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Cinco de Mayo: What would Benito Juarez do?Interactive Culture Lesson ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Cinco de Mayo To learn about Cinco de Mayo, read the information on each slide and decide what you would do if you were Benito Juarez, President of Mexico. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
What Would Benito Juarez Do?It’s 1861 and you are Benito Juarez, the new President of Mexico. Over the past years, your country has borrowed a lot of money from Spain, Britain, and France. They are asking for their money back. What do you do? Pay Spain, Britain, and France the money they are owed. Don’t pay them back, you’re broke. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Pay Them Back Unfortunately, the country of Mexico has very little money. Paying these debts means that too many people within the country would suffer. You just can’t afford to pay them. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Don’t Pay Them Back You decide to not pay back the money you owe to Spain, Britain, and France. As a result, all 3 countries send naval forces to the port of Veracruz to demand their repayment. What do you do? Try to cut a deal with them. Continue to refuse payment. Pay them back. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Try to Cut a Deal with ThemSpain and Britain agree to your deal and withdraw their naval forces. France, however, refuses to leave and commands their troops to begin marching the 600 miles from Veracruz to the capital of Mexico City. What do you do? Wait until the troops arrive in Mexico City try to defeat them there. Send troops to some of the towns along the way and hope to head them off before they get to Mexico City. Give up. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Continue to Refuse PaymentRefusing to pay them at this point could cause Spain, Britain, and France to invade. You would never stand a chance against all three countries. You better try to cut a deal with them. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Wait Until They Get to Mexico CityWaiting until the French arrive in Mexico City would be a bad idea. If they gain control of the Capital, they will soon have control of the whole country. You better send some troops to some of the cities they will pass along the way. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Send Troops to Cities Along the WayYou call on General Ignacio Zaragoza and he is able to get together about 4,500 men to await the French in the city of Puebla. Despite having less men and less sophisticated weapons, you are able to defeat the French in the Battle of Puebla. What do you do? Consider the war won and relax. Keep fighting until the French leave your country. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Give Up Shame on you! You should never give up! How did you get elected President anyway? You can’t let the people down. You better try and stop the French by sending some troops to cities they will pass before getting to Mexico City. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Consider the War Won and RelaxDon’t relax yet! You’re not getting rid of Napoleon III and the French THAT easily. You’re going to have to keep fighting. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Keep Fighting You continue to fight, but you lose many battles. In 1864, the French invite an Austrian nobleman, Maximilian, and his wife Carlota to rule Mexico. They are crowned emperor and empress of Mexico. What do you do now? Allow Maximilian & Carlota to form a monarchy Ask for help from Andrew Johnson, President of the United States ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Allow Maximilian & Carlota to form a monarchyAlthough many Mexican conservatives believe that a monarchy would be just what was needed to stabilize the country, it would no longer be YOUR country. You are going to have to find a way to defeat the French, but you are going to need some help. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Ask for help from the united statesYou decide to ask the United States for help, after all, they don’t really want the French in Mexico or they could be next! When the American Civil War ends in 1865, you get the help you need. The French are defeated and Maximilian is captured in Now, what do you do with him? Kill him! Make him Vice-President Send him back to France! ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Kill him! Maximilian was executed and his last words were reportedly “Poor Carlota!”. Carlota had returned to France years earlier, suffered a nervous breakdown, and never returned to Mexico. Now that that mess is over, what will you do? Celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate Mexican Independence Day! ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Make him vice presidentMaking Maximilian Vice President would not send a strong enough message to Napoleon III of France. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Send him back to france The French basically abandoned Maximilian, pulling out all of their troops and leaving him to fend for himself. If they wanted him back, they would have taken him with them. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Celebrate Mexican Independence dayMexican Independence is certainly something to be celebrated, but not on this day. Mexican Independence Day is a completely different (and much more celebrated) holiday and not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th each year. It celebrates Mexico’s Independence from Spain, not France. Mexico officially gained it’s independence from Spain in 1821, 40 years before their conflict with the French. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Why is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?Today, Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a reminder of how they rose against the odds to beat the French in the Battle of Puebla. It has also become a general celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Cinco de Mayo is NOT a celebration of the country’s independence, which was declared more than 40 years before the Battle of Puebla even took place. ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
How is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with parades, mariachi music performances, Mexican folk dancing, parties, and street festivals. Some towns in Mexico even have live reenactments of the Battle of Puebla. Watch the Parade Here! Watch a Reenactment of the Battle of Puebla Here! Watch a clip from Jimmy Kimmel that proves you are now smarter than these people! ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
Final Thoughts Cinco de Mayo is only considered a minor holiday in Mexico itself, but in the United States, the holiday is gaining a following. Mexican Americans see it as an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and many people are jumping on the bandwagon. How will you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? ©H. Lamovsky, 2014
El Cinco de Mayo.
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