March 2, 2009
= Your Monday Message from the Libertarian Party:<= /strong>

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.= =94

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= h Texas. 

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= resistance.

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.  <= br />
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,

Donny Ferguson
Director of Communications
Libertarian National Committee

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