The News Mexico (@), an English-language newspaper founded in 2010 and based in Mexico City, posted an interesting story about immigration issues between Mexico and the U.S. back in the first half of the XIX Century.
One of the great ironies of recent history is the talk about the need for a “wall” between the United States and Mexico. In 1829, there was a legitimate need for this wall. Not to keep people out of the United States, but to keep them in!
That was because in 1829, Mexico offered something the United States did not: freedom. In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery — 36 years before the United States officially did. Any runaway slave who could find the Santa Fe Trail and follow it to the Arkansas River (which was then the border with Mexico) had only to cross the river and they would be free. But finding and taking the Santa Fe Trail was no easy task.
Few roads have seen as much history as the Santa Fe Trail. The famous dirt road snaked for 900 miles across open prairie from Missouri to Old Mexico. The trail lasted only 60 years, but from 1821 to 1880, it was the United States’ first international highway. And one of the first roads to freedom for thousands of enslaved African Americans.
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