By The InkDemon©
The slavery issue often comes up with the people talk about the Texas Declaration of Independence.
I am a native Texan and some of my ancestors were here before 1836, the date of Texas Independence. It is a joyous day which I celebrate.
However, in the back of my mind I am also reminded of the darker side of that event.
Mexico gain independence from Spain in 1821. By 1824 the Mexicans and the Texans help form a true constitutional government.
The truth be known. The Independence document complains that Texas sought its independence because the will of Texans were overridden by an assembly in the capital of the state of Coahuila y Tejas, Mexico. The capital of the state was in Saltillo.
This took place during the first Mexican Republic which the Texans initially supported.
Immediately, the assembly forbade any further immigration by Anglo-Americans into Mexico. The assembly went further:
“In 1823, Mexico forbade the sale or purchase of slaves and required that the children of slaves be freed when they reached fourteen. Any slave introduced into Mexico by purchase or trade would also be freed. Many of the colonists in Texas, however, owned slaves which they had brought with them from the United States. In 1827, the legislature of Coahuila y Tejas outlawed the introduction of additional slaves into the state and granted freedom at birth to all children born to a slave,” according to Wikipedia.com.
That legislation by the Coahuila y Tejas assembly stands as a testament to the humanity of the elected representatives of Mexico. Sadly, this is not revisionist history as has been alleged on another Liberty Linked site, but the actual history. It is the history that many Texans never received.
The Texans, my ancestors, first refused to free their slaves and threatened revolt in 1827. Mexico relented at first; however, in 1832, slavery was outlawed entirely.
Mexico, fearing that the U.S. would attempt to annex Texas, then outlawed all immigration from the United States. The Texans responded by taking over fortress city of Anachuac, Texas. The small rebellion was over very shortly.
Then the struggled took a different direction. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana took over the central government and shelved the Mexican Constitution of 1824. He became a dictator.
Santa Ana abolished the state of Coahuila y Tejas. That prompted the Texans to revolt.
While Texans deliberated the fate of independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos, that fateful day, they also decided the fate of African Americans.
The Texans concerns about their servants was buried in the verbiage of the Declaration of Independence. Everyone living at that time knew exactly what it meant.
Now, more than 150 years later, Texans are concerned with immigration.
This blogger does not believe anyone in the Tea Parties of North Texas stands for restoring slavery or condones slavery.
Our stated purpose however ironically is opposition to illegal immigration. Illegal immigration was not an issue with the Mexicans. Their issue was any Anglo immigration. The Tea Party’s issues is illegal immigration. There is a fine line there.
Eventually, Santa Ana signed a document — a treaty — giving the Republic of Texas lands far beyond the original boundaries. For example, the southern boundary of Texas was a roughly-defined line that included the Nueces River. The Nueces empties into Corpus Christi Bay.
The document Santa Ana signed marked the Rio Grande as the southern border. That is roughly 150 miles south of the Nueces River. This effectively gave the Republic of Texas a claim to all villages in what is now the state of New Mexico. In fact, every significant Spanish settlement in North American. This was a document which was bound to cause controversy. It did!
We separated from Mexico but not completely. Spanish-Mexico remains with us to this day.
The Trinity, the Brazos, and the Colorado Rivers are Spanish names meaning or referring to The Holy Trinity, the security of being in Arms of God, and Colorful River.
Even the very name of our state, Texas, is derived from the Spanish which means Friendly or Friendship.
Few names commemorate the black Americans who were forced to come here. They, too, are very much a part of Texas.
But today (March 2), we celebrate the birth of Texas just as we also celebrate Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) and Diez y Seis (16th of September), days special to Mexico and Latinos living in Texas.
Our histories are forever tied together. Our people are forever tied together in culture and religion. All over Texas, we are reminded of our Spanish-Mexican heritage by the names of the landmarks.
South of here on Interstate Highway 45 lies the County of Navarro. It’s county seat is Corsicana. Jose Antonio Navarro was a native of San Antonio, and he fought with the Texans. The city is named in honor of his mother who was a native or Corsica, an island in the Mediterrian Sea.
Juan Sequin on the other hand fought with Texans but later grew disgusted at the turn of events after Independence and moved his family to Mexico.
According to the Houston Institute for Culture:
But later on, as Mayor of San Antonio, [Seguin] and other Tejanos felt the hostile encroachments of the growing Anglo power against them. After receiving a series of death threats, Seguín relocated his family in Mexico, where he was coerced [Editor’s note: Could have been conscripted.] into military service and fought against the US in 1846-1848 Mexican War
Another Mexican who fought with the Texans was Ignacio Zaragoza. His family later moved to Matamoros, Mexico. It is clear, that Zaragoza was a Mexican, who was fighting to restore the Constitution of 1824, not Texas Independence nor annexation with the United States.
He later joined the Mexican Army and fought to restore the Mexican Constitution of 1824. He became a general in the Mexican army. Ironically, Zaragoza ended up fighting along side Santa Ana against the French at the Battle of Puebla. That battle is celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo.
The only flag claimed to fly over the Alamo was the Mexican Flag with 1824 in the middle.
Ironically, the English Parliament abolished slavery in its colonies in 1833. A monument to that act of Parliament stands on the grounds of the Parliament beside the River Thames.
Texas rolled the dice for slavery twice. In 1836 they went against the winds of change and won. The last time they rolled the fateful dice, they came up with snake-eyes.
What blurs the truth about the Texas War of Independence is Hollywood. Filmmakers took liberties with the truth. That imprinted falsehoods that will last forever in many people’s minds. Hollywood is famous for revising history!
We can only speculate how different Texas would have been as a Republic either with or without Mexico and free of slavery. The entire western world was ending slavery as Texas and the United States were fully bathed in it.
The Inkdemon believes it would have been a better Texas. Here maybe we can take a lesson from Mexico. They have a history of slavery, and they cleansed themselves of it.
Footnote: Santa Ana was president of Mexico 11 times. He was a hero to the Mexicans at the Battle of Puebla and against the American Army in the Mexican War of 1848.
Santa Ana lost his leg in that war with the French.
At the Battle of Cerro Gorda, the Mexicans were surprised, forcing him to run away, leaving his prosthetic limb. That leg remains today is Illinois National Guard Museum, which is virtually a roadside museum.
So since when does a soldier’s prosthetic limb become a source of pride and put up for display? Mexico has repeatedly asked for the return of the leg.
Does capturing a soldier’s prosthetic leg rise to the level of heroism? Is it such a “national treasure” that the U.S. should refuse to return it to Mexico? The Inkdemon believes Mexico is on the right side of this issue.