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signal for the outbreak of anarchical movements, which are still (January 1917) disastrously active. His own resignation was due to the rebellion of a faction, headed by Francisco Madero, hostile to the President's prolonged usurpation of power. Five months after Diaz's retirement to Europe -in October 1911-Madero was elected constitutional President of the Mexican Republic. Revolts against his rule followed immediately; at least one of them, led by General Zapata, being generally supposed to depend on American interests (private interests, it heed hardly be added) for financial support. Madero, however, could count on the loyalty of the bulk of the Federal Army, and he maintained for a time a precarious tenure of power.
The interest of the United States in affairs in Mexico was direct and intimate. Apart from the danger of incursions across the Texas frontier, which was at this time slight, there were heavy investments both of European and American capital in Mexican coalfields and oil wells, and large foreign holdings of railway shares and Government bonds. The United States was trustee for the property both of her own and of foreign investors, for she could only discountenance European intervention, as a breach of the Monroe Doctrine, if she was prepared to give the same guarantee for the protection of British or French or German interests in Mexico as the respective Governments would have secured by diplomatic or military action. President Roosevelt had fully recognized that principle when
he went debt-collecting on behalf of foreign investors in San Domingo, and none of his successors could logically repudiate it.
None the less President Taft, who was in office during the earlier phases of the Mexican conflict, exerted every possible effort to avoid American intervention. He knew how much easier it would be to get into a war with Mexico, or with a Mexican faction, than to get out again, and there were cogent reasons against the assumption by the United States of anything like permanent responsibility for the internal government of the Latin republic. An extension of American influence south of the Rio Grande would have been received with suspicion and resentment in Mexico itself and in most of the South American States, and with undisguised disapproval in some European capitals. Fortunately for Mr. Taft, the problem had not in his time entered its acute phase. Madero was still in power as a constitutionally elected President, and though over a large part of the country his authority was openly flouted, America was able to avoid active intervention. In March 1912 the President had forbidden the exportation of arms to Mexico, but he felt able to return a reassuring answer to Madero's intimation that the first crossing of the border by an American trooper would mean war. And though American lives, as well as American property, were lost in Mexico in the course of the summer, President Taft maintained his attitude of neutrality without arousing serious criticism at home.
But the Republican administration left a disquieting legacy to its successor ; and the responsibility resting on Mr. Wilson when he assumed office, in March 1913, was greatly augmented by the fact that barely a fortnight earlier President Madero had been deposed and murdered, in favour of a rebel leader named Victoriano Huerta, who immediately proclaimed himself President.
From this point onward conflicting interpretations and estimates have been put on every article in the President's Mexican policy by rival schools of opinion in America. Each can make a respectable case for its contentions. But if that policy is to be understood at all, it is necessary to take into account at the outset certain of the factors by which the President's action was determined. In the first place, he is temperamentally a pacifist, standing somewhere-precisely where is immaterial-between the idealism of Mr. Bryan and the minatory self-restraint of Mr. Roosevelt. In the second, he was firmly resolved that no recognition should be extended to Huerta. In his eyes the soi-disant President was an assassin and a usurper. On Huerta's responsibility for the murder of Madero there was some conflict of opinion and no conclusive evidence, but the President must be assumed to have been in possession of information sufficiently definite to justify his decision.
But it is clear that the dominant idea in Mr. Wilson's mind from the first was the conviction that the remotest suspicion of American aggression in Mexico must be discouraged if the republics of Central and Southern America were to be satisfied as to the disinterestedness of any movement initiated by Washington for a closer association between them and the United States. The range of the President's views on a PanAmerican alliance is more fully indicated in another chapter. The ultimate judgment on them may be favourable or adverse, but it will at least be conceded that they fall under the head of true statesmanship, not of personal idiosyncrasy or visionary idealism. Whether it was necessary or wise to adjust Mexican policy to the requirements of the larger Pan-American purpose is a debatable question. But to realize that such an adjustment was in fact being attempted is to start with an adequate compréhension of the President's governing motive.
Whatever the principles on which he based his action, an administrator in President Wilson's position was almost inevitably fated to hold to them too rigidly or deviate from them too lightly. The task of picking the one path of perfect wisdom among the treacherous and shifting quicksands of Mexican rivalry and intrigue was beyond normal human capacity. It will be the business of the dispassionate historian of a later day to determine whether Mr. Wilson's mistakes were less or greater than any statesman of ability might be pardoned for committing in a like situation. The Mexican problem is still in process of solution, and no final judgment can as yet be passed on the quality or the effect of American diplomacy in that sphere.
1 P. 138, seq.
If Mr. Wilson was determined to discountenance Huerta, he had no lack of alternative choices at his command. Felix Diaz, nephew of the former President, and Generals Carranza, Zapata, and Villa, were all in the field, any one of them ready to usurp the supreme power if fortune should sufficiently establish his position. In point of fact, however, the President had no desire to support a particular Mexican claimant as such. He was resolved that Huerta must go, but apart from that stipulation his hope was that the Mexican people would settle their own affairs by holding a constitutional election and choosing a President who would command general support. Meanwhile a waiting policy was to be observed, Huerta being refused American arms and American loans. This policy met, at any rate at first, with general approval in the United States, though American citizens in Mexico pressed for Huerta's recognition on the ground that he alone was capable of reducing the country to order. These representations would have been better received if the average American had not shared the President's disinclination to interfere in the internal affairs of another sovereign State in the interests of exploiters and concessionaires. It has largely escaped notice in that connection that President Wilson has tacitly enunciated the doctrine that nationals of one State operating in another State for their own benefit do so at their own risk-a striking departure from estab