Heritage, 2011, Volume 2 Page: 21
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the majority of the men in the field being volunteers who
were exempt from his orders. As such, both political and
military chaos engulfed the Texan forces as the Mexican
army returned to Texas.
While the long-accepted view was that the resistance of
the Alamo's garrison bought time for General Houston to
build his army, the historical timeline fails to support this
conclusion. With his regulars yet raised and the volunteers
beyond his command, Houston spent the month of Feb-
ruary in East Texas convincing the Cherokees to remain
neutral. He then attended the constitutional convention
at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he was appointed
the commanding general of all Texas forces-regular and
volunteer. On March 6, Houston left the convention and
headed to Gonzales where he planned to oversee the re-
lief of Bexar. Shortly after his arriving there on March 11,
news finally broke that the Alamo had fallen. Houston
took command of the 350 men gathered at Gonzales and
began his withdrawal eastward. These volunteer soldiers,
who had assembled to march to the Alamo's aid, then became
the nucleus of his army at San Jacinto.
Another indication of the broader focus on the Texas
Revolution is a better understanding ofTejano involvement
in the events surrounding the uprising. The war offered
difficult choices for these native-born Texans. Support for
the federalist cause allowed them to remain Mexican, but
pursuing independence presented an uncertain future. Re-
searchers have detected a pattern in which Bexar's Tejanos
appeared to have been more willing to embrace separation
from Mexico. Conversely, disputes with colonists regard-
ing land claims prompted South Texas Tejanos to assist the
Centralists in their attempt to reassert government con-
trol. Thus, the Tejano experience in the Texas Revolution
was complex. Much more needs to be learned, but interest
in this area of study is growing.
The "big picture" view of early Texas history reveals
that many significant historical figures from the Texas
Revolution had also participated in Mexico's struggle for
independence from Spain. From 1811-1813, the Seguin,
Ruiz, and Navarro families, all prominent in the Tejano
community, supported Texas' attempt to separate from
Spain and establish an independent republic. In 1813,
Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna, then a young lieutenant
in the Spanish Army, saw his first major combat at the
Battle of the Medina, only 20 miles outside Bexar. In
retrospect, the Spanish's brutal response to Texas' first
bid for freedom from an oppressive government actually
diminished the territory's population as rebels were
killed or fled. Thus, these events laid the ground-
work for the later political unrest, as well as the need
to open Texas to immigration.
Hostilities between Texas and Mexico did not end with
Houston's victory at San Jacinto. Although Santa Anna
had been defeated and captured, the conquering soldiers
still faced the threat of more than 4,000 Mexican troops
in the field, leaving Texas' fate far from certain. Recent
research has shown that the Republic of Texas probably
owed its long-term existence as much to the rain and mud,
which demoralized and disrupted the remaining Mexican
troops, as it did the victory at San Jacinto. Texas and Mex-
ico experienced a "cold war" relationship for the next de-
cade, occasionally punctuated by small cross-border raids.
It is not unrealistic to say that with Texas' annexation in
1845, the United States inherited the state's ongoing war
with Mexico. From May 1846 until September 1847, U.S.
troops, including Texas volunteers, marched across much
of northern and central Mexico. Peace between the Texans
and Mexico only came in February 1848 with the ratifica-
tion of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed between
the United States and Mexico.
Most educators know that a topic has to be relevant to
matter to students. The same principle applies to historians
and the public. Contrary to popular belief, many of the is-
sues prompting the Texas Revolution are still unsettled
and continue to be explored. For this reason, the people of
Texas and all Americans would still be well served to re-
member the Alamo and the Texas Revolution on its 175th
Richard Bruce Winders, Ph.D., has held the position of histo-
rian and curator at The Alamo since 1996.
SUGGESTED READING FOR A MORE
IN-DEPTH HISTORY OF THE
Texian Iliad by Stephen L. Hardin; The Texas Revo-
lutionary Experience by Paul D. Lack; Texas in Revolt
by Alwyn Barr; Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas by Paula
Mitchell Marks; Three Roads to the Alamo by William
C. Davis; Eighteen Minutes by Stephen L. Moore; Sea
of Mud by Gregg J. Dimmick; The Alamo Story by J.
R. Edmondson; Tejanos and Texas Under the Mexican
Flag, 1821-1836 by Andres Tijerina; Tejano Leadership
Mexican in Revolutionary Texas by Jesus E de la Tejas et
al; Lorenzo de Zavala by Margaret Sweet Henson; New
Orleans and the Texas Revolution by Edward L. Miller;
and Crisis in the Southwest and Sacrificed at the Alamo
by Richard B. Winders
Volume 2 2011 I TEXAS HERITAGE 21
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 2, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254221/m1/23/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.