The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 4
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Mexico paid such penalties as nations that have surrendered them-
selves to despotism have always paid: in this case, loss of half her
territory and an unmerited reputation, through many decades, for
cruelty, treachery, and bad faith.
Texas, resisting despotism and fighting for the natural right of
a free people to have and maintain a free and orderly government,
failed in her first attempt to establish one because many of her
leaders were unwilling to make those personal sacrifices without
which free government cannot exist; and refused, until too late, to
save the men of Goliad, to subordinate their selfish aims, individual
prejudices, factional intrigues, and personal jealousies and ambi-
tions to the common good.
3. SANTA ANNA'S GITASTLY MISTAKE
But Santa Anna soon set about proving that no democratic
government, however vicious, bad, or weak, can ever be as bad,
or as stupid, or as cruel, as despotism, even at despotism's best.
Prior to Goliad, Santa Anna, though notoriously crafty and
cunning, had not been thought a cruel man; despite the moral
cautery of a generation of desperate internal fighting, beginning
with the first Mexican outbreaks against Spain, the Mexican
people had builded no reputation for cruelty or bad faith. Mexico,
from the point of view of Americans, was a friendly republic, not
too well governed, according to our lights, but a land newly-
aspiring to liberty and freedom, and immune, absolutely, from
American aggression and from undue interference at American
hands. This was but too well proved in November and December,
1835. General Jos6 Antonio Mexia, in league with some of the Texan
leaders, and as part of the general plan to use the disturbances
in Texas as an opportunity for the rising of the Mexican Liberals
against Santa Anna's usurpation of arbitrary power, made an
attack on Tampico, with Americans recruited at New Orleans,
about 150 men. Twenty-eight of these were captured in the course
of the fighting, tried as pirates, convicted, and shot. American
reaction, almost universal, was "served them right."
It was common knowledge that the Texans, in undertaking to
fight Santa Anna, had done so in reliance on help in men, muni-
tions, and money from the United States. It was too much to
expect Santa Anna, or any other despot, to understand the gulf
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/12/: accessed April 2, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.