Search This Blog

29 December 2015

The Importance of the Alamo in Westward Expansion By German Jack Fordern SASS Badge #101556

People came to Texas from all over the United States, and all over The Earth.  When they carved “GTT” on the door of their homes and were Gone To Texas, they brought their guns along with them.  Why were they GTT?  Many of them had nowhere else to go.  The fact of the matter is that our greatest Texas heroes were ejected from their previous lives for various reasons.  The newly opened colonization of Texas was a great place to commence anew.  They brought along their firearms, because the country was wild and unknown.  The opportunity to disappear and start over was not without mystery of what was waiting for them here.
Texas was part of the Mexican state Coahuila y Texas.  The government of México operated under The Mexican Constitution of 1830, which actually was not that bad.  Mexican El Presidente and Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna did not like the constitution, though, so he tossed it out.  This did not set well with so many of the Texas settlers who had come through the US; The Constitution of the United States was not too much different in 1835 than it is today.  When the Mexican army came to recover the now-famous Twin Sisters cannons protecting the people of Gonzales on 2 October 1835, the settlers finally had to fight for their rights.
The Alamo was actually defended twice during The Texas Revolution.  The record for the defenders was 1-1.  The famous 13 Days to Glory in 1836 was actually what you would call a Pyrrhic victory for Santa Anna though.  During that time, Sam Houston was allowed to stage a battle that he favored on the San Jacinto river near the city that now bears his name.  The result was that Texas gained independence.  In exchange for his life, Santa Anna returned to Mexico in shame, with Texas surrendered after the battle on 21 April 1836.  Santa Anna vowed to take up arms against Texas again if the new Republic ever joined the United States [and he was allowed to return to power].  He returned to Mexico City in shame that day.
Over the next 20 years, Santa Anna returned to power off and on several times in Mexico.  Amazingly enough, he was once again in power when Texas became the 28th of these United States.  The result was The Mexican War, which was won almost entirely as a result of the efforts of The Texas Rangers. I gave greater detail to this part of the story in a previous article.
Texas became part of the United States on 29 December 1845, as a result of The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  After The Mexican War, there was also something called the Gadsden Purchase, in which America bought a little bit more land from Mexico to settle up.  Of the 50 states, Texas is the only one annexed by treaty.
Quoting my own masters thesis Baptist Influence During the Republic of Texas, "According to the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the American government purchased nearly one million square miles of territory ceded by Mexico for the astonishingly low sum of $15,000,000. This land would become the states and territories eventually comprising all the future land area of the states of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada.  In addition, parts of modern states Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming were also acquired as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase."

German Jack Fordern is Texas historian and novelist Johnny Baker Jr. of Dallas, TX.  His historical novel, Burnt Alive in Gumption Junction, is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.  The book is also for sale at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum at Ft. Fisher in Waco, TX.

An Historical Texas Two Step by Johnny Baker Jr.

In all the experience I’ve gained to this date,
I have the proud and bless’d assurance of being from the state
Which has been owned throughout its history by Mexico, France, and Spain.
The 3 flags bringing the total to 6 can easily be named.
180 or 90 brave and strong took on Santa Anna at the Alamo,
But we became a sovereign nation with victory at San Jacinto.
A true blue, Lone Star Texas will tell anyone, with pride,
Texas annexed the United States, December 1845.
In a little less than another generation,
Texas joined 10 other states to form a Confederate nation.
There are few fond recollections from those years of history,
Led by President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The Age of the Outlaw rose from Reconstruction days,
And many came from Texas to live that evil way.
There came John Wesley Hardin, and a fellow named Sam Bass,
Who both met assassins’ bullets which would lay them under grass.
In the years since the reunion of the States with Texas soil,
We Texans found new sources of pride—in ranches and in oil.
Texas has become a legend, and it will live on without us,
Through Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove and a TV show called Dallas.
The Blue Bonnets ‘long the interstates will live after we’re all dead,
When generation yet unborne will crave a Bowl of Red.
Lay me to rest in side oats gramma, ‘neath a nest of mockingbirds.
Teach them the verses to “Beautiful Texas”—and not another word!

© 1995 and © 2015 BY John T. Baker Jr.