Maximilian believed he could
accomplish great things on behalf of the Mexican people. To
this end, he instituted a series of social programs and appointed
a liberal ministry ironically similar to Juárez's.
He remained loyal to the citizens of his adopted country until
his death, uttering these last words: "I pray that my blood,
which is about to be shed, will be shed for the good of this
country. Long live Mexico! Long live independence!" This image
of Maximilian wearing a hat reappears in Manet's compositions.
In the oil
sketch and the last
painting, the hat is tilted back, resembling a halo.