Ensiform's Reviews > An American in Maximilian's Mexico, 1865-1866: The diaries of William Marshall Anderson

An American in Maximilian's Mexico, 1865-1866 by William Marshall Anderson
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Nov 24, 2011

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 1997

Edited by Ramón Eduardo Ruiz. This book, as it says, consists of (besides a short historical introduction) the diaries and papers of William Anderson, an adventurer and surveyor who traveled northern Mexico for emperor Maximilian.

Anderson was a Catholic and strongly in favor of Maximilian, despite the official US position of backing Juarez (and despite the emperor's quasi-liberal stance toward the Church). Unfortunately, while there's a lot of scenic, social and practical description, what I read this book for --- political commentary --- was largely missing. Intriguing stuff nonetheless.
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message 1: by Margot (new)

Margot Sheehan Marshall Anderson came from a prominent founding family of Ohio (one brother was governor, another had been the noted commander of Fort Sumter; other relatives included John Marshall and William Rogers Clark) and he did not wish to embarrass his family with his risky adventures. The DC government was still locking up suspects and waiving habeas corpus. We can be sure that Anderson carefully excised incriminating information from this thin volume. The trip to Mexico was actually an intelligence and diplomatic mission on behalf of Matthew Fontaine Maury, who conceived the colonization plan.


Ensiform Thanks for this comment and the background information! I read this for a graduate class in Mexican history; I was using it solely as information on how the U.S, viewed Maximilian. If I were reading it today I would take a more broad view of what Anderson chose to write about.


message 3: by Margot (new)

Margot Sheehan Even Wikipedia didn't have anything on him till I wrote the initial article (since expanded by others). In the 1780s his father, Richard Clough Anderson, was the original surveyor for the Virginia Military District, a large chunk of future Ohio set aside to pay off Revolutionary officers. In tracing the family's fortunes, I discovered they were related to just about everyone.


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