Bear Flag and Lone Star:
Two Imperial Powers and Their Stereotypes
W. H. HUTCHINSON*
COMPARISONS WELL MAY BE ODOROUS, AS AN ENGLISH POACHER AND
poet once remarked, but with your permission, one must be made.
I find myself today in a situation most comparable to that of a young
law student at Ohio State University some years past. This bud-
ding barrister was confronted by graduation and its concomitant sep-
aration from the parental payroll. Seeking to prevent creeping
poliomyelitis of the exchequer, he sent numerous letters throughout
the nation extolling his personal virtues and the merit inherent in
his impending sheepskin. His first lesson with the facts of life, some-
thing that all graduates face sooner or later, came with the receipt
of but one reply expressing interest in his desire to shed the light of
his learning upon some unsuspecting community.
This reply came from the optimistic seat of a Trans-Pecos county. It
said in effect that Bugscuffle, Texas, could use another lawyer, that
his claim to be an honest lawyer would make him a rarity in their
midst, and that his Republican affiliation presented no undue hazard,
because the game laws of Texas would protect him. I trust that the
hospitality of these same game laws will be extended to a Californian
far from home as he essays to discuss some matters of possible value
to your understanding of both states.
When your director, Joe B. Frantz, first approached me to speak
here today, he did so after the manner of a wise and kindly uncle
about to give his favorite nephew a new, red wagon. My cautious re-
action was "What do you want me to talk about?" Quoth he, "About
forty minutes," and this seemed within my capabilities. Then Tuffly
Ellis asked me to submit a title for my talk and I realized with a
sinking feeling that "Uncle Joe" Frantz had sold me down the San
You see, when you put a title on a talk, your audience has the right
to expect some connection, however vague, between title and con-
*Mr. Hutchinson is professor of history at Chico State College, Chico, California.
This address was delivered at the Saturday luncheon of the Association's seventy-second
annual meeting, San Antonio, May 18, 1968.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/. Accessed January 27, 2015.