The Texas Revolution: Its Many Faces - Texas Essay Example

The Texas Revolution:Its Many Faces The Texas Revolution, why is it so important? - The Texas Revolution: Its Many Faces introduction?? Why is there so many arguments over it? Truth is this historical subject is very controversial and it can be seen through the work of many authors. In this case I have decided to research 4 authors and their dedicated work on the history of the Texas Revolution. From the historical documents of Sam Houston to retracing his steps through photographic representation.

These authors put in a lot of time and dedication, a lot of research and thought into their research and even though they had different opinions and ideology on the Texas Revolution, one thing they do share, is the passion and love for Texas. So what are some key points and key players in this historical revolution? Here are several professional critiques and opinions on this issue. But before we hear from the authors, lets first understand the key figures and find out a few things about this revolution

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Lets begin with the subject, the Texas revolution, this way we can certainly understand the opinions, bias non bias, of the authors who wrote on key figures of the Texas Revolution and their opinions on the events which led, maintained and finished this historical event. In the Texas Revolution of 1835-36, American colonists in Texas secured the independence of that area from Mexico and subsequently established a republic. Since the 1820s many settlers from the United States had colonized Texas; by the 1830s they far outnumbered the Texas Mexicans.

Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna attempted to reverse this trend by such measures as abolishing slavery and enforcing the collection of customs duties. The settlers rebelled according to Roger Borroel’s, “The Texas Revolution of 1836”, “it was originally as part of a general federalist resistance to Santa Anna’s Centralist government, which had overthrown the Mexican Constitution of 1824. [1]” Hostilities began at Gonzales on Oct. 2, 1835; the Texans repelled a Mexican force sent to disarm them and won subsequent victories.

In February 1836, Santa Anna, undiscouraged, led a large army across the Rio Grande; he was delayed, however, by the unexpectedly determined defense of the Alamo. Meanwhile, the Texans declared their independence from Mexico on Mar. 2, 1836, and organized a provisional government. Sam Houston led a successful retreat, but other insurgents were defeated and massacred in late March. Santa Anna pursued the rebels, overstretching his supply line and thus isolating his forces on San Jacinto Prairie. There, on April 21, he was routed by Houston and taken prisoner. Mexican troops then withdrew from Texas.

The Republic of Texas (with its Lone Star flag) remained independent until 1845, when it became part of the United States. Now letscontinue with one major key player in the Texas revolution Sam Houston. As a teen, Sam Houston ran away and lived with the Cherokee tribe for three years. After serving in the War of 1812, he was assigned to move the Cherokees to a reservation. In 1827, he was elected governor of Tennessee, but in 1829, he resigned and returned to the tribe. He later led the struggle of U. S. emigrants in Mexican territory to win control of Texas and make it part of the U.

S. In 1832 Houston moved to the Mexican territory of Texas, where he was soon a prominent voice in pushing for secession. As tensions mounted, Houston accepted an appointment to command a ragtag Texan army against Mexican forces. Still known for his excessive drinking, Houston nonetheless showed himself to be a brilliant military leader. Outnumbered and underpowered by Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Houston and his men were given a reprieve on April 21, 1836, when Anna split his forces. Seeing his chance, Houston ordered the attack at San Jacinto.

Victory proved decisive and secured Texas its independence. In this newly formed country, Sam Houston became its George Washington. The city of Houston was named in his honor in 1836, and that same year, the newly christened Lone Star Republic elected him as its president. After Texas joined the United States in 1846, Houston served as a U. S. Senator until 1860. If Houston had his eye on the White House, he was no doubt compromised by his personal transgressions with women and alcohol. In addition, his views on slavery put him in conflict with the country’s southern states.

Although he was a slave owner himself, Houston was opposed to the expansion of slavery in the new territories. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Houston, who’d been elected governor of Texas, refused to pledge his allegiance to the Confederate States of America. An infuriated Texas legislature discharged him of his duties. Houston, who had married for a third time in 1840, to Margaret Lea, with whom he had eight children, retired from politics. He died at his home in Huntsville, Texas, on July 26, 1863. Now the reason why I decided to give a small biography on Sam Houston was because of Sue Flanagan.

Sue Flanagan, is the former director of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum at Sam Houston State University. Why is she important, well, she wrote and illustrated a book about Sam Houston and the Texas revolution. Retracing his every step through photography, she couldn’t of caught the moment and history any better. [2] When Sam Houston crossed the Red River for the first time in 1832, he termed Texas the “finest portion of the Globe that has ever blessed my vision. ”[3]He soon made it his “abiding place” and became a lifelong traveller in his adopted country.

By carriage and muleback his diplomatic, military, political, and personal activities took him over what is now the eastern half of the state and he fell in love with every foot of it. With panoramic vision and broad descriptive power, he expressed his lasting affection for the country in everything he said and wrote. Sue Flanagan, having read every available word by and about Houston and having followed the trail of every trip he made in Texas, here presents the Texas which Houston knew, through his picturesque language and through the camera’s carefully focused lens.

Her story provides continuity for Houston’s activities and perspective for her photographs; it also provides an expression of Houston’s views in his own forthright and emphatic manner. But the essence of this book is its 113 photographs. The face of Texas east of San Antonio is pictured in all its varied features. With great patience and discernment, Sue Flanagan brought to bear all the skills of her artistic photography to capture the landscapes, buildings, and objects in the most revealing light and in the best atmospheric conditions for catching the appropriate mood.

These spots in nature which Houston saw, these objects which he knew, these houses where he was entertained and where he lived all are tangible reminders of “this colorful, cagey, and controversial man,”[4] this Texas hero whose life was a tragedy in divided loyalties. This is a Sam Houston book with a difference. Its all bestowed upon Sue Flanagan’s inventive photographic approach. She is a native of Texas, a photographer and journalist. She came well equipped to her ambitious task. Flanagan’s story, embellished by gleaning from original research, is set around a photographic framework that documents and brings alive the facts.

Like the Texas Rangers that Houston so admired, Miss Flanagan, with her photographs tracked and documented her man. From East San antonio and North of Refugio. All of East Texas was basically all Houston country. Sue Flanagan documented around 7,300 miles of it, through film and photography. In the 113 photographs, she evoked the multiplicity of Houston associations with the region is endowed. In the book the pictures are in chronological order, detailed were the last 31 years of Houstons life, beginning that December day in 1832 when he first crossed the Red River into Texas to become the influental and powerful leader in his eventful times.

The book Sam Houston’s Texas, therefore, is a wonderful integration of pictures and text which makes it a visual delight. Miss Flanagan made Sam Houston seem as a hero and a great leader. Unlike other authors who claimed Sam Houston was a drunk. Flanagan’s perspective on Sam Houston was different. In her book, “Sam Houston’s Texas,” she wrote, “This year of fighting (1836) and freedom for Texas is famous for its results, but the agony of accomplishment is best told by Houston’s copious pen as he poured out his difficulties and triumphs from seventeen Texas sites. ”[5]

Another author who is highly respected for his work on Texas History and the Texas Revolution is Henry William “Billiam” Brands. H. W Brands is an American historian and author of 22 books, co-author of 2 and editor of 4. He is also a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his Ph. D. in history in 1985. [6] H. W. Brands is a very good storyteller, bringing to life all the famous characters and events that walk through the founding of Texas. Despite years of tall tales, movies and others taking liberties with the facts, on its own the story is a good one.

He begins by painting a picture of Moses Austin, a failed businessman who, like many others, was driven to this remote border province of Mexico. Austin and his brother successfully operated a lead mine in Virginia, borrowing heavily to finance the venture. A bank downturn left him holding worthless bank notes, starting his push to the Western borders to do business. He ends up over five hundred miles from the United States border at San Antonio de Bexar, the capital of Texas. He negotiates with a hostile Spanish governor for a land deal in the state, if he brings American immigrants inside.

Moses’s son, Stephen F. Austin, ends up leading a group of settlers to Texas on the promise of his dying father’s last wish. Thus begins the balanced, informative account of one of America’s best epics. “The land was enough to excite any man’s lust, and perhaps emotions more deadly,” writes Brands. The author tells the complete background of the states original settlers, how the Spanish and the French ended up there, and how Spain’s grip on the region quickly loosed in the early 1800s. By 1835 native Tejanos and Comanches were outnumbered 10 to 1 by an onrush of American settlers, then around 30,000.

The rebellion was a triumph in many cases simply because of poor organization, illustrating why the far-flung empires of France and Spain were on the decline. Brands teaches history at the University of Texas at Austin. His book takes to opportunity to correct many misconceptions and myths, often relying on historical accounts, and corroborating evidence. Viewers of Hollywood’s “The Alamo” will probably notice a number of them. Brands also takes the modern approach to discussing the Texas founders, warts and all. He recounts an often told story of how Sam Houston was an alleged drunk.

Houston’s venture into the Arkansas Territory took him to the illegal practice of selling whiskey, gin and other spirits to the local indians. When arrested, his case to the court was that the nine barrels of booze were for his own consumption. Houston got off the hook, but the tale evolved from that about his personal alcohol consumption. Depite what really happened, these are certainly not the untarnished stories told about America’s colonial founding fathers. Brands vividly paints a despotic portait of General Santa Anna, the completely unlikable “Napoleon of the West.

” Sam Houston, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett appear interesting and heroic, while exposed by the author whole and unvarnished. In just over 500 pages, Brands calmly describes how this historic contest plays out. Everyone knows the ending, and many of the events. But it is always good to read through a full telling of this dramatic story. In my opinion this is well-written history of the Texas Revolution and the events leading up to it. If you’re already well-acquainted with Texas history, there’s not much of anything new in this book, but H. W.

Brands has an excellent eye for the telling detail and a good ear for the vivid quote that make the material feel fresh and lively. What I especially liked about Brands’ approach in this book is that he steers a commendable middle course between the traditional hagiography of flawlessly brave Texan heroes fighting the evil Santa Anna for Liberty and the revisionist school of greedy white male slave-mongering mercenaries stealing poor Mexico’s land. He shows both the strengths and warts of admittedly self-interested people on both sides of the fight who generally believed they were doing the right thing.

My main caveat for anyone who’s well-read in early Texas history and is considering picking up this book for another perspective on the Texas Revolution would be that it takes 11 chapters and more than 250 pages of reviewing Texas colonial history before the book finally reaches the actual outbreak of fighting. But, for someone who’s relatively new to Texas history or could just use some brushing up on the subject, those 11 chapters do provide a surprisingly brisk and eminently readable account of Texas history from the first Spanish explorations up to the revolution.

Brands unlike Sue Flanagan, brands Sam Houston as a drunk, an important political figure but not a hero. Both of these authors write about the Texas Rovolution and they both include Sam Houston. Another reason why he is such an important figure. He played a major role in both of these authors work and not to mention the dedication he gave Texas during the Texas Revolution. The final author we will compare and whose work on Texas history and Texas Revolution have impacted many classroom and lectures is L. MacDonald. L. MacDonald wrote the book, “Tejanos in the 1835 Texas Revolution.

” Unlike the other past authors mentioned, MacDonald tends to focus mainly on Tejanos who lived through the Texas revolution, to be quiet honest throughout the book Sam Houston is mentioned but not portrayed as the most important key figure as in Sue Flanagan’s or H. W. Wards books. In spite of its rather misleading title, this book is a thoroughly traditional account of the Texas Revolution, albeit augmented by the author’s special attention to the numerous Tejanos who took part in the revolt against the Mexican government in 1835 and 1836.

(The Tejano “tories,” however, are virtually ignored). Unfortunately, MacDonald mars his analysis at the outset by engaging in an endlessly confusing discussion of the proper nomenclature for the people of Hispanic and Anglo-American origins who together made up the rebel forces in this contest. After finally landing on a definition of Tejanos as “Texas-born descendants of Latino heritage,”[7] he contradicts himself by applying this label to Lorenzo de Zavala, the native of Yucatan who became the Vice-President of the Texas Republic.

[8] The book is further marred by errors of fact and geography: the author conflates the separate incidents at Anahuac in 1832 and 1835; he twice claims that Zacatecas was the home town of the Jalapa-born Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and he incorrectly locates the Orozimbo plantation where Santa Anna was held captive by the Texans after the Battle of San Jacinto. Far more serious than these lapses, however, is MacDonald’s apparent ignorance of both key source documents and important recent scholarship.

For instance, his claim that the Mexican army under General Filisola was obediently following the orders of Santa Anna in retreating from Texas in April and May of 1836 is thoroughly undercut by Gregg Dimmick’s Sea of Mud (Texas State Historical Association, 2004). Moreover, during his discussion of David Crockett’s controversial death at the Alamo, MacDonald cites sources that are both dubious and contradictory, while failing to mention the important Dolson letter, which is arguably the very best evidence as to just “how Davy died.

” This book’s difficulties with regard to sources are exacerbated by a bizarre system of documentation which, when combined with the author’s frequent use of the passive voice, obfuscates more than it reveals, and renders most of the author’s endnotes virtually worthless to the reader. Most damning in terms of shoddy use of sources is a twice-quoted phrase from Herman Ehrenberg’s memoir of the Texas Revolution which simply does not exist, either in the original German or in the four extant translations into English.

MacDonald has inserted Irishmen and Tejanos into Ehrenberg’s declaration that the German, English, and American soldiers held captive by the Mexicans at Goliad had all become Texans. MacDonald further taints his use of Ehrenberg’s memoir by stating that the young Prussian came to Texas with “Bonham’s Mobile Greys. ”[9] Ehrenberg entered Texas with Breece’s company of the New Orleans Greys. This book is not all bad. MacDonald writes with a great love of his subject, which often brings immediacy to his descriptions of the tribulations of the Texans (though sometimes with invented dialogue).

His analysis of Sam Houston’s qualities as a commander is generally sound, and his elaboration of the role of Tejanos in the Texas Revolution is commendable. The greatest testimony to MacDonald’s deep love of his subject comes from the book’s many illustrations, which are all photographs of the author’s own creations, in tooled leather, of maps, portraits, and architectural details. It is a shame that these are so dimly reproduced in many instances that the text is virtually illegible.

So there it is 3 authors with different perspectives on how they depicted the events and key figures during the Texas Revolution. One thing they all did have in common was, well, the subject itself. Not to mention the passion and dedication to the subject. Flanagan, Ward and MacDonald did all have different kinds of approach on this subject. Flanagan used visual representation, Ward focused more on hardcore facts and MacDonald emphasized on smaller playing roles as in groups in holes.

All in all these 3 authors have the love for Texas history and regardless of their stance on this particular subject, the main thing is Texas is big for them and like they say, everything is bigger in Texas. ———————– [1]Borroel, Roger, The Texas Revolution of 1836 (1990)P20 [2]Flanagan, Sue. Sam Houston’s Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press, (1964)P60 [3]Flanagan, Sue. Sam Houston’s Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press, (1964)P65 [4]Flanagan, Sue. Sam Houston’s Texas.

Austin: University of Texas Press, (1964)P73 [5]Flanagan Sue. Sam Houston’s Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press, (1964)Pvx [6]”H. W. Brands. “UT History Department: Faculty Profile. N. p. , n. d. Web. 09 July 2012. [7]MacDonald, L. Lloyd. Tejanos in the 1835 Texas Revolution. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub. , 2009. Print. (pp 21) [8]MacDonald, L. Lloyd. Tejanos in the 1835 Texas Revolution. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub. , 2009. Print. (pp 136) [9]MacDonald, L. Lloyd. Tejanos in the 1835 Texas Revolution. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub. , 2009. Print. (pp 221)

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