Monday, April 21, 2014

Today in the Sobel Timeline: April 21

On April 21, 1920, newly-elected Mexican President Emiliano Calles gave an address before the Senate outlining his legislative agenda, the first time a Mexican president had done so since the restoration of democratic rule twenty years before. His speech was less than four minutes long, and focused exclusively on the slavery issue. Calles gave the background of the situation, including the Chapultepec Incident and its consequences, then offered his solution: "Slavery must be abolished in Mexico. We shall try to do so by constitutional amendment, but if this is not possible, other ways will be found. We have talked long enough of this subject. In all the reports I have yet to find one reasonable argument in favor of keeping the Negro enslaved. The free population of Mexico numbers 132 million. There are some 103,000 Negro slaves in the country. Giving these poor wretches their liberty will not dilute our national bloodstream; nor will it poison our lives. It is a small price to pay for the benefits manumission will bring."

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