Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Mexico - the land of toreadors and tortillas - has had a dramatic history tilled with bitter conflicts and colorful personalities. One of the moving episodes in the life of this nation was the period of foreign inter­vention which threatened the very national existence of the Mexican nation from 1861 until 1867. The story, how­ ever, has its background a decade or so before the cur­tain rose on the drama of European imperialism. It began with a social revolution which is known in Mexican history as the Reforma. Speaking of this revolution, Parkes states that, "The primary purpose of the Reform, like that of the French Revolution, was the destruction of feudalism. Its intellectual inspiration came from the philosophers of French liberalism, while its driving-force was the ambition of the mestizos." This is significant to s study of the intervention because in reality the struggle which took place was as much an internal conflict as it was foreign. The liberal element was forced to turn its at­tention to foreign forces who held practically the same political views as the conservatives in Mexico. Hence the coming of European powers did not change the nature of the struggle, but rather increased the magnitude of the enemies of the republic. The Mexican historian, Bravo Ugarte, sees tour periods in what is called the War of the Reforma, the fourth being the indefinite pro­longation of the struggle because of foreign intervention at a time when the liberals were being victorious.