What do we know about the Alamo?
Mexico was anti-slavery
Mexico abolished slavery.
Slavery had been abolished in Mexico as it was incompatible with the nation's policy of equality for all, regardless of race. The Mexican policy was similar to the United States Constitution which stated all men are created equal.
Buying and selling slaves in Mexico was illegal and all slave children had to be freed at age 14.
The Texans were pro-slavery.
In 1829 The President of Mexico, Vicente Guerrero issued a decree abolishing slavery. The Texans in the Legislature of Coahuila y Texas complained and took advantage of a loophole in the Mexican labor law. Mexico recognized labor contracts made in other countries, which allowed the Texans to import slaves but call them indentured servants. Mexico told the Texans to grow corn rather than cotton, but the Texans refused. Cotton made more money than corn.
Travis left his family to go to Texas and then left his son again to fight at the Alamo.
William B. Travis left his family.
William Barret Travis married Rosanna Cato in South Carolina on October 26, 1828 and had one son. Travis left his pregnant wife and son in 1831 to go to Texas. Travis practiced law and in 1832 was retained to help secure the return of runaway slaves. (Travis was a slave owner.) Travis was then elected to the town council. Travis then became engaged to Rebecca Cummings in 1834. Travis had his wife, Rosanna travel from South Carolina to Texas in the fall of 1835 to sign divorce papers. Rosanna left their son, Charles with Travis. Travis left Charles with David Ayers so Travis could go fight in a revolution.
Letter by Travis at the Alamo
The Travis Letter
Commandancy of the The Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836
To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World—
Fellow Citizens & compatriots—
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.
William Barrett Travis.
Lt. Col. comdt.
P. S. The Lord is on our side — When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn — We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
Travis letter page 1
Travis letter page 2
Travis rejected reasonable alternatives.
"I shall never surrender or retreat"
"Victory or death"
Travis could have practiced law, planted corn or help build infrastructure. Victory or death is not a good option, especially when the general commanded a retreat.
Travis left his family and later left his son in the care of another in Texas. What becomes of the children of war?
Crockett was violent in childhood and left his family for war.
David Crockett was born on August 17, 1786, in Greene County, Tennessee. When he turned 13, his father insisted that he enroll in school. After only four days of attendance, Crockett "whupped the tar" out of a classmate and was afraid to go back lest he face punishment or revenge. Instead, he ran away from home and spent the next three years wandering the frontier.
At just a day shy of 20, Crockett married Mary Finley. The couple would bear two sons and a daughter before Mary died and Crockett remarried to Elizabeth Patton, who gave him another two children.
In 1813, after the War of 1812 broke out, Crockett signed up to be a scout in the militia under Major John Gibson. Stationed in Winchester, Tennessee, Crockett joined a mission to seek revenge for the Creek Indians' earlier attack on Fort Mims, Alabama. In November of that year, the militia massacred the Indians' town of Tallushatchee, Alabama.
Crockett told tall tales and developed a reputation as a frontiersman that was exaggerated to build a political career. After several terms in congress Crockett left his family in Tennessee and moved to Texas. He joined the Texas Army and went to San Antonio de Bexar and to the Alamo. David Crockett died on March 6, 1836.
Davy Crockett left his family to fight.
Davy Crockett left his family home after he beat up a classmate. Crockett joined a mission to massacre Indians in Alabama. He also left his wife, sons and daughters to go fight in Texas.
Bowie was a violent slave trader.
Jim Bowie, the slave trader.
Jim Bowie operated a sugar plantation with his brother, Rezin. Jim Bowie and Rezin sold captured slaves to plantation owners and amassed $65,000. Bowie was also involved in a series of fraudulent land grants in Arkansas. Bowie attended a duel as a second. After both men had missed, Bowie chased the man down and killed him.
In the Texas Revolution Bowie fought in the Battle of Concepcion, the Siege of Bexar and was given orders from Sam Houston to go to the Alamo and destroy it or take the cannon and retreat. After arriving, Bowie decided to disobey San Houston and fight at the Alamo. Instead, Bowie took ill and died in his sickbed March 6, 1836.
Travis, Crockett and Bowie were pro slavery.
Travis, Crockett and Bowie were pro slavery and led lives of violence. They fought for the freedom to own slaves. They abandoned their families to seek out a fight at the Alamo. They each rejected alternatives which would have saved their lives. They made their families widows and orphans. What ever happened to their children?
Today the Alamo is a shrine. It needs to be updated to renounce war, violence, slavery and promote civil rights.
Lessons from the Alamo.
The lessons we should teach our children are:
Explore alternatives which are constructive,
Walk away from a fight,
Violent men come to a violent end,
There is no payback (Revenge),
Take care of your children.
Update war memorials urging people not to fight at all.