2n7minY. Let’s do it! ¡Adelante!

To keep up with news about the book and the play on social media, click here to visit the official Facebook page, which now has more than 2,500 likes. The page reached more than 30,000 people in the past 28 days, almost 17,000 of whom identified Spanish as their preferred language—another reason to release the book in Spanish. A single post featuring positive comments by former Mexican Emb. Carlos Gonzalez-Magallon about relationships between Mexico and the United States reached more than 18,000 people. The post was based on his remarks to the March 25 Saturday matinee audience for the play at the ASFG.

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You can help spread the word about the book on social media by going to the GoFundMe campaign to “Send Lincoln to Congress” and clicking to share on Facebook and Twitter. And while you’re there, we hope you’ll contribute to the success of the campaign.

Best regards, and thanks again for your interest in the Lincoln and Mexico Project.

Student play adds another dimension

Mary Todd Lincoln, Matías Romero, and Abraham Lincoln; director Stacy Ohrt-Billingslea and crew members with Consul General Tanya C. Anderson; Benito Juárez; literary critic Mark Sconce, LAMP co-founder Mikel Miller, author & playwright Michael Hogan, and Emb. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon; cast applauding audience. — Photo credits: Doris Payne Camp

The Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) added a new dimension March 23-25 with the World Premiere of the play “Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story.” It opened at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, the same school that inspired historian and ASFG educator Michael Hogan to write the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships.

The performances also garnered binational support from members of the diplomatic corps from the USA and Mexico, as well as guests from both countries. US Consul General Tanya C. Anderson delivered a strong supporting statement before the opening performance, and former Mexican Emb. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon added his support before the Saturday matinee. The official Facebook page for the Consulado General de los Estados Unidos en Guadalajara also featured the play in a post:

“El jueves 23 de marzo de 2017, la Cónsul General Tanya C. Anderson tuvo el placer de asistir a la inauguración de la producción de teatro de la The American School Foundation of Guadalajara, A.C., “Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story”. La obra narra la historia de Abraham y Mary Todd Lincoln, el cónsul mexicano Matias Romero, y un extraordinario elenco de personajes secundarios, todos los cuales influenciaron significativamente la trayectoria de Estados Unidos y México durante momentos clave en la historia de cada país.”

The play, also written by Dr. Hogan, was timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the year Mexico drove French occupation forces out of North America. It’s designed to supplement the book as a way for students to increase understanding of the important historical relationships between Lincoln and Benito Juárez. It also brings to light the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Mexican envoy Matías Romero, which facilitated Lincoln’s diplomatic and military support for the Juárez government in exile.

Performances by the student actors—especially those playing Mrs. Lincoln, Romero, President Lincoln, and Juárez—drew enthusiastic support from audiences consisting of ASFG parents, students, faculty, guests from Guadalajara and nearby Lake Chapala, and the news media. One community theater group has already expressed interest in having students perform the play. Eventually, LAMP hopes the book and play will reach tens of thousands of students across the USA as educators begin to use them to stimulate classroom discussions of historical relationships between the two countries. Already, the project is developing and testing lesson plans for the 2017-2018 academic year based on the book.

With the premiere of the three-act play, the overall project now has a way to entertain people while educating and informing them about the legacy of Lincoln’s support for Mexico during the 1840s-1860s. The first way is through sales of the book itself available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and independent bookstores across the USA. A second way is through presentations and lectures by Dr. Hogan in the USA and Mexico to universities and civic and political leaders. A third way is by presenting a copy of the book to each member of the US Congress, funded by a GoFundMe campaign that’s already raised enough money to give copies to all 100 members of the Senate.

If you would like to help arrange a presentation in your area, please submit a comment to the blog or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. Meanwhile, please help spread the word by going to the GoFundMe campaign to “Send Lincoln to Congress” and clicking to share with your Facebook friends. Thank you.

Mary Todd Lincoln and Mexico

Play poster, plus photo from meeting with (l-r) director Stacy Ohrt-Billingslea; students Tania Romero and Paulina Aragon; US Consul General of Guadalajara, Tanya C. Anderson; and author Michael Hogan

The untold story of how Mary Todd Lincoln helped a young Mexican envoy eliminate the French from North America comes to life in the World Premiere of a play this week at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara. Titled Lincoln and Mexico: The Untold Story, it’s a great way to gain insights about historical relationships between the USA and Mexico.

The play premiere coincides with the 150th anniversary year celebrating Mexico’s defeat of French occupation forces in July 1867. It’s a story of unlikely friendships and intrigue, based on factual history documented in Abraham Lincoln and Mexico published last fall by Michael Hogan, ASFG Emeritus Humanities Chair.

It’s also a play with two storylines—one historical and one contemporary. The main one is the history of relations between the United States and Mexico from 1863-1867; the second, set in modern times, is that of the students and their history teacher, Mr. North, at a small school in Guadalajara. As such, the play also offers insights into how educators can engage students in the learning process.

The play opens in 1863 when the US is in the middle of its Civil War. A 24-year-old Mexican envoy named Matías Romero arrives at the White House. His mission is to persuade Lincoln to support the overthrow of French monarch Maximilian whose armies have taken control of Mexico. Lincoln is far too busy with American affairs but his wife, Mary Todd, intercedes after Romero accompanies her on a three-hour shopping trip. He later meets with Grant and other generals and begins to raise funds to restore the Mexican Republic.

Just on the verge of success, Lincoln dies and Romero’s hopes seem thwarted. Likewise, the history teacher, who is writing this story, fails to find any US research to make his original thesis into a book. Like Romero, Mr. North is similarly discouraged. However, pressed by his students, he makes a trip to Mexico City where he discovers Romero’s personal diaries in a bank vault. He translates the diaries and finds that—even after Lincoln died—Mary Todd encouraged Romero to press on with his cause. He did so and raised over $18 million, acquired sophisticated weapons with the help of Grant and Sheridan, and enabled the Mexican armies to ultimately prevail over the French. Now, North is inspired to complete his own work.

The play ends in 1867 with the Mexican victory, and Matías Romero discussing the triumph with newly-restored President Juárez. While the president is grateful for Romero’s help, he advises him that he should not place the documents relating to the victory or his diaries in the National Archives. It is better that they rest deep in the vault of a Mexican bank until Mexico takes its place among the nations in the world. That time is now, when the 150-year-old story is finally told, and we see Mr. North and his students conversing as the Mexican and American flags converge on stage, and sound of marching music fills the theater.

Other historians and Lincoln’s biographers ignore the fascinating story of Mrs. Lincoln’s involvement, and textbooks in the USA and Mexico exclude her friendship with Romero and the ensuing intrigue. However, the story comes to life due to Hogan’s relentless search for documents to help his ASFG students learn more than what is in standard texts, and his multifaceted script brings it to the stage.

All of it makes a fascinating play, produced and directed and staged by ASFG drama teacher Stacy Ohrt-Billingslea, student assistants Tania Romero and Paulina Aragon, and a cast of dozens.

There are four performances of the play March 23-25: Opening night Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m., Friday night at 7 p.m., a 1 p.m. Saturday matinee, and a finale 7 p.m. performance Saturday night. Opening night will feature pre-performance remarks by U.S. Consul General Tanya Anderson. On Friday night, Gen. Clever Chavez Marin, noted historian and humanitarian, will address the crowd. Former Mexican Emb. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon will speak before the Saturday matinee.

Multi-national attention for Lincoln book

Photos (clockwise) Javier Palomarez, Michael Oreskes (l) with former Mexico President Felipe Calderon, Fernando Avila Gonzalez (l) with Cd. Juárez lawyers, Eduardo Ramos Moran, Abraham Lincoln book on desk of Sr. Ramos

The book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is attracting more attention in the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even in Europe. Here is the latest update from the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP):

BREAKING NEWS!! The GoFundMe campaign to “Send Lincoln to Congress” has raised $1,000 from contributors across North America and Europe. That covers the cost of delivering one copy of the book to all 100 members of the U.S. Senate, and we’ll post updates when delivery begins. Thanks to all of you who helped reach this milestone; you can see the contributor names on the GoFundMe campaign site. Now, we’re raising money to send the book to all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. We hope you’ll help spread the word by clicking to share the campaign on Facebook, if you haven’t already done so.

We’re also busy working with civic leaders, the news media, and academics. Here’s what Cindy A. Medina, LAMP representative for Public Relations and News Media, has been doing the past week:

  • In Washington, DC, The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which represents 4.2 million Hispanic businesses in the USA, is interested in the book. President and CEO Javier Palomarez, originally from Edinburgh, TX, has requested a copy, and maybe he’ll invite author Michael Hogan to speak at the Oct. 1-3 annual convention of the association. It’s an important contact because Palomarez is also an informal advisor to President Trump’s National Diversity Coalition. You can click here to read an interview with him about his role as one of Trump’s most vocal critics during the campaign, and how he evolved into “working with the Donald.”
  • Also in Washington, National Public Radio is interested in the book, and Michael Oreskes, Senior VP for News and Editorial Director, has requested a copy. He’s a career professional journalist, with a high profile in both Washington, DC, and New York City. You can click here to see a recent CNN interview with him about his commitment to rebuild local journalism across the USA.
  • In Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, just across the border from El Paso, Ms. Medina is working with the local bar association to arrange a presentation by Dr. Hogan. Mtro. Fernando Avila Gonzalez, Secretario General Barra y Colegio de Abogados de Ciudad Juárez, is the lead contact, and you can see more about the organization on its Facebook page.

And look at this! Also in Cd. Juárez, leading Mexican businessman Eduardo Ramos Moran is recommending the book to his reading group. He’s el Presidente of Centro Humano de Liderazgo, A.C. (Cehlíder), he heard about the book on his own, bought it, and recommended it in a post on his Facebook page with a shout out to author Michael Hogan. ¿Hablas español? Here’s what Ramos said on Facebook about the importance of the book (hint – he LIKES it, mucho).

Algo que pocos mexicanos conocen es que Abraham Lincoln fue Amigo de Mexico, en su tiempo como congresista fue uno de los principales opositores a la guerra de Estados Unidos contra Mexico, guerra que considero innecesaria e inconstitucional, James K Polk el 11 presidente de USA que proclamo la guerra contra Mexico dijo una sarta de mentiras como que los Mexicanos habian ocupado Estados Unidos, en la anexion de Texas la division era desde el rio de las nueces, pero los abusones extendieron la division hasta el rio bravo, los Mexicanos no teniamos ni para hombres, ni para armas, perdimos en la guerra de 1848, Incluso los Irlandeses donde estaba un tal Patricio se pasaron al bando de los mexicanos y lucharon contra los propios estadounidenses, 13 anios mas tarde en las batallas contra los franceses es Estados Unidos quien le vende armas a los mexicanos, incluso en Estados Unidos ya habia terminado la guerra civil, muchos norteamericanos lucharon junto con mexicanos contra los franceses, ingleses y espanoles, lo que los convirtio en la “American Legion of honor”, esta historia no la ensenan en la primaria Mexicana, excelente libro de Michael Hogan, deberian de traducir esta version para que la leamos los Mexicanos. Este libro revela lo que muchos historiadores no han querido revelar, por cuestiones de conveniencia o tal vez politicas. Es importante destacar que muchos norteamericanos son amigos de los mexicanos, incluso los Irlandeses, es importante leer libros de historia para conocer de donde venimos!!

We’re very proud of the multi-national attention the book is receiving, especially in border areas such as El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. We’re looking forward to increased attention in San Diego and Tijuana, and later this year in Austin, Chicago, Washington, DC and New York City. If you would like to become part of the overall project, and help with contacts and presentations in your area, just post a comment on the blog or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. Thank you.

El Paso Event Features Lincoln Book

Photos: Jon Barela, Alejandra de la Vega Foster, logos for participating organizations

The Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) was part of a special occasion March 7 with more than 130 business and community leaders from Texas, Mexico, and New Mexico.

The Borderplex Alliance and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation co-hosted the event honoring Ms. Alejandra de la Vega Foster for her appointment as the Secretary of Innovation and Economic Development for the State of Chihuahua in Mexico.

Special guests included Mr. Paul Foster, Chairman of Western Refining and Ms. Foster’s spouse; Daria Darnell, US Consul General in Ciudad Juárez; Cynthia Cano, District Director for US Congressman Beto O’Rourke; Susan A. Melendez, Senior VP of the Borderplex Alliance; and Marcos Delgado, EVP Operations/Business Development of the Borderplex Alliance. A video message from Congressman O’Rourke congratulating Ms. Foster was played for the guests.

Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance, presented Ms. Foster an author’s copy of Abraham Lincoln and Mexico by historian and educator Michael Hogan. The book is especially relevant to the El Paso area because after French occupation forces drove Mexican President Benito Juárez into exile in 1863, he formed his government in exile in the state of Chihuahua near El Paso. While there, Juárez and his followers received clandestine aid from the Lincoln administration, including 30,000 repeating rifles.

Using archival documents from Mexico and the United States, the book examines Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico during the 1840s and 1860s as Congressman and President. It’s  in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, in several university libraries, and available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2jQRPnI.

“The book discusses the long history of Mexico and the US and the importance of that relationship,” Barela told the crowd.  “We hope to continue to strengthen that relationship, and I hope Ms. Foster will find time in between her many travels to read the book.”

Business and community leaders from El Paso, Texas, southern New Mexico, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico, attended the event, and the following reception at the El Paso Club.

The LAMP project is interested in working with local business leaders and elected officials to facilitate a better understanding of historical relations between the US and Mexico. If you would like us to be part of an event in your area, just submit a comment to the blog. 

 

Send Lincoln to Congress

Breaking news!!! Our GoFundMe campaign to “Send Lincoln to Congress” raised enough money in the first week to send the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico to half the 100 members of the U.S. Senate.

The campaign objective is to give two copies of the book to all 535 members of the U.S. Congress, regardless of party affiliation. Each $10 covers the wholesale cost of one copy from the distributor, including shipping and handling.

The book is in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and has been nominated for the William M. LeoGrande Prize for best book about U.S.-Latin American historical relations. And the Smithsonian Magazine wrote a lengthy feature article about it.

It’s a great book, and can help Congress understand historical relations between the two countries because it examines Lincoln’s support for Mexico as Congressman and President. The campaign to send copies to all members of Congress is a critical part of the overall LAMP efforts to stimulate discussions about improving relationships between the USA and Mexico.

Supporters of the Lincoln and Mexico Project, along with fans of the book, have kicked in early money to launch the campaign. We’ve received other contributions from the USA, Mexico, and even Europe. We still need to raise $11,500 no later than June to allow time to deliver two books to each member of Congress during July — one copy in their Washington, DC offices, and one for their offices back home.

Won’t you help us keep the momentum going? You can help by taking two actions:

  1. Click here to see details about the GoFundMe campaign and make a contribution
  2. Click to share the campaign on Facebook and Twitter with your friends

Thank you for your support of this very worthwhile project.

P.S. If you don’t already have a copy of the book, you can click here to buy it from Amazon or click here to buy it from Barnes & Noble. And don’t forget to post a short review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. Thanks!

 

 

Why Abraham Lincoln Is Revered in Mexico

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As a young Congressman and later as the nation’s leader, the first Republican president proved to be a true friend to America’s neighbor to the south. Slideshow images are Smithsonian logo, headquarters building in Washington, DC, and Lincoln statue in Tijuana, Mexico.

The Smithsonian.com online magazine featured a lengthy article Feb. 23 by Editor-at-Large Jamie Katz about Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, adding to national news attention about Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. Here are some excerpts, and you can click here to see the full article.

…American historian Michael Hogan makes a bold claim. He says that Abraham Lincoln is in no small part responsible for the United States being blessed for many generations with an essentially friendly nation to the south—this despite a history that includes the United States annexation and conquest of Mexican territory from Texas to California in the 1840s, and the nations’ chronic border and immigration tensions.

…In his 2016 study, Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely FriendshipsHogan points to several factors that elevated the United States’ 16th president in the eyes of Mexicans, in particular Lincoln’s courageous stand in Congress against the Mexican War, and his later support in the 1860s for democratic reformist Benito Juárez, who has at times been called the “Abraham Lincoln of Mexico.” Lincoln’s stature as a force for political equality and economic opportunity—and his opposition to slavery, which Mexico had abolished in 1829—made the American leader a sympathetic figure to the progressive followers of Juárez, who was inaugurated as president of Mexico in the same month and year, March 1861, as Lincoln.

…In the course of researching his Lincoln book, Hogan made an important discovery in the archives of the Banco Nacional de México: the journals of Matías Romero, a future Mexican Treasury Secretary, who, as a young diplomat before and during the American Civil War, represented the Juárez government in Washington. Romero had written a congratulatory letter to Lincoln after the 1860 election, to which the president-elect cordially thanked Romero, replying: “While, as yet I can do no official act on behalf of the United States, as one of its citizens I tender the expression of my sincere wishes for the happiness, prosperity and liberty of yourself, your government, and its people.”

…During its own civil war of the late 1850s, Mexico had accrued significant foreign debt, which the French Emperor Napoleon III ultimately used as pretext to expand his colonial empire, installing an Austrian archduke, Ferdinand Maximilian, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in 1863. The United States did not recognize the French regime in Mexico, but with the Civil War raging, remained officially neutral in the hope that France would not recognize or aid the Confederacy.

…With Lincoln’s earlier letter in hand, Romero made the rounds with American bankers in San Francisco, New York and Boston, Hogan says, selling bonds that raised $18 million to fund the Mexican army.

…After the Civil War, the U.S. became even more helpful in the fight for Mexican liberation. In a show of support, Grant dispatched 50,000 men to the Texas border under General Sheridan, instructing him to covertly “lose” 30,000 rifles where they could be miraculously “found” by the Mexicans. Sheridan’s forces included several regiments of seasoned African-American troops, many of whom went on to fight in the Indian Wars, where they were nicknamed the Buffalo Soldiers.

…By 1867, the French had withdrawn their occupying army; the Juárez forces captured and executed Maximilian, and the Mexican Republic was restored.

…Though most of this history has receded in the national memories of both countries, Hogan believes that Lincoln’s principled leadership and friendship—outspoken in the 1840s, tacit in the 1860s—created a pathway for mutually respectful relations well into the future.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/why-mexico-loved-lincoln-180962258/#TPR1XsppEaVY4bQY.99

Attention increases re Lincoln support for Mexico

Photo of Lincoln Cottage, Washington DC, courtesy of LincolnCottage.org. Cover image courtesy of Latina magazine

Scholarly publications and the news media are beginning to focus on the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico that examines Lincoln’s legacy as an international statesman.

A scholarly paper published online by the LincolnCottage.org (based in the museum at Lincoln’s cottage retreat in Washington, DC) uses research in the book to authenticate Lincoln’s support for Mexico as President. The article even borrows the phrase “Unlikely Friendship” from the subtitle of the book by historian and educator Michael Hogan.

The article references Hogan’s research of personal papers (see footnote xi) by Mexican ambassador Matías Romero detailing Romero’s visit to Springfield, Illinois just before Lincoln’s inauguration, and footnote xii directly cites Hogan’s book. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

This was an especially significant and unique visit. By many accounts, this was the first time Lincoln conversed directly with a person of Mexican descent. Furthermore, though he was about to assume responsibility for American foreign policy, Lincoln received not a single caller from the capitals of Europe between his election and inauguration. Lincoln’s personal secretary, John Hay, was understandably gratified to observe Romero’s display of “deep respect and consideration” for the president-elect. Indeed, Lincoln was taken with the young diplomat from the outset.[x]

In contrast to the turbulent relationship between the United States and Mexico in the first half of the nineteenth century, Mexico genuinely looked forward to a Lincoln presidency. In fact, Romero, in his voluminous notes, diary, and correspondence[xi] was the first to note the similarities in personality, demeanor, intelligence and background between Lincoln and Mexican leader Benito Juarez. Indeed, shortly after Lincoln’s election, Mexico had emerged from its own civil war. Mexico’s new leadership wanted nothing more than economic cooperation with the United States and to be treated as a respected southern neighbor — something that would not have even been considered with Lincoln’s Democratic predecessors who were bent on the annexation of significant portions of the Mexican nation. Now, with the election of the Lincoln’s Republicans on a platform of free-soil and free-labor, Mexico’s new leadership counted on the Lincoln administration to respect Mexican territorial borders.[xii]

The book was also featured in the online version of Latina magazine, an English-language publication based in New York City, with a readership second only to the Spanish edition of People magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

More than 200 towns and 600 schools are named after Abraham Lincoln in the United States, but he is widely honored throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as well. Lincoln has been honored with postage stamps in Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname and Venezuela. There are statues of Lincoln in four major Mexican cities: Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City, Tijuana, and Mexico City.

We spoke with Historian Michael Hogan, author of “Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue, and Unlikely Friendships” about his little-known popularity and contributions across our southern border.

Is it fair to say that Lincoln is revered in Latin America? 

Yes, particularly in Mexico. Benito Juarez, the nation’s most admired leader, is often called “the Abraham Lincoln of Mexico,” because he, too, was born from a very poor family, raised himself up by his bootstraps, and became a lawyer and ultimately the president of his country. As president, Lincoln supported the Mexican people against the French, who invaded Mexico in 1863, during the American Civil War.

You can follow posts about coverage of the book, and much more, on the Facebook page Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, and we’ll continue to excerpt snippets in the blog. Thanks for following us.

Lake Chapala Loves Lincoln

cropcrowd20170212_105654A standing-room-only crowd of more than 350 expats and Mexicans at Lake Chapala celebrated the Feb. 12 birthday of Abraham Lincoln  

“Outstanding.” “Factual and entertaining.” “A lot more informative than what I learned in high school and college.” And “I’ve never seen a Sunday morning crowd this big in Ajijic.”

Those were just some of the comments from people in the SRO crowd Feb. 12 at Lake Chapala about the presentation by historian and educator Michael Hogan discussing Abraham Lincoln’s support for Mexico. Speaking without notes for thirty minutes, Hogan captured the rapt attention of expats from the USA and Canada as well as Mexicans in the audience.

Many expats shook their heads in shame at his description of how U.S. President Polk lied to Congress to justify invading Mexico in 1846, declaring an unconstitutional war, and eventually capturing two-fifths of Mexico. People applauded his discussion of Lincoln’s courageous actions opposing the war as a freshman Congressman, which led Polk to brand Lincoln a traitor, the press to vilify him, and the Whig political party to shun him.

Expats and Mexicans alike enjoyed Hogan’s anecdotes about Matías Romero—the 24-year-old Mexican ambassador for Mexican President Benito Juárez—who visited Lincoln in Illinois before his inauguration to pledge Mexico’s friendship. Lincoln penned a note expressing support for Mexico, which Romero pocketed after informing Juárez.

In Washington DC, Romero escorted Mrs. Lincoln on frequent shopping trips because Lincoln was preoccupied with saving the Union. Knowing women smiled and nodded their heads as Hogan described how Mrs. Lincoln intervened with her husband on behalf of Romero, and how she introduced Romero to Lincoln’s inner circle. Romero even helped Gen. Grant practice his Spanish. After French occupation forces of Napoleon III conquered Mexico in 1863, and Juárez set up a government in exile near El Paso, Lincoln and his administration did not recognize the French monarch whom Napoleon installed. Romero used the earlier note from Lincoln to raise $18 million from East Coast bankers to aid Juárez.

As the Civil War in the US was ending, Lincoln’s tacit support for Mexico enabled Grant and Gen. Sheridan to provide excess military weapons to help Juárez combat the French occupation forces, and later supply more weapons and former Union soldiers after Lincoln’s death to restore democracy to Mexico in 1867. It’s a great story, much of it in the archival papers of Romero—virtually ignored in the Banco of México until Hogan researched them.

The Feb. 12 event marked the first “on-the-road” presentation about Lincoln’s legacy by Hogan based on his award-winning book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, one of the best-selling Latin American historical biographies on Amazon. It’s also available at Barnes&Noble, independent bookstores via IndieBound.org, and the Apple store. An in-depth book review by author Mark Sconce is in the current issue of El Ojo del Lago, the largest circulation English-language magazine in Mexico.

After Hogan spoke, former Emb. Carlos Gonzalez-Magallon of Mexico addressed the crowd briefly to express appreciation for President Truman who visited Mexico City in 1947 to apologize for the US invasion. During that trip, Truman also laid a wreath to honor Los Niños Héroes who died in the Mexican-American War.

Many thanks to author Margaret Van Every at Lake Chapala for arranging the Feb. 12 event. In cooperation with Mexican consulates in the USA, the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) is working to arrange similar presentations this spring and summer in San Diego, Boise, El Paso, Chicago, Washington DC, and New York City. We hope you’ll click to subscribe to the blog and follow our activities. And if you’re interested in being part of the project, please send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. Thanks.

Emb. Carlos Gonzalez-Magallon (l), Mark Sconce, Margaret Van Every, and Dr. Hogan together before the presentation. Afterwards, Hogan autographed copies of his book.

New York and El Paso -What a Week!

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LAMP representatives in New York City and El Paso in meetings with officials of Mexican Consulates, public officials, and officials from the BorderPlex Alliance.

Representatives of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) met with Mexican consulates and elected public officials and community leaders in New York City and El Paso January 31-February 3 to begin working together on presentations about Abraham Lincoln’s support for Mexico.

During the same week, the largest circulation English-language magazine in Mexico published an amazing in-depth review for the book “Abraham Lincoln and Mexico” by historian and educator Michael Hogan, which forms the basis for the international project.

In New York City, Consul General Diego Gómez Pickering and his senior staff accepted complimentary copies of the book from LAMP co-founder Mikel Miller and his wife Maria Elena Martinez as a prelude to public presentations by Dr. Hogan. Venues suggested by Emb. Gómez, Consul for Public Affairs Carlos Gerardo Izzo, and Assistant Varinia Robles include the popular Mexican Mondays forum at Columbia University.

In El Paso, Consul General Marcos Bucio Mújica and Cultural Attaché Patricia Luna accepted a complimentary copy from LAMP representative Cindy A. Medina February 3. Emb. Bucio pledged his cooperation, and follow-up meetings will focus on several venue options.

Also in El Paso, Ms. Medina presented a copy of the book to Cynthia Cano, District Director for Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Cano and Medina discussed various possible venues for presentations, including a USA-Mexico Border Summit scheduled this fall. Then Ms. Medina met with Mr. Marcos Delgado, EVP Operations/Business Development of The Borderplex Alliance. They had an enthusiastic meeting to exchange many great ideas, including a possible presentation by Dr. Hogan in the Sun City as early as April. And Ms. Medina presented a copy to the El Paso central Public Library.

Thanks to everybody who is supporting the LAMP activities as we expand across the USA and Mexico city by city. If you are interested in helping LAMP arrange presentations in your area, just post a visitor comment on the blog or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org. You can also click here to connect with us on the Facebook page for the book.

 

El Paso Likes Lincoln

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Slideshow: El Pasoan Cindy A. Medina with bust of Abraham Lincoln at the El Paso Museum of Art, museum logo, and logo of the University of Texas at El Paso

There’s some important history involving Texas and Abraham Lincoln, especially around El Paso. That’s part of the reason people in El Paso are interested in the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, which reveals neglected details about Lincoln’s support for Benito Juárez while Juárez was exiled to the El Paso area during the French monarchy imposed by Napoleon III.

One person very interested in the Lincoln connection is Cindy A. Medina, a native El Pasoan, whose passion for history and admiration for the book led her to share posts about the book on social media beginning in 2016. That turned into an opportunity to be part of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) in January 2017 as a book promoter & social media representative. If you’re interested in helping LAMP in your area, just post a visitor comment on the blog or send an email to lamp@lincolnandmexicoproject.org and we’ll contact you.

During January, Medina began arranging meetings with community leaders in El Paso to discuss Lincoln’s legacy, and presented the book to Claudia A. Rivers, Head of Special Collections at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Other meetings are planned with the Mexican consulate in El Paso and with elected public officials.

Medina is a Professional Genealogist, New Spain/Mexico Historical Researcher, Independent Scholar, Blogger on FB for Embajadores de la Genealogia Mexicana & Genealogy512Chick. She’s also the author of IDG’s-In-depth Genealogist upcoming monthly column, “From Maize to Mestizo.” And she’s a proud graduate of El Paso High School ’93, UTEP, NMSU, and the University of Phoenix-Santa Teresa Campus in New Mexico. She splits her time between El Paso, and Austin.

You can learn about her and follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cindymedina5 12). When she’s not researching, she knits and blogs about it! Welcome to the project, Cindy!

Cooperation with Mexican Embassy

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Photo courtesy of Embassy of Mexico Cultural Center Mansion, designated as an Historic Landmark in the DC inventory of Historic Sites and listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Officials of the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC embraced the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) January 24 to help improve relations between the USA and Mexico.

Alejandro Celorio, head of the embassy section for Hispanic and Migration Affairs, agreed to help LAMP arrange presentations in the nation’s capital by historian and educator Michael Hogan to discuss the legacy of Abraham Lincoln’s support for Mexico. Hogan’s book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico forms the basis for the LAMP outreach efforts. Celorio and Natalia Jiménez Alegría, Hispanic Affairs Officer, also offered to contact Mexican consulates throughout the United States to help arrange LAMP presentations.

“We’re excited to start working with the embassy and consulates across the country,” noted LAMP co-founder Mikel Miller after his meetings with embassy officials in Washington, DC. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to inform and educate people in the USA about the history of positive relationships between the two countries.”

LAMP representatives have met with officials at the Mexican consulate in San Diego, and plan to meet with consulate officials in El Paso and in New York City later this month. If you’re interested in working with LAMP and a Mexican consulate in your area to arrange presentations, please submit a visitor comment. Meanwhile, you can keep current on LAMP activities by clicking to follow our blog.

The meeting between LAMP and the Mexican Embassy came less than two weeks after Mexico announced a new Mexican Ambassador to the United States to the United States. Gerónimo Gutiérrez, the new ambassador, held senior posts in two previous Mexican administrations headed by the opposition center-right National Action party (PAN).

Miller, a former Carter administration official at the Department of Commerce, also met with representatives of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington to begin talks about presentations.

Truman and Lincoln and Mexico

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Photo of President Harry S Truman and Ambassador Walter Thurston in Mexico City, courtesy of Harry S Truman Presidential Library & Museum. This article originally was published online by the HistoryNewsNetwork.org January 15, 2017. Excerpts appear here by permission of the author and HNN.

By Michael Hogan, author Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships.

For many people it is hard to imagine a time when Mexico was a place of pilgrimage for an American president who went there to both apologize for the US treatment of that country in the past, but also to initiate a Good Neighbor Policy that would affirm his belief that the destinies of the two nations were intertwined.

But when Harry Truman laid a wreath at the Mexico City memorial of the Niños Heroes, or Boy Heroes of the US-Mexican War, he was following in the footsteps of another president, Abraham Lincoln, who stood up as a Congressman in Illinois to protest the “unnecessary and unconstitutional” invasion of that country at the orders of James K. Polk. He accused Polk of lying and of creating a pretext for the preemptory invasion. As a result of that war, the US acquired two-fifths of Mexican territory including the states of California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada, as well as parts of present-day Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

When Lincoln finally became president himself as a compromise candidate, one would think he had enough on his plate with the South about to secede and with a fratricidal war on the horizon. Yet he made time even then to meet with the Mexican Ambassador Matías Romero, who visited him at his home in Springfield shortly after the election. Lincoln wrote Romero a letter reassuring him and the new president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, of his support of the Mexican people and their republic.

As the war came to an end in the east, he was able to circumvent Secretary of State Henry Seward’s cautious approach and help persuade Lincoln to order General Grant to move over 50,000 troops under the command of General Sheridan to the Texas border, including thousands of “colored troops” (as the African-American soldiers were known at the time). The goal was to help Mexicans at the end of the US Civil War to drive out the French. Sheridan purposely “lost” 30,000 repeating rifles on the border where the Juárez army could find them.

Although Lincoln would be assassinated shortly after the surrender of Appomattox, his generals continued to help Mexico. They encouraged the recently-discharged troops to form the American Legion of Honor which would fight side by side with the Mexicans, helping rid the country of the last remnants of European occupation.

In 1947, Harry Truman, a Democrat, came to Mexico to reaffirm what a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, had affirmed throughout his career: the Mexican people are not only our neighbors but the entire southwestern US was formerly their territory. Mexico and the US share today a vast territory in North America and neither side can afford animosity or discord. Americans were the first illegal immigrants to their country, violating their laws, fomenting revolt, and later with our army violating their sovereign territory. It is well to remember that when we are tempted to react with frustration or impatience.

Our later history under Lincoln made us allies, helping to rid Mexico (and us) of an unwelcomed foreign power in this hemisphere. As an American historian, living and teaching in Mexico, it is my hope that this re-visioning of our mutual histories in Abraham Lincoln and Mexico might quiet the polemics raging in the US since the recent election, and let us hear the quieter voices which speak to us from the past about how we might be “good neighbors” once again.

—You can see the full article at: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/164740#sthash.h1qJsIrJ.dpuf

 

 

MEXICO-UNITED STATES – How a US Republican President and a Mexican Youth Ended a Monarchy

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By Michael Hogan, Monday 9 January 2017, posted by Michael Hogan

 

On April 10, 1863, Maximilian I and his wife Charlotte were installed as Emperor and Empress of Mexico. They came to power at the behest of the Napoleon III who had first sent armed forces to collect on past-due Mexican debts, but then encouraged them to stay and finally to conquer the country. At that time the French Army was the most powerful in the world. Although Mexico provided stout resistance, including an underdog victory at Puebla (Cinco de Mayo), its army was finally overwhelmed by the French who were reinforced by Austrian cavalry and artillery. The constitutional president Benito Juarez fled to the border town of El Paso del Norte to work in a cigarette factory and to put together a government-in-exile.

In May of 1863, he asked his protégé twenty-four year old Matias Romero to go to Washington and meet with President Lincoln to see if he could persuade him to help him raise a new army to fight against the French. Lincoln, of course, had his hands full. May 1-3 was the bloody battle of Chancellorsville. May 19-22 saw the Union troops engaged with the Rebels at Vicksburg, followed in early July by the devastating battle of Gettysburg. The enemy was nearly at Potomac. The timing could not have been worse.

Romero was unable to get an interview with the President, although he did have the opportunity to offer Mrs. Lincoln his rented carriage and accompany her shopping, a trip that lasted more than three hours! It was likely to due to her intercession that he was finally able to present his credentials to her husband as “Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Mexico.”

As high-sounding as the title was, it was also essentially meaningless. He had no real diplomatic standing since his “government” was in exile. Although Lincoln was sympathetic, his hands were tied. He dared not antagonize the French for fear their army would join the Confederacy which could very well prove an unbeatable combination and defeat the Union forces. Nevertheless, perhaps because of Mary Todd ‘s intervention, Lincoln gave Romero an audience and recognized his standing as ambassador, giving him not only access to the Oval Office but introductions to members of his cabinet, and ultimately to Ulysses S. Grant and Philip Sheridan, generals who would become Romero’s stanch allies in the years ahead. Using a note which Lincoln wrote expressing his friendship to the Mexican people, Romero visited bankers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco to raise money to support an army to overthrow Maximilian and the French usurpers. Over the next two years he and agents had sold over $30 million in Mexican bonds raising a total of $18 million in cash and credits. The money would go a long way in buying supplies and paying troops. But to defeat the most powerful European army they would need something more: they would need rifles and cannons.

Secretary of State Seward objected strongly to giving military aid to the Mexicans. He felt that this would needlessly antagonize the French and bring them closer to an alliance with the Confederates. Meanwhile, young Romero went out of his way to convince other members of the cabinet, as well as Grant and Sheridan, that such aid was essential and that France would rush into the breach as soon as it saw the Union exhausted by the efforts to defeat the Confederacy. Could the US really afford another war? Moreover what France was doing was in violation of the Monroe Doctrine which showed France’s contempt for American policies in the hemisphere. As the Civil War drew to a close, Lincoln decided to placate his Secretary of State by insuring him that no overt military aid would be given to Mexico. At the same time he ignored reports of Mexican agents to purchasing rifled cannon, and allowed Romero to meet with influential businessmen in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and other locations to form Monroe Doctrine Clubs to raise funds, purchase munitions and even levy volunteers.

By the time of the surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 10, 1863, most of those movements were far advanced. In addition, Grant was ordered to send Sheridan with 50,000 soldiers to Texas to both prevent shipment of Southern cotton to Europe and also to cut off the supply lines to the French. Once there, he instructed Sheridan to “lose” 30,000 repeating rifles at the El Paso border.

Although Lincoln was assassinated the following month, Grant and Sheridan continued to carry out his wishes. Both generals encouraged soldiers upon their discharge from the Union Army to join an American Legion of Honor which would form part of the Mexican army and defeat the French at Querétaro in the spring of 1867. On July21st of that year the Mexican Republic was restored.

The legacy of Lincoln is still honored in Mexico today with statues and other memorials. It is a hopeful reminder that our two countries have a history of cooperation and victory as well as one of animosity and conflict as we go forward with a new Republican administration in 2017.


Michael Hogan is a historian and teacher. He lives in Guadalajara, Mexico. His most recent book is Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships.

 
This article first appeared in http://www.alterinfos.org/spip.php?article7761. The opinions expressed herein in the articles and comments are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of AlterInfos. Insulting or injurious comments will be deleted without previous notice. AlterInfos is a pluralist media with a sensibility leaning toward the left. It tries to echo emancipatory projects and struggles. Comments oriented towards the opposite direction will not be published here, but they will surely find another space on the web to do so.

Lincoln Book in Three More University Libraries

Getting a book into libraries – especially at universities — is a great way to increase credibility and reach more readers. The Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) is reaching out to university libraries across the country to add Abraham Lincoln and Mexico to their collections.

Sometimes the outreach results in face-to-face meetings with librarians who are eager to learn more about Lincoln’s legacy of support for Mexico. That’s what happened this week at the three prestigious universities in the San Diego area: San Diego State University (SDSU), the University of California San Diego (UCSD), and the University of San Diego (USD).

SDSU is part of the 23-member California State University (CSU), which is the nation’s largest four-year public university system with 23 campuses and 474,000 students. Statewide, the UC system has 10 campuses and 238,000 students. USD, a private Catholic university, has an enrollment of more than 8,000 students.

Because of the size and reputation of California university libraries, getting the book into these libraries is important to LAMP efforts to reach other libraries at colleges and universities across the country. The book is already in university libraries at Harvard, Brown, Georgetown, and several others. LAMP representatives are contacting university libraries in several other states.

You can help get the book into other university libraries by contacting your alma mater and asking them to add the book to their collection. Or contact your alumni affairs office and offer to donate a copy in your name. Let’s do it!

Thanks to university librarians in San Diego (below) who accepted copies of Abraham Lincoln and Mexico from LAMP co-founder Mikel Miller. From left, Sarah Buck Kachaluba at UCSD, Wil Weston from SDSU, and Laura Turner at USD. All of you rock!!

Joint Efforts with Mexican Consulates

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Adriana Bacelis Sotomayor (2nd from left), cultural attaché of the consulate in San Diego, and consulate assistant Carolina Segura (2nd from right) welcomed LAMP co-founder Mikel Miller and his wife Maria Eléna Martinez

One important part of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) is working with Mexican consulates in the USA. Together, we hope to improve relations between the USA and Mexico with outreach efforts to elected officials, educators, community leaders, and the news media.

To further this cooperation, we’re meeting with consulate officials in San Diego, Washington DC, and New York City during January 2017. The efforts are aimed at arranging presentations by historian educator Michael Hogan about Lincoln’s legacy in supporting Mexico, based on his book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico. Thanks to former Mexican ambassador Carlos Gonzalez-Magallon for arranging the meetings.

Changing USA public perceptions about Mexico is a major focus of Marcela Celorio, the new Consul General in San Diego, who assumed her duties in mid-2016 and immediately began building better relationships with elected and community leaders across the San Diego region. She’s a career diplomat who has represented Mexico in Brussels, Tel Aviv, New York City and Washington, D.C., and calls herself a “cross-border consul.” You can see more about her energetic outreach efforts by reading a feature article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In a far-ranging meeting January 5 at the consulate, cultural attaché Adriana Bacelis Sotomayor agreed to consider cross border presentations in San Diego and Tijuana in the coming months that feature Dr. Hogan and the book. We’ll keep you posted on events and schedules, and hope to include followers of the Lincoln and Mexico Project in some of the activities.

By the way, Amazon ranks Dr. Hogan’s book very high for relevancy among almost 3,300 titles about Abraham Lincoln Biography and History. If you don’t already have a copy, order one now to learn more about Lincoln’s support for Mexico as Congressman and President. Or give it as a gift to someone for Lincoln’s birthday February 12 so others can learn more about his legacy as an international statesman.

Thank you for following our blog.

Lincoln Book Nominated for Prestigious Prize

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Congratulations to historian and educator Michael Hogan, whose book about Abraham Lincoln’s support for Mexico has been nominated for a prestigious prize in the United States. Here’s the relevant part of the letter received by Dr. Hogan’s publisher just before Christmas:

“The School of Public Affairs and the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University are pleased to inform you that the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships by Michael Hogan (2016) has been nominated for the 2016 William M. LeoGrande Prize for the best book on U.S.-Latin American relations.”

This prize is awarded annually to the author or editor of a book published in Spanish, English or Portuguese during the preceding two years. You can click here to learn more about the prize and the distinguished scholar for which it is named.

The Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP) is based on Dr. Hogan’s book, which Amazon ranks as one of the most relevant books about Abraham Lincoln biography and history. The project has the following goals:

  1. To promote better relations between the United States and Mexico.
  2. To help integrate the story of Abraham Lincoln and Mexico into high school and university curricula around the world.
  3. To bring the history of Abraham Lincoln and Mexico to a general audience.
  4. To show how national histories have international implications that are often ignored.
  5. To disseminate the international contributions of Abraham Lincoln to a global audience.

We try to post updates about project activities and events on our blog about once a week, and hope you’ll sign up to follow us. You can also follow the book on Facebook.

What Would Lincoln Do?

 

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.”
 
Thank you for helping LAMP, and for following our blog.

Idaho Loves Lincoln

Idaho former Lt. Gov. David H. Leroy with original Lincoln court brief, Lincoln statue in Boise park, signage for Lincoln exhibit at Idaho State Archives.

Abraham Lincoln is revered coast to coast in the USA, especially by historians and politicians who look to his life for guidance. Because of this, historian/ educator Michael Hogan has been invited to Boise, Idaho, in 2017 to present his book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, which forms the basis of the Lincoln and Mexico Project (LAMP).

The invitation comes from former Lt. Gov. David H. Leroy, who has launched the Idaho Lincoln Initiative (ILI) to further Lincoln’s fundamental principles. You can learn more about it at http://looktolincoln.org/. Both ILI and LAMP share a common goal of informing and educating people about Lincoln’s legacy and accomplishments, although the LAMP focuses on international relations with Mexico.

Leroy, who also served as Idaho Attorney General, is the author of Mr. Lincoln’s Book, an authoritative examination of Lincoln’s writings about the Lincoln-Douglas debates. At the Idaho State Archives, he has donated more than 200 personal Lincoln artifacts to create the Abraham Lincoln Exhibit.

Lincoln’s statue near the Capitol building in Boise honors his signing the act creating the Idaho Territory in 1863. Another Lincoln statue looms large in a nearby park honoring one of Boise’s founding families.

We’ll keep you updated as the Idaho event takes shape. Meanwhile, please post a comment to let us know if you or someone else in your city might be interested in hosting an event to help spread the word about Lincoln’s legacy.

Lincoln Helped Mexico Defeat the French

Archduke Maximilian of Austria (l) was installed by Napoleon III as Emperor of Mexico, before the Lincoln administration helped Benito Juárez (r) defeat French forces.
Some major news media publications in the USA are beginning to focus on Abraham Lincoln’s support during the 1860s to help Mexico end French occupation. For the most part, it’s a story missing from US History textbooks and many biography/ history books about Lincoln.
 
Lincoln’s legacy in helping Mexico defeat the French forces is told in detail in the new book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico by historian/ educator Michael Hogan, who uses archival documents to reveal little-known facts. The details are part of what makes Hogan’s book so valuable as supplemental classroom material for educators and students. And Lincoln’s support for Mexico also shows his abilities as an international statesman even while he was occupied with the Civil War.
 
The latest news media attention is from The New York Times, in an November 22 opinion piece by history professor Patrick J. Kelly.
 
“The Civil War wasn’t the only conflict on Lincoln’s mind. Engaged in a desperate struggle for union, the administration had been unable to halt Emperor Napoleon III’s deployment of French troops to Mexico in early 1862,” Kelly writes. “The French leader invaded Mexico as part of his ‘Grand Scheme’ to replace the democratically elected government of Benito Juárez with a European monarch, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria.
 
“Napoleon III refused to recognize the Confederacy, but he was grateful for its acquiescence to his Mexican scheme,” Kelly’s piece continues. “In 1863 he personally approved of the transshipment of 20,000 Enfield rifles and other munitions across the border from Mexico into Texas.”
 
With the French aiding Confederate Forces, and Confederate leaders seeking to ally with the French occupation, Lincoln and his administration – especially his Civil War generals Grant and Sheridan – began helping Mexico. The rest is history, some of it coming to light only recently in Hogan’s book.
 
One aspect of the support for Mexico included in Hogan’s book, but missing from the NY Times piece, deals with the valor of US troops who went to Mexico and fought alongside Mexican troops. As many as 3,000 members of the American Legion of Honor, commissioned by President Juárez, and many black veterans of the Civil War fought alongside Mexican troops. There is a gravesite in Mexico City for many who died, and statues of Lincoln are in parks across Mexico.
 
After victory over the French, the Mexican President honored the US troops for their valor. “…for Mexicans to fight for Mexico was natural; but for foreigners who had no other ties except the love of liberty and a desire to assist a brave people who were struggling against fearful odds, to make every sacrifice and to suffer every privation for the republic, was a spirt so noble it could not be put into language,” Juárez said in honoring the US troops, as noted in Hogan’s book.
 
It’s all in Hogan’s book, which is available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and independent bookstores across the USA.

Teaching History Based on Facts, Not Politics

Texas Mexican American Studies

Educators in the United States continue to debate the content of History textbooks and classroom discussions. Two recent examples illustrate the struggle in Texas, where the state board of education has an out-sized role in influencing textbooks across the USA.

Even today, mainstream textbooks about US History either ignore facts or distort the truth, and many use “USA exceptionalism” as justification for past atrocities. Some new textbooks are even bankrolled by fringe groups determined to pursue a political agenda in education.

Fortunately, there is hope. On Nov. 16, 2016, the Texas State Board of Education voted 14-0 to reject a textbook promoted by a politically conservative former member of the board. You can click here http://bit.ly/2g1bMa1 to read the full story, and here’s an excerpt:

“Scholars who looked at the text were left aghast. The cover photo, taken from Flickr, featured a bare-chested indigenous man in full-colored headdress ― a bizarre choice to represent people who generally wear shirts. The writers…had no expertise in the subject and were unknown to academics in the field. Scholars of Mexican-American history and cultural studies identified 141 errors in the shoddily produced book. Perhaps most glaringly, the authors claimed that the Chicano movement ‘opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.’”

Another perspective on what Texas has been teaching for decades comes from a recent 5-star review by a former Texan of a new book titled Abraham Lincoln and Mexico. The biography/ history of Lincoln’s support for Mexico uses archival documents to set the record straight about events before, during, and after the Mexican-American War. You can click here http://amzn.to/2gJFJzL to read the full review, and here’s an excerpt.

“This book really opened my eyes. The Texas history I was taught when I went to college in Texas was in retrospect terribly biased and abridged from actual events. The author has a remarkably unbiased, even-handed view of history. His narrative is carefully researched with an eye to ferret out the truth, not what we want to hear. He does not advocate a ‘great man’ theory nor a ‘peoples’ history’ theory. He succeeds in proving his thesis that ordinary men and women are sometimes called to greatness. If you have any interest in Lincoln, Texas or Mexican history, I urge you to read this book.”

Misinformation can be dangerous, especially in the high school curricula, and could result in the next generation being misinformed or even dangerously prejudiced. Both examples show why it’s important for high schools and colleges to teach factually accurate information about U.S. History.

That’s why the Lincoln and Mexico Project is trying to get the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico into schools across the USA as supplemental classroom material. We hope you will help by donating a copy to your local school or library. Thank you.

Statues and rave reviews

lincolntijuana-crop-bkp_p18bci51e2vg61r7k1r88omc1j8n4Mexico has several statues honoring Abraham Lincoln in parks across the country. This one is in Tijuana, Baja California, on the third traffic circle of Paseo De Las Heroes

Readers and educators continue to give rave reviews to Abraham Lincoln and Mexico by historian/ educator Michael Hogan. Here are excerpts from two of the latest 5-star reviews on Amazon:

I was suckled on the teat of misinformation about manifest destiny. I remember the nun telling us that it was ‘God’s will’ that the US took Mexico’s territory. In spite of a ‘privileged’ education, I didn’t begin to get the truth about the US invasion of Mexico until I found that Henry David Thoreau went to jail as a war protester and I went off on a hunt for the truth. I was amazed at the remote details that Dr. Hogan wove into the story, and flabbergasted that neither victor nor vanquished gave proper credit to the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ for their heroic service to Mexico.

Abraham Lincoln is a hero in Mexico for sure. My Mexican wife thinks he is a hero because he freed the slaves in the US. Little does she know of the debt Mexico has to Lincoln in the defeat of the French. Thank you, Dr. Hogan, for your masterful work.” –Miles Beacom, Tijuana, Mexico (Click here to see the full review.)

Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is an informative tome for scholar and layperson with an interest in American history; for inquiring minds, and those wishing a more analytical view of this historical period, and on par with Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States.

It should be included in all US history and presidential history college courses if, for no other reason, than to learn ‘the rest of the story.’ –Ren Drake Hill, author and former professor, College of the Canyons (Click here to see the full review.)