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Key Events in the American-mexican Wars and the Alamo Battle

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Introduction

This paper looks briefly into some major events of the Alamo battle and the American-Mexican wars. It discusses the periods in which the wars took place and also establishes the causes of the wars. A comparison is made on both wars in order to establish their relationships. This brings out aspects that the wars had in common and also the differences between the wars. More so, the general impacts of the wars are discussed. Finally, a conclusion is made based on the discussions herein.

The Alamo was a mission started in the eighteenth century at a place called San Antonio in Texas. During the war between Mexico and Texas in 1836, the Mexican army managed to surround some Texans occupying Alamo. This struggle was an attempt by the Texans to get independence from the Mexicans. The abandoned mission had been occupied previously by Spanish troops and they named it Alamo which translated to cottonwood, a name derived from the trees surrounding the area. Some people occupied Alamo when the war begun in late 1835 to protect it from being recaptured. Their mission was to protect Alamo in all ways possible including loosing their lives while fighting for it. However, the Mexicans had a strong army that managed to seize Alamo and over powered the Texan force composed of about 180 individuals. The siege took 13 days and the Texan force was captured and most of its defenders killed. The Texans commanders; Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett were also killed. Most of the survivors were women and children. Before the war came to an end the Texans formulated a rallying cry Remember the Alamo! This called for the people to remember Alamo (Marilyn and Nancy 105).

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Alamo gained an historic significance from the war between Texas and Mexico. The war in Alamo and Goliad played a very important role in enabling the Texans to fight and gaining victory in San Jacinto. They used the rallying cries Remember the Alamo! this psyched up and encouraged the soldiers throughout the battle in San Jacinto. This led to the final victory and Texas’s independence when Santa Anna was forced to sign a treaty.

When Texas was still part of Mexico back in late 1835, many Americans went to aid the Texans in fighting Mexico. During this time, Mexico was a colony of the Spanish empire and Texas being part of Mexico wanted to gain independence from the Spanish colony. Spain also closed its borders in 1821 preventing any Americans from crossing. However, the Mexican government soon realized that Texas was sparsely populated and that its citizens would have nothing to do with Texas since they assumed the land was only suitable for the natives who were the Indians. Many Americans at this time believed that Texas was only suitable for growing cotton. In order to develop the Texas territory, the Mexican government came up with a plan to invite people to come and settle in Texas but with a condition that they will obey all rules set by the Mexican government. Among the first settlers was a man named Moses Austin. He had been allocated a vast land and had a habit of migrating Americans into Texas. His son inherited it after his death and was left to continue with this task (Hammond 95).

Initially the immigrants were very obedient but due to the influence of other Americans who came late in Mexico they became disobedient to the rules and regulations of the Mexicans. This was in the year 1830 and the Americans living in Texas outnumbered the Mexicans living in the same province. This gave them reason for their disloyalty and they violated other rules too, for example, they never paid taxes, they did not adhere to the Mexican ban on slaves and they were involved in businesses associated with the smuggling of goods. Due to their disloyalty, Mexico ordered that no more Americans should settle in Texas.

General Santa Anna came into power in 1833 after organizing a coup which removed the Mexican government from power. After reigning for two years he changed the Mexican constitution to suit his on desires. This was to give him powers to force the American settlers out of Texas. Santa Anna did not like the Americans because to him they had defied rules meant for the land. Therefore he imposed heavy taxes to them and imprisoned those who protested against it. This propelled the Americans living in Texas into action thus declaring the independence for Texas province in 1836. They formed a new nation named Texas Republic appointing Sam Houston to be the commander in the war. Sam Houston later became their president. With him, the Texans fought the Mexicans in their province thus driving then all out. However, Santa Anna retaliated with his army determined to break down any resistance from the Texan forces. By Feb 1836 his army had reached San Antonio in the garrison of Alamo. He ordered that no mercy was to be shown to the rebels they all had to die. During the war the Mexican soldiers attacked in all directions while the forces defending the Alamo responded with cannon blasts and gunfire. Santa Anna sent for more soldiers who finally overwhelmed the defenders of Alamo and managed to climb over the walls. In the inside, the war was terrible with the defenders fighting with whatever they could lay their hands on. They fought with knives, axes, bonnets and even rocks (Marilyn and Nancy 108).

It took less than an hour for the defenders to be defeated and a large number of them were killed those spared were only the women and the children. However the Mexicans suffered heavy losses 600 soldiers lost their lives and many got wounded. Texans hurriedly came to action when they heard news of Alamo’s fall. They were angered by the massive slaughter of its fighters and therefore decided to take revenge .It was on April, 1836 when the Texans troops led by Sam Houston caught up with the Mexican army in San Jacinto. They captured general Santa forcing him into signing a treaty which saw the end of the war and independence for Texas (Hammond 95).

The war between the Americans and Mexicans also known as Mexican- American war took a period of two years before ending .The war begun when the America took over Texas in 1845 leading to a disagreement in which Mexico claimed that Texas was originally its province but had broken away. Mexico refused to acknowledge the military victory that Texas gained in 1836 to attain freedom. Therefore, an armed conflict resulted between Mexico and America in the year 1846 to 1848.

It should be put in mind that the causes and the effects of the American-Mexican war took long before being manifested. The whole process was long and strenuous involving a multiple of people. The war was symbolic of hardships experienced by the soldiers, disasters faced and the accomplishments. The story of the Mexican war dates back in1834 with reference to the historic Alamo battle where many soldiers were killed trying to defend the Alamo. This however did not mean that the Texans withdrew from fighting but instead they used this disaster as a weapon against the Mexican troops. They were encouraged by the example set by the brave defenders of Alamo who gave up their lives in order to protect Alamo from being captured by the Santa Anna’s army. So when the Texans army referred to Alamo in the rallying call for battle it was to remind the soldiers the main purpose of the war which was to gain independence form Mexico (Dawson 233).

With determination and selflessness the Texans pursued Santa Anna and finally defeated him in San Jacinto. They forced him to sign a treaty that gave Texans the independence it had strived hard to achieve. Texas was now a free state with a new ruler Sam Houston to govern over it. Since it was no longer subjected to the Mexican rule it was free to decide on important matters that would have a significant impact towards its development. In one occasion, Texas made a very crucial decision which would have permanent implications. This was when it decided to be part of the United States. The Americans had welcomed the news of Texas independence with great happiness and expectations. America saw Texas as one of its own because most of its citizens were from American origin. When Texas got liberated from the Mexicans, America felt as if they had been liberated too thus shared the joy with the Texans. So when Texas was ready to become a nation under the United States rule in 1845, America was much obliged to take the responsibility. The Mexicans being against this, claimed not to recognize the treaty that gave Texas independence signed in Velasco. This prompted the American- Mexico war since America wanted to protect its interests and those of Texas.

America had a policy termed as the manifest destiny that described America as having the rights of expanding and possessing the continent of North America. To America manifest destiny was something that had to be in the minds of every American as it defined the duties of an American. Manifest destiny took a central role in America’s politics in the year 1844. This was the time when the new president James Polk came in to power. He was a strong supporter of the manifest destiny policy. Now that Texas was independent and a republic after the war, America could easily incorporate it as part of its states but it depended on the agreement it would have with Texas leaders. This would have been an easy task because most of the Texan citizens originally came from America and it would have been easy to convince them. Sam Houston who was the reigning president was willing to let America take control of the republic of Texas. The United States had different feelings regarding this issue. Back in 1836 when Texas had gained independence America had refused to annex it. However, there was a change of perception by many Americans in the 1840’s and they saw it possible for America to annex Texas. Therefore in 1836 a treaty was signed by Sam Houston for the annexation of Texas. However the treaty was never ratified by the senate. They thought that annexation of Texas would lead to a dispute between the United States and Mexico(Katcher 71).Sam Houston by his cunningness pretended to make friends with Great Britain in order to persuade America into the annexation deal. By becoming friends with Britain, America thought that Texas wanted to get into an annexation deal with Great Britain therefore moved quickly and enrolled Texas in the union in 1845. America responded this way to avoid Britain one of the major European power from becoming its neighbor and more so in the western border.

The trouble that United States had with Mexico arose from a dispute concerning the border of Texas. To the Americans Mexico was seen as a great barrier preventing America from achieving its goals especially the manifest destiny. This raised a strong desire to war. When the commander of the American forces who was General Zachary received an order by the Mexican government to put poles in the border of Rio Grande in early 1846, he declined leading to the war.

The war resulted into an immense loss of lives with both parties suffering great losses. It was not after several brutal clashes that the Mexican government saw the need of stopping the war. For peace to prevail, the Mexican government had to be forced to sign a treaty in 1848. The treaty which was named Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty required Mexico to give up the territories of New Mexico and California to the United States. The United States was to pay $15 million to Mexico in return and also agree to respect the Mexicans (Dawson 236).

. America continued with its mission of acquiring more states under its power and when it finally felt that it had acquired enough and that the manifest destiny had been accomplished, it receded from this mission. America greatly benefited from accomplishing the manifest destiny. It possessed more land which was rich in resources and through exploitation of these resources, America got to expand economically. The new lands were rich in different varieties of crops therefore many people got into agricultural activities thus producing food for subsistence use and most important raw products for the industries. There was increased man power especially from the newly acquired lands bringing with them new skills. Many people got employed in the upcoming industries. This had appositive impact on the trade and commerce industry of America (Katcher 74).

Therefore, when discussing the effects that Alamo had on the Mexican war, it can be generally said that most effects that resulted from the America –Mexico war were an indirect contribution of the Alamo battle. The battle made Texas gain independence and it was to this cause that America decided to wage war on Mexico.

The most significant part of the war was when Mexico surrendered to the United States through terms that were part of the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty. This treaty made Mexico to give up part of its territories like some of present states Nevada, Arizona California, Utah and New Mexico. Following these losses, Mexico adopted policies which included the colonizing of the northern territories as protective means from further losses. In addition, Rio Grande became the border between Mexico and Texas.

With the acquisition of the new territories by America, there arose disputes of political nature in America whereby the Northerners felt the urge to stop slavery while the Southerners wanted slavery to persist. The southerners’ argument was that there was need of more slaves since America had acquired more land. When a proviso was introduced which sort to stop slave importation to the newly acquire land, the southerners did not like it since they saw this as a conspiracy to undermine their interests. This eventually led to the civil war (Mulloy 174).

The war on the other part took place without the approval of many in the united states therefore it was only volunteers who took part in the war. The other consequence of the war was that many people lost lives. The army comprised of only 6000 to 115000 soldiers, 1.5% lost their lives in the battle while10% of death was caused by disease and 12% received severe injuries (Hammond 97).

This period of war was marked with great inventions especially in the communication industry. Inventions like the telegraphs kept people updated so they knew what exactly was happening in the battle fields. People got to know how their family members were doing in the war. This kept them connected with the real situation that was on the ground. Since the people no longer received news from the politicians but relied on journalists, many people had a change in perception concerning issues related to war.

Another problem that was persistent in the war was desertion by the soldiers. In the event of war many factors contributed to soldiers abandoning their mission .The Mexican soldiers had the largest number of soldiers who deserted the war. The Mexican troops was composed of peasant farmers whom their family dependent on. Faced by other challenges which included improper training, food shortages, illness and poor quality weapons, they saw no need to engage in the war resulting to the majority quitting

The U.S. had a desertion rate of 8.3% in which majority were men that needed a second listing in other U.S. units. Some got into the army in order to get to California using free transport. In California they were to participate in the gold rush. There were also cases of soldiers who deserted to join the Mexican army. However these were individuals who had recently migrated from Europe to the U.S. and had not developed strong bonds with the U.S. (Mulloy 176).

It can be concluded that the effects of Alamo on the Mexican war were manifested in the overall impacts that the Mexican war had on the U.S. and the Mexicans. It can also be said that the Mexican war was the result of a significant number of causes and effects. However, what comes out is the role that the Alamo played. The defendants of Alamo have to this date been recognized as the true heroes for Texans independence. They stand as true guardians of freedom.

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