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Irish who sought new homes within the borders of the United States, and who have formed the real backbone of the Republic, as it exists today.


Since the establishment of the republic in Brazil in 1889 by a bloodless revolution, there has been a continuous succession of constitutional occupants of the presidential chair down to the present time. The same statement might be made for Argentina, covering a period since the election of that noble man, President Bartolomé Mitre, in 1862. Among his successors have been some most excellent statesmen, such as Sarmiento, and to offset the good report there has only been the one unfortunate case of the grasping CelIn my opinion these countries have one advantage over our own in that a president is forbidden by the constitution to succeed himself, and therefore is not under the temptation to use his first term of office to build up a machine or organization in order to secure for himself a second term. In both Argentina and Brazil this requirement is faithfully respected, and President Roca of Argentina is the only man who was called for the second time to the high office of president, and in this instance two terms of six years each intervened between the first and second terms of President Roca.

Let us take a look for a moment at the early history of the Republic of Mexico, and see how the principles herein enunciated have worked out. The beginning of the nineteenth century opened with a feeling of unrest in all European nations and their colonies. When Napoleon began to overturn monarchies with a ruthless hand, the idea of the divine right of kings received a shock. Among the countries thus affected was Spain, which had fallen from the high pedestal it had formerly occupied. The success of the English colonists in overthrowing the foreign yoke no doubt acted as a leaven in spreading dissatisfaction throughout the Spanish colonies, but an influence of even greater moment was the placing upon the throne of Spain of Joseph Napoleon by his brother, the Emperor. Hitherto a sort of religious reverence had been felt toward the Spanish ruler, but no such sentiment was held toward the Napoleons.

The spirit of revolution and liberty was in the air, and restraint became more and more galling upon the colonists in Mexico.

It was on the morning of the 16th of September, 1810, that a struggle for independence was inaugurated by Miguel Hidalgo in the little village of Dolores, which lasted for eleven years, and during which much of the soil of Mexico was crimsoned with the blood of those slain in battle or executed by the authorities as traitors. At the outset the people were much less prepared for a contest at arms than were the American revolutionists, most of whom had been accustomed to firearms in their effort to conquer the wilderness. The Mexicans knew nothing of weapons or military tactics, and their early leaders were even without military training. Hidalgo and Morelas were priests of the established church. The followers of Hidalgo were made up of a motley crowd armed with stones, lances, machetes, arrows, clubs and swords. But enthusiasm made up for the lack of weapons and military training, so that terror struck the hearts of the Spaniards, and every town for a time yielded to this new leader.

Spanish rule formally ended in Mexico in 1821, but peace did not follow at once as it did in the United States, for in the fifty years succeeding the securing of independence, the form of government changed ten times, and there were fifty-four different rulers, including two emperors and a number of dictators. There were five different presidents in each of the years 1846 and 1847, and there were four in the year 1855. These facts are not an evidence of tranquillity, to say the least. The "progresistas" and "retrogrados," or, as we would say in English, the conservatives and the liberals, were constantly at war with each other. Frequently it was the contest between the clericals and anti-clericals, a struggle over the sequestration of church property. The anti-clericals were probably just as good Christians as the others, but they thought that the church had too much wealth. I would not be surprised if some of the same influences were at work in the present situation. From the end of the administration of the first president,

Guadalupe Victoria, which ended in 1828, until after the death of Maximilian, in 1867, there was not a year of peace in Mexico. Revolutions, promunciamentos, "plans" and restorations followed each other in quick succession. "Plans" of one faction were bombarded by "pronunciamentos" by its opponents. Generals, presidents and dictators sprang up like mushrooms and their career was as evanescent. Revolutions were an every day affair. A man in position of authority did not know when his time to be shot might come. A sudden turn of fortune might send him either to the National Palace or before a squad of men with guns aimed at his heart. An illustration of the latter statement is shown in the treatment of that grim old patriot, Guerrero. By a turn of fortune he became the third president in 1829; only a few months later he was compelled to flee and, after a farcical trial, was condemned to death as "morally incapable" and was shot on the 15th of February, 1831.

Elections eventually became a farce. The unfortunate habit was required of appealing to arms instead of submitting to the result of the ballot. The trouble was that the people had copied the letter and not the spirit of the American Constitution. It is an exemplification of the fact that selfgovernment can not be thrust upon nations from without. It must be developed from within. A constitution with high sounding words means little to a people unless to the distinguishing characteristics of self-reliance and self-confidence are also added that important quality of self-control.

Had it not been for the elements of heredity and environment, of which I have already made mention, such conditions as these just related would not have been possible; a Santa Ana could never have been evolved. Many of the so-called revolutionary leaders were little more than freebooters. They may have secured their followers through high-sounding speeches, which were punctuated with choice rhetoric and seductive promises, but the fact remains that they deserve no more respect than the highway robber who would rob you of your all. They would violate a church with as little compunction of conscience as an avowed enemy. Had conditions been different, it would not have been possi

ble for a foreign government to send a Maximilian and set him up on the throne. Had there been self-abnegation and self-control, which are so necessary in a republican form of government, the leaders would have swallowed their petty jealousies and united against the invasion of their soil by foreign troups, who came to support an alien emperor upon a throne in a country which for almost half a century had held itself out to the world as a republic.

The United States has something to be ashamed of during this period, for the Mexican War is not a subject upon which we can pride ourselves. Mr. Bancroft, the historian, does not mince words in his treatment of the subject, for he says:

It [the Mexican War] was a premeditated and predetermined affair; it was the result of a deliberately calculated scheme of robbery on the part of the superior force.

The result was a foregone conclusion, for Mexico, torn by internal dissensions, impoverished by the expense of revolutions, and official robberies, and with a government changing with every change of the seasons, had neither arms, money nor supplies for such a conflict. And yet this war might have been avoided by Mexico, had there been a government in power long enough to negotiate a treaty. A special envoy sent from Washington at the request of one president was refused an audience by a new one who had usurped the office before the envoy arrived. The brightest light that shines throughout this period is that of the grim old warrior, Juarez, who was the Lincoln of Mexico. This man had even greater trials than our martyred president, at least, they continued much longer, but he kept a true heart and retained his courage throughout all the trials and tribulations of many years of public life. He prepared the way for the man who did bring about both external and internal peace and material prosperity for almost a generation.

Opinions differ very much as to the merits of the long rule of Porfirio Diaz, and I say rule advisedly. It is not to be wondered at that the man who governs with a strong arm will make bitter enemies as well as warm partisans. Likewise such a policy will always have its defamers, as well as

its supporters. The judgment of the world is still divided about Napoleon, and whether his high-handed methods wrought more of good than of evil. Hence it is that some can see nothing in Diaz but a tyrant, an enslaver of his people, and a man unfit for even life himself. They forget that neither peonage nor the land monopoly was originated by Diaz, but that both were inherited from the Spaniards and supported by the voters of the country. They do not look into the conditions faced by Diaz when he first became president, nor the bloody history of the republic before that time. Those were indeed troublous times in Mexico while we were celebrating the centennial of our independence in 1876. The strong spirit of Juarez had been broken by the long strain from 1857 to 1872, during which time he was nominally president. His successor, Lerda, was a weak, ambitious man who accomplished little. There was disorder, everywhere; the country was overrun with bandits, and a worse than empty treasury were the conditions when Diaz grasped the reins. A huge foreign debt that had on several occasions brought about foreign intervention was also one of the conditions. There were only three hundred and fifty miles of railroad in the entire country. This was the condition of affairs in Mexico when Porfirio Diaz made his memorable march into the City of Mexico at the head of an army of several thousand armed men on the 24th of November, 1876.

Judging this man at a distance, we, who live in a country where even a third term is a "bogie," are inclined to dismiss the subject of Diaz with the charge of "dictator" and "republican despot" with all the odium that these terms imply. President Diaz was undoubtedly both a dictator and a despot. He had gone into office with the slogan of one term, and he respected this principle of his platform by retiring at the end of his first term of four years and gracefully yielding the office to his successor, Gonzales. This was the first time in Mexican history where the spectacle was seen of one president voluntarily relinquishing the scepter to his successor and returning to private life without an effort to retain himself in power. Gonzales entered the office

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