|Commander K. at Santa Anna's Camp|
Photo Courtesy: Jim Hooper
HOW THE WEST WAS REALLY WON
It is misleading to view this conflict as a simple race war between "white" Americans and "brown" Mexicans. First off, the Texians were not all Americans -- many had European origins. There were also the Tejanos -- men of Mexican descent who joined the Texians in opposition to the perceived tyranny of Santa Anna's government. Lorenzo de Zavala, a Tejano, became the first Vice President of the Republic of Texas.
|Mexican Uniform, The Alamo, San Antonio, TX|
Santa Anna, however, had violated two of the cardinal rules of military science; he had divided his forces and camped his Army with their backs to a swampy river. No means of retreat was available to his forces. This is the rule that makes all amphibious landing so very problematic and gives the military heartburn. When I paid a recent visit to the battleground this summer I saw signs warning of alligators near the empty picnic benches that grace the site of the Mexican camp today!
|Why did they fight?|
San Jacinto Monument Museum, TX
On April 21, 1836 the outnumbered Texian Army was fired up for revenge on behalf of their comrades. The Cries of "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad" filled the air.
The battle lasted only 18 minutes, but was to have far reaching effects. The Mexican were decisively defeated and Santa Anna was captured. He would exchange his liberty in return for the creation of a new independent country -- the Republic of Texas.
In 1845, during the Tyler administration, Texas was annexed to the United States forming the 28th state in the Union (see http://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2013/07/uss-princeton-1844.html). President Polk, a firm believer in Manifest Destiny, would lead the country into a war against Mexico from 1846-1848. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican-American war would result in the annexation of California, Arizona, and New Mexico to the United States.
Is it not abundantly clear that those who live in these states, imperfect though they may be, are far better off than if this area had remained a part of Mexico?
|The Recipe for Prosperity|
William Bernstein writes, "Populist rhetoric in Latin America contributes to the poisonous economic atmosphere. Where the avenging specter of 'the people'; hangs heavy in the air, improving a property or a business serves only to make it a fatter target for confiscation...The corruption of Latin politics originated in Hapsburg Spain and was perpetuated by political instability. A heritage rife with conquest, plunder, exploitation and forced extraction of mineral wealth does not greatly value efficient capital markets. The modern scourge of the Andean nations-- the drug industry--and the lawlessness that accompanies it -- is a symptom, not the disease." (Source: Birth of Plenty, William Bernstein, 2004 www.amzn.com/0071747044).
The eventual American sovereignty over this territory, made possible by the Battle of San Jacinto, brought the rule of law and ignited a "birth of plenty" throughout the region.
Moreover, consider how very different, and likely worse, world history would have been had America remained a stunted state hemmed in to the south by a much larger Mexico. The Kaiser's Imperial Germany attempted to play the Mexico card during the First World War. The Zimmerman telegram was one of the principle reasons for Wilson's decision to join the Allied side in that war. Just imagine how much more dangerous the German overture would have been if Mexico had retained Texas and the Southwestern United States. Later, a truncated and weakened Untied States would likely have been unable to help win World War II or the Cold War. The cascading events that might have followed a Mexican victory at San Jacinto would have impoverished not merely the region, but, arguably, the world as a whole.
Today a visitor to Houston can easily tour the San Jacinto Monument (http://www.sanjacinto-museum.org) which is about twenty five miles away from downtown. You can take the elevator up to the top to get a view of the battleground. Atop the Monument you will find a huge granite Lone Star -- everything really is bigger in Texas!
Commander Kelly says, "Remember San Jacinto!"
Special thanks to my friend Jim Hooper for showing me the battleground on my recent trip to Houston.
You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427