Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861

Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861

Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861

Beyond the Alamo: Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861

Synopsis

Introducing a new model for the transnational history of the United States, Raul Ramos places Mexican Americans at the center of the Texas creation story. He focuses on Mexican-Texan, or Tejano, society in a period of political transition beginning with the year of Mexican independence. From the perspective of the Tejanos of San Antonio de B©xar, Anglo-Americans were immigrants and the battle of the Alamo was a war between brothers.

Ramos explores the factors that helped shape the ethnic identity of the Tejano population, including cross-cultural contacts between Bexare-os, indigenous groups, and Anglo-Americans, as they negotiated the contingencies and pressures on the frontier of competing empires. Initial peace gave way to violence as tensions between Anglo-American immigrants and the Mexican government made cultural brokerage impossible, leading to Texas's secession from Mexico and subsequent annexation by the United States. Ramos demonstrates that Bexare-os turned to their experience on the frontier to forge a new ethnic identity within dominant American culture. The nineteenth-century story of the Tejano people, who went from political dominance in 1821 to political minority in 1861, is a story of declension, but it is also a story of resurgence in the face of changing conditions and oppressive circumstances.

Excerpt

At midnight on the night of September 15, 1835, church bells began to ring all through the town of Béxar. They signaled the beginning of festivities marking Mexico’s independence from Spain. The schedule of events for the next morning was read aloud before a large gathering of the town’s citizens. Soldiers carried flags and banners to the governor’s quarters to position them for the coming day’s parade. Behind those banners, town leaders organized a ceremony that was composed of “all citizens without distinction of class.” The commemoration temporarily lowered barriers between military and civilian, elite and poor. Many of those present that night carried memories of the insurgent battles that had taken place in Béxar in 1811 and 1813. As a result, the evening events took place with the “utmost solemnity.”

At dawn on the morning of the sixteenth, Domingo de Ugartechea, commander of the town presidio, called his troops to order, and a salvo of shots rang out to announce the beginning of the daylong celebration. By nine that morning, military and civil authorities, along with their employees and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.