2/29/12 - santa anna is hailed in washington, d.c.

In today's excerpt - in 1836, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his army massacred "Texians" at the Alamo and at Goliad. Yet since one of the reasons Texans had sought independence from Mexico was Mexico's prohibition of slavery, when Santa Anna appeared in Washington, D.C. shortly thereafter, he was hailed by some Northerners as a crusader who had taken on slaveholders. In fact, the first order of business of the newly independent Republic of Texas was to approve annexation to the United States, but the United States rejected this overture from Texas because of its slaveholding status. The U.S. did not approve the Texas petition for statehood until 1845 as part of one of the elaborate compromises on slavery that preceded the Civil War:

"On October 18, 1836, the Speaker of the House of Representatives declared Sam Houston to be the 'duly and constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas, and Mirabeau B. Lamar Vice President for the term of two years, immediately ensuing from the second Monday in December.' In this first national election in September 1836, the people were also asked to vote on a resolution for annexation to the United States of America. It was overwhelmingly passed by the citizens of Texas, most of whom had emigrated from the U.S. Still reeling from unmitigated criticism, David G. Burnet was relieved to hand over the reins of government to the hero of [the Battle of] San Jacinto. On October 22, 1836, Sam Houston was inaugurated in the small wooden capitol building in Columbia as the first elected President of the Republic of Texas.

"The former Governor of Tennessee had his hands full as a myriad of difficult domestic and diplomatic tasks lay before him, including annexation to the United States, making peace with the Indians, negotiating with Mexico, and an empty treasury. Houston judged the accommodations at Columbia to be wholly inadequate and immediately lobbied for the seat of government to be moved to his namesake town of Houston. The muddy little town had been laid out less than two months before by the Allen brothers at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak Bayous, several miles upstream from the former site of Harrisburg.

"One of the newly elected President's most puzzling dilemmas after his inauguration was what to do with Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican President who was still being held as a prisoner in Brazoria. Santa Anna had written to Houston offering his assistance to negotiate with the United States for its annexation of Texas. Houston dismissed his offer as insincere but was determined to get the infamous prisoner out of Texas. Santa Anna was released through diplomatic channels to Washington, D.C., where he managed to charm the Washington elite. He was hailed by the abolitionists as a crusader who had taken on the breakaway slave-holding Republic, rather than the man who had ordered the mas­sacres of Texians at the Alamo and at Goliad. Houston rationalized, 'Restored to his own country [Santa Anna] would keep Mexico in commotion for years, and Texas will be safe.' With the treaties of Velasco [signed after San Jacinto and intended, on the part of the Texans, to provide a conclusion of hostilities between the two belligerents] violated by both governments, Texas independence was not recog­nized by Mexico and her boundary was not determined until after the U.S. and Mexican War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848."


James P. Bevill


The Paper Republic


Bright Sky Press


Copyright 2009 by James P. Bevill


barns and noble booksellers
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.


Sign in or create an account to comment