The Mexican Revolution of 1910 removed a dictator but soon degenerated into a civil war. Francisco Madero became president in 1911 but was overthrown by Victoriano Huerta in 1913. President Woodrow Wilson refused to recognize the new Mexican government, accusing Huerta of complicity in the murder of Madero. After several incidents, Wilson ordered U.S. Marines to occupy Vera Cruz. Shortly thereafter, Huerta was forced from office, and civil war again broke out, this time between the government of President Venustiano Carranza and populist leaders, including Francisco Pancho Villa.
What does the caption above suggest about U.S. attitudes toward Pancho Villa? Based on the caption and what you know about U.S.-Mexican relations of the period, can you predict which side the U.S. government supported in the Mexican civil war?
Examine the pages listed below. Using information from these pages and your own knowledge, outline reasons why the United States decided to send troops to Mexico. Do you think the list is comprehensive? Why or why not?
- New York Times, January 18, 1914 
- New York Times, January 25, 1914 .
- New York Times, May 7, 1916 .
- New York Times, April 2, 1916 .
- New York Times, April 23, 1916 .
With a partner, assume the roles of a U.S. citizen from a Southwestern state and a Mexican citizen from northern Mexico and debate the efficacy of using troops to enter Mexico to apprehend Villa. Consider German interests in the conflict between the United States and Villa in making your case.
The American Expeditionary Force (AEF) was unable to track down Villa and was recalled in 1917 as the United States made preparations for sending troops to Europe. Do you think the failure of the AEF to apprehend Villa signaled a problem with military preparedness? Why or why not? What evidence would you need to answer this question definitively?