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The Franco-Mexican Alliance was created followed Mexican President Benito Juárez's suspension of interest payments to foreign countries on 17 July 1861, which angered Mexico's major creditors: Spain, France and Britain. However, Juárez sent a delegation to Napoleon III of France to seek a solution to the Mexico's financial problems. On October 20, 1861, the France asked Ferdinand Maximillian Joseph of Austria to lead a delegation to Mexico to try to resolve the problem. It was known at the time that Mexican monarchist had already approached Maximilian with the idea of restoring the Mexican monarchy
When Maximilian arrived in Mexico on April 15, 1862, he was meet with cheering crowds, many who thought he was there to restore the monarchy. Instead Maximillian meet with President Juárez and gave him his support. The two toured the Mexican capital, Mexico City, and Maximillian was shocked by the living conditions of the poor in contrast to the magnificent haciendas of the upper class. After negotiations, in which Maximilian slanted to help the Mexican people, France and Mexico came to an agreement to solve the debt problems with the further support of Britain and Spain, avoiding a war between any of these nations.President Juárez asked that Maximilian stay on as a special ambassador and chief advisor to the office of the president. Napoleon who still wanted strong influence in Latin America and Mexican silver to fund his empire agreed to his request. With support from France, Maximillian help Juárez start reforms in Mexico.
Maximillian's wife Carlota began holding parties for the wealthy Mexicans to raise money for poor houses. One of Maximillian's first recommendations was to restrict working hours and abolish child labour. The government cancelled all debts for peasants over 10 pesos, restored communal property and forbade all forms of corporal punishment. They also broke the monopoly of the Hacienda stores and decreed that henceforth peons could no longer be bought and sold for the price of their debt.
Preparing for War
President Juárez and Maximillian toured much of Mexico together and Maximillian continued to further sympathize with the Mexican people. With Civil War raging in the United States and Britain invading New England in 1863; the idea of invading the territory lost during the Mexican-American War seemed appealing and would restore the wealth of California with its gold to the Mexican people.
To be continued...