The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975 Page: 344
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
in Mexico although he does base his work on a novel conception: namely,
that Woodrow Wilson's executive agents played an important role in the
formulation of Mexican policy. Since Wilson distrusted the State De-
partment establishment, he preferred to utilize the service of loyal Demo-
crats who entertained many of the same reformist notions that characterized
Wilson's own New Freedom. These agents, with the exception of Reginald
Del Valle, played Guildenstern to the president's Rosencrantz, especially
given the president's proclivity to disregard any information which clashed
with his preconceived notions. Several incongruities, suggest, however, that
the agents did not play such a powerful role. Three of the most important
decisions of the period-to recall Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, to seize
the customshouse at Veracruz, and to recognize Venustiano Carranza as
Mexico's president-were made independently by the White House with-
out prior consultation with the diplomatic agents. Furthermore, by the
author's own admission, Wilson employed his least effective agent, John
Silliman, to negotiate with the most important rebel leader, Venustiano
The book, nevertheless, admirably describes the almost daily conflicts
between the various jefes of the Revolution and the American government.
Here lies the real strength of the work. Hill provides intimate details which
should be of value to any Mexicanist or diplomatist. But in attempting to
reconcile some of the principal areas of conflict between the pro-Revolu-
tionary school and the recent revisionists, Hill occasionally leaves the reader
confused. For example, after presenting a very balanced portrayal of coun-
terrevolutionist Victoriano Huerta, the author then accepts at face value
the constitutionalists' claims that Huerta had no chance to dominate the
nation only a few weeks after seizing power. To the contrary, in March,
1913, the insurgents controlled only portions of four unimportant states and
their titular leader, Governor Carranza, had been forced to flee his capital.
A few months later, Huerta certainly controlled more than one-third of the
country, yet the author again chooses to accept the constitutionalists' esti-
mate of their own strength.
Hill shows considerably more expertise when he discusses Pancho Villa
although occasionally some misconceptions permeate his account. Villa's
charge that Emilio Zapata had permitted too many ex-federalists to enlist
in his army seems absurd if one realizes that some of Villa's closest advisors,
particularly Felipe Angeles, were former members of the Porfirian military.
More importantly, not all constitutionalists supported twentieth-century
liberalism; the faction entertained many diverse opinions on the need for
social reform. Some, indeed, believed in the new liberalism, but others,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975, periodical, 1974/1975; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/m1/392/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.