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The Plan of San Diego
Digital History ID 3692


Annotation: Between 1915 and 1917, violence flared along the Texas-Mexican border. There were cross border forays by Spanish-speaking raiders known as sediciosos, depredations against Anglo landowners in remote rural areas, and acts of sabotage‚Äďas well as by violent reprisals. Factors contributing to the outbreak of violence not only included the upheavals associated with the Mexican Revolution, but growing Anglo economic and political dominance in south Texas. The arrival of the railroad into the lower Rio Grande Valley brought a massive influx of Anglos into the area and encouraged the development of commercial agriculture.

It was in this context that a document surfaced known as the Plan de San Diego, named for a small Texas town. This revolutionary manifesto called for a revolt against the United States to begin on February 20, 1915 and establishment of an independent Mexican American republic on lands seized from Mexico by the United States in 1848. The plan also called for an army consisting of Mexican Americans, blacks, and Japanese to kill all whites over the age of sixteen, the creation of a black republic in six southern states, and the restoration of tribal Indian lands.

There were repeated attacks on symbols of Anglo power in the lower Rio Grande Valley, including irrigation pumping stations, railroad trestles, and the King Ranch. The violence provoked a panic among many Anglos in south Texas, who feared that the attacks received support from Mexican revolutionary leaders and even from Germany (indeed, there is reason to believe that the Plan de San Diego helped motivate the Zimmermann Telegram). In 1916, Texas Rangers and the U.S. Army suppressed the violence. Estimates of the numbers of Mexicans and Tejanos killed range from 300 to 5,000.

Document: (1) On February 20, 1915, at 2:00 there would occur an uprising against the United States government to proclaim the liberty of blacks from the "Yankee tyranny" that had held them in "iniquitous slavery since remote times" and to proclaim the independence of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and California, "of which States the REPUBLIC OF MEXICO was robbed in a most perfidious manner by North American imperialism."

(2) To achieve these objectives an army would be formed under the leadership of commanders named by the Supreme Revolutionary Congress of San Diego, Texas. This army, known as the "Liberating Army for Races & Peoples," would fight under a red and white banner bearing the inscription "Equality & Independence".

(3) Each commander was assigned certain cities to capture; once he had done so, he would amass their weaponry and funds in order to provide the necessary resources to continue the struggle. Commanders would account for everything to their superiors.

(4) Upon capturing a city, especially a state capital, commanders must immediately appoint municipal authorities to preserve order and assist the revolutionary cause.

(5) "It is strictly forbidden to hold prisoners, either special prisoners (civilians) or soldiers; and the only time that should be spent in dealing with them is that which is absolutely necessary to demand funds (loans) of them; and whether these demands be successful or not, they shall be shot immediately without any pretext."

(6) "Every foreigner who shall be found armed and cannot prove his right to carry arms, shall be summarily executed, regardless of his race or nationality."

(7) "Every North American over sixteen years of age shall be put to death; and only the aged men, the women, and the children shall be respected; and on no account shall the traitors to our race be spared of respected."

(8) "The Apaches of Arizona, as well as the INDIANS (Redskins) of the territory" would have their lands returned, so that they would assist the revolutionary cause.

(9) All appointments and ranks of subordinate officers in the revolutionary army, as well as those of other conspirators who might wish to cooperate with the cause, would be reviewed by their superiors.

(10) "The movement having gathered force, and once having possessed ourselves of the States alluded to, we shall proclaim them as an INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC, later requesting (if it be though expedient annexation to MEXICO, without concerning ourselves at that time about the form of government which may control the destinies of the common mother country."

(11) When the revolutionary movement had obtained independence for the blacks, the revolutionaries would grant them a banner, "which they themselves shall be permitted to select", and the revolutionists would aid them in obtaining "six States of the American Union, which states border on those already mentioned," so the blacks could form an independent republic of their own.

(12) "None of the leaders shall have the power to make terms with the enemy, without first communicating with their superior officers of the army, bearing in mind that this is a war without quarter; nor shall any leader enroll in his ranks any foreigners unless said foreigner belong to the Latin, the Negro, or the Japanese race."

(13) It is understood that upon the triumph of the cause, no member of this conspiracy would fail to recognize his superior, nor to aid others seeking to destroy "what has been accomplished by such great work."

(14) As soon as possible, each local junta would select delegates who would elect a Permanent Directorate of the Revolutionary Congress. At this meeting the powers and duties of the permanent Directorate would be determined, and the Revolutionary Plan could be amended or revised.

(15) It was understood that the revolutionists would achieve the independence of the blacks, and that "on no account will we accept aid, either moral or pecuniary, from the Government of Mexico; and it need not consider itself under any obligations in this, our movement."

Source: Plan de San Diego. Translation. San Diego, Texas. January 16, 1915.

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