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Tug of War: Steps to Revolution Between Mexico and Texas
Transcript of Tug of War: Steps to Revolution Between Mexico and Texas
Squatters get to Keep Land
The first conflict took place in Nacogdoches, in east Texas. Haden Edwards and his brother Benjamin got a land grant from Mexico to settle 800 families near Nacogdoches. When the Edwards brothers arrived with their settlers, there were already several hundred families living in the area. These people were squatters (people who have been on the land for several generations, but do not have a title to the land they consider theirs), and the Edwards brothers demanded that the squatters show ownership for the land. If titles could not be presented, the Edwards brothers demanded payment for the land, or the squatters had to leave. The squatters appealed to the Mexican government and the government sided with the squatters.
The Edwards brothers were furious. Haden Edwards went back to the United States. Benjamin Edwards organized a revolt and took over the Old Stone Fort in Nacogdoches. He started the Republic of Fredonia and declared independence from Mexico. The revolt had no
support from most Texans, and the Mexicans sent troops to put a stop to the revolt. The Fredonians fled and the revolt was over. Although a minor event, the Fredonian Revolt attracted the attention of the Mexican government. Concerned about the Texas situation, the Mexican government sent a group to investigate conditions in Texas.
Decree of April 6, 1830
On April 6, 1830, the Mexican government issued a decree (law). This decree was written to give Mexico more control over Texas. Mexico ended all immigration from the United States. Mexico suspended all empresario grants. No new slaves could be brought to Texas. To keep down the Anglo-American influence, the Mexican government encouraged settlers to come to Texas from Mexico and Europe. More soldiers were brought into Texas and customs duties (taxes) were to be collected on goods coming from the United States. As more troops from Mexico came into Texas, the Mexican government built more forts. The Texans protested.
Turtles Bayou Resolutions
To keep the peace, the Texans wrote a series of statements called the Turtle Bayou Resolutions. In these statements, the Texans denied that they were attacking the Mexican government and pledged their support of Santa Anna and the Mexican Constitution of 1824. The Mexican government became a republic due to this document. Peace had been restored for the time being.
Mier Y Teran Report
General Mier y Teran was sent to inspect Texas. He reported that the Mexican influence in Texas was decreasing. In East Texas, the Anglos outnumbered the Mexicans five to one. In the Mier Y Teran Report to the Mexican Government he expressed his concerns that Texas could throw all of Mexico into revolution if something wasn’t done. His findings alarmed the Mexican government. Mexico made a dramatic change toward Texas.
Tug of War: Steps to Revolution
The road to the revolution was a long and bumpy one. It had many starts, stops, detours, dips, and speedbumps. The road ended with a crash – the Battle of Gonzales. It took a while to get to the point of bloodshed. During the early years of Texas Anglo-American settlement, the Anglos and the Mexicans had little to do with each other. Stephen F. Austin and other empresarios worked to ensure cooperation and respect for Mexican law. For the most part, the Mexican government and the Anglos had good relations. Those relations became tense as more settlers from the United States began to arrive. There were some differences in the customs and traditions between the governing Mexicans and the settlers from the U.S. In the beginning these differences caused only small problems. However, by the 1830’s, small problems grew bigger which caused conflict and even some violence.
Protest at Anahuac
The first conflict over the April 6th law was in the town of Anahuac. Many Texans had gone to Anahuac to protest the taxation policies of the Mexican government. The Texans were arrested. Many Texans went to Anahuac to free those arrested. Shots were fired, and eventually the Texans were released.
Santa Anna Elected President
In 1833 Santa Anna was elected president of Mexico. Sensing their new freedoms under a republic, the Texans came together in the Conventions of 1832 and 1833 to list their grievances. At these conventions, the Texans decided to ask Santa Anna and the new Mexican government for several things. In 1832, the Texans wanted separate statehood within Mexico, the April 6th law revoked, improved schools, better mail service, more protection against the Americans Indians and land titles for those settlers in East Texas. In 1833, the Texans wrote a constitution for separate statehood and decided to send Stephen F. Austin to Mexico to present their decisions.
Austin Tries to Meet with Santa Anna
Austin traveled to Mexico and all was chaos. Santa Anna had decided that Mexico was not ready for a democracy and declared himself dictator. Furthermore, his government was not organized, and there was a cholera epidemic in Mexico City. Santa Anna was not in the capital and could not meet with Austin. Austin’s patience ran out, so while he waited, he wrote a letter asking the authorities in San Antonio to go ahead and organize Texas as a separate state of Mexico. Finally, Santa Anna met with Austin and agreed to most of the Texans requests except separate statehood. Austin was pleased with the meeting and started back to Texas, but he was arrested in Saltillo. The letter he wrote about separate statehood was given to Mexican authorities who knew Santa Anna had not granted separate statehood for Texas. The Mexicans thought the letter was an act of treason (a crime against the government) and put Austin in jail. As a result, Austin was gone from Texas for over two years.
More Problems in Anahuac
Back in Anahuac, the Mexican government arrested more people over tax collection. William B. Travis took a force to Anahuac to get protestors released. The Mexicans surrendered, but word of this got back to General Martin de Cos (Santa Anna’s brother-in-law), and he demanded the arrest of Travis and several others. Cos also ordered the arrest of Lorenzo de Zavala, who was a framer of the Mexican Constitution of 1824. He had been critical of Santa Anna’s actions and had moved to Texas for safety. The Texans were concerned and called for a meeting later known as the Consultation of 1835. At this meeting, the Texans were divided – one group called the peace party wanted to keep the peace with Mexico, and another group called the war party wanted immediate independence from Mexico.
The Breaking Point
During this time, General Cos ordered that all weapons given to the Texans be returned to Mexican authorities. Following these instructions in Gonzales, Colonel Ugartechea demanded that the Texans give up their small brass cannon. The Texans refused and challenged the Mexicans to “Come and Take It.” When the Mexicans tried, the Texans fired on the Mexicans. A battle broke out, and the Mexicans retreated. This was October 2, 1835. The Texas Revolution had begun!
Skirmish at Velasco
A skirmish did take place at Velasco. Many Texans felt the need to protect themselves from the Mexican troops. A group of Texans were bringing two cannons back to Anahuac. When they got to Velasco, the Mexican commander, Colonel Ugartechea, would not let them pass. Fighting erupted and the battle was intense. The Mexicans were forced to surrender.