Podcasts de historia

Deconstruyendo la historia: Alamo

Deconstruyendo la historia: Alamo


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Historia

Una licenciatura en historia proporciona a los estudiantes un conjunto de conocimientos históricos que les permite comprender los eventos locales, nacionales y globales, así como apreciar la variedad de diversidad cultural que conforma la comunidad mundial.

¿Que voy a aprender?

  • Construya argumentos históricos utilizando fuentes primarias y secundarias.
  • Describir narrativas históricas de múltiples opciones y regiones en el espacio y el tiempo.
  • Analice estas narrativas históricas desde diversas perspectivas.
  • Explique cómo los procesos espaciales han dado forma a estas narrativas históricas de personas y regiones.

¿Qué puedo hacer con este curso de estudio?

El plan de licenciatura ayuda a quienes buscan una carrera en la educación de estudios sociales. Las trayectorias profesionales adicionales incluyen educación superior, investigación, publicación, gestión de información, negocios, servicio público, derecho y otros puestos que requieren redacción eficaz, pensamiento interdisciplinario, habilidades de análisis de habilidades críticas, curiosidad y curiosidad.

¿Qué tiene de especial nuestro programa?

El curso de estudio de historia es especial debido a nuestros estudiantes y nuestra facultad. Los estudiantes que ingresan al curso de estudio de historia son asesorados por facultades de historia interesadas en que los estudiantes logren el éxito. El curso de estudio busca estudiantes con mentes inquisitivas. El curso de estudio busca estudiantes de diversos orígenes, con diversos intereses, listos para aceptar los desafíos de hoy. Los profesores están dedicados a fomentar la excelencia académica de los estudiantes, a desarrollar el pensamiento crítico, las habilidades de lectura y escritura de los estudiantes, y a la misión universitaria de producir ciudadanos informados y responsables.


El mito de Alamo se equivoca en la historia

La batalla de 1836 por el Álamo se recuerda como una historia de David contra Goliat. Una banda de tejanos muy superados en número luchó contra la opresión del dictador mexicano Santa Anna, aguantando el asedio el tiempo suficiente para que Sam Houston moviera la principal fuerza rebelde hacia el este y brindándoles un grito de guerra en la Batalla de San Jacinto. Como casi cualquier tejano le dirá, su heroico sacrificio convirtió al Álamo en la cuna de la libertad de Texas.

Los presidentes estadounidenses incluso han invocado el mito de Alamo para inspirar a sus ciudadanos en batallas de todo tipo, desde Lyndon B. Johnson durante la guerra de Vietnam hasta el entonces candidato George W. Bush, quien leyó el icónico "¡Victoria o muerte!" De William Travis. carta para inspirar al equipo de EE. UU. a ganar la Ryder Cup de 1999. Y en su último discurso sobre el Estado de la Unión, Donald Trump, quizás inspirando a los estadounidenses a una batalla interna, hizo referencia a “los patriotas de Texas [que] hicieron su última resistencia en El Álamo. El hermoso, hermoso Alamo ".

Sin embargo, la leyenda del Álamo es un cuento de Texas enloquecido. La historia real es una de inmigrantes blancos estadounidenses en Texas que se rebelaron en gran parte por los intentos mexicanos de poner fin a la esclavitud. Lejos de luchar heroicamente por una causa noble, lucharon para defender las prácticas más odiosas. Nuestra nueva comprensión de esta historia presenta a los estadounidenses una oportunidad que durante mucho tiempo se ha pasado por alto para corregir un mito racista que rodea a este monumento.

Los colonos anglosajones comenzaron a llegar a Texas desde Estados Unidos en la década de 1820, cuando era parte del México español. El gobierno español los quería como baluarte contra los comanche, pero estos nuevos tejanos tenían otra agenda. Querían aprovechar miles de acres de tierra en el valle del río Brazos que estaban disponibles a bajo precio para los colonos blancos, algunos de los cuales se usaban para cultivar algodón.

Cuando estas visiones dicotómicas se hicieron claras en 1822, un gobierno mexicano recién independizado en la Ciudad de México detuvo el establecimiento de nuevos asentamientos. El problema, según Stephen F. Austin, conocido como el "padre de Texas", era que el nuevo gobierno, que asumió el poder en una agenda de igualdad racial, no toleraría la esclavitud.

Los esfuerzos del gobierno mexicano por redactar una nueva constitución federal se estancaron. Uno de los puntos conflictivos fue la cuestión de la esclavitud. El nuevo gobierno quería que desapareciera la esclavitud, pero acabar con la práctica arruinaría a los colonos. Austin, "habló con cada miembro individual de la junta sobre la necesidad que existía en Texas ... de que los nuevos colonos trajeran a sus esclavos".

Y el gobierno mexicano no podía simplemente ignorar sus caprichos. Los colonos anglosajones se estaban apoderando cada vez más del lugar y podrían, si su número aumentaba lo suficiente, separar a Texas de México y unirse a los Estados Unidos, lo que, por supuesto, eventualmente sucedió.

Entonces, el gobierno mexicano llegó a un acuerdo con Austin. El acuerdo permitió a los colonos mantener a sus esclavizados pueblos, pero prohibió cualquier comercio posterior. La esclavitud echó raíces y, en 1823, Austin recibió permiso para aumentar la inmigración de los Estados Unidos.

Pero la constante rotación e inestabilidad en la Ciudad de México resultó problemática para los tejanos. En 1824, un nuevo gobierno propuso medidas para deshacer el entendimiento sobre la esclavitud. Un proyecto de ley prohibía el "comercio y tráfico de esclavos" y establecía que cualquier persona esclavizada que fuera traída a México sería considerada libre por "el mero hecho de pisar suelo mexicano".

Los colonos potenciales se dieron cuenta. Un posible colono de Mississippi señaló que lo único que impedía que "los hacendados ricos emigraran inmediatamente a la provincia de Texas" era la "incertidumbre que ahora prevalece" sobre la esclavitud. Y desde Alabama llegó un mensaje similar: “Nuestros habitantes más valiosos aquí poseen negros. ... Nuestros plantadores no están dispuestos a mudar sin antes tener la seguridad de que están asegurados por las leyes de su gobierno ". La oportunidad económica hizo que Texas fuera atractivo para los cultivadores de algodón, pero la incertidumbre política los hizo dudar. Su vacilación, a su vez, aumentó la presión sobre los legisladores mexicanos, que querían mantener el control de Texas, y sobre Austin, cuyo sustento dependía de lograr que más personas inmigrasen.

Finalmente, en 1824, una nueva constitución mexicana pareció resolver el problema dejando la cuestión de la esclavitud a los estados. El lugar de la ansiedad de Austin se trasladó a Saltillo, la capital del estado mexicano de Coahuila, al que pertenecía el territorio de Texas. La constitución estatal de 1827 permitió a los colonos importar personas esclavizadas durante seis meses más. Ese septiembre, sin embargo, otro nuevo gobierno en la Ciudad de México aprobó una serie de leyes que frenan la esclavitud.

Para 1828, los tejanos se habían asentado en una práctica insostenible: ignorarían las leyes contra la esclavitud aprobadas en la Ciudad de México.

Sin embargo, la discusión de que el gobierno podría hacer cumplir las leyes de 1827 llevó a hablar de guerra. “Muchos me han anunciado que habrá una revolución si la ley entra en vigor”, escribió un comandante militar mexicano en el este de Texas a un superior. “La colonia de Austin sería la primera en pensar en este sentido. Se formó para la esclavitud, y sin ella sus habitantes no serían nada ".

Esta charla de secesión trajo consigo medidas enérgicas por parte del gobierno mexicano, incluidos los impuestos sobre el algodón para pagar las instalaciones militares en Texas y una orden de cerrar la frontera con Estados Unidos. Austin se hundió en una depresión. México amenazaba los cimientos de la economía de los tejanos. “No se necesita nada más que dinero”, escribió Austin en una carta, agregando en otra, “y los negros son necesarios para lograrlo”.

Sin embargo, el algodón estaba en auge, lo que impulsó la inmigración ilegal a Texas. Los estadounidenses, aunque todavía son una minoría, estaban en camino de convertirse en mayoría. Este cambio demográfico aumentó los esfuerzos de México para controlar directamente Texas, incluida la aplicación de las leyes recién descubiertas. Los tejanos, acostumbrados a la obediencia a la carta de la ley mexicana, tomaron esta afrenta como una tiranía.

En abril de 1832, el gobierno mexicano cerró una laguna jurídica que permitía a los colonos reclasificar sus bienes humanos como sirvientes contratados. Esto finalmente prohibió la esclavitud, punto. Para Austin, esta fue la última gota. "Texas debe ser un país esclavista", le escribió a un amigo, "las circunstancias y la necesidad inevitable lo obligan".

Solo vio dos opciones: una estadidad mexicana separada para Texas con esclavitud legal o rebelión. “No queda ningún camino intermedio”, escribió.

Cuando el gobierno mexicano otorgó poderes dictatoriales a Santa Anna en 1834, los estados mexicanos se rebelaron, primero Zacatecas, luego Coahuila, que incluía a Texas. El ejército mexicano marchó hacia el norte para sofocar las rebeliones. En Matagorda, un grupo de colonos anglosajones declaró que venían “soldados despiadados” para “dar libertad a nuestros esclavos y hacernos esclavos”.

El liderazgo de Texas justificó la guerra como una lucha para preservar sus “derechos naturales” y, nuevamente esa palabra, su “propiedad”, es decir, sus trabajadores esclavizados.

Incluso en Washington estaba claro lo que impulsaba a los tejanos. Los abolicionistas denunciaron su insurgencia como la primera rebelión a favor de la esclavitud en el mundo. “La guerra que ahora se libra en Texas”, acusó el ex presidente y representante John Quincy Adams (Massachusetts), fue “una guerra por el restablecimiento de la esclavitud donde fue abolida. No es una guerra servil, sino una guerra entre la esclavitud y la emancipación, y se han hecho todos los esfuerzos posibles para llevarnos a esta guerra, del lado de la esclavitud ".

La revuelta de Texas pudo haber sido precipitada por los intentos torpes de los mexicanos de ejercer el control sobre su territorio, pero la causa subyacente fue lo único en lo que los inmigrantes estadounidenses y el gobierno mexicano habían estado en desacuerdo desde el principio: la preservación de la esclavitud.

Dado que sus defensores estaban luchando para formar lo que se convirtió en la nación esclavista más militante de la historia, los hombres que lucharon en El Álamo como Jim Bowie y William Travis intercambiaron personas esclavizadas, y Austin, el "padre de Texas", pasó años luchando por Para preservar la esclavitud de los ataques de los abolicionistas mexicanos, está claro que en lugar de una valiente defensa de la libertad, los hombres blancos que luchaban en El Álamo estaban luchando por su propia gente de color.

Para muchos en Texas, el Álamo es un santuario secular para los valores conservadores a la par con un monumento confederado, una metáfora que se hizo literal en 2019 cuando el Senado de Texas incluyó específicamente el Álamo en la legislación para proteger los monumentos confederados de la remoción. El debate sobre la historia de la supremacía blanca solo se ha expandido desde entonces, más recientemente en debates sobre la enseñanza de la teoría crítica de la raza y con el primer ajuste de cuentas nacional sobre la Masacre de Tulsa. Con el debate sobre nuestro pasado cada vez más tenso, reexaminar la historia del Álamo pone de relieve cómo la esclavitud jugó un papel en la formación del suroeste y cómo su impacto ha persistido, alimentando un espíritu en el núcleo de la identidad de Texas y, como el último estado de Trump. muestra de la Unión, que sigue animando la ideología conservadora.


La historia del sitio de Alamo se remonta a 10,000 años, conecta a los cazadores-recolectores indígenas y a los habitantes de la misión con los habitantes de San Antonio de la actualidad.

Ricky Reyes dirige una bendición de los nativos americanos durante la ceremonia "Amanecer en el Alamo" en el Alamo el 6 de marzo, el aniversario de la famosa batalla. Un panel de académicos discutió los vínculos de Alamo con los primeros pueblos indígenas del área durante un foro el martes por la noche.

Robin Jerstad / Robin Jerstad

Desde los primeros cazadores-recolectores indígenas hasta los habitantes de las misiones y los actuales San Antonio, el sitio de Alamo tiene una historia que data de más de 10,000 años, según los estudiosos.

El Comité Asesor de Ciudadanos de Alamo de 30 miembros celebró el primero de seis paneles de discusión esta semana para orientar un proyecto de $ 450 millones que incluye un museo, un centro de visitantes y un cambio de imagen de la plaza en la misión histórica y el sitio de la batalla.

Los debates comenzaron con & ldquoAlamo: un lugar para llamar hogar. & Rdquo

Para aquellos ansiosos por escuchar a los expertos hablar sobre el asedio y la batalla de 1836 que hicieron famoso al Álamo, el comité llevará a cabo una discusión, "Fuerte Alamo", a las 5:30 p.m. 27 de julio. Martes & rsquos exchange estableció el escenario para esa batalla, detallando los orígenes del pueblo colonial español conocido como San Antonio de B & eacutejar que incluyó la fundación en 1718 de la Misión San Antonio de Valero. Esa misión se trasladó dos veces antes de establecerse en 1724 y convertirse en la primera misión local hispano-indígena permanente, y más tarde en el puesto militar llamado El y Aacutelamo.

A pesar de su ubicación remota, grupos hostiles, brotes de enfermedades y otras duras condiciones de la frontera, San Antonio tenía una belleza natural, agua que fluía del río y arroyos cercanos, una abundancia de pedernal utilizada para herramientas o armas y una topografía que permitió la construcción de acequias, una técnica de ingeniería antigua que utiliza la gravedad para mover agua para uso agrícola y personal.

Clinton McKenzie, arqueóloga del proyecto del Centro de Investigaciones Arqueológicas de la Universidad de Texas en San Antonio, dijo que los indígenas conocidos como Coahuiltecans, que ocuparon cinco misiones locales a lo largo del río, han tenido un impacto duradero, ya que la aldea se ha convertido en un ciudad moderna de Estados Unidos.

"Todavía son parte de nuestra comunidad hoy, en todo San Antonio, en todo el sur de Texas", dijo durante la reunión en el Museo Witte.

Los misioneros españoles, junto con soldados y artesanos, contribuyeron a la aldea creando lugares de reunión y mdash y, lo más importante, relaciones y mdash con y entre los pueblos indígenas que se convirtieron en súbditos españoles, dijo el erudito de historia de Texas Jes & uacutes F. & ldquoFrank & rdquo de la Teja. Los frailes no tenían agendas sociopolíticas pero "querían dejar atrás comunidades permanentes" y lo hicieron. "

Aunque San Antonio siempre ha sido una ciudad militar y un imán para los visitantes, también ha sido diversa y una comunidad que se encuentra bajo una tensión constante para redefinirse a sí misma, dijo de la Teja.

& ldquoLa comunidad nunca fue homogénea. Era heterogéneo y siempre estaba cambiando ”, dijo.

En una narrativa de apertura, Melissa Simmons, diseñadora de exhibiciones con la consultora del proyecto Alamo PGAV Destinations, señaló que la Revolución de Texas de 1835-1836 puso un tremendo estrés en los tejanos y sus familias que habían vivido durante décadas en la región. Todos corrieron el riesgo de muerte y pérdida de propiedades, ya sea que se pusieran del lado del gobierno mexicano o del movimiento independentista, o huyeron, tratando de permanecer neutrales.

Andr & eacutes Tijerina, un autor y erudito radicado en Austin, dijo que los revolucionarios tejanos descienden de las misiones. Señaló que José Toribio Losoya, un defensor del Álamo que murió en la batalla de 1836, había crecido en Mission de Valero después de que se secularizó.

& ldquo¿Quieres un verdadero tejano? ¿Qué tal uno que nació en El Álamo? ”, Dijo Tijerina.

Al exponer la palabra & ldquohome & rdquo durante sus comentarios, Tijerina desafió al comité a seguir un camino para el proyecto que conecte y beneficie a las familias de los primeros tejanos, incluidos muchos que viven hoy en San Antonio & rsquos en los lados sur y oeste, y a preservar el centro de la ciudad como un espacio de reunión pacífica.

& ldquoEs necesario incluir a toda la familia. Y tú & rsquoll necesitas incluir a toda la comunidad & rdquo, dijo Tijerina.

Los funcionarios del proyecto han dicho que las charlas brindarán orientación para futuras exhibiciones y presentaciones, así como también apoyarán uno de los principios rectores del proyecto y rsquos, para "abrazar el continuo de la historia para fomentar la comprensión y la curación".


Deconstruyendo la historia

En Deconstruyendo la historia, Alun Munslow examina la historia en la era posmoderna. Ofrece una introducción a los debates y cuestiones de la historia posmodernista. También examina las últimas investigaciones sobre la relación entre el pasado, la historia y la práctica histórica, además de presentar sus propias teorías desafiantes.

El libro analiza cuestiones de posiciones tanto empiristas como deconstrucción y considera los argumentos de los principales defensores de ambas posturas, e incluye:

  • un examen del carácter de la evidencia histórica
  • exploración del papel de los historiadores
  • Discusión del fracaso de los métodos históricos tradicionales.
  • capítulos sobre Hayden White y Michel Foucault
  • una evaluación de la importancia de la narrativa histórica
  • una bibliografía completa y actualizada
  • un glosario extenso y útil de términos clave difíciles.

Deconstruyendo la historia mapea el campo filosófico, esboza las controversias involucradas y evalúa los méritos de la posición deconstruccionista. Sostiene que en lugar de comenzar con el pasado, la historia comienza con su representación por parte de los historiadores.


Olvida el Alamo

Una nueva generación de académicos está reescribiendo la historia de Texas para desacreditar los mitos, explorar lo que se pasa por alto y encontrar el heroísmo en la vida cotidiana de las mujeres y las minorías, todo mientras se defiende de las acusaciones de "multiculturalismo flácido".

Con todo lo que T. R. Fehrenbach y David Montejano tienen en común, uno podría pensar que serían amigos para beber, o al menos se encontrarían en algún momento para tomar un café. Ambos son historiadores de Texas de San Antonio. Ambos han escrito libros muy elogiados sobre el pasado del estado y los rsquos. El premio anual de la Comisión Histórica de Texas y rsquos a la mejor obra de la historia de Texas lleva el nombre de Fehrenbach y ha sido ganado por Montejano. Sin embargo, los dos autores ni siquiera han tenido una conversación. Si le mencionas a uno de ellos el tipo de historia que le gusta escribir al otro, es probable que no provoques más que una risa sardónica.

Alguna vez la provincia exclusiva de algunos académicos conocidos (la mayoría de ellos en la Universidad de Texas, como Eugene Barker y Walter Prescott Webb) e historiadores aficionados (desde Fehrenbach hasta el folclorista J. Frank Dobie), la historia de Texas hoy está floreciendo y mdashand factionalizing & mdashas nunca antes. Se ha dicho que la historia es lo que una época encuentra de interés en otra, y los historiadores de nuestra época están encontrando muchas cosas en las que estar interesados ​​que sus predecesores pasaron por alto. Los historiadores tradicionales tendían a escribir sagas y mdashnone míticas y arrolladoras, una más arrolladora o mítica que los best-sellers de Fehren bach & rsquos. Solitario Estrella: Una historia de Texas y los tejanos, publicado por primera vez en 1968.

Los nuevos historiadores de Texas se pueden encontrar en universidades de todo Texas y más allá, escribiendo tratados académicos que están cambiando la forma en que los tejanos contemporáneos ven su estado. Los historiadores míticos escribieron en generalidades, prefirieron la anécdota a los detalles fácticos y se centraron en los héroes, los eventos heroicos y la singularidad de Texas. Los nuevos historiadores sociales, o revisionistas, como se llaman a sí mismos, examinan minuciosamente los datos del censo y los registros de los juzgados y recrean las realidades de la vida cotidiana. Se concentran en cuestiones de raza, clase y género que los historiadores del panorama general suelen pasar por alto. Comparten una antipatía por la idea mítica de que la historia tiene una trama, como el Destino Manifiesto o el Progreso, ven la historia sin dirección, una historia continua de conflicto y contacto entre grupos.

¿Recuerdas el Alamo? Hoy en día, los historiadores rsquos preferirían olvidarlo y redefinirlo. Fehrenbach, miembro honorario de los Hijos de la República de Texas, ha participado en los rituales grupales & rsquos en el Álamo, pero David Montejano (pronuncia su primer nombre al estilo mexicano, con el acento en la segunda sílaba), a pesar de su San Antonio crianza, nunca puso un pie en El Álamo como turista (aunque lo ha hecho como erudito). Los nuevos historiadores no romantizan la frontera, no rinden homenaje a los movimientos de ganado y la violencia fronteriza, no condenan a los yanquis y no les importa cómo murió Davy Crockett. Influenciados por la agitación cultural de los años sesenta, estudian no solo a los héroes sino a la gente común, y no solo a los hombres blancos, sino a las mujeres, los negros, los mexicoamericanos y los inconformistas, desde abolicionistas hasta organizadores laborales. En lo que a ellos respecta, la fascinación por el Álamo simboliza todo lo que está mal en la historia de Texas.

Estrella solitaria no corre peligro de ser relegado a la basura histórica. Los nuevos libros de historiadores y rsquo son publicados por imprentas universitarias y comprados en catálogos, la mayoría se consideraría un gran éxito si vendieran tres mil copias. Estrella solitaria, mientras tanto, también lo ha hecho unas cien veces y sigue vendiéndose en las principales librerías. Este año saldrá una nueva edición, el libro & rsquos trigésimo aniversario. Pero la vanguardia de la historia de Texas pertenece claramente a los nuevos historiadores, en parte porque de hecho se ha dejado mucho fuera de la historia de Texas y en parte porque el camino para que los historiadores avancen en esta era no heroica es escribir historia no heroica. Los nuevos historiadores se influyen no solo entre ellos y en sus estudiantes, sino también en los autores de libros de texto que escriben la versión oficial de la historia que se enseña en las escuelas de Texas. Esta es la historia de Texas como la está aprendiendo la próxima generación de líderes de Texas, y el efecto en la forma en que los tejanos ven su estado será profundo.

La escuela tejana

La visión tradicional de la historia de Texas con respecto a los mexicoamericanos es que la sociedad angloamericana se enfrentó a la sociedad hispanoamericana de frente, y los angloamericanos prevalecieron debido a su superioridad cultural. Webb, en Los Texas Rangers, Expresó la opinión predominante de la inferioridad mexicana cuando escribió en 1935: "Hay una veta cruel en la naturaleza mexicana, o eso es lo que la historia de Texas nos haría creer". Esta crueldad puede ser una herencia de los españoles de la Inquisición, puede, y sin duda debe, atribuirse en parte a la sangre india. & Rdquo

Una nueva generación de académicos surgió con el movimiento político y cultural chicano de finales de los sesenta y principios de los setenta. Después de un siglo de erudición que consideraba a los anglosajones como héroes y a los mexicoamericanos como indignos, los primeros historiadores tejanos tendían a revertir la ecuación de formas igualmente simplistas. Le dieron a sus obras títulos como América ocupada: la lucha de los chicanos y los rsquos por la liberación y Extranjeros en su tierra natal. En una disertación de 1978 publicada más tarde como Los llamaron engrasadores, Arnoldo de León escribió que los anglo-texanos del siglo XIX que vieron víctimas de asesinato de piel morena a menudo los ignoraban debido a la creencia común de que la dieta picante de los "quogreasers" hacía que sus cadáveres fueran inmunes a la descomposición. Los primeros eruditos tejanos parecían considerar a todos los mexicoamericanos, incluso a los bandidos y matones, como víctimas o héroes.

Lo último de la historia de Texas

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

La resurrección de Bass Reeves

Un cantante negro pionero y composiciones rsquos, olvidadas hace mucho tiempo, pueden finalmente tener público

Conozca al artista detrás de Galveston & rsquos New June 19th Mural

Cuando la biblioteca LBJ cumple 50 años, el hombre que planeó su dedicación recuerda algunas sorpresas

¡La próxima batalla del Álamo!

Sin embargo, desde finales de los setenta, la Escuela Tejana se ha concentrado más en disputar algunos de los viejos mitos, como la pasividad política de los mexicoamericanos. La historiadora de la Universidad de Houston Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., ha demostrado cómo los mexicano-estadounidenses desafiaron la segregación de sus hijos en las escuelas públicas, y la profesora de Texas A & ampM Julia Kirk Blackwelder ha escrito sobre las mujeres organizadoras laborales en el lado oeste de San Antonio durante la Depresión. era pecan pecan y huelgas rsquo. La Escuela de Tejano ya no es competencia exclusiva de los historiadores mexicoamericanos, o de los tejanos, para el caso.

El trabajo más influyente sigue siendo David Montejano & rsquos Anglos and mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836& mdash1986. Publicado en 1987, es el libro que ganó el premio Fehrenbach para su autor, quien es el director del Centro de Estudios Mexicoamericanos de la UT-Austin. Montejano tiene un doctorado en sociología, pero su obra es inconfundiblemente histórica. Anglos y mexicanos examina las relaciones económicas, sociales y raciales de los dos grupos y demuestra que no todos los anglos discriminaban a los mexicoamericanos y que no todos los mexicoamericanos sufrían el mismo nivel de discriminación. Mucho dependía de cuánto tiempo hubiera vivido un mexicano o un anglo en Texas, de lo que hiciera para ganarse la vida, así como del estatus social. Montejano descubrió, por ejemplo, que durante el apogeo de la segregación laboral y social a principios del siglo XX en Laredo, los comerciantes y políticos anglosajones favorecían la igualdad para los mexicoamericanos más que los agricultores y ganaderos porque la igualdad era buena para los negocios.

Montejano ve su misión como escribir una historia más verdadera que obras como Webb & rsquos Los Texas Rangers, en el que heroicos Rangers se enfrentan a residentes fronterizos que son descritos como una "horda mexicana", "un" quomob "y" bandidos ". En la fotografía de Montejano que aparece en la cubierta de su libro, posa con su mejor sonrisa irónica y una copia de Los Texas Rangers en la mano. Cuando firma copias de su libro, se sabe que escribe, & ldquoCuando reclamamos nuestra historia, reclamamos nuestro destino & rdquo: Cuando reclamamos nuestro pasado, reclamamos nuestro futuro.

La escuela del renacimiento del sur

Los historiadores tradicionales de Texas siempre han encontrado doloroso asociar el estado con el Sur vencido y humillado. Antes de la Guerra Civil, Texas era un estado relativamente próspero con una próspera economía basada en el algodón. Durante años, fue uno de los más pobres. Durante la Depresión, los historiadores aprovecharon el optimismo de Occidente y trataron de poner distancia entre Texas y su pasado confederado. Esta fue la época en la que Texas comenzó a ser considerado como un estado occidental en lugar de sureño y mdasha formado por la ganadería en lugar de la agricultura, el ganado en lugar del algodón, el petróleo en lugar de la madera, la escasez de agua en lugar de su abundancia, la áspera frontera igualitaria en lugar de la gentileza. plantador de la aristocracia y, por supuesto, héroes en lugar de perdedores.

Robert Calvert se irrita con esa charla. & ldquoTexas es sureño & rdquo, dice el profesor de historia de A & ampM. “Nunca pude relacionarme con la parte de la ganadería en la historia de Texas. La ganadería no era mi experiencia. Mi familia comenzó como la mayoría de los tejanos, como terratenientes involucrados en la economía del algodón. Pero en 1890, más de la mitad de la población, incluidos los blancos, se redujo a la aparcería. Mi abuelo fue uno de ellos. & Rdquo

La voz de Calvert & rsquos está tan afilada con un buen acento de chico viejo que es difícil imaginarlo envuelto en un flap revisionista. Pero eso es lo que pasó hace unos años. Los miembros de la junta escolar local estaban considerando nombrar un campus para William Barrett Travis, y Calvert, según el periódico local, había objetado que el legendario mártir de Alamo era un mujeriego, un comerciante de esclavos, un asesino de renombre y un enfermo de enfermedades venéreas. Aunque el crítico fue en realidad uno de sus colegas, Walter Buenger, Calvert luego avaló todos los cargos. (La junta escolar cedió y nombró a la escuela por un educador negro).

Parece asombroso que hoy en día los historiadores de Texas tengan que esforzarse para demostrar los lazos con Texas y el sur. Randolph & ldquoMike & rdquo Campbell, nativo de Virginia, esperaba extrañar su estado natal cuando llegó a la Universidad del Norte de Texas en Denton hace tres décadas para enseñar historia. Pero, recuerda, "no noté ninguna diferencia entre las actitudes que se oye expresar en Virginia en lo que respecta a las escuelas, el papel del gobierno estatal y nacional, la raza y las actitudes que comunican en Texas". Cuando comencé a escuchar a mis alumnos, me di cuenta de que no tenían idea de que este es un estado del sur o que la esclavitud era realmente importante aquí.

Campbell intentó remediar la situación escribiendo Un imperio para la esclavitud, publicado por LSU Press en 1989. Señala que en vísperas de la Guerra Civil, más de una cuarta parte de las familias de Texas poseían esclavos, y los bienes humanos constituían el 30 por ciento de la población del estado y rsquos y mdashfigures que coinciden con la Virginia y rsquos anteriores a la guerra. Un imperio para la esclavitud está repleto de notas a pie de página que, si las siguiera hasta su fuente, lo llevarían a las morgues de los periódicos y los juzgados del condado de muchas ciudades de Texas. Allí desenterró los esqueletos en descomposición de la economía esclavista: registros testamentarios amarillentos en los que los granjeros legan esclavos a sus hijos e hijas, recibos que cuentan el alquiler de esclavos a otras granjas y registros que muestran cómo los ingresos de los esclavos alquilados pagaban la matrícula a los niños blancos y rsquos. escuelas de lujo.

Walter Buenger, colega de Calvert & rsquos A & ampM, aborda el problema de por qué, quince años después de que Texas votara abrumadoramente para unirse a la Unión, votó abrumadoramente a favor de la secesión. Miró a los secesionistas y encontró muchos inmigrantes recientes del sur. Pero también hubo inmigrantes sin tradición de esclavitud que no aspiraban a poseer esclavos. Y los agricultores anglosajones cercanos al río Rojo tampoco tenían ningún interés en la esclavitud porque no podían enviar algodón al mercado, cultivaban cultivos como el maíz que no requerían la ayuda de esclavos. Para 1861, tantos tejanos estaban luchando por la esclavitud y la secesión que partes del estado estaban cerca de su propia guerra civil.

Buenger usa una metáfora poco probable para describir el mal uso de la historia de Texas: El Álamo. "Originalmente tenía un techo absolutamente plano", dice. Luego, en la década de 1840, agregaron ese arco de piedra caliza característico que ves ahora. Para la década de 1890, el edificio estaba en ruinas, pero cuando comenzó la conservación, en lugar de volver al techo plano original, volvieron al techo añadido. Para mí, así es como funciona la historia de Texas. Nunca vuelves a lo real, vuelves a lo que se agregó después del hecho. & Rdquo

La escuela de Mild West

Para muchos de los nuevos historiadores, los verdaderos héroes de la frontera eran los desconocidos. En Austin, la profesora de la Universidad St. Edward & rsquos, Paula Mitchell Marks, descubrió que la tela revela la cultura. "Un trozo de tela hecha en casa puede decirnos mucho sobre las realidades y los matices de la vida de una mujer, de la vida de una comunidad, en el Texas del siglo XIX", escribe en su introducción a Hands to the Spindle: Texas Women and Home Textile Production 1822 & mdash1880. Marks descubrió que Stephen F. Austin prefería la tela hecha en casa a la tela producida en masa en su naciente colonia para que todos parecieran estar en el mismo nivel económico. El periódico de la colonia Austin & rsquos advirtió que la tela fabricada produciría & ldquodamsels & rdquo que se protegían las uñas y buscaban & ldquogaudy vestirse & rdquo.

En archivos y bibliotecas, Marks ha encontrado diarios y cartas, así como relatos del comercio fronterizo de Texas en todo, desde telas hechas en casa hasta huevos de gallina. Los documentos revelan que muchas mujeres fronterizas eran los pilares económicos de sus familias. Estaban infinitamente ocupados con la producción de alimentos, hilado, tejido y otras tareas que ayudaron a mantener a sus familias. Esta mano de obra femenina, dice Marks, hizo posible la guerra, la politiquería, la especulación de la tierra y otros negocios masculinos que ocupan los libros de historia tradicionales.

Los historiadores de la frontera de Texas son más que multiculturalistas, también desacreditan los mitos. Tomemos la noción de que las ciudades fronterizas eran focos de violencia armada: ¿Puede haber alguna idea más central para la idea de Occidente de Hollywood? 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 nuestro 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 El Alamo, 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 antes de 1800 — it was built in 1718 by Spanish missionaries to convert Indigenous people to Christianity — is reduced to about a page. Si 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? Si. Si. Si. 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.

Suscríbase online y ahorre casi un 40%.

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. ¿Dónde? 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 Salvaje oeste. Para obtener más artículos excelentes, asegúrese de suscribirse a Salvaje oeste revista hoy!


Referencias y lectura adicional

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.

Desconocido. "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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