The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928 Page: 296
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to examine some of the provisions of the colonization laws of
Mexico and of the State of Coahuila and Texas. Mexico passed
her first colonization law in January, 1823, while Iturbide was
emperor. With his overthrow in March, 1823, and the repeal of
the colonization law of 1823, it was then necessary for the Mexican
Republic to formulate its colonization policy. On August 18, 1824,
the central government passed the national colonization law.3 This
laid down a few general regulations with reference to colonization
within the nation, but left the undertaking largely to the states.
In the first place each state was to pass a colonization law for the
settlement of the unoccupied territory within its limits. However,
only the federal government could grant permission to establish
settlements within twenty leagues of the boundary of any foreign
nation or within ten leagues of the coast. Other provisions were
that no person could hold more than eleven leagues of land. A
preference was to be given in the distribution of land to Mexican
citizens, but no other discriminations were to be shown except for
individual merit or services rendered the country or under equal
circumstances to the person who lived in the place where the land
was located. It was not possible for any person who acquired
land by virtue of the law of August 18, 1824, to hold that land
if he lived outside of the Mexican Republic. An especially sig-
nificant provision of the law occurred in Article 7:
Until after the year 1840, the general congress shall not pro-
hibit the entrance of any foreigner as a colonist, unless imperious
circumstances should require it with respect to the individuals of
a particular nation.
Mexico seemed to realize that "imperious circumstances" might
arise. If they should, that is, if the immigrants from any par-
ticular nation seemed to be too numerous, or lacking in loyalty to
Mexico, she could forbid their further entrance with ease. The
same law which gave immigrants permission to enter would guar-
antee to her the right to close her gates to them whenever she
considered it expedient. The colonist at the time of his entrance
into Texas seemed so eager to try his fortune in the state, that
he scarcely noticed, and perhaps did not notice at all, that provision
of the law. However, when Mexico took advantage of the pro-
3Ibid., I, 38-39.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 31, July 1927 - April, 1928, periodical, 1928; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101088/m1/320/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.