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.

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