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A Select Glossary of the Texas Revolution

311 pages
Library of Alexandria
The summer of 1835 was filled with unrest. In June the colonists had discovered that General Cos intended to use the military to force Texan compliance with government regulations. William B. Travis and a body of some 50 men responded to this threat in August by attacking and taking the fort at Anahuac. The action, although universally condemned by the Texans, strengthened Mexican determination to bring a military peace-keeping force to Texas. Texans feared that rights and liberties guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution of 1824 were threatened by this action and the increasing centralization of the government in Mexico. Mexican officials viewed Texan opposition as a direct attack on Mexican national honor, an insult to the government which had generously allowed the colonists to settle in Texas. The arrival of Mexican troops in Texas finally united the Texans in opposition to Santa Anna’s government. When Colonel Ugartechea demanded that a cannon at Gonzales be returned, the colonists refused. The first battle of the Revolution took place. The Mexican commander was forced to retreat. Gonzales fell on October 2; Goliad, on October 10. James Bowie and William Barrett Travis captured Espada and Concepcion Missions in October. Fort Lipantitlan surrendered in early November. Between December 5 and December 10, after a month-long siege, San Antonio was taken by the Texas Army and the Mexican troops remaining in Texas were forced to retreat to Mexico. At year’s end, no “foreign” troops remained on Texas soil. The battles of 1835 were fought mainly by Texas settlers, men who had a vested interest in defending Texas’ soil. By the end of the year, however, they believed the war was over, and they returned to their homes. The 1836 campaign would be conducted principally with volunteers from the United States, a weakness that would hamper the war effort throughout the rest of the Revolution. While the Texan army drove out the Mexican forces, a “Consultation” of delegates from each of the municipalities met to determine how best to proceed. On November 7, they issued a declaration of causes for taking up arms against Santa Anna. A vote of 33 to 15 favored the peace party: Texas would fight to restore the Constitution of 1824 and to achieve separate statehood for Texas within the Mexican confederation. A government of sorts was set up by the Consultation. It consisted of a governor, council, and lieutenant governor. None of the parties held sufficient executive or legislative powers. Furthermore, the governor, Henry Smith, favored complete independence for Texas; a majority of the council favored continuing as part of Mexico. Within a month these parties were fighting among themselves. Then, on January 10, Governor Smith attempted to dismiss the council; the council impeached Smith and replaced him with Lt. Governor James W. Robinson.