Mexican Opinion and the Texas Revolution
M EXICO EXPERIENCED A TRAGEDY OF STUNNING PROPORTIONS IN
1836, only fifteen years after her independence. Not only a
battle and a province were lost at San Jacinto, but also honor, pride,
and confidence. So traumatic was the defeat that for years Mexicans
refused to recognize its conclusiveness.
Texas had become enormously important to Mexico, partly as a
valuable province, perhaps still more as a proving ground where
American expansion had to be checked. Failure in Texas left Mexico
with a deep sense of incapacity. From the depths of her disappoint-
ment and frustration she assigned the cause of the catastrophe to the
ambition, arrogance, and duplicity of the United States. Thus, per-
haps more than any other single issue, Texas contributed to the shap-
ing of the Mexican attitude toward her northern neighbor.
Prior to 1836, informed Mexicans tended to view the United States
ambivalently. They admired its institutions, the strength of its econ-
omy, the stability of its government, the energy and initiative of
its people. Many Mexicans believed their country might profit by
emulating American methods in dealing with the problems of nation-
hood. But at the same time, Mexicans looked with apprehension at
their northern neighbor as it advanced ever more rapidly toward
the territory of Mexico."
Initial diplomatic relations between the two countries contributed
*Mr. Brack is assistant professor of history, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.
A slightly different version of this paper was given at the annual meeting of the
Association, May 17, 1968.
'Mexico's futile efforts to reconquer Texas are described at length in Joseph Milton
Nance, After San Jacinto: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841 (Austin, 1963), and
Attack and Counterattack The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1842 (Austin, 1964). There are
numerous well-known studies of the diplomatic and political aspects of the revolt. Among
them are George Lockhart Rives, The United States and Mexico, z821z-848 (2 vols.;
New York, 1913); Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Dallas, 1925);
William C. Binkley, The Texas Revolution (Baton Rouge, 1952); and Hubert Howe
Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols.; San Francisco, 1884-
1889). For the Mexican point of view see Carlos Bosch Garcia, Historia de las relaciones
entre Mdxico y los Estados Unidos, 1819-1848 (Mexico, 1961), and Carlos E. Castafieda
(ed. and trans.), The Mexican Side of the Texas Revolution (Dallas, 1928).
2Gene M. Brack, "Imperious Neighbor: The Mexican View of the United States, 1821-
1846" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, Austin, 1967), 1-26.
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 April 19, 2015.