Friday, 22 April 2016

Matters of Perception - Texas at the cusp of Ruin or Liberty - Lessons


Building upon the previous two posts, we would like to delve just a bit longer into the matters pertaining to 1836 in Texas.   Some of this arises from the birthday celebrations a few days ago in the area where we have our little adobe hut.  The incessant obsession with Donald Trump by those in attendance brought this observer to the point where he made various observations and suggestions:

     (1)     The people were advised to not obsess concerning Trump.

  Such condemnation and posturing we have seen amongst the Mexican populace, the beating of Trump pinatas at children's birthday parties, the "injury" suffered by having to listen to a politician say ill-considered things just does not justify the effort.   Vincent Fox Quezada, the first non-government party President of Mexico....a National Action Party conservative....made a fool of himself by sputtering things as bad or worse about Trump than did Trump himself.   Fox-Quesada's  be-fouling of the American airways with the worst of profanity, twice, on live American television was astonishing.
     Towards the end of Fox-Quesada's term as President of Mexico (2001 - 2007 inclusive) he also became a typical RINO by trying to be compassionate and caring....."reaching out" across the aisle in Congress, etc. etc.   The opposition, in large part, spit in his face.   Small inroads 0f "understanding" and "working together" were made, but all were quickly tossed aside upon the end of his term.   He also did little to nothing to assist in the campaign to elect his successor, allowing the National Action Party candidate to swim rough seas with no life jacket, essentially.   In spite of his pioneering victory, he has become a "sideliner" in Mexican political, cultural, and  social affairs.

     El Gringo Viejo played a bit of a dirty trick on the guests assembled.   He reminded the folks that during the late 1820s early to mid 1830s,  the vast majority of the "anglosaxones" who came into Texas came under contract in return for land.....large land tracts.   These contracts would be enforced by the various "empresarios" who obtained the grants and authority to issue land patents, where farms and small to middle-sized ranches could be set up.
    Colonisers  were required to learn the Spanish language, become practicing Roman Catholics, and to improve their lands within seven years, paying all levies and consideration required of all Mexicans.  They were also required to guarantee that they would neither introduce nor maintain an enslaved person.
   In exchange, they essentially received citizenship, plus the requirement to form join militias in order to guard against the marauding Apache, Comanche, Kickapoo, and  Kiowa nations.   In other words, they wanted to use the "anglosaxones" as bullet and arrow catchers so as to blunt the Indians who made annual, sometimes seasonal, "visits" deep into times as far South as San Luis Potosi.
     These conditions prevailed until the Conservatives took over the government in Mexico and suspended, then abolished, the Constitution of 1824 (very similar to the American Constitution), and then established an organic law Centralist government, expressly committed to cancelling any form of sovereignty for the States of the Mexican union.   A War commenced, almost a forerunner of the American War Between the States, in which at least one per cent of the Mexican population died.   A demagogue arose from the disorders surrounding these events of the early to mid-1830s by the name of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and it would be he who would torment and embarrass Mexico for the next 30 years.

     Lopez de Santa Anna was neither a Conservidor nor a Liberal.  He was first and foremost (and only) a Santa Annista.   Because the Texians were, in the main, Federalists and States' Righters, they presented a problem to the Centralist government.   Zacatecas, Coahuila, the entire Yucatan Peninsula, San Luis Potosi, most of Nuevo Leon, and Jalisco States were all substantially anti-Centralist.

     One floating phantom played a strategic problem for Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  The stories of his victories over mediocre to even well-prepared and competent adversaries in the field went before him as he invaded Texas.   This would make his pacification of the Federalists (Liberals) and their silly defense of the Mexican tricolour with the numeral 1 8 2 4 emblazoned upon the vertical Green, White, and Red background quite easy he thought, except for that pesky strategic problem.   What was that little impediment?

     Because of the fact that the Mexican autocrats, oligarchs, democrats, Republicans, Clerical class, and wealthy landowners, and industrialists all had their ideas about how to arrange society and governance of said society, they spent much of their political time in Mexico City arguing about everything except that which mattered.  Texas....even Coahuila....was like something on the moon.  For most people, many leguas and varas and hectareas of distance that might even stretch to Canada or beyond, there were better things to argue and bluster about in and around Mexico City.

    (2)    The United States and Texas learned from the Mistakes of the 1836 period in Mexico.   They learned but it was probably also too late.

     During the period from around 1831 through to the first quarter of 1836, it is true what some historians and Mexican nationalists assert.   They declare that "scores of thousands" of "illegal aliens" poured into Texas more for the purpose of establishing slavery, law offices, commercial enterprises including illegal importation of refined and manufactured goods, and general business practices.   Most of these....essentially all....were from the United States, with a preponderance coming from what would later become "The Confederacy".
     The numbers were not so great, but they were significant.   The American-like cohort of the population quickly outdistanced the combined numbers of Spanish/Mexican ancestry and Indian ancestry very shortly after the beginning of the "colonisation" programme.   According to official and reliable sources, we find: State Historical Association
The colonization period of 1821–35 brought many settlers; the population was estimated
at 20,000 in 1831. In 1834 Juan N. Almonte, after a visit to Texas, placed the population
at 24,700, including slaves. In 1836 there were probably 5,000 blacks, 30,000
Anglo-Americans, 3,470 Hispanics, and 14,200 Indians in Texas.
(El Gringo Viejo suggests that the terms "Hispanic" and "Anglo" are very loose, even somewhat accurate)

We submit that Juan N. Almonte was a reliable source, and also a military officer of considerable position and respect.  Included in his reports to Mexico City was the frightening admission that the baby they had birthed in 1821 with Moses Austin and later his son, Stephen Austin, to bring a few "anglosaxones" into Texas had turned into a monster Goliath, dwarfing the Spanish/Mexican population and the native Indian altogether. The Indians counted were mainly among the Alabama, Coushatta, and Caddo....various types of the Chickasaw, Cherokee. and Creek Nations.  He also reported that there were numerous Negroes, and generally assumed they were all slaves, although he was told by the settlers that the Black Folks were actually manumitted, or in the process of manumission.   I was not there, and do not know which or who was slave or manumitted Negro.

     Almonte was also concerned with the fact that many of the settlers, nominally Mexican nationals, had had experience in the militias in the land of origin.   David Crockett, who would arrive late, and stay on this Earth only briefly after arrival, for instance, had been a lieutenant colonel in the Tennessee militia and had seen vigorous combat during the Indian Wars.  Almonte was also alarmed that the 50 per cent growth rate was fueled by people who had not entered with the intention of learning Spanish, of being loyal to a government as distant as Washington D.C. in many ways, or of being compliant with the labyrinthine complexities of Mexican commercial law.   They were, essentially, illegal aliens.  Few of the latter arrivals intended to push cotton up out of muddy soil, or round up wild cattle in the western stretches of what defined as colonisable territory in Texas.

     The point?   Mexico and the rest of the world should well understand why large segments of the population of the United States would want to seal a porous border.   Because Mexico slept at the switch, for instance, during the 1830s, a population built up that chafed at the thought of the arbitrariness  of organic law as opposed to common law.  It also suddenly became strong in terms of production and had small but very potent militia capacity.  Because of the further error by the Mexicans of placing 110% of the authority to conduct governmental business and military operation into the hands and contorted mind of one megalomaniac, Mexico lost its most valuable asset.   The present path of the United States is pictured by those errors and those of the Romans who paid and cajoled the plebeian classes with massive public entertainment and citizenship status when such classes, in those days, were in no way prepared for citizenship.

     One of the people with whom we were speaking told your humble servant that I would well advised to run seminars for the National Action Party so that they would campaign on those principals.   As much as the Mexican population is "down on Trump", they also have the problem, once again, of not sealing down their own southern border.   Now, several million people of Central American nationality (excepting only Costa Rica and Panama') are "in the shadows" in Mexico.  Although it might be hard for the OROG to believe, once a Centroamericano arrives into Mexico, he/she can be a bit overwhelmed at the wealth, prosperity, and abundance of product and food.  Sadly, they are also surprised at how much more "functional" the police and military are, and how the corruption is not as abusive.  I know, it sounds sadly humorous, but it is true.
      The problem?   The interior rot that the Central American gangs inject into already unstable parts of the urban Mexican situation.   It is a gangrenous condition that will, as in American, lead to cultural debilitation of the most grievous level.

There you all have it.   Have to make supper for the better half and me.  Perhaps I can talk her into taking me out to the Whataburger.
El Gringo Viejo