More Than a Mission
Since the beginning of American history, stories of brave individuals and how they have helped shaped the nation into what it has become has been a popular subject. While a large number of stories exist, one must recognize that a few have been twisted into various myths and legends such as the tales of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and John Henry. However, one must also remember that not all stories involving the history of our nation are exaggerated such as the previous examples and that the majority of them are actually historically accurate. Although these stories and events provide entertainment to younger individuals, it is vital to acknowledge that if they had not occurred, then some things may not exists. For example, the Alamo - had it not been for this small mission and the band of rebels whom fought for it, things would surely be a lot different. The Alamo was originally built so that the Spanish Empire could help educate local Native Americans as well convert them to Christianity, but it would also play a pivotal role in helping Texas gain independence (Hutton 38). In addition to the Alamo, the men whom fought in it would also go down in history as great heroes, and some even becoming iconic figures in American history, such as Davey Crockett. Although the Alamo's story has changed over the years and some parts still unsolved, one thing is certain - without the Alamo, the brave men who fight within its walls, and their firm belief in Texas independence, the United States would be a much different nation than it is today.
Before Texas was settled by the Spanish Empire or colonists from the United States, it was home to the Native Americans from the Lipan Apache and their enemies the Comanche (Hively 4). However, when the Spanish arrived they attempted to subdue these Native American forces and gain their trust by giving them education along with Christianity and built missions across Texas. One in particular was located near San Antonio and was called the Alamo, which would prove to become something more than just a mission. Despite the Spanish efforts, the two tribe continually warred over the area and settlers were helpless in fending off raids. This in turn ultimately resulted in a decline in population of Spanish colonists, thus leaving the Spanish without as much control as they would have liked. The Spanish control over the area was dwindling swiftly as they could not convince the Mexicans to leave Texas and had "fewer than 3,000 settlers north of the Rio Grande in Texas," by the time Mexico declared independence in 1821 (Hutton 38).
After Mexico received independence from Spain, the land they had control of including Texas stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific as well as from Oregon Country to Guatemala (Cohen et al. 291). However, due to this vast of amount of land, their borders were loosely defined and northern Mexican territories were scarcely populated leaving them open to attacks from the Comanche and Apache tribes. In addition to these problems, more existed such as civil war, economic crises, and feuds with the Roman Catholic Church Mexico was left in a state of chaos, not to mention that they had enemies to the north who believed they were superior and were determined in acquiring the Texas land under Mexican control (Cohen et al. 291).
This attack on the Mexican province of Texas was not through warfare or your typical siege, but through trade and population. American traders and settlers would gather at Independence, Missouri each spring and begin to travel the Santa Fe trail into Mexico's northern provinces, bringing inexpensive American manufactured goods which they would trade for Mexican silver, furs, and mules. This caused an explosion in the amount of Americans who wanted to settle in Texas for land and not trade, and not long ago the first empresario was named - Stephen F. Austin. This title of empresario basically meant Austin was a...
Cited: Cohen, Patricia Cline et al. The American Promise: A Compact History. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2006. 291-92. Print.
Hively, Todd. "The Alamo." Let 's Take a Look at Texas (2010): 1. Texas Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 22 June 2010.
Hutton, Paul Andrew. "The Battle Of The Alamo." Wild West 1 Feb. 2004: Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 20 Jun. 2010.
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