Lincoln Supports Juarez as Maximilian Becomes Emperor, A Superb and Important Diplomatic Document Related to Monroe Doctrine

Presidential appointment, 12.75” x 14.25”, and framed to 19.5” x 21”, appointing "Jose Sotero Prieto" as the Consul of the Republic of Mexico at the port of San Francisco, California. Boldly signed by 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as "Abraham Lincoln" at lower right. Countersigned by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury William H. Seward at lower left in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 1864. On a single sheet of cream paper, partly printed and partly handwritten, "Abraham Lincoln / President of the United States of America" at the top. With an embossed Presidential seal at lower left. Expected paper folds and overall light toning with isolated discoloration towards the sides of the matting. Not examined outside of frame.

This Civil War-era appointment was made at an important time in the history of both the United States and Mexico, and showcases Lincoln’s continued support of Mexico and its people which was on display long before he became President. In 1847, when Lincoln was a Congressman from Illinois, he stood up in the House of Representatives accused President Polk of invading Mexican territory without provocation. This did not go down well with Polk and his supporters, as Lincoln was accused of giving aid and support to the enemy. Newspapers referred to him as “spotty Lincoln” and he risked his political career by taking this stance. Lincoln would be defeated for the Senate race a few years later.

In 1863, as Lincoln’s focus was solely on the Civil War, France invaded Mexico and imposed Archduke Maximilian on the throne. Maximilian accepted the throne on the definite promise of substantial assistance from Napoleon III. During this time, Lincoln would covertly provide assistance to the exiled republican government of Benito Juárez in secret as Lincoln was afraid that if the French found out, they might join forces with the Confederacy and defeat the Union. During this time, Lincoln was able to introduce Matias Romero, the Mexican ambassador to prominent bankers and investors, and was able to raise over $18 million to arm and supply the Republican army in order to defeat the French.

Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State, who also signed this unique and important document wrote Minister Campbell in support of Juarez on October 25:

“You are accredited to the republican government of Mexico of which Mr. Juarez is president. Your communications as such representative will be made to him, wheresoever he may be, and in no event will you officially recognize either the Prince Maximilian who claims to be emperor, or any other person, chief or combination. It may possibly happen that the president of the Republic of Mexico may desire the good offices of the United States, or some effective proceeding on our part to favor and advance the pacification of a country so long distracted by foreign combined with civil war.”

After the assassination of Lincoln and the end of the American Civil War, President Andrew Johnson invoked the Monroe Doctrine and recognized the Juarez government as the legitimate government of Mexico. The United States applied increasing diplomatic pressure to persuade Napoleon III to end French support of Maximilian and to withdraw French troops from Mexico. In May of 1867 Querétaro fell and Maximilian was taken prisoner. Following a court-martial, he was sentenced to death, and although he respected Maximilian on a personal level, Juárez refused to commute the sentence in view of the Mexicans who had been killed fighting against Maximilian's forces, and because he believed it was necessary to send a message that Mexico would not tolerate any government imposed by foreign powers.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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