March 2, 2009
Your Monday Message from the Libertarian Party:<=
Happy Texas Independence Day!
Trust me, I=92m going somewhere with this b=
ecause it matters to you.
You see, on March 2, 1836, a small group of=
Anglo settlers and native Mexicans gathered in a tiny village on the Brazo=
s River to declare their independence from Mexico and its bloodthirsty dict=
ator, Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
For the Texians, as we were known then, and=
Tejanos, this was no mere act of civil disobedience. Their civil rig=
hts and civil liberties were being violated and their government was forcib=
ly seizing their goods and wealth, as well as their guns. As John Way=
ne himself put it, =93they now faced the decision that all men in all times=
must face=85the eternal choice of men=85to endure oppression or to resist.=
A charismatic leader, Santa Anna rapidly ro=
se to take Mexico=92s highest office. He promised to protect the poor=
from the wealthy and powerful, but instead centralized the government and =
delivered a tyranny even more terrible.
The Mexican army was the largest and best-t=
rained in the Western Hemisphere. Their orders were clear =96 slash a=
nd burn their way through Coahuila y Tejas, take back the town of San Anton=
io de Bexar, move north, crush the rebellion and execute its leaders.
The only thing between these simple farmers=
, lawyers and doctors and the hot lead and slashing bayonets of the =93Napo=
leon of the West=94 was a crumbling stone church along the main road throug=
Around 180 volunteers were huddled inside t=
he Alamo, holding off as many as 5,000 Mexican soldiers as long as possible=
to buy their fellow patriots some time to declare independence and raise a=
They refused Santa Anna=92s offer of mercy =
to any man who left the fort, which came with a promise to slaughter everyo=
ne else, despite not knowing that same offer to rebels at Goliad ended with=
Santa Anna executing those who accepted his "generosity."
Flying a flag of no quarter, Santa Anna liv=
ed up to his word to kill all inside when a pre-dawn assault on March 6 fin=
ally breached the walls after 13 days of resistance. Every Texian and=
Tejano defender was killed, but recapture of the Alamo came at a demoraliz=
ing price. Fewer than 200 rebels killed around 600 of the Western Hem=
isphere=92s best soldiers and wounded others.
The stubborn resistance bought the freedom =
fighters time. The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Wa=
shington-on-the-Brazos on March 2. Santa Anna=92s crimes against libe=
rty were announced to the world before he could capture the rebellion=92s l=
eaders and tighten his dictatorial grip over the rebellious colony. <=
A small band of colonists, armed only with =
simple hunting rifles and hastily assembled into a makeshift militia, now f=
led ahead of the massive military juggernaut rampaging north through Texas,=
burning towns to the ground in its wake. Many Texians were angry, wo=
ndering why the leader of their forces, former Tennessee governor Sam Houst=
on, was retreating from Santa Anna rather than fighting.
But they weren=92t exactly retreating. =
; General Houston knew an army of thousands, which had marched over 3,000 m=
iles from central Mexico at breakneck speed was exhausted and had overstret=
ched its supply lines. And they knew the valiant sacrifice at the Ala=
mo deeply wounded the Mexican Army. As they lured Santa Anna further =
north, they waited for their moment to strike. It was a bold gamble w=
ith seemingly slim odds of success, as Santa Anna was better armed, better =
trained, had an exponentially larger force and would stop at nothing to ext=
erminate the rebellion.
Well, the beautiful thing about liberty is =
that it eventually gives you an opportunity to win it back.
For the Texians and Tejanos, that moment ca=
me on the afternoon of April 21. Santa Anna, a brilliant military str=
ategist, had not only split his weary army, he camped his contingent on a w=
edge of land hemmed in by thick swamps and the San Jacinto River. The=
arrogant Santa Anna had overreached. The freedom fighters seized the=
opportunity, charging down the hill into the much larger Mexican camp.
The attack came as a total surprise. =
As the rebel militia hurtled towards the camp, some Mexican soldiers return=
ed fire and others feebly attempted to retreat into the only directions not=
blocked by Texians and Tejanos =96 the nearly impenetrable swamps and the =
San Jacinto River.
The short battle was a mind-boggling defeat=
. The outnumbered militia of farmers, doctors and lawyers killed over half =
the Mexican force of 1,200, wounded more than 200 and captured over 700 mor=
e in less than 20 minutes. They lost only nine of their own.
Among those captured was the bold, cocky, a=
rrogant Generalissimo, the =93Napoleon of the West,=94 the once-inspiration=
al hope who changed Mexico from a constitutional republic into a centralize=
d superstate. Only the rebels didn=92t know it. Santa Anna orde=
red a lowly soldier to hand over his uniform, hoping the rebels wouldn=92t =
know who they captured.
His cowardly disguise would have worked, ha=
d his soldiers not seem him being led back to the camp and started chanting=
his name. Disgraced and humbled, he agreed to a simple trade. =
Give them Texas, and they would give him his life. Unlike Santa Anna,=
the Texians and Tejanos actually kept their promise of mercy.
And therein lies the lesson of Texas Indepe=
ndence Day. Liberty can be violated, infringed and outlawed, but the =
transformational leaders behind it eventually overreach. Their arroga=
nce, pride and hope to change a nation in their image lead them too far.=
60; That=92s when liberty presents the opportunity for once-inconceivable v=
ictory those bold enough to declare their independence and win it back.
God bless Texas,
Director of Communications
Libertarian National Committee
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