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Documents Week 6. - Week 6. Order, Revolution,...

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Week 6. Order, Revolution, Intervention, Cooperation 6-1. Porfirio Díaz’s Land Law. Mexico 1894 Mexico attempted to attract foreign immigrants and migrants from other areas of Mexico who could acquire “vacant” land if they settled it. Unlike some Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Mexico was not generally a destination for European immigrants. With its harsh climate in the north and large indigenous population, Mexico attracted few foreigners. Porfirio Díaz’s minister of Public Works, Manuel Fernández Leal, reformed the Land Law in 1894 in order to attract more settler colonists. This new law ended the limitation of 2,500 hectares and the obligation to cultivate and populate surveyed lands. Coupled with the revised law on subsoil rights, foreign investors and settlers could acquire and exploit Mexico’s resources having their property rights secure by law. This new law which will be put in place [in 1894], will retain much of the good of the previous law [of 1863]. It will also fill gaps revealed in practice and will increase the means of acquiring and colonizing uninhabited lands, secure guarantees for maintaining this property and all other territorial property, as well as remedy the many inconveniences revealed in the practice of legislation in place until now… …Experience has demonstrated that in general, limitations, restrictions and prohibitions motivated by a healthy and philanthropic view to impeding monopolization of national property, constitute a definite and considerable burden on its mobilization, cultivation and population. 2500 hectares, which geometrically speaking is supposedly vast and sufficient to constitute a private farm, is far from being an agricultural economic unit large enough to stimulate the cultivator. The country’s best lands in terms of fertility, proximity to large population centers and principal transportation routes, irrigation, or favorable climactic conditions, have been privately owned, from time immemorial. In general, the wastelands are less favorable and for this reason are uninhabited. To currently fix 2500 hectares as the limit for acquisition or the unit for division would create difficulties for registration, purchase or sale, and consequently limit this land’s population and cultivation. Fears of monopolization, justified in the past, lost all reason for being after the long and drawn out experience caused by the law of 1863. As is evident and indisputable in principle throughout this vast survey, was that the restrictions before opposed and contradicted, were favored and accelerated. Besides, economic principles establish that property demands stability and guarantees, that it can only be successfully mobilized and exploited when regimes guarantee liberty. The land holder and the owner of movable investments resist all prohibitive influences. With restrictive means, nothing is achieved other than making
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This note was uploaded on 06/08/2011 for the course CH ST 1 taught by Professor Rojas during the Spring '11 term at UCSB.

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Documents Week 6. - Week 6. Order, Revolution,...

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