There were actually at least four competing slave societies in the space of Texas: Deep South, Spanish/Mexican, Immigrant Indian and Comanche/Plains Indian.
The earliest Angloamericans to come to Texas came to trade with Indians and join a guerrilla war in Mexico. Later generations came to get land, buy slaves, and grow cotton.
They were Upper Southerners who wanted to join the Deep South cotton boom, followed by Lower Southerners who spread it into a new territory.
Some newcomers to Texas dreamed of an Indian empire, unified against the white man.
Some newcomers dreamed of an Anglo-Saxon empire; but they argued about its metropole.
Tejanx settlement was from the dream of Spain’s empire in the New World, then a Mexican empire in the North.
Some dreamed of a commercial empire to the South — a Cotton Empire, and, hence, an empire for slavery.
Claude Elliott – Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50, no. 3 (Jan. 1947)
- “numerous public meetings held in Alabama” Oct ’35 – May ’36
- Oct 1 – Gonzales cannon fight
- Oct 17 – meeting in Mobile for Texas sympathizers
- gathering volunteers, $1,500 subscribed
- Oct 20 – Mobile courthouse meeting
- comparisons to 1776, aid committee, news sent to Consultation
- Late Oct – appeals for aid in Southern Advocate (Huntsville), Mobile Register and Patriot, Mercantile Advertiser and Transcript.
- “An Appeal to the People of the States to help their Brothers in Texas” (Mercantile Advertiser, quoted in Southern Advocate, Nov. 3, 1835)
- “Rise then, good men and true, and march to the aid of your brothers in Texas.”
- Oct 31 – Huntsville meeting
- Nov. 2 – Huntsville volunteers to set out west
- Nov. 30 – Montgomery. “to emancipate that fertile portion of the globe from the arbitrary thraldom under which it groans” / “man will not be a slave” (Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, Jan. 30, 1836)
- Dec. 1835 – Huntsville Volunteers reach Nacogdoches, relieve garisson at Goliad
- Alabama units tend to concetrate at Goliad garrison
- April 5, 1836 – Daily Commercial Register and Patriot, “the unnatural and savage massacre of the garrison at San Antonio”
On the face of it, Mexican is a national category, not a racial one or even an ethnic one. But in Texas it took on aspects of racial or ethnic logic. For starters, it became a heritable category. The children of Texas Mexicans were still Mexicans, even if they had no political connection to the Mexican government, and no family connection to Mexican territory.
Another lesson may be that first-class white citizenship could only buy you so much — alongside studies of whiteness in the politics of class, gender, etc.
While Tejanos were typically white in courtrooms and legislation, they often became nonwhite in the newspapers
If one wishes to do so, it is not at all difficult to prove that Anglo-Texans often entertained very low opinions of Texas Mexicans in the antebellum period, and that they often organized these derogatory opinions under an ugly set of ethnic stereotypes and racial comparisons. And yet as Anglo-Texans enjoyed steadily increasing dominance over lawmaking and politics, and immersed themselves in reconstructing the Texas polity in ever-more race-conscious terms … [legal culture and hard cases] … Indeed perhaps part of the lesson of this study is the loose joint between commonplace race culture and officially recognized racial discourse.
- De León, They Called Them Greasers.↩
Nearly all of the capitalized words in this paper are contested terms with shifting ranges of signification and fuzzy boundaries….