The annexation of Mexico

From sea to shiny sea!

In today’s excerpt – in 1836, a small group of “Texans” living in northern Mexico rebelled against that country in a quest for independence, in some part because Mexico had outlawed slavery. Mexico’s General Santa Anna failed to quell that small rebellion, then was captured and lost that territory. He was released and allowed to return to Mexico, where he regained the leadership of the country, rationalizing his defeat by comparing his loss to Napoleon’s war against the Russians. However, the bitter humilation of defeat stayed with Santa Anna and the Mexican nation, and led directly to the Mexican America War of 1845. There Santa Anna again lost – and had to cede a vast portion of the country from New Mexico to California to the United States:
When Sam Houston and the Texans laid a trap with 800 men along the San Jacinto River, an overconfident Santa Anna dismissed the possibility of an attack. Assaulting 1,500 Mexicans in the late afternoon of April 21, the Texans defeated them in about eighteen minutes and promptly vented their anger over the Alamo and Goliad on their prisoners. Six hundred and fifty Mexicans were killed while just two Texans met the same fate. Santa Anna escaped, only to be captured the next day, disguised as a common soldier wearing diamond studs in his linen shirt. 
“The loss of Texas was a decisive moment in the development of Mexican attitudes toward the United States. … The creation of the Republic of Texas transformed apprehension into anger.
By the late 1830s, Mexican newspapers were calling for war against the United States. The manifest design of the [United States on the northern territories of Mexico] seemed all too clear. Santa Anna’s adviser, Jose Marfa Tornel, later explained that Americans had been united since 1776 in ‘their desire to extend the limits of the republic to the north, to the south, and to the west,’ by whatever means necessary. The American ‘frenzy to usurp and gain control of that which rightfully belongs to its neighbors’ resembled the ‘roving spirit’ of ‘barbarous hordes’ from a ‘far remote north.’ … 
Why should a civilized people respect the Americans? ‘Nowhere else on the face of the globe is the feeling of the white race stronger against those which, in its pride, it designates as colored.’ Americans exploited and cheated Indians. Americans enslaved African Americans. Their pompous support for the rights of man rested on tyranny over others. How could Americans, who had ‘opened a vast market of human flesh in Texas … dare to acclaim the sacred name of liberty[?]’ Americans’ behavior in Texas echoed their behavior in Florida.
The loss of Texas would inevitably lead to the loss of New Mexico and California. ‘Our national existence … would end like those weak meteors which, from time to time, shine fitfully in the firmament and disappear.’
“In 1837 Santa Anna managed to restore his reputation, with his usual flair
In the early 1840s he commissioned a statue of himself with a finger pointing north to Texas, as if to trump his critics by reminding the world of his unfinished business.”
Author: Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton
Title: The Dominion of War
Publisher: Penguin
Date: Copyright 2005 by Fred Anderson and Andrew Cayton
Pages: 268-271



Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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