Michael Hogan's important new study of US expansionist policy in the mid-nineteenth century provides an illuminating and unvarnished account of United States imperialist ambitions vis-à-vis Mexico. His book is a powerful indictment of and a necessary corrective to the frequently heard simplistic and self-serving nationalist claims of American exceptionalism. It is also a spirited defense against and rebuttal of simplistic thinking about Abraham Lincoln's ideas about slavery, Mexico, and American hegemony. Hogan sets the record straight on these and other controversial historical matters, and in his generous and open-minded approach to historiography, offers a positive way forward in considering Mexican-American relations. -- Robert DiYanni, Professor, Center for the Advancement of Teaching. New York University.
In this shining contribution to the literature on Abraham Lincoln and that of the US-Mexican War, Michael Hogan illuminates the stance of a young politician against that terrible war, telling a story that is both urgently necessary and well more than a century overdue. -- C.M. Mayo, author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire
Michael Hogan, in Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, brings together a passion for Mexico and an understanding of the United States during the nineteenth century so that he narrates their history with a sense of the intertwining of international relevance with an engrossing story. Here Abraham Lincoln becomes a human being of keen ideas and political know-how rather than the marble statue of his monument; here Benito Juarez also becomes an individual beyond the dour lawyer portrayed in textbooks, movies, and television. There is a scope about this book that finds a kind of grandeur in the events as they are eloquently described. -- William H. Beezley, Professor of History, University of Arizona. Author of The Essential Mexico (Oxford University Press).
The story of Lincoln's evolving defense of Mexico's autonomy and rights as a sovereign nation is an excellent forum for understanding related topics including the limitations of presidential power, the interpretation of the power to wage war, and the limits of the use of a pre-emptive attack on another country. This thoughtful, well-balanced presentation of primary document resources illuminates Lincoln's rising stature as a voice of protest against the crimes of war and the unjustifiable invasion of another republic. Like his earlier work, The Irish Soldiers of Mexico, Michael Hogan's Lincoln narrative will soon become a primary resource for scholars and teachers interested in the politics of civil war, territorial expansion, and human slavery. -- Victoria M. Breting-Garcia, Independent scholar/historian.
While Abraham Lincoln and Mexico undoubtedly privileges the U.S. context, it nevertheless adds to the vital pedagogical mission of challenging triumphalist narratives of U.S. identity with more critical renderings of the past. Building on one of his previous books, The Irish Soldiers of Mexico (1997), and based on decades of experience teaching U.S. history in Guadalajara, Hogan reiterates what Mexicans have been voicing since 1848: the war with the United States was clearly a war of northern aggression. -- Carlos R. Hernández, Department of History, Yale University.
These neglected connections between Lincoln and Mexico provide valuable insights into U.S.-Mexico relations and international history. This is an important book which is far-reaching in its contemporary implications. It should be a resource in every high school and college classroom. -- Victor Gonzalez Pérez, Facultad de Estudios Sociales, Colegio Americano, Guadalajara.
Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is a great read. As an AP teacher, I believe that books like these are worth their weight in gold. Michael Hogan has not only broken ground on undiscovered sources covering Lincoln's relationship with Mexico, but has also generously annexed the sources in their entirety. It is a godsend for history teachers who are constantly looking for new material and ways to challenge their students' analytical skills. -- Liam O'Hara, Chair, Department of History and Social Studies, American School Foundation of Guadalajara, A.C.
Dr. Hogan has done it again, finding a grand tale lost in the shadows of history. His meticulous research brings to light a period of Lincoln's life often ignored by other biographers. Although Lincoln's opposition to the Mexican 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. -- Christopher Minster, Ph.D., Founder and Editor of About.com's Latin American History site.
The research that went into Abraham Lincoln and Mexico is excellent. Dr. Hogan has backed up his thesis with solid facts. I also like the way in which he dealt with so many "minor"characters and factors in describing the complex relations between the US, Mexico, and foreign powers, instead of concentrating only on the principal actors and events. It gives a more complete and realistic picture of the whole era, although the wealth of detail might prove a little overwhelming for some general readers. I is a very important book which deserves a wide circulation. I am incomplete agreement with Michael Hogan's research methods to back up everything as far as possible with the earliest most authentic source materials and, if possible, "set the record straight." Michael Hogan has done this to perfection. -- Ronald Barnett, Ph.D. former Professor of Classics, Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara.
Abraham Lincoln and Mexico brings to light that which for too long has hidden in the shadows: the interest, integrity, and involvement of our sixteenth President in the struggles and victories of our southern neighbor, be they internal or external with the United States and France. Through the extensive use of primary documents Hogan reveals the insight and intelligence with which Lincoln and his closest associates approached Mexico. He brings to light little known roles played by actors such as Matias Romero, Charge d'Affaires of Juárez to Washington DC; Philip Sheridan, Lew Wallace, and Ulysses Grant of Civil War fame; or 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 emperor on Mexico. It is a story full of complicated motivations and characters. It is a tale well told. -- Philip Stover, former Deputy Superintendent, San Diego Unified School District, and author of Religion and Revolution in Mexico's North.
From the Author
Lincoln's affinity for Mexico and its people continues after he becomes president, in his cabinet choices and in day-to-day executive decisions. Although engaged in a bloody Civil War, he still makes time to meet with twenty-four-year-old Matías Romero, the Mexican consul, to assure him of his support for the Liberal government. Then, when Maximilian and the French invade and take over the country, he continues to meet with the now-uncredentialed "ambassador" to provide moral support, and ultimately, with the help of Grant and Sheridan, a path to financial and military aid. How American volunteers discharged at the end of the Civil War went to Mexico and helped defeat the French is a story little known. Lincoln's legacy in this final chapter to the end of European occupation of the Americas is a revelation which this book documents from Mexican records and Romero's diaries. Finally, Mrs.Lincoln, whom most historians either ignore or consider a liability to the administration, comes across much better in her dealings with the representatives of foreign governments.
My previous work, The Irish Soldiers of Mexico, was a critical and popular success. The captivating narrative style makes this a compelling read as well, one which is bound to be sought after by students of Latin American history. It is also a valuable contribution to the field of Lincoln studies, showing his largely-ignored influence in foreign affairs. (316 pages, maps, photos, bibliography, appendix of critical documents, and diplomatic letters.)