Today in History: Abraham Lincoln's Friendship with Benito Juárez

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States.

According to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, President Lincoln and Mexican President Benito Juárez established a cross border friendship during trying times for both nations. It is not known exactly when Juárez came to Lincoln's attention, but in 1861, Lincoln sent him a message expressing hope "for the liberty of .. your government and its people.” The bond between the two leaders was strengthened when Lincoln supported Juárez’s resistance efforts against France, which had invaded Mexico and captured Mexico City in 1863.

President Juárez helped President Lincoln through his commitment to refuse support to the Confederate states.

“The values of freedom and democracy, which Lincoln so eloquently articulated, are immutable – and universal,” said Eileen Mackevich, ALBF executive director said in a press release. “Juárez valiantly fought for the same values in Mexico at the same time Lincoln was fighting for them in the United States. That’s a large part of why these two men are linked in popular memory."

There are several statues of Lincoln in Latin America, including:  in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico dedicated in 1966; and a statue in Tijuana, Mexico showing Lincoln destroying the chains of slavery.  There is also a bust of Lincoln located in Havana Cuba.

Statues of President Juárez can be seen throughout the United States including New York City and Chicago.

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