Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Conquest of Texas


I’ve read a couple of good new Texas histories recently, H.W. Brand’s “Lone Star Nation” and William C. Davis’s “Lone Star Rising.” Now I’m reading Gary Clayton Anderson’s “The Conquest of Texas” and it’s a real page-turner for someone nuts about 19th century Texas politics.

Anderson points out the distance between the traditional historical narrative, “hagiography” he calls it, and later “revisionist” histories, and stakes out new ground. His book is subtitled “Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land.” He describes the political situation among the Mexican, Tejano, Texian, and Indian peoples, and the machinations between the groups. I was struck by the level of Indian immigration into Texas, not just the Cherokees, but many displaced tribes found their way into the mix.

He makes the case that the Texas revolution was fought over slavery, not the usual glurge about “freedom,” which should be news to the State Board of Education members who deny that the Civil War was fought over “the peculiar institution.”

One character shows the intractable nature of the immigration situation on the US/Mexico border. General Manuel de Mier y Teran was appointed head of the Mexican border commission in 1828. Four years later he “walked to the front of the old church of San Antonio de Padilla outside of Tampico, unscabbarded his sword, and fell on it. It was an honorable death for a tired but honorable man.”

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