Wilson, Henry Lane (1857–1932)

views updated

Wilson, Henry Lane (1857–1932)

Henry Lane Wilson (b. 3 November 1857; d. 22 December 1932), U.S. ambassador to Mexico (5 March 1910–17 July 1913). Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Wilson attended public school and studied at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, graduating in 1879. He practiced law in Indiana and Seattle, Washington, until 1897, when he was chosen to represent the United States as minister to Chile and Belgium before serving as ambassador to Mexico (1909–1913). At that time only the U.S. representative in Mexico held the rank of ambassador. Wilson became one of the most controversial envoys to serve in Mexico.

Wilson intensely disliked and was highly critical of President Francisco I. Madero, who assumed office in November 1911 as the result of a revolution that overthrew the government of General Porfirio Díaz. The ambassador disagreed with the aims and conduct of the regime, repeatedly recommending military intervention to restore stability. Wilson also disagreed with the objectives of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who took office shortly after Madero's fall and death.

Henry Lane Wilson is best known for his role in the Pact of the Embassy, which resulted in charges in Mexico that he colluded with General Victoriano Huerta to overthrow the Madero government and failed to protect the life of Madero. The ambassador felt that his actions were required to end the combat in the capital and protect the lives of American and other foreign residents. He advocated U.S. recognition of the Huerta regime, which he believed offered the best prospect for the restoration of stability in Mexico. President Wood-row Wilson ignored the ambassador in conducting subsequent relations with the Huerta regime, though Ambassador Wilson was not recalled until July 1913. Victoriano Huerta continued as president of Mexico in the face of opposition by President Wilson and a revolution in the north, until he relinquished office on 15 July 1914.

See alsoMadero, Francisco Indalecio; Wilson, Woodrow.


Kenneth J. Grieb, The United States and Huerta (1969).

Michael C. Meyer, Huerta: A Political Portrait (1972).

Stanley R. Ross, Francisco I. Madero: Apostle of Mexican Democracy (1955).

Henry Lane Wilson, Diplomatic Episodes in Mexico, Belgium, and Chile (1927).

Additional Bibliography

Barrón, Luis. Historias de la Revolución mexicana. Mexico City: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas; Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2004.

Eisenhower, John S. D. Intervention! The United States and the Mexican Revolution, 1913–1917. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993.

Meyer, Jean A., and G. Héctor Pérez-Rincón. La revolución mexicana. Mexico City: Tusquets Editores, 2004.

                                          Kenneth J. Grieb

About this article

Wilson, Henry Lane (1857–1932)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article