2. Discuss the causes and outcomes of American (U.S.) and French interventions in Mexico and consider the role that leaders such as Antonio López de Santa Anna and Benito Juárez played in these conflicts.
Mexico was known to be a very unstable country and as land with raw materials and human capital opportunities increased, other countries were interested in taking over and using the opportunities to their advantages. There was a lot of turmoil
What did war break out between Mexico and France 1838 (over a decade before the Mexican-American War)?
· Numerous French claims of a pastry cook whose delicacies were appropriated and consumed by group of hungry Mexican soldiers 1828
· Mexican journalists immediately dubbed it as “Pastry War”
· Conflicting property issues/evaluations
· Mexican treasury prevented resolution of the French claims
· 1838: French king, Louise Philippe demanded payment of $600,000 and ordered a blockade of the port of Veracruz with a French fleet and over four thousand men when Mexico did not comply
· Mexican tried to negotiate but failed, hence the gov’t dispatched a thousand men to reinforce twelve hundred at the fortress of San Juan de Ulloa
· Mexican congress declared war after the French started bombarding, forcing the Mexican troops to abandon their first line of defense
• The French later accepted the negotiation of $600,000 that the Mexican gov’t had offered
Why was a big deal made over Santa Anna’s leg? (I had to ask, seeing that Deeds backtracked in time to the period before the Mexican-American War and mentioned it!)
• The commander had his horse shot out from under him and was severely wounded in the left leg, later amputated
• Vainglorious and opportunistic despot and traitor, responsible for the loss of half of Mexico’s territory… resort to authoritarianism
o Failure to foster peace and development as a ruler
• Incompetence struggle for personal ambition between Mexico’s elites provided the backdrop for Santa Anna’s path to power
• Corrupt briber saw himself as the savior of Mexico
• First supported liberal ideas and then shifted to strongly believing in centralism to the point of becoming a dictator
• Only hope for people;
For more information: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1861-1865/french-intervention
Susan M. Deeds, et al., The Course of Mexican History, 11th edition. (Oxford University Press 2017, ISBN: 9780190659011
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