Anglo Texans

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Anglo Texans greeted the end of the U.S-Mexican War in 1848 with the hope that federal troops would at last put an end to violent encounters with Indians and Mexicans along the state's western and southern borders and open the vast frontier to settlement. All too quickly the lure of nearly free and unbroken land attracted a multitude of pioneers. So rapidly, in fact, that it thrust some white settlers far beyond the protection of the eight new military installations established at war's end, running from Fort Worth in North Texas to Fort Duncan on the Rio Grande. In response, the U.S. Army in 1851 began establishing a new line of forts a hundred miles beyond the original vanguard. Others were located in the Big Bend country along the Rio Grande and in extreme South Texas. For Hispanics and Indians, who also claimed much of this wild land as their home, the years of early statehood left them struggling merely to survive. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the late war cast many Tejanos into a perilous future, with their new citizenship shadowed by an alien legal system and powerful economic forces. Some would fight to hold what they had, and find their recourse outside the law. The situation for the Comanches was even more ominous. The effects of contact had visited the Penateka (southern) bands with lethal consequences. Dependence on the material goods of Anglos and a taste for alcohol broke both tradition and will. Epidemics of smallpox and other diseases passed along by California-bound Argonauts and other trespassers onto Comanchería left these once-fearsome Penatekas staring hard at the prospect of extinction. Ecological changes, moreover, upset the annual migration of the great bison herds, a condition that would persist into the years of the Civil War. If that were not enough to spell the Penatekas' doom, traditional Indian enemies—Lipan Apaches, Tonkawas, and others—took advantage of this turn of fortune to settle old scores. Still others—recent...
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