Answers to: “Take the Test”
1. The new Mexican government could not pay its foreign debts after winning
Mexico’s “War of the Reform” in the late 1850’s. The French claimed they
were only there to collect those debts.
2. Britain sent a small group of marines, and Spain sent several shiploads of
army troops. They settled with the Mexicans and left after discovering that
France had a “hidden agenda” to take over Mexico.
3. They spent three days waiting for a “re-match!” When it didn’t happen, they
retreated to Orizaba and waited six months for reinforcements to arrive.
4. French troops did not withdraw until February of 1867 – about five years
after their arrival. The emperor they left behind – Maximilian – was captured
and executed a few months later.
5. The plan was to first take over Mexico, and then use it as a base to help the
Confederates. France’s Napoleon III wanted to block expansion of the United
6. French consuls assigned to the Confederate states of Texas and Virginia began
asking identical questions as to whether Texas ought to be returned to Mexico.
U.S. officials became aware of the Confederates’ plight, and checked with their
agents overseas. The answers came back to both Yankees and Confederates:
“Yes, that’s Napoleon III’s long-range plan.”
7. General Jo Shelby and his Missouri Confederate Cavalry were on their way to
seek work in Mexico after the Civil War ended. They happened to arrive in Austin
on the very night that some bandits had decided to raid the treasury vaults at the
Texas state capitol. Some of the bandits were shot. Others escaped empty-handed.
8. Shelby’s group had not decided for whom they would fight. It was not until after
they had crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico that they voted to back the French
and Emperor Maximilian.
9. In the Mexican Eastern Army camp at San Andrés Chalchicomula (“chal-chee-
koh-MOO’-lah,”) the soldaderas (women who accompanied the Mexican army)
were lighting their cooking fires for the evening. It was windy, and some sparks
blew into a nearby barn where 23 tons of gunpowder were stored. More than 1,000
soldiers died, along with over 500 women and food vendors.
10. After centuries under the harsh rule of Spain, the indigenous tribes had taught all
of the little boys in their villages to say that their name was “José” and the little
girls to insist that each of their names was “María.”