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President Wilson Withdraws from Mexico

Poncho Villa on horseback

In 1916, Poncho Villa made a night raid Columbus New Mexico to punish those he thought had sold him faulty ammunition. It was an election year and President Wilson's cabinet pressed Wilson to decisively punish Villa. A feeble response, advisors claimed, would hand the Republicans abundant ammunition and would result in Wilson losing the election. Wilson sent an army of 12,000 men on horseback, led by General Pershing, into Mexico after Villa. Pershing failed to find Villa. To keep the Pershing Expedition from arousing the passions of his fellow countrymen, Mexico's President Carranza pressured newspapers to cease publishing stories about it. In the United States, the press turned against the expedition, some criticizing Wilson for meddling in Mexico's affairs, and some criticizing Pershing for failing to win any battles. Several of Pershing's men were killed. If their families complained about staying in Mexico to give meaning to their loss of life, it was not heeded. In early February 1917, the Pershing expedition withdrew to the U.S. empty handed - without complaints that the withdrawal was surrender.

Narrative:The Mexican Revolution