Maximillian I

major bill

Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Messages
14,637
#1
Did the various royals of Europe recognize Maximilian I as a real emperor? In the royal pecking order, do not emperors out rank kings and queens? Would not King of Mexico been a more honest title?
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
7,627
Location
Central Massachusetts
#2
Maximilian's recognition by European royalty has nothing to do with Mexico per se,, but everything to do with his Hapsburg ancestry. Monarchy is not national, it is purely genealogical. That's why so many thrones have been occupied by monarchs with no connection at all with the people they rule.

Mexico, btw, first became an "Empire" back in 1821, when Spanish born caudillo (military leader) Agustín de Iturbide, proclaimed himself Emperor Agustín I. The people weren't interested, and he was overthrown in 1823. In 1864, Archduke Maximilian proclaimed the Second Mexican Empire (or, rather, conservative Mexican politicians and bishops proclaimed it, and invited Max to take the throne). Childless, he adopted Iturbide's two grandsons in order to, so he thought, secure the support of the Mexican people (who still weren't interested). Maximilian probably would have been satisfied as "King of Mexico," but the "Empire" idea was already there, so...
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
818
Location
Coffeeville, TX
#3
I'm not sure Kingdom would have been more honest from a European point-of-view. Mexico is larger than most European kingdoms, and its size was certainly comparable to that of the Austrian Empire Maximillian had come from. Plus as it has already been stated Mexico had been an Empire in the past, though considerably larger.

As for recognition, I'm not sure who all recognized the 2nd Mexican Empire with Maximillian on it's throne. But I think I may have an idea who all probably would have.

2nd French Empire- It was Napoleon III's idea...

Austrian Empire- Maximillian's brother and Emperor till his death in WW1 Franz Josef cautiously gave his blessing and allowed the formation of the Austrian Volunteer Corps as Maximillian's body guards.

Kingdom of Belgium- Maximillian's wife, Charlotte or Carlota, was of the royal household and the Belgian Legion for her and Maximillian's protection. French Marshal Bazaine was accused of being responsible for the Belgian Legion being massacred Tacambaro by Carlota.

German Confederation- As Austria was the head of the Confederation, and usually demanded subservience from it to her actions, I would imagine it's a safe bet all the nations of it recognized Maximillian, including the vaunted Kingdom of Prussia which would put an end to Austria's dominance and the Confederation in 1866

Outside of them I'm not certain who recognized him and the Empire. As for Britain and Spain who had initiated the Mexican intervention with France they had pulled out after it became clear Napoleon III had his own agenda outside of forcing Mexico to honor its debt and had pulled out of Vera Cruz before yellow fever struck hard and made a deal with Juarez on repayment of Mexico's debt. So I'm not completely sure if they recognized Maximillian or not as they still had dealings with the Republic.

To be honest I'm not sure the C.S.A. recognized him, I know it was offered on conditions like Confederate recognition, but I don't know if it was ever done.

That conflict in Mexico is truly a sad one, Maximillian had good intentions and wanted to do right by Mexico. It was said he was too liberal for the conservatives, and too conservative for the liberals. Juarez and their so-called Republican forces were actually more guilty of atrocity than Maximillian, who infuriated Bazaine and the French on a daily basis for his pardoning of convicted Juaristas awaiting a firing squad, which shortly after they were pardoned by Maximillian they went right back to being Juaristas. It's worth noting that during their last stand during the Siege of Quaretaro there are accounts of Maximillian going to enlisted men asking them for a light or what not just to talk to them, and he would give them money for after it was all over, something unheard of for well bred royal types in the 19th Century. The naïve would be Emperor even gave the firing squad who killed him gold pesos telling them he forgave them and wanted them to live on, and only aske they shoot for his heart so his "mother could look upon his face" with the screwy part of being the firing squad then made a point to shoot him in the face! Yep the tale of the 2nd Mexican Empire is a tragic if screwed up one, one where the conservative monarch was more republican than the supposed freedom fighters who fit the bill of despots far more than the man who was claimed to be a despotic puppet.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
807
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
#4
I'm not sure Kingdom would have been more honest from a European point-of-view. Mexico is larger than most European kingdoms, and its size was certainly comparable to that of the Austrian Empire Maximillian had come from. Plus as it has already been stated Mexico had been an Empire in the past, though considerably larger.

As for recognition, I'm not sure who all recognized the 2nd Mexican Empire with Maximillian on it's throne. But I think I may have an idea who all probably would have.

2nd French Empire- It was Napoleon III's idea...

Austrian Empire- Maximillian's brother and Emperor till his death in WW1 Franz Josef cautiously gave his blessing and allowed the formation of the Austrian Volunteer Corps as Maximillian's body guards.

Kingdom of Belgium- Maximillian's wife, Charlotte or Carlota, was of the royal household and the Belgian Legion for her and Maximillian's protection. French Marshal Bazaine was accused of being responsible for the Belgian Legion being massacred Tacambaro by Carlota.

German Confederation- As Austria was the head of the Confederation, and usually demanded subservience from it to her actions, I would imagine it's a safe bet all the nations of it recognized Maximillian, including the vaunted Kingdom of Prussia which would put an end to Austria's dominance and the Confederation in 1866

Outside of them I'm not certain who recognized him and the Empire. As for Britain and Spain who had initiated the Mexican intervention with France they had pulled out after it became clear Napoleon III had his own agenda outside of forcing Mexico to honor its debt and had pulled out of Vera Cruz before yellow fever struck hard and made a deal with Juarez on repayment of Mexico's debt. So I'm not completely sure if they recognized Maximillian or not as they still had dealings with the Republic.

To be honest I'm not sure the C.S.A. recognized him, I know it was offered on conditions like Confederate recognition, but I don't know if it was ever done.

That conflict in Mexico is truly a sad one, Maximillian had good intentions and wanted to do right by Mexico. It was said he was too liberal for the conservatives, and too conservative for the liberals. Juarez and their so-called Republican forces were actually more guilty of atrocity than Maximillian, who infuriated Bazaine and the French on a daily basis for his pardoning of convicted Juaristas awaiting a firing squad, which shortly after they were pardoned by Maximillian they went right back to being Juaristas. It's worth noting that during their last stand during the Siege of Quaretaro there are accounts of Maximillian going to enlisted men asking them for a light or what not just to talk to them, and he would give them money for after it was all over, something unheard of for well bred royal types in the 19th Century. The naïve would be Emperor even gave the firing squad who killed him gold pesos telling them he forgave them and wanted them to live on, and only aske they shoot for his heart so his "mother could look upon his face" with the screwy part of being the firing squad then made a point to shoot him in the face! Yep the tale of the 2nd Mexican Empire is a tragic if screwed up one, one where the conservative monarch was more republican than the supposed freedom fighters who fit the bill of despots far more than the man who was claimed to be a despotic puppet.
If I could narrow this synopsis down to one line, "That conflict in Mexico is truly a sad one, Maximillian had good intentions and wanted to do right by Mexico." (Last paragraph above).
We had gone to war with Mexico, I suppose during a vacuum of leadership by foreign powers, i.e. Spain and France. We had handed the rule over to Mexico for them to rule themselves, just give us the land we claim. I know the politics of Civil War in our own country must have had a bearing on recognizing the title 'Emperor' by European alliances. The confederacy did recognize it, and sought to help later. But the United States did not think it was a legitimate claim. I do not think it was contested by us, though, nor by any other powers. It fell by its own faults, and created a vacuum again.
Lubliner.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
7,627
Location
Central Massachusetts
#5
For all his "good intentions," Maximilian by Imperial Decree re-introduced peonage in September 1865, and encouraged "foreign entrepreneurs" who might want to settle their "clients" on Mexican soil.

Chattel slavery had been abolished in Mexico decades before, but peonage, debt-slavery (whereby debtors were legally required to work off their ever-increasing debts by working their creditor's land) continued until abolished by Juarez in 1857. Maximilian's decree restoring the practice was a transparent attempt at encouraging ex-Confederate settlement schemes. The U. S. State Department protested the move to reestablish this "grinding and odious form of slavery." Of course, by the fall of 1865, the likelihood of any southern planter being able to "export" his former slaves for peonage in Mexico was very slim.

As it turned out, the former Confederate states themselves wound up adopting a form of peonage under the name of "sharecropping."
 
Joined
May 2, 2006
Messages
11,197
#6
Did the various royals of Europe recognize Maximilian I as a real emperor? In the royal pecking order, do not emperors out rank kings and queens? Would not King of Mexico been a more honest title?
The rule of Maximillian I was recognized by at least these four countries: Britain, France, Austria and Spain. Given the power and prestige of those four at the time, I'd guess many others fell in line. Britain and Spain, of course, had both contributed forces to the intervention in 1861, but withdrew after a time. Napoleon III was determined to remain and stage-managed the selection of Maximillian of Austria as the new Emperor in 1864.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
818
Location
Coffeeville, TX
#9
For all his "good intentions," Maximilian by Imperial Decree re-introduced peonage in September 1865, and encouraged "foreign entrepreneurs" who might want to settle their "clients" on Mexican soil.
Yes he officially brought it back, but unofficially it had never stopped. It may have been officially illegal, but if there is one certainty in Mexico in those days its that they tended to be ruled by nothing but dictators, regardless of political party with laws routinely ignored at will. Heck peonage was happening under different names when the Revolution of 1910 commenced. Plus one must remember he was a foreigner, given a crown by the conservatives of Mexico, who wanted those kind of things. He had to throw them a carrot, and it was probably represented to him as a good thing.

As for "foreign entrepreneurs" it may not have gone as planned, but Maximillian was trying to encourage investment in Mexico, a country long deemed to unstable to invest in, and was deeply in debt, a debt that had resulted in the Intervention to begin with. So really its hard to fault him for that. Look at it this way, the "2nd Mexican Empire" was a new country, that had just been formed, inherited the debt from the previous Republic that had been a dictator ridden wreck for decades and accumulated a very substantial debt, and on top of that the interest of it increased, and his government was bound by the Treaty of Miramar to pay for the French Army to police the country, while his government was busy building their own military from scratch. Encouraging foreign investment in Mexico wasn't a bad thing when looking at it from his throne.

But look at some of his other agendas:
Abolishing Child Labor (a practice that returned after his execution and I personally wouldn't be surprised if it still existed in Mexico)
Establishing a democratically elected congress
Limited working hours
Abolishing the land tenancy of Indians (something that also returned after his execution and Juarez was an Indian, speaks for his character to me)

At the end of the day, I feel Maximillian has been judged a little too harshly, now whole his "Black Decree" may seem unforgivable it really wasn't his idea so much as it was Marshal Bazaine's who had been demanding he issue it for some time, and finally forced him too, which it was rescinded when the French left. But while unforgivable when looking from afar, when you look at the realities of the war up close, it was simply fighting fire with fire. Just look at the fight for control of the Mexican side of Rio Grande and the realities of a very nasty war with no quarter being the rule of the day, that action by Maximillian can be forgiven to some extent.

Maximillian was far from perfect, mostly naïve to my eyes, but he was miles above the corrupt alternatives. Literally the only example in history I'm more sympathetic to a monarch than to republicans, and I'm only that way because of how un-republican and thoroughly corrupt Juarez and his forces and government were.
 


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top