The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 316
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
But there remains the larger question of the Texans' rapid embrace
of a rhetoric of religious liberty that they had repressed for fifteen
years under the Catholic establishment. Clearly their acceptance of
such rhetoric was, in large measure, politic, rising from a desire to win
U.S. support by integrating their rebellion with the venerated tradi-
tions of their homeland. Moreover, Anglo-Texans realized that, after
all was said and done, the Catholic establishment had not been a coer-
cive one. It is, therefore, easy to be cynical about the sudden turnabout
in 1836. It is simply undeniable that many of the colonists had been
troubled not at all by the limits on religious conscience; Austin, as
we have seen, even welcomed the prohibition against Protestant wor-
ship because it kept troublesome and disruptive preachers out of the
colony.03 But the colonists did not haul out the rhetoric of religious lib-
erty in 1835 cynically to mask the grubby, material, "real" motives for
their opposition to continued Mexican rule. They acquiesced in the
establishment because they understood, correctly, that they had no
choice. The establishment was immune from attack because it was so
essential and basic to Mexican society's sense of itself. The crisis of i835,
however, freed the Texans, in rapid stages, to criticize even that foun-
dation of their adopted land. Once they could conceive of themselves
as independent from Mexico, they could attack the establishment, but
not before. And when they took that step, a three-hundred-year tradi-
tion of virulent anti-Catholicism was instantly available to them. More-
over, Santa Anna's invasion of Texas enabled the transplanted North
Americans to connect that tradition to an equally powerful Anglo-
Saxon fear, that of the rampaging and pillaging standing army. That
they made immediate and effective use of that heritage should not sur-
prise. And the stridency and frequency with which Anglo-Texans at-
tacked the establishment after 1835 surely measures the repressed re-
sentment that had accumulated in the fifteen years of acquiescence
between 1821 and 1836.
'sWilliam Ransom Hogan, The Texas Republzc. A Soczal and Economic History (Austin: Univer-
sity of Texas Press, 1969), 191-192
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/372/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.