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DISTANT NEIGHBORS:  The U.S. and the Mexican Revolution

Woodrow Wilson stirs the Mexican pot

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1920) inherited the conflagration in Mexico from his predecessor William Howard Taft (1909-1913).  The two men could not have held more diametrically opposing views about the situation.  Taft supported “Dollar Diplomacy,” the imposition of representative government on Latin America and the Caribbean by force and funds.  Wilson, by contrast, believed in “self-determination of peoples,” or the right of a country to determine its destiny for itself.  Thus when President Madero and Vice President Jesús Pino Suarez were assassinated, supposedly on orders from Mexican President Victoriano Huerta, Taft was prepared to support the situation, while Wilson refused to recognize the new government headed by a leader of a coup.

Ultimately that decision would lead to the U.S. invasion of the port of Veracruz, Mexico’s biggest generator of government funds, and then to the Pershing expedition to find Pancho Villa.  In this cartoon by Luther Daniels Bradley, “Hope, Even Now” published on April 17, 1916, President Wilson is shown adding “Force” to the pot of “Mexican Policy” as a way of heating up the stew.  Of course, it did no such thing. 

Wilson seasoning the 'Mexican pot' with 'force'

Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-99155 (b&w film copy neg.)
Call Number: CD 1 - Bradley, no. 3 (B size) <P&P>
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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  October 24, 2011
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