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Originally posted by Lemon.Fresh
Men such as William Travis, Juan Seguin, David Bowie, Davy Crockett, Gregorio Esparza and James Bonham, too name a few.
!edit on 2/24/2011 by Lemon.Fresh because: Errors fixed
Response to: A recent Houston Chronicle guest editorial contended that the "Alamo is a lie," the Texas War of Independence was for the retention of slavery and that Mexico under Santa Anna lost Texas because he took the "high road" on the slavery issue. Was Santa Anna the Abe Lincoln of Texas?
Were the Alamo Defenders defending slavery? Was slavery an issue in the Texas rebellion?
Eugene Barker in Public Opinion in Texas Preceding the Revolution (Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1911) states "the truth is, so far as one may judge from the absence of discussion of the subject in Texas, that slavery played no part in precipitating the revolution." Barker found only "three contemporary references which might indicate a potential connection between the slavery question and the revolution: (1) In a Fourth of July address intended to stir the colonists to resistance R. M. Williamson, a prominent radical, declared that the Mexicans were coming to Texas to compel the Texans, among other things, to give up their slaves (a broadside in the Bexar archives; "Publications" of So. Hist. Assn. VIII, 7-18). (2) In a letter of August 21,1835, Stephen F. Austin said "Texas must be a slave country. It is no longer a matter of doubt" (Quarterly of Tex.State Hist. Assn, XIII, 271). (3) On August 28 the radicals issued a circular in which they quoted H. A. Alsberry, who had recently returned from Mexico, as saying that the Mexicans boasted that they would free the slaves of the Texans and set them against their masters (Broadside in the Austin Papers)."
Von Holst in Constitutional History of the United States 11, 553: "Settlers came with their slaves from the slave States [to Texas]. In this the heads of individual persons may have been haunted by far-reaching projects; but I can find no support for the assertion that back of it there was a definite plan of the South."
Unlike the clash between North and South in the United States, slavery was a non-issue in the clash between Texians (and all Mexican Federalist and Constitutionalists) and the centralist Mexican dictatorship. However, the archives are replete with the agony and the struggle of Anglo and Hispanic Mexican Texians with the short and long term moral, economic, political and legal consequences of slavery (See Correspondence Concerning Slavery in Texas and Slavery in Early Texas by Lester Bugbee, 1898). In this respect, a full study and understanding of the struggle and unfolding of the institution of slavery within Texas in 1820-1836 is as far as one need look to see the complicated interplay of region, climate, economics, principle, law and race to understand the institution as it unfolded in the United States.
Was Santa Anna the Abe Lincoln of Texas?
To imply that the "Chameleon of the West," the one individual along with Creoles of similar vice-regal and corrupt self-serving philosophy, that represented the tragic subversion of the hope for a second democratic Federal republic in North America in the 19th century, can be in any way compared with Abe Lincoln is akin to claiming the same for Hitler, Stalin and Mao in the 20th century. It is an insult to the populist vision and sacrifices, however bloody, of Creole patriots Hidalgo, Morelos, Felix Hernandez (Guadalupe Hidalgo), Vicente Guerrero, Mier y Terán, and particularly reformers Gomez Farias who tried to work within the chaos of the Santa Anna regimes (see The Mexican Revolution). If Santa Anna was even intellectually capable of pondering, much less dissecting, the complicated moral, philosophical and economic issues related to human bondage and indenture, it was certainly a topic of no interest to him except to the extent that he could turn it to personal political advantage. Self-serving chameleonic personalities like Santa Anna enslaved the people of the great Mexican Republic both politically and economically from which Texas necessarily split and left a legacy from which their descendants are still recovering. A more appropriate comparison to Abe Lincoln in context of Texian history would be Stephen F. Austin or General Manuel Mier y Terán who strove unsuccessfully against hopeless odds to hold the Mexican-Texas "Union" together. For additional reading and links to the above, see Slavery in the DeWitt Colony and Texas.
Were the Alamo Defenders defending slavery? I am unaware of a complete personal history study on all Alamo Defenders which I hope will emerge sooner or later and for that matter all those in the service of Texian independence. However, there is no evidence that slavery even as a remote property issue would have been a motivational factor for the unique subset of defenders, the Gonzales Ranger Alamo Relief Force , who most clearly, aggressively and uniquely among Texians outside the garrison, demonstrated their willingness to defend the Alamo. This was after all "Houstonian" questions of doubt of centralist motives and resolve were disproved by the surrounding of the garrison and announcement of "deguello," no quarter by Santa Anna.
Of those from the DeWitt Colony capital Gonzales who successfully penetrated surrounding centralist lines, at least 22 were homestead and property owners (or members of families who were) of record in the colony, legal and loyal citizens of the Republic of Mexico. Not one was clearly a soldier of fortune, filibuster or adventurer. Three were civil servants of record, most were farmers and ranchers, two were merchants and two were skilled blacksmiths with shops in Gonzales, the best of developing regional Texian society. Not one (or their family) of record brought slaves into Texas or held a slave at the time. Although not for certain because of lack of records, this conclusion may extend to all Alamo Defenders from the DeWitt Colony whose contribution per resident was larger than any other single municipality or district of Texas. Members of families of the Municipality of Gonzales, who comprised only about 4% of the total population of Texas, accounted for 20% of the casualties at the Alamo. Put another way, over 4% of the total population of the DeWitt Colony, among them their most productive landholders, ranchers and farmers as well as merchants and civic leaders, died in the Alamo while total Alamo casualties represented less than 0.5% of the total population of Texas.
The personal histories, despite large gaps, of these Mexican citizens show clearly that they were motivated by immediate defense of family and their investment in the opportunity and promises given them by the libertarian principles of the Federal Republic of Mexico (see Andrew Kent story and William King family story). Personal loyalties to defenders in the garrison who were members of the community may have played a part. Secondary motivation was principle that they were defending personal and regional freedom to pursue a better life with minimal government interference, which most Anglo-Mexican immigrants had already gotten enough of in the land of their birth. This general conclusion may apply to the majority of Alamo Defenders and for that matter those who participated on the side of Texas and the Mexican Federalists, a surprising minority of Texas residents by the way, until the Mexican War of 1847.
The continuous struggle of self-righteous academics and other apologists as Señor Olvera ("The Alamo is a Lie" article) for self-serving centralists, who view the world through "race war" glasses, to put the image of loss of and fear of liberation of bonded blacks in the minds of these patriots as they rode to Bexar and penetrated centralist lines as well as their co-defenders in the garrison is an interesting exercise in sociology (socio-pathology?) rather than historical perspective. 08/09/98 War Room Alamo de Parras
[Ugartechea said that it would be useless to make explanations, unless the colonists would prove their loyalty by surrendering the radical leaders to the military authorities. This was later confirmed by Cos. The radicals were not surrendered and the commissioners went no further---Barrett and Gritten to Cos., Aug. 9, 1835, Bexar Archives; Publications of So. Hist. Assn., VIII, 343-344]
One issue notably absent from the Texas declaration--and from all previous Alamo movies--was slavery. Almost a quarter of the original American settlers in Texas owned slaves. When the Mexican government abolished the practice, Texans viewed it as yet another infringement on their liberty. "The colonists were overwhelmingly southerners," says William C. Davis, author of Lone Star Rising: The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic, "and they felt they needed slaves to capitalize on that vast arable land in the eastern part of the state." To take away slavery, they felt, was to take away Texas.
The issue of slavery became a source of contention between the Anglo-American (called that because they spoke English) settlers and Spanish governors. The governors feared the growth in the Anglo-American population in Texas, and for various reasons, by the early 19th century, they and their superiors in Mexico City disapproved of expanding slavery. In 1829 the Guerrero decree conditionally abolished slavery throughout Mexican territories. It was a decision that increased tensions with slaveholders among the Anglo-Americans.