Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/444

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If it be conceded that the native races of Mexico are capable of development, it is evident that what is needed for their elevation from their present low estate, is good religion, good government, and good education.

The remnant of the Aztecs and other Indian tribes owed every thing to the judicious treatment of the first Roman Catholic priests. The wise teachings of these men, as we have seen, changed, without violence, a barbarous superstition into a gentle belief in the truths, and especially the miracles, of the Catholic religion; which through the epoch of Spanish domination retained its good effect. But as time went on, the Church became so powerful and so rich, that the suppression of the religious orders became a necessity; and finally Juarez, although under much resistance, was able to institute this radical reform. The final extinction of these orders, the suppression of monasteries and nunneries, was not achieved until 1874; since when many of these deserted buildings have been appropriated to other uses. Others remain standing, sad monuments of a picturesque past; but many of them, interesting on account of