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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/156

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

effective work for freedom of conscience and secular education of the children; for which, in many of the republics, the city councils have established "municipal schools." The course of the Libre Pensador is supported by the higher classes of the community as a veritable watchman on the tower of free expression, and is doing much to relieve society of clerical scandals, which it trumpets with terrible denunciation and directness of personality.

The extraordinary material development of territories rescued from their Mexican slavery under clericalism and raised into the dignity of our American statehood, allowing them all their natural advantages for development, is an index of what the world may witness in the redemption of other Latin American republics. The advance in every higher condition of life in the Republic of Mexico, since her partial emancipation from this same wretched rule, affords a great encouragement to the moralist, philosopher and statesman, watching the progress of the world in the march of free popular thought, applied to the government of states.

The writer is an American, with three hundred years of unmixed American ancestry behind him, and he does not hesitate to declare his belief, after having lived nearly a score of years in Mexico, Central and South America, that if it should be the fortune of any considerable territory of South America to rise into the dominion of English, French or German civilization, it would denote a triumph of regenerating thought over a condition of slavery that should never have been permitted to establish a foothold in these continents. It would mean republican states that we could respect as neighbors, our equals and our coadjutors in advancing the conditions of liberty throughout the western world, instead of proteg├ęs, whose frequent acts of barbarism keep our country in constant apprehension of Monrovian interference that may embroil the nation in a war with the states of Europe. And for what? to sustain a people in maintaining republics? Nothing of the kind; but to save some miserable band of politicians from the punishment due their crimes against the illuminating ideas of this twentieth century, fruit of the highest civilization.