4066I UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD,
view. European observers were inclined
to point out that it seemed as difficult for
American states to agree as for European
states to work in harmony.
Francisco Villa, the once-celebrated Mexican bandit and revolutionist, was ambushed
by enemies on the morning of July 20, 1923,
while traveling in his automobile from
Parral to Guanajuato. With him were his
secretary, a chauffeur, and two bodyguards.
All were riddled with bullets, and for a
time the assassins escaped. Five widows
laid claim to his estate, while his followers,
taking sides with one or the other, threatened to create disorders. The Government
announced that it would administer his
ranch in behalf of his children, said to
number about twenty. The mystery surrounding his death was ultimately cleared
up by the arrest of Jesus Salas, a member
of the Durango legislature. Salas confessed
that he had planned the killing and pleaded
in justification that he considered it his
duty to rid the world of such a monster.
His accomplices consisted of neighbors
from the small town of El Oro who had
suffered losses of members of their families
when Villa captured the place and murdered
many of its leading citizens.
Though not approving the methods of
assassination, Americans generally received
the news of Villa's death with satisfaction,
for they had not forgotten his many bloody
crimes, including the famous raid upon
Columbus, New Mexico. Though occasionally he performed acts of generosity, he
was in reality little better than a bloodthirsty tiger in human form, and was
guilty of scores of acts of brutal violence.
Even his own followers and friends never
felt secure against some sudden up flaring
of his ungovernable temper. His death was
generally considered to render the continuance of peace in Mexico more likely, for
although he had retired to an estate granted
him by the Government upon condition of