Who knew that Mexico (“New Spain”) had made such a huge bet on freedom — namely, that anyone who set foot on Mexican soil was instantly a free person? SOUTH TO FREEDOM tells this largely untaught account well.
Major General Andrew Jackson had invaded and stolen Florida from Spain, to disrupt escaping slaves from that foreign destination, of hiding in the swamps there, among the Seminoles. Mexico didn’t have the military resources to defend it’s northern border against such incursions, but they were certain that slavery was immoral. So they declared that anyone setting foot on Mexican soil was instantly a free person. This may seem to invite a repeat of Jackson’s theft. But the Mexican’s were steadfast about their position, and fierce in handling any intruding slave-catchers. Their dedication to liberty of individuals was a major issue at bringing about the American Civil War. Good scholarship, from a capable researcher and storyteller.
What truly amazes me is that southern plantation owners were not ridiculed off the stage of public opinion for their claim that the US Constitution protected their “property rights”. “My children are my property, and I have a right to sell them? — I bought their mommas at auction, and bred’em myself. My property, to do with as I please!”
This looks like an early example of Big Lie in action, and half a million Americans died for failure to refute this junk argument of property rights. Sounds just like Stop the steal, no? (Trump told us for over six months that if he should lose, it was rigged; but if he won, it was fair.) Heads, I win, tails you lose. And then came January 6.