The book Silencing The Past is about how people “silence” the past through selective memories to benefit us in the present. We pick out certain events and either dramatize them or play them down to the point of no importance. This paper is about both our played up dramas and our forgotten realities.
In the first chapter of the book the author Michel-Roth Trouillot he brings up the story of the Alamo. He shows the reader how the same story can be viewed in completely different ways. He starts by telling the story in very matter of fact fashion from the Mexican point of view. He talks about how Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna took over a Franciscan Mission with a total number of 189 defenders. (Little did he know that mythic heros Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were inside) The siege went on for twelve days before the Mexicans finally charged the fort and killed everyone inside. A few weeks later at the battle of San Jacinto Santa Anna was defeated by the Secessionist leader Sam Houston. The Texans went on to secede and Santa Anna went on to be the leader of a much smaller Mexico.
During the battle of San Jacinto the Texans shouted the phrase “Remember the Alamo!” Santa Anna saw the battle at the Alamo as a sound victory over some rebellious individuals. The Texans that came after the Alamo saw the Battle as turning point in their lives as subjects to rule. The Texans under Houston took that defeat and saw it as an opportunity to rise up against their oppressor.
This story shows how there are at least two sides to every side of any historical event. There is the first side which is the very factual way at looking at history; Names, places, and dates etc. Then there is the side from the winners perspective. Santa Anna factually won the battle of the Alamo but in the socio-historical context he lost the battle to the Texans. During the battle of San Jacinto the Texans shouted the phrase “Remember the Alamo!” Santa Anna saw the battle at the Alamo as a sound victory...
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