Mexico, Its Revolutions

Mexico, Its Revolutions

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Excerpt from Mexico, Its Revolutions: Are They Evidences of Retrogression or of Progress? A Historical and Political Review

Northward she enjoys the immediate contact of the wonderful national progress of the great republic, while to the southward, within easy reach, lie the trade and wealth of South America. There is not a commercial country in the world which she cannot reach by easy water communication and in almost a straight line.

With such a magnificent geographical position, there should spring up great cities and commercial centers upon her territory; for, as commerce advances, it will place her, with reference to the modern trade of the world, in nearly the same position that Syria, Mesopotamia, and the whole of Western Persia occupied to its ancient trade. It was the East Indian and European trade currents, flowing over these countries, which gave birth to the cities of Selucia, Palmyra, Sidon, and her colony, Tyre. The same causes, later, forced into notice Byzantium and Alexandria, made Rome and Carthage centres of distribution for East Indian products, and gave Venice wealth and power to turn back the Ottoman sword from Europe.

No better illustration of the importance of occupying a central position, with reference to the great trade currents, can be selected than by the comparison of Europe in the latter part of the fifteenth with the beginning of the sixteenth century. In 1498 her whole Indian commerce flowed westward from its Asiatic sources through the old laborious channels to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, where the merchants of Genoa and Venice became its principal European distributors. Every Mediterranean port resounded to the hum of commercial life. Suddenly the tide was turned; Vasco de Gama, retracing the track made by Pharaoh Necho's Ph?nician ships twenty centuries before, rolled away the barriers to great commercial development, and ordered Europe henceforth to look to the Atlantic coast for centers of East Indian supply. The whole Atlantic seaboard immediately sprang to meet the demands made upon it, and to reap the civilizing influences caused by an intense forcing of mental activity to supply the wants of rival commercial interests, and gather the new harvest laid at the feet of Western Europe. It was like a desert simoon to the Mediterranean ports; the great Nile of Asiatic commerce, which had annually borne in its tide the segregated wealth of the Indies, had changed its course, and now poured its wealth around the Cape of Good Hope and through the dreaded portals of Hercules. The Mediterranean ports which had throve upon its bounty suddenly sunk into mere local importance; or, no longer imbibing its fructifying power, became, like Venice, a mournful wreck of their former splendor. The world now breathed westward.

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