Texas and the Mexican War


Nathaniel W. Stephenson

Perennial Press

Texas and the Mexican War - Bookrepublic

Texas and the Mexican War


Nathaniel W. Stephenson

Perennial Press


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THAT American diplomat known to his contemporaries as "the eel-like Monroe" gave Manifest Destiny a deep offense which popular memory has let slip. He bartered away, as his enemies said, our claim to the country between the Sabine and the Rio Grande. However shadowy that claim was, there were patriotic Americans in the year 1819 who wanted the country. The shadowiness of the claim was not worth mentioning, they thought. Napoleon sold us something in the Southwest and surely we, with Manifest Destiny on our side, were the best judges of what old Louisiana included. Monroe took a narrower view; and when he acquired Florida from Spain and rounded out the eastern coast line, but stopped at the Sabine on the west, there was wrath in many American hearts, and some bold Americans were ready to stake their heads for the rectification of their government's error.
            One of these was James Long, who led a filibustering expedition across the Mexican line in 1819. Long's exploit was the outcome of a public meeting of the citizens of Natchez, inspired by indignation over Monroe's policy. The little army of adventurers who followed Long and captured the Mexican frontier town of Nacogdoches was strangely composed and acted from a variety of motives. A noted Mexican refugee, Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara, was associated with Long in setting up a ready-made government on the American model to preside over the new "Republic of Texas" which the invaders proclaimed at Nacogdoches. This Gutiérrez had been involved in earlier attempts to overthrow the kingdom of New Spain. Doubtless to some of Long's followers the invasion was but a detail in the revolution against Spain of which they dreamed in their vision of a new and greater Mexico. Thus, it may be, starts a delusion which we shall find all through Texan history  –  the delusion that a genuine republican inspiration was struggling in Mexico with reactionary monarchism. Long's republic was short-lived. During its few months, its founder revealed that deadly serious naïveté which appeared so often in Americans of that time. Looking about for an ally, Long bethought himself of the last great pirate of American waters, Jean Lafitte, who flew the Jolly Roger over Galveston Island. Lafitte had a pirate town there, and for a while was a sovereign over the freebooters of the sea. To him Long appealed. It was while Long was absent negotiating with Lafitte that the soldiers of New Spain fell upon Nacogdoches, abolished the infant republic, and drove its survivors, whether American adventurers or Mexican dreamers, helter-skelter across the border...



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