Institution: National Institute of Technology-Tiruchnapalli
Author: Adithya Vikram Sakthivel
In March 1845, The United States annexed their short lived neighbor, the Republic of Texas with consent from the local population, effectively making it 28th state of the United States of America, angering Mexico in the process.
The Republic of Texas was formed as a result of a rebellion of colonists from the United States who collaborated with Tejanos, who were Mexicans born in Texas, in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of the Mexico.
While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation, the American annexation, as mentioned above came to fruition, however there was no solid evidence proving US government involvement in this conspiracy, as the United States took a neutral stance in this conflict despite overwhelming support for the revolutionaries by the American public. This was evident by the abundant recruits in the Texas Army as approximately forty percent of all recruits came from the United States.
The roots of the conflict arose due to political and cultural clashes between the Mexican government and the increasingly large population of American settlers in Texas. As the Mexican government became more centralized, it gradually curtailed the rights of its citizens, especially regarding immigration from the United States, colonists and Tejanos disagreed on whether the ultimate goal was independence or a return to the Mexican Constitution of 1824.
As tensions crossed the threshold, Texans and a flood of volunteers from the United States defeated the small garrisons of Mexican soldiers by mid-December 1835, marking the inception of this conflict. An ill-conceived proposal to invade Matamoros siphoned much-needed volunteers and provisions from the fledgling Texas army. In March 1836, a second political convention declared independence and appointed leadership for the new Republic of Texas.
All this happened while delegates at the Consultation (provisional government) debated the war’s motives. The Consultation declined to declare independence and installed an interim government, whose infighting led to political paralysis and destitution of effective governance in Texas.
Seeing the events in Texas began to unfold, the then president of Mexico, Antonio López de Santa Anna, felt that Mexico’s dignity has been compromised. Determined to avenge Mexico’s honor, he felt that he
had to personally retake Texas and crush what he viewed as an insurgency movement with an illegitimate claim to freedom. Declaring martial law, his Army of Operations entered Texas in mid- February 1836 and found the Texans completely unprepared. Mexican General José de Urrea led a contingent of troops on the Goliad Campaign up the Texas coast, defeating all Texan troops in his path and executing most of those who surrendered. Santa Anna led a larger force to San Antonio de Béxar, where his troops defeated the Texan garrison in the Battle of the Alamo, massacring almost all of the Texan defenders.
Due to the brutal tactics and inhumane treatment of prisoners of war (acts that would be considered war crimes by today’s society), the Texan forces were reorganized as a newly created Texan army under the command of Sam Houston. This army was always on the move. This army was instrumental in the evacuation of Texan civilians, in a melee known as the Runaway Scrape.
Houston fully aware that his men weren’t prepared to take on the advancing Mexican army just yet, paused his men at Groce’s Landing on the Brazos River On March 31, and for the next two weeks, the Texans received rigorous military training. On April 21, Houston’s army staged a surprise assault on Santa Anna and his vanguard force at the Battle of San Jacinto, as the Mexicans had become complacent and underestimated the strength and resolve of their foes, as Santa Anna further subdivided his troops making the smaller sized Mexican units easier to eliminate. The vengeful Texans executed many Mexican troops and demanded that Santa Anna order all Mexican forces to withdraw from Texas in return for his life. He complied with their demands, ordering the Mexican Army retreat south of the Rio Grande, however Mexico refused to recognize the Republic of Texas, and intermittent conflicts between the two countries continued into the 1840s. The annexation of Texas as the 28th state of the United States, in 1845, eventually led directly to the Mexican–American War.
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Calore, Paul (2014). The Texas Revolution and the U.S.–Mexican War A Concise History. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Hardin, Stephen (2004). The Alamo 1836 : Santa Anna’s Texas campaign. Westport, CT: Osprey Publishing.
Hardin, Stephen L. (1994). Texian Iliad – A Military History of the Texas Revolution. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press