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Cinco De Mayo Essay, Research Paper

On May 5th, 1862 La Batalla de Puebla, was fought. When the battle was over, the

untrained Mexican forces (made up of commoners) had won victory over the all-

powerful French army. Although this victory did not win was, it did show the

courage and strength of the Mexican troupes.

Mexico had gained its independence from Spain in 1821 but there were

internal power struggles that left Mexico shaky. Then in 1846. under the

dictatorship of Santa Anna, Mexico went to war with the United States. The

Mexican-American War left Mexico in a state of national crisis. The years of

fighting left Mexico devastated and bankrupt. Mexico lost a huge portion of land to

the United States, which we now call Texas.

Benito Juarez, a Zapotec Indian leader became the Minister of Justice in 1855.

He proposed two very controversial laws. One, that the church and military courts

could no longer try civilian cases and the second legalized the sale of distribution

of church land s. This caused civil unrest. In 1861 Juarez took control of the capital

and put his laws into effect causing a civil was that created a national debt.

On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a statement that all foreign

debt payments would cease for two years after which time the payments would

resume. Well, the English Spanish, and French did not agree to this and decided to

invade Mexico and extract their payments in any way they could. Eventually the

Spanish and English withdrew, but the French refused to leave. They planned to

create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III. In 1862 the French army moved in.

Shortly before the battle on May 5th Benito Juarez announced to his people:

?The government of the republic will fulfill its duty to defend its independence, to

repel foreign aggression, and accept the struggle to which it has been provoked, counting

on the unanimous spirit of the Mexicans and on the fact that sooner or later the cause of

the rights and justice will triumph.?

At the same time General Lorencz stated to the French government:

?We are so superior to the Mexicans in race, in organization, in discipline, in

morality, and in refinement of sensibilities, that as the moment, and the head of our 6,000

valiant soldiers, I am the master of Mexico.?

On May 5th the outnumbered, untrained and ill-equipped Mexican people

defeated the formidable French army. The success was unimaginable and was won

with the determination and spirit of the Mexican people. However, victory was short

lived and within a year France had successfully conquered Puebla and the rest of

Mexico. The ruled there until 1867, then Juarez was restored to power where he

ruled until his death in 1872.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the courage of the Mexican people during the

battle on May 5th. It is often confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which

occurred September 16, 1810 about 50 years later. The United Stated celebrates

Cinco de Mayo on a much larger scale than Mexico with Fiestas, parades, mariachi

music and pi?atas.


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