The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #127899   Message #2863097
Posted By: Uncle Phil
12-Mar-10 - 10:36 PM
Thread Name: Remember the Alamo (March 6, 1836)
Subject: RE: Remember the Alamo (March 6, 1836)
Sorry I'm late to the thread. It's been busy down here in the great state. Let's all trade papers and grade each others' essays.

1. +5 "Remember the Alamo" was indeed written by Jane Bowers, though almost always attributed to someone else. Nice catch.

2. +5 "I believe there was a bagpipe playing Scot called John MacGregor who fought and died at the Alamo". He had a store in Nacogdoches that was the first stop for most new arrivals from the U.S. MacGregor was an active participant in the Texas revolution from the start.

3. -1 "It seems reasonably likely that Crockett (and a few others) were captured alive and executed shortly afterward." "The thing about Travis drawing the "line in the sand" appears to have no basis in fact whatsoever" No indisputable evidence one way or another. I think the first is more likely than the second, but that's just opinion.

4. -5 "He did make a speech to the troops admitting that the garrison had little hope of survival, and advising that anyone who wished to try to slip out at night and escape would bear no shame for doing so." Negative points asserting this as fact. Actually, it sounds a little of character for a guy who signs off his correspondence with "Victory or Death", but who really knows?

5. +5 "Davy Crockett was not 'young'" He was 49.

6. -5 "It seems likely that he very nearly picked off Santa Anna with a very long range rifle shot." In the movies, maybe.

7. -5 "The garrison did not become aware of the attack until the Mexicans had reached the very walls" The battle would have been over in about 10 minutes if this were true. The garrison was apparently alerted both by some Mexican troops cheering Santa Anna and by gunfire from picket guards; anyway, they were on the walls and shooting before the Santa Anna's army got there.

8. +5 "A number of the Texans were slave owners." Yup.

9. -5 "Slavery was illegal in Mexico." The economy of Mexico following the Spanish conquest was based on the encomienda, a system of forced labor. Native people were tied to the land, and the land, the natives, and their labor belonged to overlords with land grants from the crown. Over time this land-slavery evolved into peonage, or forced labor based on debt-slavery. Peonage was finally outlawed in Mexico 1915, but it persisted until 1936 when Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas instituted a land reform program called the ejido.

10. +10 "But at least he had the sense to make the Alamo attack under cover of darkness! It would have been worse losses for the Mexicans if he'd done it in broad daylight." Excellent insight, the garrison's rifles were accurate at long range, a considerable advantage that was largely nullified by Santa Anna's night attack.

11. -5,000,000 "Santa Anna could have just ignored the Texians at Bexar and attacked the settlements to the east." Oh, no, no, no. It would have been military suicide to move his army east with the enemy garrisons at Goliad and San Antonio sitting across his supply lines -- garrisons with hundreds of armed men, a large collection of artillery at the Alamo, and garrisons capable of being reinforced! Unthinkable.

12. 0 "Militarily speaking, the man was an idiot." He had his good days and his bad days. At least he attacked in the dark.

13. -5 "Then he split his army up so that he only had around 700 soladatos with him when Houston finally attacked him." He had nearly 1400 troops at San Jacinto, Houston had 960 troops. Battlefield victories have less to do with numbers than they do with local superiority in force at decisive points. (I think you mean soldados, but maybe someone with more Spanish can help us with the right word.)

14. +10 "Several states openly rebelled against the changes: Coahuila y Tejas (which was to become the Republic of Texas), San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Yucatán, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas." Good point. In Mexican history Texas is only part of the Santa Anna story. May I recommend "Blood and Fire", a history of Mexico by T.R. Fehrenbach as a survey of Mexican history through the mid-20th century. BTW, the goal of the Texas revolution was initially to restore the Mexican constitution of 1824. In fact, the Alamo garrison probably never knew that Texas had declared independence since they were already besieged before it happened.

15. -5 "Coahuila y Tejas (which was to become the Republic of Texas)". Coahuila is still one of the Estados Unidos Mexicanos; Tejas became the Republic of Texas and is now one of the United States of America.

16. -1 "There was pretty much continuous war going on between the Mexicans and the Indian tribes you mentioned, and no quarter was given on either side." True but you left something out. Actually it was a three-way war, the Texans being the other side of the triangle. I would have started the list of tribes participating in hostilities with the Comanche.

17. -5 "Woman with a MEXICAN name was robbed of the governorship." Uh, she lost the party primary election because she only got 18.57% of the republican vote. I was pulling for her to throw Governor Goodhair into a run-off with Ms. Hutchison so we would get a few more weeks of 'Publicans running attack ads on each other, but that's just me.

18. +5 re blowing up the Alamo: "But what appears to have happened is that when Bowie got there he was so impressed with what had been done to improve the position-- and he possibly considered it essential as a forward post--that he decided to stay and help improve it further" Yup

19. -1 "Santa Anna, unfortunately, did not regard the normal rules of war (don't kill your prisoners) as extending to the Texans". Minor deduction on a technicality. It was not just the Texans. He and his troops killed prisoners in other parts of Mexico, too. All you had to do to qualify as a pirate was to oppose Santa Anna.

20. +9 "Santa Anna signed placed the border between Texas and Mexico at the Rio Grande rather than the Rio Nueces, which had been the boundary between the two parts of Coahuila y Tejas state… this disagreement on the actual border location was one of the precipitating events of the US-Mexico War." Exactly right and would have been 10 points if you'd said Rio Bravo del Norte instead of Rio Grande. Being Mexican, Santa Anna would have called the river by its Mexican name.

21. -5 "Iran has never at any time threatened to 'wipe Israel off the map'" Sure they did, most notably Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 26 October 2005 at the World Without Zionism Conference. The English translation of his speech is by his own Iranian Student's News Agency (ISNA).