Date of Graduation

Fall 2010


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

Eric Nelson


French intervention, Mexico, Maximilian von Habsburg, Mestizo, stereotype, nationalism

Subject Categories



This thesis examines the central question of "How did French Intervention in the latter half of the nineteenth century help shape Mexican national identity and the political culture of later generations?” This thesis begins to suggest an answer to this central question by examining the French and European preconceptions of Mexico and Mexicans and their acquired experience in understanding the racial, social and cultural realities of later 19th century Mexican society. In their search for what it was to be Mexican in order to understand the "other” they came to rule, the French Interventionists, and Maximilian's court in general, came to see the large mass of Mestizos (those of mixed Spanish and Indigenous origin) as the basis for their understanding of what it was to be a Mexican. As this thesis argues, by identifying this sector of Mexican society as quintessentially "Mexican,” they would help to create the modern myth of a thoroughly Mestizo Mexico, thus disenfranchising the large mass of Indians from political participation, and relegating the African and "white” European populations to serve as "token” minorities, though they may have been, together with the Indigenous population, the larger majority of the nation's population.


© Argelia S. Segovia-Liga

Campus Only