Mexican Revolution

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Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) - An armed uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against the then President of Mexico, Porfirio Diaz. Diaz was driven from office and forced into exile in France where he died in 1915. A Constitution was written in 1917 but the revolution continued until 1920 when some measure of stability was achieved.

The revolution did produced a Mexican Constitution of 1917 but even before that had degenerated into a war among various factions. Early in the revolution various groups began to raid U.S. border towns for supplies and cash.

Ruins of Columbus 1916
Camp Furlong Truck Park 1916
1st Aero Squadron Biplanes on the Mexican Border

The United States Army deployed thousands of soldiers to the border from Texas to California and placed them in towns and temporary camps. One of the better known revolutionary groups was the "Villistas" led by Pancho Villa. On 9 Mar 1916, Villa crossed the U.S.–Mexico border and raided Columbus, New Mexico. Villa and his men destroyed the town and seized military equipment and suplies including horses and mules. The town was garrisoned by about 330 men of the 13th U.S. Cavalry at nearby Camp Furlong. The U.S. troops managed to establish machine gun positions in the town that inflicted a heavy toll on the attackers and eventually drove them off. The attack killed eighteen Americans and about eighty Villistas.

Outrage over the Columbus raid triggered a response from U.S. President Woodrow Wilson that sent a punitive expedition under the command of Major General John J. Pershing, (Cullum 3126), into Mexico after Villa. By the end of 1916 some 75,000 troops were stretched along the Border. Pershing was unable to capture or kill Pancho Villa and returned to the U.S. in February 1917. General Pershing's campaign was the first use of scout aircraft and motor vehicles in an actual tactical environment.

The U.S. entry into World War I in April 1917 shifted the U.S. Army focus on the border to a massive mobilization effort for the war overseas. Some troops remained on the border in temporary camps but most of those camps were closed by 1924.

The revolution in Mexico continued but began to draw to a close by 1920. Major armed conflicts were generally over by 1920 but major social change continued through 1940. The end date for the Mexican Revolution is generally considered to be 1920.


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