What were the positive and negative affects of Pancho Villa on Mexico?

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pancho Villa is one of the most complex characters associated with the Mexican Revolution. He has been called both hero and villain, and to be fair deserves both titles for different reasons.

Villa enjoys a status that is nearly mythic. He is a folk hero today, just as he was a war hero during the revolution. His humble roots and the fact that he helped support his family after the death of his father help connect him with the poor class of Mexico. He killed the man who raped his sister in defense of her honor and went on to lead the revolutionary army it its fight against the entire corrupt land-owning class of Mexico. Villa was able to mobilize the common people into a paramiltary force that continued to swell as the fighting continued. His personal magnatim and bravery earned him the support of his troops as well as the admiration of the Mexican people.

Conversly, Villa's history also proved to be a detriment to the revolution in some ways. His reputation as a bandito and a brutal military leader made it difficult for his allies to bargin for peace with Carranza and his forces. Villa also led a raid into Columbus, New Mexico killing several U.S. civilians. This led to a complete break with the U.S. and resulted in lost supplies and support for the revolutionary army. Villa's reputation was so tarnished by the end of the war that by 1919 he had virtually no army at his command was living as a guerilla in the mountains.