Fellow Patriots:

I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Rich Lowry / Jul. 22, 2021

Yes, Remember the Alamo

It’s pointlessly destructive to tear down what deserves to be honored.

No one is trying to topple the Alamo quite yet, but a new revisionist book on the foundational event of Texas history partakes of the iconoclastic spirit of our time.

The book, titled “Forget the Alamo,” is a harsh call for Texans, and Americans, to get over a battle deeply etched in our popular memory.

According to the authors, the Texans (then the Texians) were foolish to try to defend the indefensible. Some of the defenders tried to make a run for it. Santa Anna, the Mexican general central to the story, wasn’t so bad. And given the importance of slavery to the early history of Texas, the Alamo and the Texas Revolution are due an overall post-George Floyd reevaluation.

If there are legitimate disputes over the historical record, it’s really not hard to understand why a badly outnumbered garrison of men who fought ferociously against a government force almost to the last man and provided a rallying cry for a rebellion that quickly swept to success occupies an outsize place in our imagination.

Especially given that two of the most famous Americans of the time, Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, died there.

Such an event is inevitably catnip for myth-making, but even when stripped down to its essence, the Alamo and the aftermath were truly extraordinary.

Santa Anna, president of Mexico 11 separate times, first took power as a federalist, then switched sides and became a centralizer. A new constitution squashed Mexican states that had been run largely autonomously. Santa Anna put down the ensuing revolt in the province of Zacatecas in horrifyingly brutal fashion, and then he came for Texas.

About 150 defenders holed up in the Alamo, and the rest is not just legend, but history.

Santa Anna did indeed signal that his force of more than a thousand would give no quarter.

William Barret Travis, commander of the garrison, did indeed write an immortal letter concluding, “Victory or death.” He made a plea for reinforcements that never came. “If this call is neglected,” he wrote, “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.”

Santa Anna’s troops did indeed launch an early morning attack that was bloodied by the defenders, but quickly overwhelmed the fortification. Santa Anna insisted that roughly half a dozen survivors be executed, and followed up this atrocity with the murder of about 350 other captured rebels in the Goliad Massacre.

Sam Houston, his forces swelled by volunteers, did indeed tell his troops prior to the Battle of San Jacinto: “We will meet the enemy. Some of us may be killed, and must be killed. But, soldiers, remember the Alamo, the Alamo, the Alamo!” In an astonishing turnabout, the battle turned into a bloody rout of the Mexicans that secured the independence of Texas.

Who wouldn’t want to make a movie of such events?

Of course, such popularizations aren’t going to be academically rigorous. Pushing back, the authors of “Forget the Alamo” assail the character of Jim Bowie and William Travis, and, sure enough, you wouldn’t trust them to manage your real-estate holdings. Texas at the time was a hard place, and the Mexicans and Comanche who contended for control of the territory weren’t paragons, either.

The authors note the contribution of the Tejanos, native Texans of Mexican descent, and regret how it’s missing from many accounts of the revolution, which is fair enough, but doesn’t detract from the basic story.

They make much of how Mexico abolished slavery, whereas Texas planters depended on it. Yet Mexico tolerated slavery in Texas and had its own rigidly hierarchical economic system.

By all means, let’s be as truthful as possible about the Alamo and the Texas Revolution. But it’s pointlessly destructive to tear down what deserves to be honored and to forget what — as Sam Houston insisted so ringingly and aptly — should be remembered.

© 2021 by King Features Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.