The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937 Page: 86
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
these Mexican laws under which they once had lived, and a few
of them were actually freed. In order to understand these cases,
it is necessary to review briefly Mexican legislation on the subject
The abolition of slavery as an important reform sought by the
Mexican Revolution may rightly begin with the movement initi-
ated in Mexico by Miguel Hidalgo, self-styled Generalissimo of
America. Although he never promulgated a definite scheme for
the government of emancipated Mexico he did issue a decree of
December 6, 1810, abolishing the evils against which he fought.
The first provision required all slave owners to manumit their
slaves within ten days of the decree on penalty of death.3 Six
weeks later Hidalgo's army was decisively defeated and forced to
disperse, and soon after, Hidalgo, at the hands of a Spanish firing
squad, met the fate he had decreed for recalcitrant slave owners.
The successful Revolution of 1821, followed by the establish-
ment of a Mexican Empire made it necessary for all acts and
grants to be affirmed by the new Emperor, Agustin de Iturbide.
Among these was the colonization contract of Stephen F. Austin,
and for the purpose of confirming it he traveled to Mexico City.
When he arrived in April of 1822, a new colonization policy was
already under consideration, and after considerable delay it
emerged as the Colonization Law of 1823. Article 30 clearly
stated the slavery provisions:
After the publication of this law, there can be no sale or
purchase of slaves which may be introduced into the empire.
The children of slaves born in the empire, shall be free at
fourteen years of age.4
Iturbide signed the law on January 4, 1823, but General Santa
Anna had already proclaimed a republic. On July 13, 1824, the
republican congress passed a law prohibiting forever the "commerce
and traffic" in slaves and declaring all slaves introduced to Mexico
in violation of the law, free by the mere act of treading Mexican
'For a full discussion of the status of slavery in Texas from 1821 to 1835,
see Eugene C. Barker, "The Influence of Slavery in the Colonization of
Texas," in Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXVIII, 1-33.
*Dublan y Lozano, Legislaci6n Memicana, I, 339-340.
'Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 30.
5Dublan y Lozano, Legislaci6n Memicana, I, 710.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 40, July 1936 - April, 1937, periodical, 1937; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101099/m1/100/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.