Historie Podcaster

Dekonstruere historie: Alamo

Dekonstruere historie: Alamo


Historie

En bachelorgrad i historie gir studentene en mengde historisk kunnskap som gjør dem i stand til å forstå lokale, nasjonale og globale hendelser, samt å sette pris på omfanget av kulturelt mangfold som utgjør verdenssamfunnet.

Hva skal jeg lære?

  • Konstruer historiske argumenter ved hjelp av primære og sekundære kilder.
  • Beskriv historiske fortellinger om flere valg og regioner på tvers av rom og tid.
  • Analyser disse historiske fortellingene fra forskjellige perspektiver.
  • Forklar hvordan romlige prosesser har formet disse historiske fortellingene om mennesker og regioner.

Hva kan jeg gjøre med dette studiet?

Bachelorstudiet hjelper de som søker en karriere innen samfunnsfaglig utdanning. Ytterligere karriereveier inkluderer høyere utdanning, forskning, publisering, informasjonshåndtering, næringsliv, offentlig service, jus og andre stillinger som krever effektiv skriving, tverrfaglig tenkning, kritiske ferdighetsanalyseferdigheter, nysgjerrighet og nysgjerrighet.

Hva er spesielt med programmet vårt?

Historikkstudiet er spesielt på grunn av våre studenter og fakultetet vårt. Studenter som går på historikkstudiet blir veiledet av historiefakulteter som er interessert i å få studentene til å oppnå suksess. Studiet søker studenter med spørrende sinn. Studiet søker studenter med ulik bakgrunn, med forskjellige interesser, klare til å ta imot dagens utfordringer. Fakultetet er opptatt av å oppmuntre studentens akademiske fortreffelighet, til å utvikle studentenes kritiske tenkning, lese- og skriveferdigheter, og til høyskoleoppdraget for å produsere informerte og ansvarlige innbyggere.


Myten om Alamo tar historien feil

Kampen om Alamo fra 1836 huskes som en David mot Goliat -historie. Et band av sterkt undertallige Texanere kjempet mot undertrykkelse av den meksikanske diktatoren Santa Anna, og holdt beleiringen lenge nok til at Sam Houston kunne flytte den viktigste opprørsstyrken østover og gi dem et samlingsrop i slaget ved San Jacinto. Som nesten enhver Texan vil fortelle deg, gjorde deres heroiske offer Alamo til vuggen til Texas frihet.

Amerikanske presidenter har til og med påberopt seg Alamo-myten for å inspirere sine borgere i kamper av alle slag, fra Lyndon B. Johnson under Vietnamkrigen til daværende kandidat George W. Bush, som leste William Travis ikoniske "Seier eller død!" brev for å inspirere det amerikanske laget til å vinne Ryder Cup 1999. Og i sin siste State of the Union -tale refererte Donald Trump, kanskje inspirerende amerikanere til en intern kamp, ​​"Texas -patrioter [som] gjorde sitt siste standpunkt på Alamo. Den vakre, vakre Alamo. ”

Likevel er legenden om Alamo en Texas -fortelling som er amok. Selve historien er en av hvite amerikanske immigranter til Texas som i stor grad gjorde opprør over meksikanske forsøk på å stoppe slaveriet. Langt fra å heroisk kjempe for en edel sak, kjempet de for å forsvare den mest avskyelige praksisen. Vår nyvunne forståelse av denne historien gir amerikanerne en lenge oversett mulighet til å rette opp en rasistisk myte rundt dette monumentet.

Anglo -nybyggere begynte å ankomme til Texas fra USA på 1820 -tallet, da det var en del av spanske Mexico. Den spanske regjeringen ville ha dem som et bolverk mot Comanche, men disse nye texanerne hadde en annen agenda. De ønsket å dra nytte av tusenvis av dekar land i Brazos River Valley som var tilgjengelig billig for hvite nybyggere, hvorav noen ble brukt til å dyrke bomull.

Da disse dikotomiske visjonene ble klare i 1822, stoppet en nylig uavhengig meksikansk regjering i Mexico City ytterligere oppgjør. Problemet, ifølge Stephen F. Austin, kjent som "Texas -faren", var at den nye regjeringen, som tok makten på en likestillingsagenda, ikke ville overholde slaveriet.

Den meksikanske regjeringens innsats for å skrive en ny føderal grunnlov ble fast. Et av de stikkende punktene var spørsmålet om slaveri. Den nye regjeringen ønsket at slaveriet var borte, men avslutningen av praksisen ville ødelegge nybyggerne. Austin, "snakket med hvert enkelt medlem av juntaen om nødvendigheten som eksisterte i Texas ... for at de nye kolonistene skulle ta med seg sine slaver."

Og den meksikanske regjeringen kunne ikke bare ignorere deres innfall. Anglo -nybyggerne overtok i økende grad stedet og kunne, hvis antallet økte tilstrekkelig, bryte Texas fra Mexico og slutte seg til USA, noe som selvfølgelig til slutt skjedde.

Så den meksikanske regjeringen inngikk en avtale med Austin. Avtalen tillot nybyggere å beholde sine slaver, men forbød videre handel. Enslavement slo rot, og i 1823 fikk Austin tillatelse til å øke innvandringen fra USA.

Men konstant omsetning og ustabilitet i Mexico by viste seg å være problematisk for texanerne. I 1824 foreslo en ny regjering tiltak for å oppheve forståelsen om slaveri. Ett lovforslag forbød "handel og trafikk i slaver" og uttalte at enhver slaver som ble brakt til Mexico ville bli ansett som fri ved "bare å tråkke meksikansk jord."

Potensielle nybyggere la merke til det. En potensiell nybygger fra Mississippi bemerket at det eneste som forhindret "velstående plantemaskiner fra å emigrere umiddelbart til provinsen Texas", var "usikkerheten som råder nå" om slaveri. Og fra Alabama kom et lignende budskap: “Våre mest verdifulle innbyggere her eier negre. ... Våre plantemaskiner er ikke villige til å fjerne uten at de først kan være sikre på at de er sikret dem ved lovene til din regjering. " Økonomisk mulighet gjorde Texas fristende for bomullsdyrkere, men den politiske usikkerheten fikk dem til å nøle. Deres nøling økte igjen presset på meksikanske lovgivere, som ønsket å beholde kontrollen over Texas, og på Austin, hvis levebrød var avhengig av å få flere til å immigrere.

Til slutt, i 1824, syntes en ny meksikansk grunnlov å løse saken ved å overlate slaveri -spørsmålet til statene. Lokalet for Austins angst flyttet til Saltillo, hovedstaden i den meksikanske staten Coahuila, som Texas -territoriet tilhørte. Statskonstitusjonen fra 1827 tillot nybyggere å importere slaver i seks måneder til. I september vedtok imidlertid enda en ny regjering i Mexico City en rekke lover som dempet slaveri.

I 1828 hadde Texans avgjort en uholdbar praksis: De ville ignorere anti-slaveri lover vedtatt i Mexico City.

Diskusjon om at regjeringen faktisk kunne håndheve lovene fra 1827, førte imidlertid til snakk om krig. "Mange har kunngjort for meg at det vil bli en revolusjon hvis loven trer i kraft," skrev en meksikansk militærkommandant i Øst -Texas en overordnet. "Austins koloni ville være den første til å tenke i denne retning. Det ble dannet for slaveri, og uten det ville hennes innbyggere være ingenting. ”

Denne snakk om løsrivelse førte til angrep fra den meksikanske regjeringen, inkludert avgifter på bomull for å betale for militære installasjoner i Texas og en ordre om å lukke grensen til USA. Austin sank inn i en depresjon. Mexico truet med grunnleggelsen av Texans økonomi. "Ingenting er ønsket, men penger," skrev Austin i et brev og la til i et annet, "og negre er nødvendige for å klare det."

Bomull blomstrer imidlertid, noe som økte ulovlig innvandring til Texas. Amerikanerne, selv om de fortsatt var et mindretall, var raskt på vei til å bli flertall. Dette demografiske skiftet økte Mexicos innsats for å kontrollere Texas direkte, inkludert nyhåndheving av lover. Texans, vant til a la carte -lydighet mot meksikansk lov, tok denne fornærmelsen som tyranni.

I april 1832 stengte den meksikanske regjeringen et smutthull som tillot nybyggere å omklassifisere sin menneskelige løsøre som tjenestefolk. Dette til slutt forbød slaveri, punktum. For Austin var dette det siste sugerøret. "Texas må være et slaveland," skrev han til en venn, "omstendigheter og uunngåelig nødvendighet tvinger det til."

Han så bare to alternativer: en egen meksikansk stat for Texas med lovlig slaveri eller opprør. "Ingen mellomkurs igjen," skrev han.

Da den meksikanske regjeringen ga Santa Anna diktatoriske makter i 1834, gjorde meksikanske stater opprør, først Zacatecas, deretter Coahuila, som inkluderte Texas. Den meksikanske hæren marsjerte nordover for å slå ned opprørene. I Matagorda erklærte en gruppe anglo -nybyggere at "nådeløst soldat" skulle komme "for å gi slaver frihet og lage slaver av oss selv."

Texas -ledelsen begrunnet krigen som en kamp for å bevare deres "naturlige rettigheter" og - det ordet igjen - deres "eiendom", som betyr deres slaver.

Selv i Washington var det klart hva som drev Texans. Abolisjonister fordømte deres opprør som verdens første proslaveri -opprør. "Krigen herjer nå i Texas," siktet tidligere president og rep. John Quincy Adams (mass.), "Var en krig for gjenopprettelse av slaveri der den ble avskaffet. Det er ikke en tjenestekrig, men en krig mellom slaveri og frigjøring, og alle mulige anstrengelser har blitt gjort for å drive oss inn i denne krigen, på siden av slaveri. ”

Texas-opprøret kan ha blitt utløst av skinkehendte meksikanske forsøk på å utøve kontroll over sitt territorium, men den underliggende årsaken var den eneste tingen amerikanske immigranter og den meksikanske regjeringen var uenige om siden begynnelsen: bevaring av slaveri.

Gitt at dens forsvarere kjempet for å danne det som ble den eneste mest militante slave -nasjonen i historien, brukte menn som kjempet på Alamo som Jim Bowie og William Travis handel med slaver, og Austin, “Texas -faren”, brukte mange år på å kjempe for bevare slaveriet fra angrepene fra meksikanske abolisjonister, er det klart at de hvite mennene som kjempet ved Alamo kjempet om å eie fargerike folk i stedet for et modig standpunkt for frihet.

For mange i Texas er Alamo en sekulær helligdom for konservative verdier på lik linje med et konføderert monument, en metafor som ble bokstavelig talt i 2019 da Texas Senatet spesifikt inkluderte Alamo i lovgivning for å beskytte konfødererte monumenter mot fjerning. Debatten om historien til hvit overherredømme har bare utvidet seg siden den gang, sist i debatter om undervisning i kritisk raseteori og med den første nasjonale regningen om Tulsa -massakren. Etter hvert som debatten om vår fortid blir mer og mer tung, gir en ny undersøkelse av Alamos historie et søkelys på hvordan slaveri spilte en rolle i dannelsen av sørvest og hvordan dens innvirkning har holdt på, noe som har drevet et etos i kjernen av Texas identitet og, som Trumps siste stat av Unionen viser at det fortsetter å animere konservativ ideologi.


Alamo-områdets historie går tilbake 10 000 år, forbinder urbefolkningens jeger-samlere og misjonsinnbyggere med dagens San Antonians

Ricky Reyes leder en indiansk velsignelse under seremonien "Dawn at the Alamo" på Alamo 6. mars, jubileet for det berømte slaget. Et panel av forskere diskuterte Alamo ’s bånd til tidlige urfolk i området under et forum tirsdag kveld.

Robin Jerstad /Robin Jerstad

Fra tidlige urfolks jeger-samlere til misjonsinnbyggere til dagens San Antonians, har Alamo-området en historie som går mer enn 10 000 år, ifølge forskere.

Den 30-medlemmer Alamo Citizens Advisory Committee holdt den første av seks paneldiskusjoner denne uken for å gi retning for et prosjekt på 450 millioner dollar som inkluderer et museum, besøkssenter og torgovergang på det historiske oppdraget og slagstedet.

Diskusjoner startet med & ldquoAlamo: A Place to Call Home. & Rdquo

For de som er ivrige etter å høre eksperter snakke om beleiringen og slaget i 1836 som gjorde Alamo kjent, vil komiteen holde en diskusjon, & ldquoFort Alamo, & rdquo kl. 17:30 27. juli Tirsdag og rsquos exchange etablerte rammen for den kampen, med detaljer om opprinnelsen til den spanske koloniallandsbyen kjent som San Antonio de B & eacutejar som inkluderte grunnleggelsen av Mission San Antonio de Valero i 1718. Dette oppdraget flyttet to ganger før det slo seg ned i 1724 og ble det første permanente lokale spansk-urfolksoppdraget, og senere ringte den militære utposten El & Aacutelamo.

Til tross for den fjerntliggende lokaliteten, fiendtlige grupper, sykdomsutbrudd og andre tøffe forhold ved grensen, hadde San Antonio naturlig skjønnhet, vann som rant fra elven og bekker i nærheten, en overflod av chertrock som ble brukt til verktøy eller våpen og topografi som tillot bygging av acequias, en gammel ingeniørteknikk som bruker tyngdekraften til å flytte vann til oppdrett og personlig bruk.

Clinton McKenzie, prosjektarkeolog ved Center for Archaeological Research ved University of Texas i San Antonio, sa at urbefolkningen kjent som Coahuiltecans, som okkuperte fem lokale oppdrag langs elven, har hatt en varig innvirkning, ettersom landsbyen har utviklet seg til en moderne amerikansk by.

& ldquoDe er fortsatt en del av samfunnet vårt i dag, i hele San Antonio, i hele Sør -Texas, & rdquo sa han under møtet på Witte Museum.

Spanske misjonærer, sammen med soldater og håndverkere, bidro til landsbyen ved å opprette samlingssteder og mdash og viktigst, relasjoner og mdash med og blant urfolk som ble spanske undersåtter, sa historiefaglærer i Texas, Jes & uacutes F. & ldquoFrank & rdquo de la Teja. Friarene hadde ingen sosiopolitiske agendaer, men de ønsket å etterlate permanente lokalsamfunn og mdash, og det gjorde de.

Selv om San Antonio alltid har vært en militærby og en magnet for besøkende, har det også vært mangfoldig og et samfunn og en grunnlegger en konstant belastning for å omdefinere seg selv, sa de la Teja.

Samfunnet var aldri homogent. Det var heterogent, og det forandret seg alltid, sa han.

I en åpningsfortelling bemerket Melissa Simmons, utstillingsdesigner med Alamo-prosjektkonsulent PGAV Destinations, at Texas-revolusjonen 1835-1836 la enormt stress på Tejanos og deres familier som hadde bodd i flere tiår i regionen. De risikerte alle død og tap av eiendom, enten de stod på siden av den meksikanske regjeringen eller uavhengighetsbevegelsen og flyktet, eller forsøkte å forbli nøytrale.

Andr & eacutes Tijerina, en forfatter og forsker med base i Austin, sa at Tejano -revolusjonære stammet fra oppdragene. Han bemerket at Jos & eacute Toribio Losoya, en Alamo -forsvarer som døde i slaget i 1836, hadde vokst opp på Mission de Valero etter at det ble sekularisert.

& ldquo Vil du ha en ekte texaner? Hva med en som ble født i Alamo? & Rdquo Tijerina sa.

Tijerina uttalte seg om ordet & ldquohome & rdquo under sine kommentarer, og utfordret komiteen til å forfølge en vei for prosjektet som forbinder og fordeler familier fra tidlige Tejanos, inkludert mange som bor i dag på San Antonio & rsquos sør- og vestsider, og å bevare sentrumsområdet som en fredelig samlingsplass.

& ldquoDu må inkludere hele familien. Og du og rsquoll må inkludere hele samfunnet, sa Tijerina.

Prosjektansvarlige har sagt at samtalene vil gi veiledning for fremtidige utstillinger og presentasjoner, samt støtte et av prosjektets veiledende prinsipper, for å & ldquoembrace kontinuumet i historien for å fremme forståelse og helbredelse. & Rdquo


Dekonstruere historie

I Dekonstruere historie, Undersøker Alun Munslow historien i den postmoderne tiden. Han gir en introduksjon til debattene og spørsmålene om postmodernistisk historie. Han undersøker også den nyeste forskningen i forholdet mellom fortid, historie og historisk praksis, så vel som å videresende sine egne utfordrende teorier.

Boken diskuterer spørsmål om både empiriker- og dekonstruksjonsposisjoner og vurderer argumentene til store talsmenn for begge standpunktene, og inkluderer:

  • en undersøkelse av karakteren av historiske bevis
  • utforskning av historikernes rolle
  • diskusjon om fiaskoen i tradisjonelle historiske metoder
  • kapitler om Hayden White og Michel Foucault
  • en evaluering av viktigheten av historisk fortelling
  • en oppdatert, omfattende bibliografi
  • en omfattende og nyttig ordliste over vanskelige nøkkelord.

Dekonstruere historie kartlegger det filosofiske feltet, skisserer kontroversene som er involvert og vurderer fordelene ved den dekonstruksjonistiske posisjonen. Han hevder at i stedet for å begynne med fortiden begynner historien med representasjonen av historikere.


Glem Alamo

En ny gruppe forskere omskriver Texas -historien for å avlaste mytene, utforske de oversettes og finne heltemodighet i kvinners og minoriteters hverdag - alt sammen mens de avverger anklager om «slapp multikulturalisme».

Med alt som T. R. Fehrenbach og David Montejano har til felles, tror du kanskje at de ville drikke venner, eller i det minste møtes en gang for kaffe. Begge er Texas -historikere fra San Antonio. Begge har skrevet høyt roste bøker om staten og rsquos fortid. Texas Historical Commission & rsquos årlige pris for det beste arbeidet i Texas -historien er oppkalt etter Fehrenbach og har blitt vunnet av Montejano. Likevel har de to forfatterne aldri hatt en samtale. Nevn for en av dem hva slags historie den andre liker å skrive, og du vil sannsynligvis ikke fremkalle noe mer enn sardonisk latter.

En gang den eksklusive provinsen til noen få kjente akademikere (de fleste ved University of Texas, som Eugene Barker og Walter Prescott Webb) og amatørhistorikere (alt fra Fehrenbach til folklorist J. Frank Dobie), blomstrer Texas historie i dag og mdashand fraksjonalisering og mdashas aldri før. Historien, det har blitt sagt, er det en alder finner av interesse for en annen, og historikerne i vår tid finner mye å være interessert i som forgjengerne overså. De tradisjonelle historikerne hadde en tendens til å skrive feiende, mytiske sagaer og mdashnone mer feiende eller mytiske enn Fehren bach & rsquos bestselgende Ensom Star: A History of Texas and the Texans, første gang utgitt i 1968.

De nye Texas -historikerne finnes på universiteter i hele Texas og utover, og skriver akademiske avhandlinger som endrer måten samtidige texanere ser på staten deres. De mytiske historikerne skrev generelt, foretrakk anekdote fremfor faktiske detaljer og fokuserte på helter, heroiske hendelser og det unike i Texas. De nye sosialhistorikerne, eller revisjonistene, som de kaller seg, gransker folketellingen og tinghusoppføringer og gjenskaper hverdagens realiteter. De konsentrerer seg om spørsmål om rase, klasse og kjønn som ofte glanses over av de store bildehistorikerne. De deler en antipati for den mytiske ideen om at historien har en plottlinje, som Manifest Destiny eller Progress i stedet, de ser på historien som retningsløs, en fortsatt historie om konflikt og kontakt mellom grupper.

Husker du Alamo? I dag ville historikere like raskt glemme det og mdashor omdefinere det. Fehrenbach, et æresmedlem i Sons of the Republic of Texas, har deltatt i gruppens & rsquos-ritualer på Alamo, men David Montejano (han uttaler sitt fornavn meksikansk stil, med vekt på den andre stavelsen), til tross for sin San Antonio oppvekst, sett aldri foten i Alamo som turist (selv om han har som forsker). De nye historikerne romantiserer ikke grensen, de hyller ikke storfe og grensevold, de fordømmer Yankee -teppetasker, og de bryr seg ikke om hvordan Davy Crockett døde. Påvirket av sekstitallets kulturelle uro, studerer de ikke bare helter, men vanlige mennesker, og ikke bare hvite menn, men kvinner, svarte, meksikanske amerikanere og ikke -konformister og mdash fra abolisjonister til arbeidsorganisatorer. Når det gjelder dem, symboliserer fascinasjonen for Alamo alt som er galt med Texas -historien.

Lone Star står ikke i fare for å bli sendt til den historiske skrothaugen. De nye historikerne og rsquo -bøkene er utgitt av universitetspresser og kjøpt fra kataloger ville de fleste blitt ansett som veldig vellykkede hvis de solgte tre tusen eksemplarer. Lone Star, i mellomtiden, har gjort omtrent hundre ganger også og fortsetter å bli solgt av store bokhandlere. En ny utgave kommer i år, boken og rsquos trettiårsjubileum. Men forkant av Texas -historien tilhører helt klart de nye historikerne, delvis fordi mye faktisk er blitt utelatt fra Texas -historien, og delvis fordi måten historikere kan komme videre i denne ikke -heroiske æra på er å skrive ikke -heroisk historie. De nye historikerne påvirker ikke bare hverandre og studentene deres, men også forfatterne av lærebøker som skriver den offisielle versjonen av historien som undervises i skoler i Texas. Dette er Texas -historien ettersom neste generasjon Texas -ledere lærer det, og effekten på måten texanerne ser på staten vil være dyp.

Tejano -skolen

Det tradisjonelle synet på Texas-historien om meksikanske amerikanere er at det angloamerikanske samfunnet møtte det spansk-indiske samfunnet på strak arm, og anglo-amerikanerne seiret på grunn av deres kulturelle overlegenhet. Webb, i Texas Rangers, uttrykte det rådende synet på meksikansk underlegenhet da han skrev i 1935: & ldquoThere er en grusom rekke i den meksikanske naturen, eller så ville historien til Texas få en til å tro. Denne grusomheten kan være en arv fra inkvisisjonens spansk, den kan og uten tvil delvis tilskrives det indiske blodet. & Rdquo

En ny gruppe forskere dukket opp med den politiske og kulturelle bevegelsen i Chicano på slutten av sekstitallet og begynnelsen av syttitallet. Etter et århundre med stipend som kastet Anglos som helter og meksikansk amerikanere som uverdig, hadde de tidlige Tejano -historikerne en tendens til å reversere ligningen på like forenklede måter. De ga verkene sine titler som Okkupert Amerika: The Chicano & rsquos kamp mot frigjøring og Utlendinger i sitt hjemland. I en avhandling fra 1978 senere utgitt som De kalte dem Greaers, Arnoldo de Leon skrev at anglo-texanere fra det nittende århundre som så mørbrune ofre ofte ignorerte dem på grunn av den vanlige oppfatningen at det krydret kostholdet til & ldquogreasers & rdquo gjorde deres lik ugjennomtrengelige for forfall. De tidlige Tejano -lærdene så ut til å betrakte alle meksikanske amerikanere, til og med banditter og kjeltringer, som ofre eller helter.

Siste fra Texas History

The Strange, Soggy Saga of Glurpo, San Marcos & rsquos Underwater Clown

The Resurrection of Bass Reeves

En banebrytende svart sanger og rsquos -komposisjoner, lenge glemt, kan endelig få et publikum

Møt artisten bak Galveston & rsquos New Juneteenth Mural

Etter hvert som LBJ -biblioteket fyller 50 år, husker mannen som planla sin dedikasjon noen få overraskelser

Det neste slaget ved Alamo!

Siden slutten av syttitallet har imidlertid Tejano -skolen konsentrert seg mer om å bestride noen av de gamle mytene, for eksempel den politiske passiviteten til meksikanske amerikanere. Historikeren ved University of Houston, Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., har vist hvordan meksikansk amerikanere utfordret segregeringen av barna sine på offentlige skoler, og Texas A & amp-professor Julia Kirk Blackwelder har skrevet om kvinnelige arbeidsorganisatorer på vestsiden av San Antonio under depresjonen- æra pekannøtter og rsquo -streik. Tejano -skolen er ikke lenger den eksklusive provinsen for meksikansk -amerikanske historikere, eller for texanere, for den saks skyld.

Det mest innflytelsesrike verket er fortsatt David Montejano & rsquos Anglos og mexikanere i Making of Texas, 1836& mdash1986. Den ble utgitt i 1987 og er boken som vant Fehrenbach-prisen for forfatteren, som er direktør for Center for Mexican American Studies ved UT-Austin. Montejano har en doktorgrad i sosiologi, men arbeidet hans er umiskjennelig historisk. Anglos og meksikanere undersøker de to gruppene og økonomiske, sosiale og raseforhold og viser at ikke alle Anglos diskriminerte meksikanske amerikanere og at ikke alle meksikanske amerikanere led det samme nivået av diskriminering. Mye avhenger av hvor lenge en meksikaner eller en anglo hadde bodd i Texas, hva han eller hun gjorde for å leve, samt sosial status. Montejano oppdaget for eksempel at under arbeidstidens høyde og sosial segregering i Laredo i begynnelsen av det tjuende århundre favoriserte Anglo-kjøpmenn og politikere likhet for meksikanske amerikanere mer enn bønder og ranchere gjorde fordi likestilling var bra for næringslivet.

Montejano ser på sitt oppdrag som å skrive en sannere historie enn verk som Webb & rsquos Texas Rangers, der heroiske Rangers konfronterer grensebeboere som beskrives som en & ldquoMexican horde, & rdquo a & ldquomob, & rdquo og & ldquobandits. & rdquo På fotografiet av Montejano som vises på jakken på boken hans, poserer han med sitt beste ironiske glis og en kopi av Texas Rangers i hånden. Når han signerer kopier av boken hans, har han vært kjent for å skrive, & ldquoCuando reclamamos nuestra historia, reclamamos nuestro destino & rdquo: Når vi hevder vår fortid, krever vi vår fremtid.

Southern Revival School

Tradisjonelle Texas -historikere har alltid funnet det smertefullt å knytte staten til det overvunnede, ydmykede Sør. Før borgerkrigen var Texas en relativt velstående stat med en blomstrende bomullsbasert økonomi. I mange år etterpå var det en av de fattigste. Under depresjonen grep historikere optimismen i Vesten og prøvde å sette avstand mellom Texas og dens konfødererte fortid. Dette var epoken da Texas begynte å bli sett på som vestlig snarere enn sørlige og mdasha -stat formet av ranching i stedet for oppdrett, storfe i stedet for bomull, olje i stedet for tømmer, mangel på vann i stedet for sin overflod, den grove egalitære grensen i stedet for den mildeste plante -aristokrati, og selvfølgelig helter i stedet for tapere.

Robert Calvert blir irritert av slik prat. & ldquoTexas er sørlige, og rdquo sier A & ampM historieprofessoren. & ldquoJeg kunne aldri forholde meg til gårdsdelen av Texas -historien. Ranching var ikke min bakgrunn. Familien min startet som de fleste texanere, som grunneiere involvert i bomullsøkonomien. Men i 1890 ble mer enn halvparten av befolkningen, inkludert hvite, redusert til deling. Min bestefar var en av dem. & Rdquo

Calvert & rsquos stemme er så kantet av god ol & rsquo boy twang at det er vanskelig å forestille seg ham involvert i en revisjonistisk klaff. Men det er det som skjedde for noen år siden. Lokale skolestyremedlemmer vurderte å navngi et campus for William Barrett Travis, og ifølge den lokale avisen hadde Calvert innvendinger mot at den legendariske Alamo -martyren var en kvinneutøver, en slavehandler, en kjent morder og en lidelse av kjønnssykdom. Selv om kritikeren faktisk var en av kollegene hans, Walter Buenger, godkjente Calvert senere alle anklagene. (Skolestyret ga etter og kalte skolen for en svart lærer.)

Det virker overraskende at historikere i Texas i dag må arbeide for å bevise Texas og rsquo sørlige bånd. Virginia innfødte Randolph & ldquoMike & rdquo Campbell forventet å savne hjemstaten da han kom til University of North Texas i Denton for tre tiår siden for å undervise i historie. Men, husker han, og jeg merket ikke noen forskjell mellom holdningene du hører folk uttrykke i Virginia når det gjelder skoler, rollen som stat og nasjonal regjering og rase og holdninger de kommuniserer i Texas. Da jeg begynte å lytte til elevene mine, skjønte jeg at de ikke har noen anelse om at dette er en sørlig stat eller at slaveri var veldig viktig her. & Rdquo

Campbell prøvde å bøte på situasjonen ved å skrive Et imperium for slaveri, utgitt av LSU Press i 1989. Han påpeker at på tampen av borgerkrigen eide mer enn en fjerdedel av Texas -familier slaver, og menneskelig løsøre utgjorde 30 prosent av statens og rsquos befolkning og mdashfigurer som matcher antebellum Virginia & rsquos. Et imperium for slaveri er full av fotnoter, som hvis du skulle følge dem til deres kilde, ville ta deg med til avishusene og fylkes tinghus i mange Texas -byer. Der avdekket han de molende skjelettene i slaveøkonomien: gulnede skifteregister der bønder testamenterte slaver til sønnene og døtrene, kvitteringer som teller utleie av slaver til andre gårder og poster som viser hvordan inntektene fra leide slaver betalte hvite barn og rsquosundervisning kl. fancy skoler.

Calvert & rsquos A & ampM -kollega Walter Buenger tar for seg problemet om hvorfor, femten år etter at Texas stemte overveldende for å melde seg inn i unionen, stemte det overveldende for å løsrive seg. Han så på løsrivelsen og fant mange nylige innvandrere fra Sør. Men det var også innvandrere uten tradisjon for slaveri som ikke ønsket å eie slaver. Og Anglo -bønder i nærheten av Red River hadde heller ingen andel i slaveri fordi de ikke kunne sende bomull for å markedsføre de avlet avlinger som mais som ikke krevde hjelp fra slaver. I 1861 kjempet så mange texanere om slaveri og løsrivelse at deler av staten var nær deres egen borgerkrig.

Buenger bruker en usannsynlig metafor for å beskrive misbruk av Texas historie: Alamo. & ldquoOpprinnelig hadde den et helt flatt tak, og rdquo sier han. Så, i 1840 og rquos, la de til den karakteristiske kalksteinsbuen du ser nå. Ved 1890 -årene var bygningen i ruiner, men da bevaringen startet, i stedet for å gå tilbake til det opprinnelige flate taket, gikk de tilbake til det ekstra taket. Det er for meg slik Texas -historien fungerer. Du går aldri tilbake til den virkelige tingen du går tilbake til det som er blitt lagt til etter det faktum. & Rdquo

The Mild West School

For mange av de nye historikerne var de virkelige grenseheltene de ukjente. I Austin har professor Paula Mitchell Marks ved St. Edward & rsquos -universitetet funnet ut at duken avslører kultur. Et lott av hjemmelaget stoff kan fortelle oss mye om realitetene og nyansene i et kvinne- og rsquosliv, i et samfunn og rsquos-liv i Texas fra 1800-tallet, og rdquo skriver hun i sin introduksjon til Hands to the Spindle: Texas Women and Home Textile Production 1822 & mdash1880. Marks oppdaget at Stephen F. Austin foretrakk hjemmelaget tøy fremfor masseprodusert stoff i hans begynnende koloni, slik at alle ser ut til å være på samme økonomiske nivå. Avisen i Austin & rsquos colony advarte om at produsert klut ville produsere & ldquodamsels & rdquo som voktet neglene og søkte & ldquogaudy kjole. & Rdquo

I arkiver og biblioteker har Marks freted ut dagbøker og brev, samt beretninger om grensehandel i Texas med alt fra hjemmelaget stoff til høner og rsquo -egg. Dokumentene avslører at mange grensekvinner var de økonomiske bærebjelkene i familiene deres. De var uendelig opptatt med matproduksjon, spinning, veving og andre oppgaver som bidro til å forsørge familiene sine. Denne kvinnelige arbeidskraften, sier Marks, muliggjorde krigføring, politikk, landspekulasjoner og annen mannlig hjuling og handel som opptar de tradisjonelle historiebøkene.

Grensehistorikerne i Texas er mer enn multikulturalister, de er også debunkere av mytene. Ta tanken om at grensebyer var arnestedene for vold mot våpen: Kan noen ide ha vært mer sentral for Hollywoods og rsquos ide om Vesten? East Texas State University historian Ty Cashion has found that the violence has often been overstated. Fort Griffin, a settlement near Abilene that once served as a pit stop for Dodge City&mdashbound trail drivers during the 1870&rsquos and 1880&rsquos, enjoys a reputation among frontier history buffs as a hell town of honky-tonks, gambling, prostitution, and random violence. The saloons and the prostitutes, with names like Polly Turnover and Slewfoot Jane, were an important part of life in Fort Griffin, but the police and court records Cashion examined show that wanton killing was relatively rare. When it did occur, it was generally carefully investigated, swiftly prosecuted, and strictly punished&mdashunless the victim was a member of an ethnic minority.

The Urban School

The traditional historians had little use for cities or for the post-frontier period of Texas history. Fehrenbach allots 45 pages of a 719-page book to a chapter called &ldquoThe Twentieth Century.&rdquo The word &ldquoSpindletop&rdquo does not appear in his index. Cities hold no fascination for him. To the new historians, the glorification of the rural culture at the expense of the urban is a serious omission in Texas history. Char Miller, who moved from Miami to San Antonio in 1981 to teach history at Trinity University, notes that the most celebrated moment in Texas history, the Battle of the Alamo, was an urban event. As small as it was, San Antonio de Béxar was the biggest settlement west of the Mississippi in 1836, which, Miller says, is precisely why the Texans chose the mission as the best place from which to harass the enemy. Nevertheless, Miller notes, the Alamo became a symbol for rural virtue and valor.

Miller coedited a collection of historical essays called Urban Texas. He introduces it to his students by handing out copies of a short story written by Stephen Crane at the turn of the century, &ldquoThe Bride Comes to Yellow Sky.&rdquo Crane describes the drunken gunslinger who arrives in a Wild West town near the Rio Grande as &ldquo[a] man in a maroon-coloured flannel shirt, which had been purchased for purposes of decoration, and made principally by some Jewish women on the East Side of New York.&rdquo To Miller, the passage&rsquos deliberate connection between frontier and metropolis shows that the West was never isolated from the city. &ldquoBoots, clothing, barbed wire&mdashthey all came from manufacturers in cities,&rdquo he says. Portrayals of cattle drives as purely rustic are belied by their routes, which took them through cities the Chisholm Trail ran along San Antonio, Austin, Waco, and Fort Worth because these cities were not only collection points for cattle but also outfitting centers for saddles, ropes, and groceries.

The new urban historians have made some surprising findings about the development of Texas cities. Texas Southern University&rsquos Cary Wintz has used turn-of-the-century census data to outline the development of residential segregation in Houston. The same data, however, also showed that white and black families often lived on the same streets in those days and even roomed and boarded with each other. The rigid residential patterns of later years, Miller&rsquos research has shown, were the result of the growth of suburbs, where property was expensive and deeds often had racial exclusions.

Miller thinks it is silly for any rural symbols to define Texas today. Since 1950, most Texans have lived in urban areas, and for most of the twentieth century, cities were gaining population at a faster rate than the country. But when traditional historians write about Houston or Dallas, they focus on entrepreneurial giants and their virtues of rugged individualism. &ldquoDallas, San Antonio, Houston&mdashthey&rsquove all grown by intense government and business cooperation, drawing heavily on federal money,&rdquo Miller says. San Antonio was subsidized by military bases, Dallas by defense industries, Houston by a ship channel, federal investment for wartime petrochemical industries (arranged by Houston&rsquos Jesse Jones, who was both Secretary of Commerce and head of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation), and NASA. &ldquoI doubt,&rdquo says Miller, &ldquothat the Marlboro Man could have swung those deals.&rdquo

The Last Traditionalist

The one area in which traditional historians are no match for their mythic predecessors is the ability to bring history alive. Lone Star is, above all, a great read. &ldquoThe Texans,&rdquo Fehrenbach writes, &ldquocame closest to creating, in America, not a society but a people. . . . The closest 20th-century counterpart is the State of Israel, born in blood in another primordial land.&rdquo Into this holy territory, Sam Houston leads the charge at San Jacinto, &ldquohis heart thudding in a tremendous passion, cooly, cooly with his soldier&rsquos brain, knowing no power on earth was going to stop this headlong charge.&rdquo Melodramatic sometimes to a fault, Fehrenbach colors his language in the hues of an earlier time: The Indians are &ldquoStone Age savages,&rdquo blacks after the Civil War &ldquolacked motivation.&rdquo

But one can also find in Lone Star some of the very research of which the new social historians are so proud. To cite one such passage: &ldquoThe entire existence of this glittering cotton empire was based on the subordination and labor of the Negro slaves. There were 182,000 blacks in bondage in Texas, approximately one-third the entire population. Slavery was not completely popular. It was disliked by most free farmers, on racial, social, and competitive grounds.&rdquo Nor was Fehrenbach hostile to the cultures that the Texans conquered he has written admiring histories of both Mexico and the Comanche. His great difference with the social historians is that he does not approach nineteenth-century attitudes with a twentieth-century sensibility.

Today, at 73, Fehrenbach apologizes for the stale cigar smell of his office, but he makes no apology for his version of history: &ldquoRangers, cattle drives, Injuns, and gunfights may be mythology. But it&rsquos våre mythology.&rdquo These romances, he says, are vital to Texans&rsquo ability to see themselves as a people and to confront the future of the state. Nonsense, retort the revisionists. Let the old myths die so we can get on with the modern world, a world in which very soon the majority of Texans will be what are now called &ldquominorities.&rdquo Now if only someone would write a revisionists&rsquo version of the history of Texas.

&ldquoI&rsquom optimistic that someone could do a book that would say to the public, &lsquoHey, look how far history has come! Look how many different stories we have today,&rsquo&rdquo says Paula Mitchell Marks. But, she cautions, &ldquoIt&rsquos going to require tremendous care to include all the different groups who made the history and their various viewpoints. The danger is that in trying to address everything, the book could become clunky and pedantic.&rdquo To all this Fehrenbach shrugs. Common people will never accept the attempt to demythologize Texas&mdash&ldquoEspecially,&rdquo he says, &ldquoif the alternative is flabby multiculturalism.

&ldquoI have no real use for the present,&rdquo he allows. &ldquoI don&rsquot believe in social science or all those tables and statistics. All the great historians have been great writers. But most of the new ones write small things. Hell, I read three pages of their work and my eyes dull.&rdquo Lone Star, he says, &ldquorepresented the worldview of the native Texan of mid-century, of my generation. Now, whether it makes sense for the youth of the nineties, I couldn&rsquot tell you. Every generation has to rewrite its history&mdashthat&rsquos a normal, psychological reaction against the fathers. But the book has lasted almost thirty years. That&rsquos longer than I ever dreamed.&rdquo


Deconstructing History

In Deconstructing History, Alun Munslow examines history in the postmodern age. He provides an introduction to the debates and issues of postmodernist history. He also surveys the latest research into the relationship between the past, history and historical practice as well as forwarding his own challenging theories.

The book discusses issues of both empiricist and deconstruction positions and considers the arguments of major proponents of both stances, and includes:

  • an examination of the character of historical evidence
  • exploration of the role of historians
  • discussion of the failure of traditional historical methods
  • chapters on Hayden White and Michel Foucault
  • an evaluation of the importance of historical narrative
  • an up to date, comprehensive bibliography
  • an extensive and helpful glossary of difficult key terms.

Deconstructing History maps the philosophical field, outlines the controversies involved and assesses the merits of the deconstructionist position. He argues that instead of beginning with the past history begin with its representation by historians.


Forget the Alamo unravels a Texas history made of myths, or rather, lies

It doesn’t look like that will change any time soon. On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill creating “The 1836 Project,” designed to “promote patriotic education” about the year Texas seceded from Mexico. In other words, the law will create a committee to ensure that educational materials centering “Texas values” are provided at state landmarks and encouraged in schools. This comes on the heels of the “critical race theory” bill that has passed through the Legislature, which would restrict how teachers can discuss current events and teach history. The American Historical Association has described the bill as “whitewashing American history,” stating: “Its apparent purposes are to intimidate teachers and stifle independent inquiry and critical thought among students.”

Nevertheless, a new book co-authored by three Texas writers, Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford, urges us to reconsider the Alamo, a symbol we’ve been taught to fiercely and uncritically remember. The authors are aware that their book sounds like a desecration. Starting with the cover of Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of An American Myth, out this week from Penguin Press, the authors lean into associations of defacement with the title scrawled in what looks like red spray paint across an image of the old mission.

Written for popular audiences, the book challenges what the authors refer to as the “Heroic Anglo Narrative.” The traditional telling, which Texas public schools are still required to teach, glorifies the nearly 200 men who came to fight in an insurrection against Mexico in 1836. The devastation at the Alamo turned those men into martyrs leaving behind the prevailing story that they died for liberty and justice. Yet the authors of Forget the Alamo argue that the entire Texas Revolt — “which wasn’t really a revolt at all” — had more to do with protecting slavery from Mexico’s abolitionist government. As they explain it, and as Chicano writers, activists, and communities have long agreed, the events that occurred at the Alamo have been mythologized and used to demonize Mexicans in Texas history and obscure the role of slavery.

Taking a comprehensive look at how the mythos of the Alamo has been molded, Burrough, Tomlinson and Stanford paint a picture of American slaveholders’ racism as it made its way into Texas. In their stories of these early days, they peel back the facade of the holy trinity of Alamo figures: Jim Bowie, William Barret Travis and Davy Crockett. All three died at the Alamo and their surnames are memorialized on schools, streets, buildings, and even entire counties. They pull no punches describing Bowie as a “murderer, slaver, and con man” Travis as “a pompous, racist agitator” and Crockett as a “self-promoting old fool.”

In the nearly 200 years that followed the battle, we learn about the mechanics of how false histories were reinforced by patriotic white scholars and zealous legislators, including the “Second Battle of the Alamo,” when a Tejana schoolteacher fought to preserve a significant area of the compound. Ultimately she was silenced by the moneyed white elite in San Antonio who sought to transform it into a flashy park instead, and the authors suggest that this moment “represented the victory of mythmaking over historical accuracy.”

Well into the 20th century, it was rare that critical studies of the Alamo were taken seriously, although Latinx writers in the 1920s and Chicano activists in the 1960s wrote their own accounts of Tejano history. Starting in the middle of the century, Hollywood further cemented the profoundly conservative folklore through mass entertainment: In 1948, Walt Disney, fed up with left-leaning labor unions, made a television series on Davy Crockett to encourage “traditional” American values like patriotism, courage, self-sufficiency, and individual liberty, the authors write. John Wayne, a rabid anti-Communist, had similar motivations behind his vision for the film Alamoen, in 1960. Meant to draw parallels with the Soviet Union, Wayne’s characterization of Santa Anna was intended to portray “a bloodthirsty dictator trying to crush good men fighting for self-determination.”

Burrough, Tomlinson, and Stanford are all white male writers, which raises questions. Will this book be afforded the attention and legitimacy that related works by non-white authors haven’t been? Probably, but it shouldn’t. The authors are transparent about the fact that they are far from the first to present an alternative to the “Heroic Anglo Narrative,” and cite Latinx scholarship and perspectives throughout. “We trace its roots to the oral traditions of the Mexican American community, elements of which have long viewed the Alamo as a symbol of Anglo oppression,” they write early on. They dedicate multiple sections to the Mexican American experience of the Alamo myth, highlighting how widespread it is in the Latino community to experience shame and harassment within their school classrooms for being associated with the “bloody dictator” Santa Anna and being “the bad guys.”

The book is aimed at white readers and toward people who haven’t heard these alternative tellings before, which leads to a slightly more moderated tone, and despite their robust critiques, the authors seem conflicted about how strongly to indict Texas history overall. There’s still so much more to unravel about early Texas, especially for Native Americans, whose histories they rarely delve into: The story of the Alamo før 1800 — it was built in 1718 by Spanish missionaries to convert Indigenous people to Christianity — is reduced to about a page. Hvis Forget the Alamo becomes a definitive text of revisionist Texas history, there’s a serious question of whether non-white writers, activists, and scholars will ever get their due. There’s also a question of whether the truth they’ve voiced for generations will prevail: When will it finally be normal within Texas history scholarship to call the whole foundation rotten?

Still, the book provides strong, provocative critiques of U.S. imperialism and colonialism. The writers make clear that even before Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, U.S. presidents and Washington insiders were invested in — and had a hand in — destabilizing the region in the hopes of eventually annexing Texas. Forget the Alamo also turns to LBJ, who once said, “Hell, Vietnam is just like the Alamo,” and suggests that the patriotic, pioneering myth of the Alamo has been used to buttress justifications for war across the globe and to the present.

The myth of the Alamo, as we know it, is a lie. It’s been a part of the lie students have learned in school, and animates the lies peddled by legislation like the 1836 Project and the critical race theory bill. But if you want to truly remember the past, you first have to forget it.

This article was originally published by the Texas Observer , a nonprofit investigative news outlet.

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Articles Featuring Battle Of The Alamo From History Net Magazines

February 23, 1836, began the siege of the Alamo, a 13-day moment in history that turned a ruined Spanish mission in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Texas, into a shrine known and revered the world over. But what is it that makes this one battle so different from any other battle fought in the name of freedom? The people involved? Yes, that’s part of it. The issues at hand? Yes, that’s another part. Or can it be that the mysteries, myths and legends surrounding it are still tantalizing minds even today? Ja. Ja. Ja. All of these things have made the battle stand apart and have caused it to be so well remembered throughout the nation 160 years later. Yet, as historian Walter Lord said in 1960, ‘It is…a rash man indeed who claims he has the final answer to everything that happened at the Alamo.

History records three revolutions that led to the Battle of the Alamo. The first, the Spanish revolt against French occupation of Spain, occurred in 1808. Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain, and it took six years for Spanish resistance forces to oust the French emperor and restore Ferdinand VII to the throne. The fires of the Spanish revolt crossed the ocean, and in Mexico Father Miguel Hidalgo rang the bells of his small church in Dolores at midnight on September 15, 1810, to herald the beginning of the second revolution. This Mexican revolt against Spanish occupation traveled quickly across Mexico and into the northern frontier of the Mexican territory of Texas. San Antonio de Béxar, the capital of Texas, became a center of revolutionary activity and a haven for resistance fighters. One revolutionary, Captain Jose Menchaca, was captured by Spanish troops, shot and beheaded. His head was then stuck on a pole in front of the Alamo. Instead of setting an example for the other insurgents, however, Menchaca’s execution only added fuel to the revolt.

After an 11-year struggle, Mexico gained its freedom in 1821. Within that same year, Agustin de Iturbide, a Spanish general turned rebel and a hero of the revolution, became emperor of the new nation. But his regime was too extravagant for some tastes, and in no time a revolt led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna brought about Iturbide’s downfall and established a Mexican republic.

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Under Iturbide, American colonists had been allowed to settle in Texas. About the only condition to owning land was that all immigrant landowners had to be Catholic, an easy enough problem to overcome for non-Catholics. William Travis, for instance, became Catholic to purchase land, but remained a staunch Methodist until the day he died at the Alamo.

Unfortunately, the fledgling Republic of Mexico was born bankrupt and ill-prepared for self-government. In fact, during its first 15 years of independence, it had 13 presidents. All of them struggled for power, shifting between the liberal-leaning Federalists and the dictatorial Centralists. The first president was a Federalist, General Guadalupe Victoria, a hero of the revolution who had changed his name from Miguel Felix Hernandez to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, for his victory. It was he who established the liberal Constitution of 1824 that so infuriated Santa Anna and that would lead to the Battle of the Alamo 12 years later.

It was also during this tumultuous struggle for control of Mexico’s presidency that the northern territory of Texas was mostly neglected. When Mexico redefined its territories in 1824, Texas was the only separate territory to lose its independence. It was joined to Coahuila and the capital was moved from San Antonio de Béxar to Saltillo. Armed citizens gathered in protest. In September 1835, they petitioned for statehood separate from Coahuila. They wrote out their needs and their complaints in The Declaration of Causes. This document was designed to convince the Federalists that the Texans desired only to preserve the 1824 Constitution, which guaranteed the rights of everyone living on Mexican soil. But by this time, Santa Anna was in power, having seized control in 1833, and he advocated the removal of all foreigners. His answer was to send his crack troops, commanded by his brother-in-law, General Martín Perfecto de Cós, to San Antonio to disarm the Texans.

October 1835 found San Antonio de Béxar under military rule, with 1,200 Mexican troops under General Cós’ command. When Cós ordered the small community of Gonzales, about 50 miles east of San Antonio, to return a cannon loaned to the town for defense against Indian attack–rightfully fearing that the citizens might use the cannon against his own troops–the Gonzales residents refused. Come and take it! they taunted, setting off a charge of old chains and scrap iron, shot from the mouth of the tiny cannon mounted on ox-cart wheels. Although the only casualty was one Mexican soldier, Gonzales became enshrined in history as the Lexington of Texas. The Texas Revolution was on.

On December 5, 200 Texan volunteers commanded by Ben Milam attacked Cós’ troops in San Antonio de Béxar, which was about 400 yards from the Alamo compound. The fighting in Béxar raged with a house-to-house assault unlike anything the Mexican army had ever before experienced. Cós finally flew the white flag of surrender from the Alamo on December 9. More than 200 of his men lay dead, and as many more were wounded. He signed papers of capitulation, giving the Texans all public property, money, arms and ammunition in San Antonio, and by Christmas Day, the Mexican army was back across the Rio Grande. To the Texans, who lost about 20 men, including Ben Milam, the victory seemed cheap and easy.

The siege of Béxar and Cós’ surrender brought immediate retaliation from Santa Anna. He whipped together a force of 8,000 men, many of them foreign adventurers from Europe and America. One of his deadliest snipers was an Illinois man named Johnson! Santa Anna, the self-styled Napoleon of the West, marched at the head of the massive army he was determined to stamp out all opposition and teach the Texans a lesson. The word went out to his generals: In this war, you understand, there are no prisoners.

Although it was midwinter, Santa Anna pushed his army mercilessly toward Texas. The frigid, wind-battered deserts of northern Mexico took their toll. Men and animals died by the hundreds and were left on the trail, and the brigades strung out for uncounted miles. When the big siege guns bogged down in one of the many quagmires, Santa Anna pushed on without them. Nothing would stop him. Meanwhile, after the defeated Mexican force under General Cós had left San Antonio, Colonel James C. Neill had assumed command of the Alamo garrison, which consisted of about 80 poorly equipped men in several small companies, including the volunteers. The rest of the soldiers had returned home to their families and farm chores. In this command were an artillery company under Captain William R. Carey known as the Invincibles, two small infantry companies known as the New Orleans Greys under Captain William Blazeby, and the Béxar Guards under Captain Robert White.

On January 17, 1836, Sam Houston, the commander of the revolutionary troops, sent Colonel Jim Bowie and 25 men to San Antonio with orders to destroy the Alamo fortifications and retire eastward with the artillery. But Bowie and Neill agreed that it would be impossible to remove the 24 captured cannons without oxen, mules or horses. And they deemed it foolhardy to abandon that much firepower–by far the most concentrated at any location during the Texas Revolution. Bowie also had a keen eye for logistics, terrain, and avenues of assault. Knowing that General Houston needed time to raise a sizable army to repel Santa Anna, Bowie set about reinforcing the Alamo after Neill was forced to leave because of sickness in his family.

Colonel William Travis arrived in San Antonio on February 2 with a small cavalry company, bringing the total number of Alamo defenders to about 130. Although spies told him that Santa Anna had crossed the Rio Grande, Travis did not expect the dictator before early spring. He sent letter after letter, pleading for supplies and more men. He and Bowie also competed for command of the garrison before it was decided that Bowie would command the volunteers and Travis the regular army. On February 9, David Crockett and the 14 other Tennessee Mounted Volunteers (only three were actually from Tennessee) rode into San Antonio. Alarmed by the Mexican army on the outskirts of town, Travis vigorously renewed his pleas for help. His February 24 letter, To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World….I shall never surrender or retreat….Victory or Death! is considered one of the most heart-wrenching pleas ever written. Travis sent the message out with Captain Albert Martin.

The day before, February 23, Santa Anna had reclaimed San Antonio. To the triumphant music of a military band, he took possession of the town, set up headquarters on the main plaza, and began the siege. He had his standard-bearers climb to the top of the bell tower of San Fernando Church and unfurl the scarlet flag of no quarter. Inside the Alamo, Travis and the Texans fired their message to Santa Anna with a blast from their 18-pounder. They had their music, too, with Davy Crockett’s fiddle and John McGregor’s bagpipes. In fact, Davy’s fiddle-playing and outlandish storytelling kept up the spirits of the besieged defenders.

Santa Anna ordered his men to pound the fortifications with cannon and rifle fire for 12 days and nights. His idea was to wear out the defenders inside, giving them no chance for rest or sleep. He reasoned that a weary army would be an easy one to defeat. But the noise worked on his own army, too. Unable to hear clearly through the din, they allowed courier after courier to escape from the Alamo. On March 2, racing through the enemy’s lines, the last group to reinforce the Alamo arrived. These men were the relief force from Gonzales, the only town to answer Travis’ pleas to send help. The total number of Alamo defenders now stood at between 180 and 190.

At 4 o’clock on the morning of March 6, 1836, Santa Anna advanced his men to within 200 yards of the Alamo’s walls. Just as dawn was breaking, the Mexican bloodcurdling bugle call of the Deguello echoed the meaning of the scarlet flag above San Fernando: no quarter. It was Captain Juan Seguin’s Tejanos, the native-born Mexicans fighting in the Texan army, who interpreted the chilling music for the other defenders.

Santa Anna’s first charge was repulsed, as was the second, by the deadly fire of Travis’ artillery. At the third charge, one Mexican column attacked near a breach in the north wall, another in the area of the chapel, and a third, the Toluca Battalion, commenced to scale the walls. All suffered severely. Out of 800 men in the Toluca Battalion, only 130 were left alive. Fighting was hand to hand with knives, pistols, clubbed rifles, lances, pikes, knees and fists. The dead lay everywhere. Blood spilled in the convent, the barracks, the entrance to the church, and finally in the rubble-strewn church interior itself. Ninety minutes after it began, it was over.

All the Texans died. Santa Anna’s loss was 1,544 men. More than 500 Mexicans lay wounded, their groans mingling with the haunting strains of the distant bugle calls. Santa Anna airily dismissed the Alamo conquest as a small affair, but one of his officers commented, Another such victory will ruin us.

As many of the Mexican dead as possible were given the rites of the church and buried, but there were so many that there was not sufficient room in the cemetery. Santa Anna ordered all the bodies of the Texans to be contemptuously stacked like cord wood in three heaps, mixed with fuel, wood and dry branches from the neighboring forest, and set on fire–except one. Jose Gregorio Esparza was given a Christian burial because his brother Francisco was a member of General Cós’ presidio guards.

Six weeks after the Alamo, while the Mexican wounded still languished in San Antonio, Santa Anna met his Waterloo at San Jacinto. The men who died inside the walls of the Alamo had bought with their lives the time needed for General Sam Houston to weld a force that won Texas its independence. The great sacrifice would not be forgotten by history, nor would the Alamo’s many legends and stories, most of which can never be proved or disproved because all the defenders died.

One of the most enduring questions is whether Travis really did draw a line in the earth, the grand canyon of Texas, and ask all to step over who were willing to die for the cause. It is probably based on fact. Travis anticipated a battle to the death. Since he was also one for fairness, it’s logical to believe that he would give the men an opportunity to leave the ill-fated garrison. It is a fact that one man did leave. Louis Rose was from France, and he had already served in one bloody war as a noncommissioned officer in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. Before the final assault on the Alamo he left, sustaining many leg wounds from cactuses and thorns during his escape that plagued him the remainder of his life. Asked why he chose not to stay with the rest, he replied, By God, I wasn’t ready to die. It is Rose’s tale of the line in the dust that has become legend.

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Two of Santa Anna’s earliest opponents were Erasmo Seguin and his son Juan, of San Antonio. In fact, it was Juan who became one of the staunchest fighters for Texas freedom, forming his own band of Tejanos to stand alongside his Anglo counterparts. Juan Seguin was on a courier mission for Travis when the Alamo fell, but he vowed to one day honor the Alamo dead in a church ceremony, a ceremony that had been denied by Santa Anna. Legend claims that Seguin collected the ashes and placed them in a casket covered with black. Inside the lid, he had the names of Travis, Bowie and Crockett engraved. He then buried the casket. Hvor? No one knows. Shortly before his death, when he was in his 80s, Juan Seguin stated that he had buried the casket outside the sanctuary railing, near the steps in the old San Fernando Church. In 1936, repair work on the altar railing of the cathedral led to the unearthing of a box containing charred bones, rusty nails, shreds of uniforms and buttons, particles of coal, and crushed skulls. From that discovery arose a controversy that continues to this day. Are they the bones of the Alamo defenders? Many believe yes, but since the defenders did not wear uniforms, many others think not.

Questions also still remain about the death of David Crockett, who, without doubt, was the most famous defender of the siege. Shortly after the capture of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, rumors began to circulate that 49-year-old Crockett had not died alongside his men in the final moments of the Alamo. Conflicting testimony claimed that Crockett and a handful of others–including Lieutenant James Butler Bonham, who rode back into the Alamo on March 3 knowing full well that it was a death trap–survived the siege, only to be destroyed on the orders of an enraged Santa Anna a few minutes later. True…or not? No one may ever really know. But most people prefer to believe that Crockett died a heroic death inside the Alamo.

Davy Crockett was a national folk hero long before the events of the Alamo. Born August 17, 1786, in an East Tennessee wilderness cabin in what is now Greene County, he struck out on his own at the tender age of 12 to help drive a herd of cattle to Virginia. By 1813, he was serving as one of General Andrew Jackson’s scouts in the Creek War. He apparently did not enjoy fighting Indians and returned home as soon as his 90-day enlistment was up. In 1821, he was elected to the Tennessee Legislature for the first time, representing a district of 11 western counties in the state. He later served two terms in the United States Congress.

Crockett was always one for adventure. When defeated at the polls for a third term in Congress in 1835, he turned in typical Crockett fashion to the cause of Texan freedom as a way to completely cut off one phase of his life and begin another. Before leaving for Texas, however, he gave his constituents one last speech. He concluded …by telling them that I was done with politics for the present, and that they might all go to hell, and I would go to Texas. After arriving in San Antonio in early February 1836, Crockett and the other Tennessee Mounted Volunteers eventually retreated into the Alamo.

The old fortress spread over three acres as it surrounded a rough rectangle of bare ground, about the size of a gigantic city block, called the plaza. On the south side of this plaza and detached from the church by a distance of some 10 feet was a long one-story building called the low barracks. Adobe huts spread along the west side, which was protected by a 12-foot-high stone wall. A similar wall ran across the north side. A two-story building called the long barracks/convent/hospital covered the east side, along with the church, which sat in the southeast corner, facing west.

Crockett and his men defended a low wooden palisade erected to breach the gap between the church and the low barracks of the south wall. The position of the low barracks was in front of, and perpendicular to, the right side of the church–an area that is now covered in flagstone. This palisade consisted of two rows of pointed wooden stakes with rocks and earth between the rows. All combatants considered the position to be the most vulnerable and hardest to defend area of the fortress. But Crockett and the other Tennesseans were expert marksmen, the best the small Texan army had. They most likely held their position until death.

As news of Crockett’s death swept across America, some stories portrayed him as standing in the thickest of the fighting, using his trusty flintlock rifle Old Betsy like a club, until being cut down by Mexican bayonets and bullets. Well…maybe that’s the way it really happened. Then again…maybe not.

Minutes after the fighting ceased, Santa Anna instructed Alcalde Francisco Ruiz to identify the bodies of the dead Texans, especially those of the leaders. According to the alcalde, Toward the west and in a small fort opposite the city, we found the body of Colonel Crockett…and we may infer that he either commanded that point or was stationed there as a sharpshooter. The only logical explanation is that the small courtyard bounded by the palisade on the south, the church on the east and the hospital on the north, where Crockett and the Tennesseans were stationed, was considered a small fort all its own.

But one month later, the imprisoned General Cós told Dr. George Patrick that Davy Crockett had survived the battle. According to Cós, Crockett had locked himself in one of the rooms of the barracks. When the Mexican soldiers discovered him, Crockett explained that he was on a visit and had accidentally got caught in the Alamo after it was too late to escape. Cós further said that Crockett wanted him to intercede with Santa Anna, asking for mercy, which Cós agreed to do–only Santa Anna had ordered no quarter and was incensed at such a request. The Mexican leader refused to spare Crockett’s life.

In 1878, writer Josephus Conn Guild offered a similar version in which Crockett and five others survived the siege. When overrun by the Mexican soldiers, the Alamo survivors surrendered to General Manuel Castrillón under promise of his protection, …but being taken before Santa Anna, they were by his orders instantly put to death. Colonel Crockett fell with a dozen swords sheathed in his breast. Actually, much of the same story had appeared as far back as 1836, when the diary of Lt. Col. José Enrique de la Peña was published in Mexico City. When the diary was finally published in English in the 1970s, it stirred up those Americans who felt the heroic Crockett never would have surrendered.

Another account, from Mexican Sergeant Felix Nunez, related details of the death of a Texan on the palisade: He was a tall American of rather dark complexion and had a long buckskin coat and a round cap without any bill, made of fox skin with the long tail hanging down his back. This man apparently had a charmed life. Of the many soldiers who took deliberate aim at him and fired, not one ever hit him. On the contrary, he never missed a shot. He may not have been describing Davy Crockett, but who else dressed in that fashion?

Susanna Dickinson (sometimes spelled Dickerson), one of the noncombatant survivors of the battle, stated in her memoirs that she saw Crockett and a handful of others lying mangled and mutilated between the church and the two-story barrack building, and even remembered seeing his peculiar cap laying by his side, as she was led from the scene by a Mexican officer. Perhaps she had seen Crockett after his execution, which supposedly occurred near the front of the church. But some people just won’t buy a capture-execution scenario. And perhaps Reuben Marmaduke Potter had it right all along when he wrote, David Crockett never surrendered to bear or tiger, Indian or Mexican.

There is also a controversial story about the Alamo’s secondmost legendary figure. That story, which has never been proved one way or the other, says that Bowie was the last to die in the fighting at the Alamo.

Jim Bowie, whose exploits made his name familiar in almost every American home during his lifetime, was born about 1796 (in either Tennessee, Kentucky, or Georgia–sources vary). When Jim was in his teens, the family settled at Bayou Boeuf, Rapides Parish, La., where he later operated a sugar plantation with his brother Rezin. It was his involvement with the pirate Jean Lafitte in the slave trade, though, that earned him a measure of notoriety. In September 1827, he killed a man with his huge knife during a brawl on a Mississippi sandbar just above Natchez. It was the Vidalia sandbar fight that firmly established him as a legendary fighter throughout the South.

Bowie left for Texas in 1828 to settle in San Antonio de Béxar, where his land dealings made him modestly wealthy almost overnight. Bowie also became a Mexican citizen and married into the Mexican aristocracy, which, more than anything else, gained him the friendship, confidence and support of the Mexican population. By 1831, he was fluent in Spanish.

Since he had been a colonel in a Texas Ranger company in 1830, he carried this title and authority when he answered the call for Texan volunteers. The 40-year-old frontiersman and Indian fighter was described as a normally calm, mild man until his temper was aroused. Absolutely fearless, he gave orders to the volunteers at the Alamo while 26-year-old Colonel Travis, a disciplinarian, took charge of the regulars and cavalry. The difference in their personalities, coupled with the difference in their ages, resulted in the two men sharing a somewhat antagonistic competition for command of the entire garrison. On one point they did agree: The Alamo was the most important stronghold of Texas.

Sometime around February 21, 1836, Bowie decided to help construct a lookout post or gun garrison along one of the walls. Although there are conflicting opinions on what actually happened, most accounts think that he lost his balance on the scaffold and fell 8 feet to the ground, breaking either his hip or his leg. This incident has also been called hogwash by other historians, who claim that Bowie never suffered any accident while at the Alamo. Whether or not he also suffered from tuberculosis, diphtheria, or the dreaded typhoid pneumonia is also a matter of conjecture. In any event, Bowie’s incapacitation left Travis with full authority from that point onward.

Bowie took to his sick bed in the low barracks on or about the second day of the siege, and there’s little doubt that he would have succumbed to his illness in a matter of days had not the Mexican soldiers dispatched him when they did.

On the final day of the 13-day siege, legend claims that it was Crockett who stole into Bowie’s room and gave the sick man two pistols to be used for defense. Most accounts agree that Bowie was found dead on his cot, but since his nurse, Madame Candelaria, never told the exact same story twice about the sequence of events, who really knows what happened that day? Bowie probably participated in the battle, dying in the fall of the Alamo with the other defenders. But was he the last to fall? Everyone agrees that the last position to fall was the church, and Bowie wasn’t even close to the church. As the Mexican soldiers stormed over the walls of the compound, the defenders raced to the long barracks, where there was no exit, and to the church. None of them ferried a sick man on a cot.

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Still, the Mexican soldiers could have taken pity on Bowie when they saw him more dead than alive, prostrate on his cot in his room in the low barracks. In fact, an odd report claims that as the funeral pyres blazed high and soldiers heaped dead Texans on the pile, some soldiers carried out a man on a cot, a man the captain of the detail identified as no other than the infamous Bowie. Although the man was still alive, Santa Anna ordered him thrown into the fire along with the rest. Would Santa Anna be so cruel? Yes, especially if the man were a Mexican citizen fighting in the Texan army.

Although the fact remains that no one knows why some 188 men chose to die on the plains of Texas in a ruined Spanish mission that required at least 1,200 men to adequately defend all its acreage, their sacrifice brought Texas independence, which paved the way for expansion to the Pacific and added more than a million square miles to the American nation at that time. And because of their sacrifice, the Alamo is now a shrine respected and revered throughout the world. Remember the Alamo became the battle cry that broke Santa Anna’s back.

This article was written by Lee Paul and originally appeared in the February 1996 issue of Vill vest. For flere flotte artikler, må du abonnere på Vill vest magasinet i dag!


Referanser og ytterligere lesing

Daughters of the Republic of Texas. "History of The Alamo." The Official Alamo Website. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://www.thealamo.org/history/index.html>

Jerry Patterson. The Alamo: 300 Years of Texas History. San Diego: Beckon Books, 2004.

John Wayne. The Alamo (Film). Hollywood, CA: United Artists, 1960.

Richard G. Santos. "Mythologizing The Alamo." San Antonio Express News. 3 Mar. 1990, Volume 125: 6-C.

Ukjent. "The Alamo, Shrine of Texas Liberty." San Antonio Light. 18 Apr. 1926, Volume 45: 6.

Wild West History. "The Alamo: The Real Story (Wild West History Documentary)." YouTube. YouTube, 12 May 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oueKEtP1pl8>

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