A new exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum will
explore the two great leaders and their roles in the U.S.-Mexico War
The exhibit opens Wednesday in conjunction with a
presentation by Amy S. Greenberg on her book "A Wicked War: Polk,
Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico." Dr. Greenberg
will sign books at 6:30 and start her presentation at 7 p.m.
Juarez, a 19th-century reform leader, sought to build a
democratic society similar to that of United States. He also led his
country through a civil war between reformers and the forces of the
status quo. He is often called "the Mexican Lincoln."
"Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez both started near the bottom
of society but had the drive and personality to reach the very top.
They also had the leadership skills to guide their nations through
extraordinary turmoil," said Eileen Mackevich, director of the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. "Both men are
fascinating, and we're thrilled that visitors to the museum will
have this chance to explore the accomplishments of two such
During the U.S.-Mexican War, freshman congressman Abraham Lincoln
denounced the military action in a series of resolutions that became
known as the Spot Resolutions. They earned him the nickname "Spotty
Lincoln" and cost him politically.
On the other side of the border, Benito Juarez was serving as
governor of Oaxaca, Mexico. He was forced into exile after the war,
when Santa Ana established himself as dictator of Mexico. Juarez
moved to New Orleans and worked alongside slaves in a tobacco
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Juarez returned to Mexico in 1855 to lead La Reforma, an
anti-cleric movement that sought to return land to poor farmers and
curb the power of wealthy conservative officials. Violence flared in
1857 with the beginning of "the Reform War," which lasted until
Juarez served as a de facto president in 1858, was formally
elected as president of Mexico in 1861 and served until his death in
1872. Despite internal political strife and invasion by European
countries, he continued to promote democracy and was determined to
reform a corrupt government. He died in office from a heart attack.
The Juarez Global Wall features battle scenes from the
U.S.-Mexican War, maps of Mexico and reproductions of letters and
political cartoons. It follows a similar exhibit on Mohandas Gandhi
as part of the museum's efforts to showcase great world leaders who
share the values of Abraham Lincoln.
Exhibit materials were drawn from the collection of the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and from institutions such as Tulane
University, the University of New Mexico Center for Southwest
Research, the Yale University Beinecke Library Special Collections,
University of Texas at Arlington and Northern Illinois University.
Two educational groups at the University of Illinois at
Springfield provided assistance: CIELO, the Culturally Integrated
Education for Latinos Organization, and OLAS, the Organization of
Latino American Students.
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]