The Alamo and the War of Texan Independence 1835-36.
The last months of Spanish rule had seen a desperate experiment in Texas: in an attempt to prevent illegal settlement, responsible Americans were awarded large land grants, the settlers being required to accept Mexican citizenship and Roman Catholicism. The first of the American contractors or empresarios was the Missourian Moses Austin, whose son Stephen succeeded to his grants in 1821. The grants were renegotiated with Congress, and in April 1823 Texas was opened officially to American settlement; over the next 12 years almost 28,000 Americans took advantage of the opportunity. Not unnaturally, they attempted to establish American standards of liberty in their new communities, their criticisms of the Mexican system of justice and organisation causing the Mexicans to regard them as uncouth ingrates; repressive measures followed, which drove the two communities wider apart. During this period a certain Lt. Antonio López de Santa Anna Péde Lebrón rose to power. A corrupt and ruthless politician, thief, compulsive gambler, opium addict and liar, he nevetheless gained a measure of popular support after defeating a half-hearted Spanish attempt to reconquer Mexico at the battle of Tampico. By means of his Tampico reputation, several double-crosses and a revolution, he had himself elected liberal president in 1833; within a year he had changed his stance, dismissed Congress, and set about destroying federalism. Conflict with the American settlers ['Texians'] became inevitable. This absorbing text by Philip Haythornwaite covers the amazing story of the Alamo and the War of Texan Independence 1835-36, and is backed by plenty of illustrations and photographs, including eight full page color plates by Paul Hannon [accompanied by eight pages of commentaries on uniforms].
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