Skip to content


Choose a Chapter | Purchase the eBook

1 The Collision Of Cultures
2 Britain And Its Colonies
3 Colonial Ways Of Life
4 The Imperial Perspective
5 From Empire To Independence
6 The American Revolution
7 Shaping A Federal Union
8 The Federalist Era
9 The Early Republic
10 Nationalism And Sectionalism
11 The Jacksonian Impulse
12 The Dynamics Of Growth
13 An American Renaissance: Religion, Romanticism, And Reform
14 Manifest Destiny
15 The Old South
16 The Crisis Of Union
17 The War Of The Union
18 Reconstruction: North And South
19 New Frontiers: South And West
20 Big Business And Organized Labor
21 The Emergence Of Urban America
22 Gilded-age Politics And Agrarian Revolt
23 An American Empire
24 The Progressive Era
25 America And The Great War
26 The Modern Temper
27 Republican Resurgence And Decline
28 New Deal America
29 From Isolation To Global War
30 The Second World War
31 The Fair Deal And Containment
32 Through The Picture Window: Society And Culture, 19451960
33 Conflict And Deadlock: The Eisenhower Years
34 New Frontiers: Politics And Social Change In The 1960s
35 Rebellion And Reaction In The 1960s And 1970s
36 A Conservative Insurgency
37 Triumph And Tragedy: America At The Turn Of The Century

The Nation on Mexico (1914)

» Return to Document Reader
» Worksheet

The plain facts of the case are these: that the Administration has undertaken hostile operations against a man whom it has refused to recognize as de-facto President of Mexico, because he temporized about making reparation to this country for an insult to the flag in the precise form prescribed by international usage. It was not even that an apology had been refused, for it had not. Huerta had made an apology; more, he had undertaken to salute the flag in the manner demanded, the only stipulation being that the salute should be returned and that a protocol to this effect should be put into writing. That was the occasion for the undertaking of an enterprise the end of which no man can foresee, but which has already exacted its price in the lives of Americans and Mexicans. And the reason for the refusal of the protocol? Because it was not in accord with diplomatic usage? But what has diplomatic usage to do with a private individual whose official existence we do not recognize? Or because the mere signing of it might involve that recognition which we have so studiously avoided? So, we may talk to a man through our accredited diplomatic agent in Mexico, but rather than correspond with him we will go to war. It is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

These are the official reasons advanced for our action in Mexico. Nobody pretends that they are the sole reasons. If they were, our justification for the extreme measures that have been taken would appear even more miserably inadequate than it does. Huerta has pursued a policy of pinpricks exceedingly trying to the patience of the Administration, galling to the pride of any but a nation that is truly great and secure in the consciousness of its national honor. The lives and property of American citizens have been in danger in Mexico, and to protect their lives is one of the first duties of a government; but in the part of Mexico controlled by Huerta Americans have enjoyed heretofore a greater security than in those districts which are in the hands of Villa and the rebels. Yet, be it remembered, it is against Huerta, and Huerta alone, not against Villa, not against the Mexican people, Federals or rebels, that all the armed resources of the United States have been arrayed.

These, we think, are the kind of reflections that have been in the minds of many thoughtful Americans during the past week. It is because the majority of the American people realize, perhaps vaguely, the inconsistency which has marked the policy of the Administration, the inadequacy of the grounds on which war has been threatened, that there has been a notable absence of the jingoistic spirit.


[From The Nation, 98, no. 2548 (April 30, 1914): 487.]

Section Menu

Organize

Learn

Connect

Multimedia

Norton Gradebook

Instructors now have an easy way to collect students’ online quizzes with the Norton Gradebook without flooding their inboxes with e-mails.

Students can track their online quiz scores by setting up their own Student Gradebook.