The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 256
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ship of animals." Similarly the livestock judges (alcaldes de
mesta ) of New Spain settled problems pertaining to the pastoral
industry. The alcaldes de mesta in Old Spain functioned in like
Stock growers' associations in early and modern America have
been governed by constitutions and bylaws. Such documents have
striking similarities. This study purports to be a comparison of
the constitutions of the stock growers' association (the Mesta)
in New Spain with the bylaws of the two best known institutions
of similar character, namely the Texas and Southwestern Cattle
~ Raisers' Association and the Wyoming Stock Growers' Associa-
tion, in the trans-Mississippi west. It is a study of comparative
governments. Certain significant contrasts between the Mesta
and the more recent institutions will also be pointed out.4
One of the most important facts concerning the Mexican
Mesta5 is that it was an integral part of Spanish colonial govern-
ment and administration. It was established in Mexico, or New
Spain, in 1537, due largely to the initiative and interest of the
first viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza.* Actually it was a projection
from Old Spain of the institution which had served the best
interests of sheep raisers for many decades. In line with the
Roman concept of colonization in which colonies were con-
sidered integral parts of the parent state, Spain extended her
aCharles H. Shinn, Mining Camps, a Study in American Frontier Government
(New York, 1885), 86.
41I am indebted to Mr. Henry Biederman, editor of The Cattleman, Fort Worth,
Texas, for a copy of the bylaws of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers
Association; and to Mr. Russell Thorp of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association,
Cheyenne, Wyoming, for a copy of the by-laws of that organization. Mr. Biederman
and Mr. Thorp have kindly sent me reprints of articles pertaining respectively to
the institutions which they represent; these, including a copy of the text of an
address delivered by Mr. Thorp at Cheyenne, Wyoming, on May 22, 1945, on the
occasion of the presentation of a valuable collection of branding irons, six-guns,
saddles, spurs, and other relics to the Museum of the Wyoming Historical Society,
have been very helpful in throwing light on the workings of these two stock
growers' organizations in relatively recent decades. It should be noted especially
that cattle associations were formed by the Spanish government, but were voluntary
and chartered in the United States.
5For the sake of brevity and simplicity this term will be used henceforth
throughout the paper to refer to the stock growers' association in colonial Mexico.
*Arthur S. Aiton, Antonio de Mendoza, First Viceroy of New Spain (Durham,
N. C., 1927), ilo, note 86.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/332/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.