How Cinco de Mayo Helped Prevent a Confederate Victory in the Civil War

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    • #312017
      Ohio Barbarian
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      This if from the History Channel, and it’s a good observation. It’s also a good reason to join our Mexican brothers and sisters in celebrating this day.

      Napoleon(Emperor Napoleon III of France, Napoleon I’s nephew) figured if he could get his hands on Mexico, it could become the first colony in a new French stronghold in North America. Abraham Lincoln was busy fighting the Civil War, so the Americans wouldn’t stand in Napoleon’s way. Even better, with a French puppet government installed in Mexico City, Napoleon could provide guns to the Confederacy in exchange for Southern cotton, a scarce commodity in Europe thanks to Union shipping blockades.

      So in early 1862, well-trained French forces under the confident command of General Charles de Lorencez, marched from the port city of Veracruz with the aim of capturing Mexico City. But on May 5, the French took a surprise beating at Puebla at the hands of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza and a ragtag group of enlisted and volunteer troops. The French army retreated to Veracruz to lick its wounds and wouldn’t return to take Puebla until a full year later in May of 1863.

      Some contend that the year-long delay of the French invasion gave Abraham Lincoln’s generals just enough time to win decisive Union victories before Napoleon could provide upgraded artillery and munitions to the Confederacy.

      “By the time the French occupy Mexico City in June of 1863, the battle of Vicksburg was already underway,” says Eric Rojo, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and commander-in-chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, an organization composed of descendants of Union officers in the Civil War. Rojo points out that the Battle of Gettysburg was about to begin and that Union victories were “signaling the beginning of the end” for the Confederacy. “Even if French were able to set their supply lines by mid-1863, it would have made very little difference in the outcome of the Civil War.

      Full article here.

      The article goes on to show how the Mexican victory energized Mexican-Americans in the southwestern United States, particularly in California, Arizona, and New Mexico, to support the Union cause in the American Civil War. After all, their mother country was being invaded by a potential ally of the Confederacy, which they had no reason to support in the first place.

      Lincoln returned the favor by supplying the Mexicans with weapons and ammunition after the Confederacy surrendered to the Union in 1865, and made it clear to the French that if they sent in more troops to Mexico, then he would send in Sherman and Sheridan and the veteran United States Army. The last thing Lincoln wanted was a safe haven for Confederate diehards, nor did he want a European imperial power on his southern border.

      Napoleon III wanted to push matters, but the threat of a war with the United States, which now had a Navy second only to the British Royal Navy, could have wreaked havoc on French shipping around the world, not to mention successfully blockading the French in Mexico. He backed down.

      French forces were evacuated pretty quickly, and the puppet government the French had installed, with support from wealthy Mexican elites, was overthrown within two years.

      Remember Puebla. It was a good day.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #312026
      elias39
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      • #312029
        Ohio Barbarian
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        @elias39 Perhaps the most depressing thing I ever heard was when I asked some Latinos in Denver, who were really big into Cinco de Mayo–draping Mexican flags over their hoods and parading down Federal Blvd. and stuff–whom the Mexicans defeated on Cinco de Mayo and they answered, “The United States.”

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #312050
      Red Cloud
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      It gave rise to French occupation forces.

      • #312063
        Ohio Barbarian
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        @redcloud It also definitely did not “give rise” to the French occupation of Mexico. It was resistance, and not even futile resistance, to that same occupation. Their biggest holidays are Mexican Independence Day on September 16 and the Day of the Dead around Halloween, but Mexicans, like most reasonable people, aren’t going to turn down an excuse to party.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

        • #312076
          Red Cloud
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          @ohiobarbarian . I got that my friend. It is just in the US this is some sort of drinking festival and wrongly called Independence Day for Mexico.

          Also in South America Spain refused to surrender on July 4th, and instead it became the next day in Gran Colombia. July 5th is the Independence Day for Venezuela, but the sparring factions which became Colombia and Ecuador, just to be “Richard” heads switched the dates.

          On another footnote when I was in Costa Rica, I heard some patriot talking about their war for Independence from Spain!!! What war??? Mexico forced Spain to give liberty to Central America.

          • #312079
            Ohio Barbarian
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            @redcloud You’re absolutely right about Central America. Some Mexican named Iturbide(is that right?) crowned himself Emperor of Mexico and incorporated all of Central America into the Mexican Empire for a couple of years. It didn’t take much to get the Mexicans to leave when Central Americans got tired of them, but I don’t recall the details.

            But you’re right, Mexico expelled the Spanish from Costa Rica, not the Costa Ricans themselves. Their claim to fame is not having an army and being the most stable, and democratic, country in all of Latin America. IMO that’s plenty to be proud of right there.

            It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

            If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #312071
      Fasttense
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      Our country’s history was tied up with France’s history, considering their assistance in the revolutionary war.

      • #312080
        Ohio Barbarian
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        @fasttense Mexico has a love-hate relationship with the United States. On the one hand, we just flat-out conquered a third of their claimed territory in the Mexican-American War and have invaded parts of their country several times. OTOH, we’ve helped them maintain their independence at times and our economies and cultures have long been intertwined.

        It’s complicated. So is Mexico. Most Americans are so ignorant of the place they’re unaware of it.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #312087
      ElfinWilde
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      You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here.

    • #312288
      PolecatHollerer
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      Thanks for posting this, @ohiobarbarian.

      If you give a man enough rope, it will be six inches too short. This is not the nature of rope- it is the nature of man.

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