Alamo was a battle for slavery

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 9 Comments

A friend writes: "You have a couple of predictable and amusing comments defending Jeffrey Goldberg & the valiant defenders of the Alamo. Their argument reminds me of
the argument that your average honky fought the civil war to defend the
"southern way of life"–as if drinking sweet tea and eating hush
puppies required resorting to arms to keep those darn Yanks from taking
that away. Let them eat John Quincy Adams:

USNews: The slavery question has muddied the pristine image of the Texas revolution. John Quincy Adams, two months after the Alamo, argued on the floor of the U.S. House that "the war now raging in Texas is a Mexican civil war and a war for the re-establishment of slavery where it was abolished."

History News Network:

addition to enforcing Catholicism, the Mexican government outlawed
slavery. Thus, one of the great ironies of the Texas Revolution is that
the Texans were fighting for their natural right to hold other people
in bondage.


Ben, a former American slave who served one of Santa Anna's officers,
maintained that Crockett's body was found surrounded by "no less than
sixteen Mexican corpses" […]

Santa Anna
spared several of the Texians found at the Alamo. He freed both
Travis's slave, Joe, and Bowie's freedman, Sam, because they were or
had been slaves, and he hoped the act of mercy would convince other
slaves in Texas to support the Mexican government over the Texian rebellion


"Republic of Texas" was a natural outgrowth of the Austin colony which
brought slavery onto Mexican soil in 1821. In 1825, twenty five per
cent of the people in Austin's colony were slaves and by 1836 there
were 5,000 slaves. James S. Mayfield, a later Secretary of State for the Republic of Texas, stated that "the true policy and prosperity of this country (Texas) depend on the maintenance" of slavery. Like all Southern plantation owners, these Anglo-Texans had a plan for their own prosperity based on the free labor of slaves.

However, the problem for the slave-owning crowd was that the fledgling national government in Mexico City threatened to restrict or abolish slavery on Mexican land.

the Texas colonists organized a convention in March, 1836 to establish
the issues for which they would do battle with the Mexican government.
In a two-week period they adopted a declaration of independence from Mexico,
declared a republic, and produced a constitution for that republic. All
of this activity occurred during the siege of the Alamo.

Finally, Richard Silverstein has whacked the Trumpeldor story from a different angle.

9 Responses

  1. tommy
    February 7, 2009, 11:54 am

    The Americans who sought to carve a nation for themselves from Mexico's Tejas were the equivalent of al Qaeda. They were Nineteenth Century terrorists.

  2. David F.
    February 7, 2009, 9:40 pm

    Phil, your blog postings' are growing increasingly self-indulgent and intellectually lazy.

    Your source list is not very impressive, but even the wikipedia article has a good overview of the issues. You do not appear to have read it.

  3. TGGP
    February 7, 2009, 10:20 pm

    Southerners were fighting because they saw the situation as one in which their country were being invaded by another country that wanted to push them around, which was in fact the case. People don't fight wars for moral philosophy. It is this kind of moralistic babble that caused the neocons to think that Iraqis would greet the invasion with flowers.

  4. David F.
    February 8, 2009, 1:59 am

    True, TGGP. As a Southerner, it is striking how oblivious coastal elites are to the fierce love that a people can have for their land, their traditions, and, above all the power to order their own lives as they see fit.

    The idea that the Texians at the Alamo faced extermination in order to "oppress their black brethern" is as purile as the notion that the Israeli soliders of 1948 risked their lives in order to "oppress their Palestinian brethern."

  5. Richard Silverstein
    February 8, 2009, 2:33 am

    "Your source list is not very impressive…"

    I'd say it's David F. who's the one who's not very impressive. He reminds me of those young neocon twits at National Review who are so charmed by their own wit that they mistake this for actually having ideas worthy of serious debate.

    Actually, those of us who are members of the "coastal elite" whatever the hell that means (sounds like another NRO coinage) also have "fierce love" for the land & traditions. It's just that our vision of the land & traditions mirrors those of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and S. Yizhar; and not Jeffrey Goldberg or David F.

    Just as Goldberg gets things precisely wrong in his piece on Trumpeldor, so DF gets the issues of 1948 precisely wrong as well. Israelis like Ben Gurion (and now Benny Morris) in the war of independence were convinced that in order to ensure the success of their national enterprise they had to dispossess their Palestinian brethren. That's the truth. Everything that DF writes is posing & intellectual self-regard.

    And do learn how to spell puerile. It would make you look slightly more intelligent that you already look, which isn't very.

  6. David F.
    February 8, 2009, 6:50 am

    I'm speaking of ordinary soldiers, who were probably primarily concerned with surviving as a people under their own state.

    Expulsion was a necessary means to this end. I cannot think of any nation-state that was formed without extermination, expulsion, bantuization, or forced assimilation. Ben Gurion knew this very well.

  7. Todd
    February 8, 2009, 12:35 pm

    Zionists used to try to justify their support of Israel by comparing the fate of the American Indians to that of the Palestinians, but it seems they eventually figured out that bashing the golden goose isn't a good idea.

    Using Jim Crow and segregation doesn't work either, because segregation and second-class status isn't the same as using napalm, f-16s and tanks to drive a people from their land, and the golden goose is still up for some needling.

    I guess slavery will be the new issue, and Southerners will contiue to be the target. This isn't going to work, either. Most Southerners didn't own slaves, and the North benefitted greatly from the institution of slavery.

    The issues of Israel and Zionism should be dealt with on their own merit, and even if an exact historical parallel is found, the guilty parties are still to blame. Eventually, the people who have supported Zionism and Israeli actions will have to be held acountable, no matter what other people(s) have done in the past.

  8. chris berel
    February 8, 2009, 3:38 pm

    There is barely a zionist who compares themselves to Amercians taming the wild west. If anything the Jews compare themselves to the native Americans driven off their lands, much as the seminoles were driven out of Florida into Oklahoma.

    Like the Seminoles, the Jews have returned and made their ancestral home into a comparative paradise.

  9. Todd
    February 8, 2009, 7:13 pm


    We all understand that Jews portray themselves as victims.

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