Anniversary Post: the Battle of the Alamo

The AlamoOn this day in 1836, the Battle of the Alamo started. I remember visiting it when I was a kid. But I have no idea where. They seem to move the damned thing around all the time. But what’s amazing about it is that it’s this big deal in the mythology of America. But there are a few problems with it. First, it was part of the Texas Revolution. It wasn’t part of the United States. And the people of Texas were even worse than than they are now. The other thing that is remarkable about it is that the Texans lost the battle.

Now, I understood that when I was a kid. But I had this idea that the Texans were totally outnumbered. Really, I remember it being presented as a couple hundred Texans against a hundred thousand Mexicans. Hooray! Ain’t the white man great! But that wasn’t the case at all. The Texans were a couple hundred strong, and they were inside the Alamo. They had the advantage. They were under siege by less than two thousand Mexicans. In the end, the Mexicans had about double the casualties as the Texans. Given the circumstances, I would say that the Mexicans did pretty well. If I were a Texan, I’d try to brush this historical event under the carpet.

But no. Everything is bigger in Texas, and nowhere is that as true as in its egos. Oh, but they fought to the death! That’s one of the great lies of manliness. There is nothing noble about fighting to the death unless you are doing it to protect others. If you are suicidal, then just get on with it. But don’t expect the rest of us to hold you up as some kind of a hero. Regardless, I’ve come to see pretty much all armed conflicts as a battle between two powerful groups over who will be the most powerful. The rest of us just want to be left out of it.

But I am pleased that Sam Houston survived and was able to keep all his slaves.

7 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: the Battle of the Alamo

  1. To me the Battle of the Alamo will always be about basements because of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

    I think wars should be fought now via video games-whoever has the best team wins and resolves the issue so no one gets hurt except the hyperactive kids.

    • No. The fighting would just spill over into the real world. It needs to be all hand-to-hand. The only weapons they can have are sharp fingernails.

  2. Well, Mexico had just abolished slavery. They gave slaveowners a grace period (a year, I think) to sell their slaves, or leave. So in an indirect way it was the start of our civil war, and as such is an important historical site. Certainly not an honorable one (except to Mexicans!)

    • So it is a site that we honor as a last stand for slavery?! You know what I think of Robert E Lee: he shouldn’t have been allowed to ride away from Appomattox with his sword. He should have been thrown in jail for the rest of his life.

      • I wonder if that’s even mentioned at the Alamo on signs or in the tours. I’d be surprised if it was, but historical societies are funny things. Sometimes the state government just funds them because they’re inevitably popular and then the society does its own thing.

        James Loewen once wrote about a history exhibit in some Southern state museum, I forget which. It was brutally honest about the cruelty, rape and murder. And it was the most popular exhibit that museum ever had. The most popular exhibit our local museum has had in some time was about the final removal of Dakota natives from the state. People actually like history when it isn’t generic bullhonky.

        Yeah, imprisoning the Confederate generals would have been a good move — sparing the grunts. Maybe even giving disability payments to grunts on both sides. Who knows what steps Lincoln would have taken. He certainly wrote that he wanted reconciliation.

        • The Civil War taught us an important lesson. You might think that going easy on conservatives is a good idea. But it won’t make them whine and complain any less. In fact, you will make it worse, because they will take your mercy as a sign that they were actually right. That’s certainly what’s happened after the Civil War. Robert E Lee was such a good man, the Confederacy must have been noble.

          At our local mall, there was (for decades) a display about the local tribes and how horribly they were treated. During the recent remodel, it disappeared. I will have to ask what happened to it.

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