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The Alamo battle is a historical event that marked Texas revolution. In the early 19th century, tension begun to grew between Texans and Mexicans when Mexican president Santa Anna increased his imperial powers and planned to conquer and rule Texas. Alarmed by his imperial powers, federalists in Texas revolted and rebelled against Santa Anna and his government.
Mexican authorities attributed rebellion of Texans to a great number of American immigrants who lived in Texas. Angered by external support that Texans received from Americans, Santa Anna classified foreigners as pirates and vowed to execute them during battles. Santa Anna executed all war captives, for he wanted to annihilate Texans and American immigrants. On the other hand, Texans led by James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett prepared troops to defend Texas from aggression of Mexican troops.
Eventually, the series of battles culminated into Alamo battle that revolutionized Texas and earned them independence. According to Hutton (2011), during the battle of Alamo, Santa Anna troops killed over 200 rebels plus their commanders, Davy Crockett, William Travis, and Jim Bowie (26). Texans ultimately avenged and conquered Mexican army in the battle of San Jacinto and gained their independence Therefore, had it not been for the battle of Alamo, Texas could still be part of Mexico.
Background of the Alamo Battle
During early 19th century, Mexicans and Texans had no enmity since they respected each other. Both Texans and Mexicans had federalism form of government that gave them freedom to exercise their rights. Hence, there were limited chance of any tension between them to ensue. Then, Texans and Mexicans coexisted peaceful since there was no enmity that existed between them.
However, events that culminated into battle of Alamo created tension between Mexicans and Texans. Mexicans felt threatened by Texans and thus planned to conquer and rule them. Led by Santa Anna, Mexicans saw that they were more powerful than Texans were, and therefore, planned to conquer and rule them. Santa Anna saw that conquering Texas would give him an opportunity to expand Mexican territory.
Realizing that Santa Anna was gradually gaining imperial powers that he intended to use them against Texas, Texans became rebellious and begun to prepare for defensive battles against the Mexican army who were ready to attack and conquer them. Hutton (2011) argues that Texian rebels under Crockett, Bowe, and Travis prepared their army to war against Santa Anna army (p27). Therefore, imperial powers of Santa Anna precipitated rebellion of Texans and subsequently led to Alamo battle.
Moreover, building of Alamo complex, which later acted as a Texans’ fortress of Texian army alarmed Santa Anna because he viewed it as a military training ground that seeks to empower Texas. Alamo complex acted as a hospital, mission, and military post, which seemed to boost growth of Texas relative to Mexico.
Santa Anna attributed increasing dominance of Texas to a high number of American immigrants who supported building of Alamo complex. Therefore, Alamo complex increased tension between Mexicans and Texans because it alarmed Santa Anna to prepare his army and conquer it before Texas overturns Mexico in political, military, and social capacity. Santa Anna termed American immigrants as pirates who need annihilation for they have triggered and created rebellion in Texas against Mexicans.
According to Turner (1988), while Mexicans were fighting to expand their territory by conquering Texas, Texans were busy fighting to achieve free, peaceful, and just society (Para. 2). Thus, such difference culminated into Alamo battle. Therefore, had it not for differences that culminated into Alamo battle, Texas could still be part of Mexico.
The Alamo Battle marked the climax of enmity between Mexicans and Texans as Santa Anna made a deadly attack on Texans. Santa Anna prepared his army and mobilized them to attack and conquer Alamo, which was a fortress of Texian army.
Mexican army made a tactical approach of Alamo on 23 February 1836 and caught Texian army when they were entirely unprepared. Ambushed by the Mexican army, Texian commanders, James Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett made desperate attempts to mobilize their army but it was too late. Mexican army attacked Alamo fortress, conquered it and killed about a third of Texian army.
Among those killed were the three commanders, Bowie, Travis, and Crockett. The Alamo battle cost Texas substantial number of soldiers as about 500 soldiers died and thousands of Texans maimed while thousands were displaced from their homes. According to Groneman and Ross (2011), the Mexican army defeated and conquered Texian army because they outnumbered and ambushed them (p.39).
The Mexican army caught Texian commanders when they were unprepared for the battle and killed them mercilessly together with their army. The Mexican attack demonstrated that Santa Anna wanted to annihilate Texans and expand his territory in favor of Mexicans. Hence, Texans decided to emancipate themselves from tyranny government of Santa Anna.
In addition, during the battle, Santa Anna enforced no prison policy in that all captives underwent execution. All war captives including women and children faced execution because Santa Anna was so angry with rebellious Texans. Santa Anna accused United Sates of assisting Texans in rebellion and spiting his supremacy.
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Ultimately, Santa Anna ordered Mexican army to pile up all death bodies of Texans and burnt them. According to Lev (2008), Santa Anna managed to kill a large number of Texian soldiers because he went against military norm of giving quarters (p122).
Failure of Santa Anna to take captives as prisoners according to quarter giving norm indicated his enmity against Texans. Statistics shows that about 600 to 2,000 soldiers died in the battle of Alamo, but would have been much less if Santa Anna obeyed quarter giving norm. Thus, battle of Alamo was a painful experience of Texans that led to irreconcilable enmity, which saw Texas separate from Mexico.
Legacy of Alamo Battle
The Alamo battle stirred up greater enmity between Mexicans and Texans. Having suffered and lost the battle of Alamo, Texans planned to avenge the loss of their army and ultimately gain their independence from tyrannical and imperial influence of Santa Anna. Texans saw that they would only achieve freedom and advocate for their rights if they cease being part of Mexico.
Hence, Alamo battle prompted Texans to separate from Mexico since the loss of prominent persons like James Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett with thousands of soldiers and civilians was a total loss. Although Texans were weak, Sam Houston salvaged soldiers that remained and recruited more to rebuild Texian army.
Driven by passion to avenge and separate from Mexico, Sam Houston led his army and ambushed Santa Anna at San Jacinto. Brannon (2009) argues that Texian army attacked and outsmarted Mexican army, taking Santa Anna into captive where they forced him to sign a treaty that recognized Texas as an independent state (Para.1). Thus, San Jacinto battle, which was a revenge battle, earned Texas independence meaning that the Alamo battle caused Texans to agitate for their independence.
Moreover, the battle of Alamo have become a historical event in Texas since it did not only lead to independence, but caused enormous loss of heroes, which have made Texans hold annual commemoration for a period of 175 years now.
Alamo battle reminds Texans of ordeal experiences they underwent due to tyranny of Mexican rule. It means that, had the battle of Alamo been just an ordinary battle, Texans would not have separated from Mexico. Thus, the annual commemoration of Alamo battle reminds Texans of Mexicans tyranny and gain of independence.
Turner (19988) argues that Texans have preserved Alamo complex for their children and future generations to view and understand how Texans suffered for their independence (Para.5). Currently, Alamo complex is attracting many tourists from different parts of the world who come see its fortification and memories that it gives to Texans. Hence, Alamo battle is a landmark battle that reminds both Texans and Mexicans their secession.
Alamo battle transformed history of Texas and Mexico because it did not only lead to secession by also loss of many lives. Historically, Texans and Mexicans lived harmoniously, but differences that culminated into Alamo battle compelled them to fight constantly for supremacy.
The Alamo battle did provide an exigent circumstance that prompted Texans to agitate for their independence. Since Texans lost many lives of soldiers and civilians in Alamo battle, they planned a revenge mission to attack Mexicans and capture Santa Anna, who signed independence treaty for Texas. Thus, Mexico and Texas separated because of Alamo battle.
Brannon, M. (2009). San Jacinto Day: A Texas Holiday. American History. Web.
Groneman, W., & Ross, T. (2011). Misremembering the Alamo: Ten Things About the 1836 Texas Battle Every American Knows – Whether They Happened or Not. Wild West, 36-43.
Hutton, P. (2011). The Alamo, Well Remembered: The 1836 Battle of the Alamo, Immortalized by Texans, Also Remains in the National Memory 175 Years Later, Thanks to Travis’ Line in the Sand, Croeckett’s Death and Some Lesser ‘Battles’ That Ensued There. Wild West, 26-33.
Lev, D. (2008). Why Following the Rules Matters: The Customs of War and the Case of The Texas War of Independence. Journal of Military Ethics, 7(2), 116-135.
Turner, K. (1988). Alamo Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction. The History of Alamo. Web.