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particularly with the Spaniards and French, and as soon as they have received a proper education or have acquired some economic welfare, they can be considered on practically the same level as any of the European residents.

But true as it is that this variety of races cannot be regarded as a social problem for Mexico, the large diversity of types of civilization found among those races. on the other hand, do give rise to grave difficulties, from the point of view of the government of the country.

The problem that every administration has to face in Mexico, that is to say, the social problem in its broadest sense, is to find a rule or a formula of government which shall be suitable to all the dissimilar elements of the population, or to find the various co-existing formulæ of government suitable to each one of the various groups of population. It is very difficult indeed to find a formula of government suitable at the same time to a fifteenth century type of civilization (Indians); to an eighteenth century type (largest part of the mixed races); to a nineteenth century type of civilization (educated mestizos) and to a twentieth century type (foreigners and Mexicans of high culture).

The systems used up to the present to govern these dissimilar groups have failed, that of General Diaz pretending to rule the country with sixteenth century proceedings, as well as that of Madero pretending to rule on a nineteenth century system. This social problem is intimately related to the political problem of the unfitness of the laws of Mexico.

The political problem of ruling over the different races in Mexico could have more or less adequate solutions, but the social problem has but one solution, namely: education. Fortunately, the characteristics of the Indian and mixed races, and their facility to assimilate into the white race, give sufficient grounds to believe that the problem can easily be solved simply by means of an educational policy wisely matured and persistently applied.

It can be safely said that in fifty years from now, if the education of the Indians is kept up, all local dialects will die away and the whole Indian population will be assimilated by the mixed race.


The principal causes of the revolution in Mexico are undoubtedly of an economic, and chiefly of an agrarian character.

The colonial policies followed by Spaniards, when they conquered Mexico, consisted in taking possession of the greatest part of the lands of New Spain to grant them to the Spanish conquerors. Extensive land concessions were granted now in favor of the church, now in favor of the Spanish soldiers, leaders, chieftains, or mere settlers.

Together with each one of those large concessions granted in favor of Spaniards, a large number of Indians were also assigned to them with the apparent object of educating and Christianizing them, but with the real purpose of obtaining slaves, or land serfs, to cultivate and develop the lands granted.

With regard to the Indian towns already existing at the time of the conquest, they were theoretically respected together with their lands. New towns were also laid out as Indian reservations, providing them with sufficient lands which were called "egidos" and "propios," for the common use of all the inhabitants.

The colonial policies of Spain resulted therefore in the formation of a wealthy class of landholders as against the Indian population, which found itself either assigned to the estates as land serfs or concentrated in Indian towns.

In 1810 the freedom of slaves and Indians was officially decreed by Hidalgo, but the independence of Mexico having been accomplished by the wealthy landholders, the situation of the Indians was not materially changed, and the lower classes still remained in a state of actual servitude, although, theoretically, slavery had been already abolished.

We can safely say that up to 1856 the only real-estate property of any importance, which was not in the hands of the Spanish great landholders, was the property of the church and the "commons" of the Indian towns.

The church had been acquiring large territorial property

obtained either by direct concessions from the Government or by donations and foundations from private sources.

The towns still were owning their communal lands granted to them, as stated above, for the purpose of grazing, timbering, farming and watering, and which were called "egidos." The characteristic aspect of the agrarian questions in Mexico was for nearly two centuries, the obstinate defense made by the towns against the great landholders who always tried to invade the communal lands.

From 1856 to 1859 certain laws were enacted in order to do away with the mainmort. About the middle of 1859, the liberal administration of Juarez, for political reasons, was compelled to deprive the church of its properties and to begin to appropriate them to private individuals, who wished to acquire them at low prices.

Towards 1859 also, and as a consequence of the laws enacted to do away with the mainmort, the "egidos" of the towns began to be divided up and apportioned in small parcels among the inhabitants, for the purpose of creating small agricultural properties, but through ignorance and lack of means, those lands were almost immediately resold to the great landholders whose properties were adjacent to the "egidos."

About 1876, at the beginning of the "porfirista" regime, (the administration of General Porfirio Diaz) the real property of the church had already passed into the hands of private individuals, and the communal property of the towns was beginning to be divided among the masses.

There still remain, however, large estates owned by old wealthy families of Spanish origin, which could be considered as real mainmort, and which are now responsible for the present agrarian conflict.

The "porfirista" regime can be defined by saying that it consisted in putting the power in the hands of the large landholders, thus creating a feudal system.

The local governments of the different states in Mexico and nearly all the important public offices, were almost always in the hands of, or controlled by, wealthy families owning large tracts of land, which of course were inclined to

extend protection to all properties such as theirs. Torres and Izábal in Sonora, Terrazas in Chihuahua, Garza Galán in Coahuila, Redo in Sinaloa, Obregons in Guanajuato, the Escandons in Morelos, etc., are instances of great landholders who always had an absolute control over the government of their respective states.

The political, social and economic influence exerted by landholders during General Diaz's administration, was so considerable and so advantageous to them, that it hampered the development of the small agricultural property, which could have otherwise been formed from the division of ecclesiastical and communal lands.

The large estates called haciendas, pay only about 10 per cent of the taxes levied by law as result of misrepresenting the value of the property, while the small landholder is obliged to pay the whole tax imposed as he is unable to successfully misrepresent the value of his small holdings and as he lacks the political influence to obtain reductions.

The result of this system of inequitable taxation has been the gradual disappearance of small holdings which were absorbed by the large estates. This system was continued all through General Diaz's administration, thus increasing the power of the great landholders, and accentuating the contrast between the higher and the lower classes.

The commual lands or "egidos," used to be a means to ease to a certain extent the conditions in which the small agriculturalists found themselves, by affording them the opportunity of increasing their income out of what they could get from the use of the "commons."

But the condition of actual servitude in which the peon had always been, was accentuated and aggravated when the "egidos" disappeared, because, on the one hand, he was no more in a position to resort to the products of those communal lands, and on the other hand the great influence of the landholders was used as a political means to make peons work on the haciendas and keep them in an actual state of slavery.

The largest part of the inhabitants of towns where “egidos" have disappeared, being necessarily compelled to live on

the wages they get from working on the farms, and these wages being not enough to cover their expenses, it has become a common practice to advance money to the peons as a loan on account of future wages.

This system of lending the peons small amounts of money has resulted in accumulating huge debts on their shoulders. These debts were used as a pretext to keep the peons always at the service of the landowners, and the peon himself has been under the impression that he was legally bound to remain on the farm as long as he had not paid up his debts. These debts, as a rule, were transferred from father to son, thus creating in the rural population of the farm not only an actual condition of slavery, but the moral conviction among the peons themselves, that peonage was a necessary evil which the laws authorized.

This belief persisted through the ignorance of the peons themselves, and through the fact that the clergy has morally contributed to keep up the system.

During the first fifteen years of the administration of General Diaz, and when he was still strong enough to maintain his dictatorial rule, there was no apparent dissatisfaction among the rural classes, but later it became necessary to use drastic measures to keep the peons on the farms.

The large number of men who were deported from the more thickly populated regions, such as Mexico, Puebla, Toluca, etc., to the southern states, as well as the transportation by force of a large number of Yaqui Indian families from the state of Sonora to work as peons in Yucatan, are good examples of the use of public force to provide laborers for the "hacienda" and to maintain the condition of servitude of the rural classes in Mexico.

Since 1880 conditions in Mexico began to be complicated by reason of the policies of General Porfirio Diaz for the development of the country. General Diaz thought that the best way to develop the resources of Mexico was to favor the establishment of large business enterprises and the formation of large corporations to which special advantages were offered.

General Porfirio Diaz granted large concessions in lands,

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