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Sat May 5, 2012, 06:59 PM

How the Battle of Puebla (Cinco de Mayo) changed the American Civil War

I had never heard this element of the story

Consequences to the United States

Some historians have argued that France's real goal was to help break up the American Union, at the time in the midst of a civil war, by helping the southern Confederacy:[25] "The Mexicans had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build a powerful army. This grand army smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the Civil War." The consequence of Cinco de Mayo to the United States has been thus recognized: "The defeat of the French army had consequences for America as well...the French defeat denied Napoleon III the opportunity to resupply the Confederate rebels for another year."[26]

Donald W. Miles adds, "At the time, there were fears in the United States that the French would use Mexico as a base to back the Confederacy, so President Lincoln and his Secretary of State went out of their way to appear 'neutral' in the Mexican situation. They did not want to take on the French and the Confederates at the same time".[27] Dr. Miles goes on to explain that "Napoleon III had hesitated to take on the United States directly, but now the news of the Civil War changed everything". It meant that the Americans would be occupied with their conflict between North and South for some time. Upon hearing the Spaniards and the British had sailed off to grab the customs house in Veracruz to start collecting their duties, Napoleon decided he would not only send the French navy, but would also start looking for someone to place as emperor in Mexico. He would then use Mexico as a base to help the Confederates win their war against the United States. Napoleon saw this as an opportunity not to be missed.[28] Dr. Miles then concludes, "The Emperor of France ordered his generals to spend a few months taking on Mexico and then - using Mexico as a 'base' - help the Confederates win their war against the United States. What if they had succeeded? The United States would never become the significant world power it is today...the Mexicans not only took their nation back, but influenced the outcome of the U.S. Civil War."[29]

Historian Justo Sierra has written in his Political Evolution of the Mexican People, that had Mexico not defeated the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862, France would have gone to the aid of the South in the U.S. Civil War and the United States' destiny could have been very different.[30][31]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo#Consequences_to_the_United_States

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Reply How the Battle of Puebla (Cinco de Mayo) changed the American Civil War (Original post)
underpants May 2012 OP
HereSince1628 May 2012 #1
a la izquierda May 2012 #2
demosincebirth May 2012 #3

Response to underpants (Original post)

Sat May 5, 2012, 07:33 PM

1. Haven't you ever been told that history is to be written by the winners OR

the heirs to their control of the nation???????????????????????????????????????????????


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Response to underpants (Original post)

Sat May 5, 2012, 08:45 PM

2. Wow. Where to begin?

Neither man mentioned in this selection are/were historians. Justo Sierra was a 19th century politician. Donald Miles doesn't have a PhD, though the article calls him Dr (note this does not mean he doesn't know his stuff, but his website seems a little weird; he said his wife grew up near Chapultepec Park, near where Maximilano's castle still stands. Most Mexicans I know spit on that man's memory, not find pride in it).

If my students started a paper with: "Some historians..." and then a link to a random website, they'd be in serious trouble. Who? Who says this? The link doesn't even go to a real website, but a domain name for sale.
Just because someone posted something on the Wiki doesn't make it so.
France knew it could not invade Mexico, which Conservative ex-pat Mexicans begged Napoleon to do, because it feared provoking the US as a result of the Monroe Doctrine. Do you really think that they would be in a position to help the Confederacy?
France cooked up a plan, lying Britain and Spain into it, on the pretense of collecting debts that Benito Juarez had stopped paying under his debt moratorium. Spain and Britain quickly realized the ruse and bailed.
France, though defeated at Puebla, went on to run Mexico until 1867. Why did the defeat at Puebla, very early on in the French Intervention period, prevent them from helping the Confederacy- as "historian" Justo Sierra claimed? That makes very little sense. If anything, the French would be positioned to help once they established their government in Mexico City.

I could go on, but I'll stop for now. France wanted to flex its colonial muscles. They did just that.

(Full disclosure: I have a PhD in Latin American history, with a specialty in the long 19th century of Mexico, though I do not deal with military history, nor have I ever analyzed French motives in the documents)

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #2)

Sat May 5, 2012, 11:44 PM

3. You are exactly right. I never made it past HS, but this I know.

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