Border Raids in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
BORDER RAIDS IN LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY 4
BorderRaids in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
BorderRaids in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
The border raids of the lowerRio Grande Valley was a series of attacks perpetrated by seditionistsalongthe border of Texas and Mexico. These attacks occurred between 1910and 1920s. In the period between 1910 and 1915, Mexico underwentvarious internal conflicts which ultimately contributed to the raidsin one way or another. The raids that were carrired out in Lower RioGrande Valley were influenced by the Mexican Revolution and thepolitical agenda of both Carranza and the seditionists.
Victorian Huerta wasoverthrown in 1913 by Venustiano Carranza with the help of FranciscoVilla and Emiliano Zapata. Carranza and Villa started a revolution inMexico which forced Huerta to abandon the government and go intohiding in mid-1914.After the end of Huerta`s reign, power struggles began betweenCarranza and Villa leading to lawlessness and anarchy in the areasheld by Carranza. These areas included the part of Mexico oppositethe Rio Grande Valley.The lack of proper enforcement in these areas encouraged criminalactivities such as the saleof guns (Cumberland,1954).
The lawlessness in the borderregions together with the Mexican Revolution contributed to theattacks that later plagued the Lower Rio Grande Valley area in 1915.The primarypurpose of the revolution was to fight for equality and recognition.This revolution inspired feelings of nationality in Americans ofMexican descent, who lived in the areas bordering Mexico. Thisresulted in anti-American feelings propelled by the inequalities thatexisted between the Anglo-Americans and the Latin population(Cumberland, 1954).
In March 1915, the increase inbandit activity caught the attention of the Texas officials.President Woodrow Wilson asked General Funston to work with the localofficials to maintain law and order. Later, a report by ColonelSibleyproved that the activity was carried out by Texans,not Mexicans. As a result, the army refused to be involved since thelocal officials took part in the crimesand failed to prevent the raids. The raids only became a threat whena Mexican citizen wasarrestedcarrying the Plan of San Diego. The organizers of this planwanted to use the raidsto cause sedition of SouthCalifornia, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. These states would thenform part of Mexico. The connection between the raidsand this plan wasnever consideredby officials (Cumberland, 1954).
The attackswereled by AnicetoPizano and Louis de la Rosa who were wealthy American citizens. Theyorganized the raidswhich were carried out by Mexican nationals and Mexicans who wereAmerican citizens. These men were organized into quasi-militarycompanies and conductedraids in various areas in the Rio Grande Valleyregion. These raidsattracted attention after a group of about forty men attacked andkilled two Americans on a ranch near Lyford. Thiswas followed by the killing of a youth near Raymondville, burning ofa bridge in SouthSebastian, and the murder of an employee on Rancho de LosIndios. The army was deployed in the various areas to curb the raids,but the situation deteriorated (Cumberland, 1954).
President Woodrow Wilsoncalled for cooperation with Carranza and Villa, who were the mostinfluential leaders of the revolution. Villa agreed to cooperate.However,Carranza chose to use the raids as a way to pressure the governmentof the U.S to recognize his government. Meanwhile, the raidswent on,and by mid-September,people were moving out of their homes to safer places. Carranzafinally agreed to cooperate by replacing general Nafarrate withEugenio Lopez.The raids ended afterthe Mexican armyand civilian forces drove out all the bandits from the border(Cumberland, 1954). Carranzahad the power toend the attacks earlier,but he failed to do so. Instead chosing to use the raids to hisadvantage.
Inconclusion, even though many factors acted as catalysts to theboarder raidsthe Mexican Revolution and the political agenda of both Carranza andthe seditionistswere the main causes.
Cumberland, C.C (1954).BorderRaids in the Lower Rio Grande Valley1915. SouthwestHistory Quarterly 57,pp 289-311
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