L’Amérique Latine: French Imperialism in Mexico, 1861-1867 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/m326m3334

Celebration of Undergraduate Excellence (2013)

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  • In 1861, in order to recoup foreign loans, France invaded Mexico. Assured by the Civil War in the United States that American response would be limited, Napoleon III undertook a scheme to replace the republican president Benito Juarez with a monarchy headed by the Austrian Archduke Maximilian von Hapsburg. Bracketed by American exceptionalism and the inevitability of republican government, the French Intervention of Mexico is often described as a triumph of the New World against the Old, republicanism against monarchy, or burgeoning nationalism versus personal hubris. This paper disengages from that narrative by placing the French Intervention within the context of larger French colonial aspirations. In that sense, the French intervention is renegotiated into the longer trajectory of French imperialism which began in Algeria and ended in Indo-China. This approach clarifies the seeming anomaly of the French Intervention by incorporating inchoate intellectual rationales for colonial acquisition, as well as the French civilizing mission, into a coherent historical and philosophical framework.
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