The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
THE HAYES ADMINISTRATION AND MEXICO'
WILLIAM RAY LEWIS
On March 4, 1877, Hayes succeeded Grant as President of the
United States, elected by a slight and uncertain majority. His
inauguration at Washington occurred just thirty days after Por-
firio Diaz had assumed charge in Mexico City by right of success-
ful revolution against Lerdo, and ascendency over Iglesias, a coun-
ter aspirant. The two or three years ensuing were years of great
upheaval and unrest in the border states of Mexico, pending the
firm establishment of Diaz. They were years also of a peculiar
weakness and indecision at Washington, due to the bitterly con-
tested election and numerous factional intrigues. Consequently,
the documents of this period tell of a most turbulent state of
affairs between the two countries, and a season of border troubles
similar to that more recent "reign of terror" along the Rio Grande,
during the first term of Woodrow Wilson.
The Situation in 1877
President Hayes, in his first annual message, referred to "dis-
turbances along the Rio Grande," and to "lawless incursions into,
our territory by armed bands from the Mexican side of the line
for the purpose of robbery," stating that such had been of fre-
quent occurrence and that in spite of the most vigilant efforts of
our commanding forces, the marauders had generally succeeded in
escaping into Mexico with their plunder. At this time John W.
Foster, then Minister to Mexico, wrote a letter to the state depart-
ment in Washington, in which he told of "a series of raids into
Texas from Mexico, resulting in murders, arson, plundering of
Government Post Offices and Custom Houses, robberies and other
'This paper was prepared in the Seminar of Professor Thomas Maitland
Marshall, at the University of Colorado.
'Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses
of Congress at the Commencement of the second Session of the forty-fifth
Congress with the Reports of the Heads of Departments and Selections
from accompanying Documents, 1877-1878, pp. 16-17. Hereinafter cited'
as Mess. & Does.
$Foster to Evarts, April 24, 1877, H. Ex. Does., For. Rel., 45 Cong. 27
Sess., I, 402.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 24, July 1920 - April, 1921. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101078/. Accessed March 31, 2015.