Monarchy and the Search for Order in Mexico
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Chapter 3 analyses monarchism in Mexico and its place in French discourse towards Mexico. Latin-American independence had an important international dimension as rival nations competed for influence over the new states. Within this struggle, monarchy had strategic significance for France because it was seen, in the 1820s, as a way of countering British power and, from the 1830s onwards, as one potential means of constraining the United States. Long before Louis-Napoléon launched his intervention in 1861, the French Bourbon Restoration had wanted to place Bourbon princes on the thrones of Spain’s former colonies. Because of these European connections, there is a strong case for placing Mexican monarchism in a transnational context. Moreover, the failure of a monarchy with a Mexican as ruler (the First Mexican Empire under Iturbide ) meant that for those in Mexico who favoured the creation of a new kingdom, a European monarch was a necessity, and without European support this project could not have been realised. The endurance of the idea that monarchy was the form of government best-suited to Mexico amongst French and Mexican observers thus forms the focus of the chapter. This chapter addresses the question why French policymakers and some Mexican politicians saw an empire under a foreign prince (Maximilian and the Second Mexican Empire) as a legitimate means to save the Mexican nation.