United States Response and Involvement with Mexico during the Revolution
The United States was involved politically and socially with the Mexican revolution from 1910-1920. The US. had attitudes and interests among the Mexican population. The attitudes stem mostly from common American people including religious groups and womens groups. These organizations were socially involved with Mexico during the revolution because of the harsh times that many Mexican people faced economically and socially. The Mexican people were devastated by the revolution and had no work, adequate food and sheltering. The attitude of American organizations like the religious and womans groups, was that they could not just let the Mexican people suffer, they had to help them. Numerous groups like the Red Cross were able to help the Mexican people out during the revolution. The interests among the US citizens in Mexico during the revolution on the other hand were mostly representative of the US politicians. The economic interest in Mexico during 1910-1920 had decided US policy toward Mexico and thus the US response and involvement with Mexico during this time.
The US economic interest in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution assured revolutionary nationalism and also xenophobia which had determined that the US economic policies towards Mexico would be, unsympathetic, hostile, and even interventionist. The economic interest in Mexico was so great that many Americans were investing in Mexico through capital investments, indirect and direct investments. These investments included government bonds and real estate investments. The biggest economic investment that the US made with Mexico during the revolution was the exportation of oil.
Many of the attitudes of the American religious and womans group, as well as the economic interest of the politicians, correlated into military response and at the time, President Woodrow Wilsons response and involvement in the Mexican revolution.
US Military Involvement
Decisions made prior to the breakout of the Mexican revolution and during the beginning of the war, proposed that the United States would only aid civil authorities in enforcing the neutrality laws. The secretary of war Jacob Dickinson, authorized American Military commanders to only warn the Mexican militarys about the actions that would be taken if American lives and property were ever threaten. Mexican Military commanders were warned that only if the military endangered the lives and property of North Americans, then the US military would intervene. Otherwise the US had no intention to further disrupt the relations in Mexico.
As the situation in Mexico deteriorated along with the viability of the Diaz administration, US president Taft took action which was an early departure from his non-intervention policy. President Taft in march 1911, ordered the creation of the so-called, "Maneuver Division." This was a division of American men designed to provide field training and assume the official role of enforcing neutrality laws. The division was centered in San Antonio, Texas and became quickly known as a division that would essentially be used to intervene with Mexico. President Taft hoped that the military division would be available if there was substantial deterioration in the Diaz regime that might pose threat to American lives and property. Non-intervention and military action remained challenged until President Taft was out of office and the newly elected President Wilson was in. Then the non-intervention plan seemed to go the other way.
President Wilson and Mexican Politics
President Wilson and his policy towards Mexico has received bad press from Americans and Mexicans. Wilson's policy has been seen as narrow-minded, patronizing and hypocritical. Despite being committed to representative government and self-determination, Wilson was said to have, carried out more armed interventions then any of his predecessors. While interventions by other administrators were carried out because of realpolitik or profit, Wilson's motive to intervene was of peer desire. Wilson tried to get constitutionals, including the once Mexican leader Carranza, into power. When Wilson succeeded at this he then attempted to control the party. Wilson felt Mexico, (according to the "Wilsonism critique"), was meant to be educated along liberal, constitutional, and North American lines. Wilson himself declared to be the self appointed tutor of Mexico.
Wilsons policies and their premises were false. The policies involved a fundamental misreading of Mexican reality, and therefore were bound to fail in practice. Wilson's initial intervention in Mexico was not wrong but his reasons for the intervention were wrong. Wilsons Policy included dreams of constitutional government in Mexico. Wilson also envisioned what many of his predecessors wanted; to restore order, to protect American lives and property and to avert European interference. Wilson's policies combined liberal moralist with long term realpolitik for the United States. Wilsons policies for the US individual allowed for short term morality with long term self interest. Wilson's policy addressed the need for representative government in Mexico because it was conducive to political stability and capitalist development. This was especially true in Mexican societies struggling to get rid of old, corrupt, dictatorial regimes. Wilson's policy tried to convince Mexican dictators of short term stability and profit. Wilson's policies were aimed at an idea of a orderly and righteous government but also his policies addressed Mexicos social strivings as well. All of Wilsons policys would fail because they all compromised sincerely held Mexican values. Wilson's "good neighbor" policy had failed.