Study Questions for The General and the Jaguar Be able to explain the background to Pancho Villa=s resentment toward the United States. Why did Villa fail to win his power struggle against the rival revolutionary faction led by Venustiano Carranza and Alvaro Obregón, and why did he blame the United States for his loss? Be able to describe the basic personality traits of Villa. During the battles between the revolutionaries, President Wilson recognized Venustiano Carranza as the de facto leader of Mexico. To Villa, who had professed himself a friend of the Americans early on, Wilson?s decision was an unthinkable betrayal. Pg 56 The U.S gov?t allowed Carranza?s troops to travel by train through the border states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to reinforce Agaua Prieta. ?This is the way the United States repays me for the treatment and protection I gave to foreigners in Mexico!?-Villa pg 58 Obregón was a talented military general and Villa was not. Villa relied on ?old guerilla tactics? Villa?s supplies and fortunes were in decline. Villa appeared to be an ordinary man of the lower class, often disheveled ?looking. ?In reality, he was extremely complex and his volatile personality was largely forged in the crucible of humiliation he had endured in his youth.? Pg. 21 ?the degradation and shame that Villa and his family endured had created a great, smoldering rage in him. A mocking question, the slightest whiff of condescension, could ignite the fire.? pg 21 -strong and ruthless leader. Killed one of his own troops for wasting ammo. How would you describe the sort of people who settled in Columbus, New Mexico? Why did Villa choose Columbus as the site for his raid on the United States? Why didn?t the people in Columbus take greater precautions against the possibility of a villista raid? A speck of a town by 1916 13,000 people lived there. The early settlers were tough and independent. New comers came and did what they could to improve Columbus building churches, schools and houses. For the most part, a feeling of friendship and goodwill existed between the townspeople and the American soldiers. Pg. 83-84 I can?t find out why he chose Columbus specifically but it says to ?commit some act of violence that would force the United States to intervene in Mexico because after the whole All of the army officers felt as General Pershing did. For years, we of the border patrol had heard many rumors, which had never materialized. wrote Major Frank Tompkins, who was stationed in Columbus at the time. What was the basic outcome of the Columbus raid? What did the villistas achieve? What sort of losses did they inflict, and what sort of losses did they suffer? There was a letter found after the raid showing that Villa wanted to join forces with Zapata to fight the ?Gringos?. Many people in Columbus believed that the Mexicans living in Columbus were aiding Villistas. The town went under Marshall Law and many Mexicans that looked suspicious were arrested. Mexicans in Columbus were asked to leave the town. 7 American soldiers killed.78 Villistas killed. The US Army charged with protecting Columbus failed. On March 9, 1916, on the orders of Mexican revolutionary leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa, led five hundred men in an attack against the town, The basic outcome is while the casualties for the Villistas were more than that of the American side, it helped garner support for Villa inside Mexico, as well as cast doubt on the handling of the incident among those in America for the American side, putting the Americans in a negative light. Be able to state the basics of the early career of John Pershing. Why was Pershing chosen to lead the Expeditionary Force? How large is this force, and what sort of provisions and equipment do they carry? Pershing was chosen to lead the expedition because it needed to be lead by someone who would be extremely delicate to the situation. If the US army pushed too hard into Mexico, it could lead to war. At the time, Pershing was a subordinate officer to Frederick Funston, who was a fiery, possibly unpredictable commander, which is why Pershing was chosen instead while Funston would remain at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to defend the border. Pershing was seen as a strict disciplinarian who would be able to maintain order among his troops and keep them from doing anything stupid which could lead to a major incident. Also, Pershing had just suffered the loss of his wife and three daughters in a house fire and the commanders thought the expedition might ease his grief. Pershing graduated from West Point in 1886 13/77 in his class. He was assigned to the 6th Calvary in New Mexico to capture Geronimo and later was sent to South Dakota to suppress the last uprising of the Sioux which culminated in the massacre at Wounded Knee which Pershing's unit did not participate in. In 1891, he went to teach military science and tactics at the University of Nebraska and earned a law degree. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1895 and joined the Tenth Calvary (an all-black unit). He returned to West Point in 1897 to teach where he was nicknamed ?Nigger Jack? by the cadets (later ?Black Jack?) which remained with him for the rest of his life. He served in the Spanish-American War in Cuba where he earned the respect of his commander and was then dispatched to the Philippines to help pacify the Moros, a group of Muslim tribesman who had been fighting the Spanish for 300 years. To prepare for the assignment, he learned several native dialects and even studied the Koran. Theodore Roosevelt promoted him to brigadier general in 1906. In 1913 he returned from another tour in the Philippines and was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco. He was ordered to Fort Bliss in El Paso to help settle the unease along the border (at this time the US was occupying Veracruz). [The short version which is all he wants would go something like this. Pershing graduated from West Point and spent time putting down Indian rebellions in the West in a calvary unit. He then got a law degree from the University of Nebraska and served in the Spanish-American War in Cuba and the Philippines. He was then moved to the south to protect the border where he was assigned the task of tracking town Villa.] The troops consisted of 4 calvary units, 2 infantry, 2 artillery, a corp for communication, an ambulance company and field hospital, engineers to build roads and bridges, and two wagon companies to haul supplies. The wagon companies were made up of 36 men, 27 wagons, 112 mules, and 6 horses. The artillery was hardly worth the trouble since it required a large number of animals and men for it's upkeep and for it to be able to travel. What sort of problems does the Expeditionary Force encounter once they are in Mexico? How does the Mexican revolutionary government (under Venustiano Carranza) respond to the US military presence in Mexico? What sort of dilemmas does the force create for villagers in the state of Chihuahua? The Mexican people were very hostile to the presence of American troops. The Mexican government also refused to allow use of their railroads which meant supply lines were critical and troublesome. Water and food is nearly impossible to find, so without the supply lines, the troops would starve. The land they were traveling was unmapped and rugged, so the military had to rely on native scouts for guidance. Carranza's troops were also hostile to the American soldiers. Furthermore, the heat and terrain cause problems for the troops, such as blisters and heat stroke. Dust also got into the soldiers eyes and blurred their vision. At night they were cold. The American soldiers searched the homes of villagers in order to find Villa, an unpopular move, to be sure. While camping near a village, Tompkins would threaten to burn down the leader's house if the Americans were fired upon. It produced good results. He would also threaten villagers for food, which he did pay for but his attitude was not popular with the citizens. Pershing even suggested taking the state of Chihuahua as a whole. What did the Expeditionary Force actually achieve in Mexico? Did the invasion actually put an end to Pancho Villa as an important political force in Mexico? Why or why not? Who is actually executed for the Columbus attack? What eventually becomes of the major protagonists of this story? The Expeditionary Forces failed to capture Villa and only did a really good job of pissing off the residents of Mexico and the Carranza government. However, the combined pressures of Mexican forces and American troops ended Villa's major military exploits in Mexico which lead to his demise as a major political figure. Seven Villistas were captured in Mexico stood trial in New Mexico and were executed. They all claimed to be forcibly conscripted into Villa's army, but they were found guilty of first degree murder. Villa is pardoned by the Mexican government after the revolution ended, but is later assassinated in 1923. Pershing goes on to serve as a major general in World War I and is promoted to the highest command possible for a military officer as a result. His aid, Patton, later is a major commander in World War II. What type of sources does Welsome use to write this book? On which side of the story does her history principally focus? After the raid on Columbus, New Mexico, many residents filed claims with a special commission in Washington D.C. to receive compensation for lost property or loved one. Welsome relies on these accounts to reconstruct the events of the raid itself. Another major source is detailed prisoner interrogations which provided Villa's movements before and after the raid. Both of these sources are from U.S. archives and because the American troops kept much better records than Villa, her history focuses on the American perspective. Other sources include newspapers, recorded comments made by major figures (such as President Wilson), and a wealth of secondary sources.
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