Today in the Americas, the Execution of Maximilian I

death of maximilian

Today in 1867 (142 years ago) the hapless Habsburg Maximilian, “emperor” of Mexico, was executed before a firing squad in Querétaro. The folly of this entire episode is summed up in Maximilian’s “final words,” which, if scripted, could win an Academy Award:

“Mexicans! Today I die for a fair cause: the freedom and independence of Mexico. May God allow my spilling blood to put an end forever to the disgraces of my new homeland. ¡Viva México!”

In between the US war against Mexico and the burgeoning independence movement, France set up a clueless runt of European royalty to be “Emperor” of Mexico, a feat it almost succeeded at with the help of the political right – in particular the help of generals Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejía, who both were executed as well.

Thus, Benito Juarez presides over this extraordinary moment in Mexican history – for it was he who refused to commute Maximilian’s sentence despite protests – as he leads a series of reforms that attempts to reconcile the new world Mexico found itself in after the decades of war.

This moment also signaled the lengths the US was willing to go to keep Europe out of the Western Hemisphere. It placed its trust in Juarez, but it only lasted so long. Juarez’s distinction as being the first and only fully indigenous president of Mexico showed the empire and democracy would both have to wait for its turn under the northern giant.

For more, visit the great folks at Executed Today.

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~ by Daniel on June 19, 2009.

One Response to “Today in the Americas, the Execution of Maximilian I”

  1. To my opinion thiis was the first attemt and succeeded imposition of the USA in LA countries . Like the CIA in LA there after influecing pressures to political parties to their advantage by puting up dictators to be manipulated by Washington and get rid of them to their liking when no longer met their needs,Such as Trujillo,Batista,papa-doct Duvalier,Somosa,in Chile,Central America.Colombia (eccept Argentina,left over by Nazism.)
    It was not to their advantage to have a European power’s presence in the western hemisphere, because they would have to wage war with more sufustacted military might as was France under Napoleon . The proof is as soon as the French left the war with Mexico took place, to take their territory away from them, something they could not have done it with the Frech there.

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