The U.S.-Mexican War and
    the Peoples of the Year 2000

Inputs from History:

"Hail, Fredonia!": The Deluded White Chieftains


Inputs from the Politics of Today  

Inputs from History 

  • Population & Rebellion 

  • Deluded White Chieftains 

  • Conflicts of 1846-48:  
  • Opening Attack on Indigenous Life
  • A Border World Rebels
  • Officers Capitulate: Ampudia and Taylor
  • A Note on Strategy
  • A Note on Severed Heads
  • Leader within Walls:  Santa Anna
  • Generals for Social Order
  • The Sorting of Identities
  • The Future of New/Old Nations
    Sam Houston was not the first, nor even the silliest. He was not even insincere, at least not all of the time.  He was only one of many Anglos or Hispanics who offered their good intentions, saying that they would represent the interests of indigenous peoples.  And he demonstrated that good intentions meant nothing. 

    New national identities are not the property of tour guides, nor of soldiers of fortune -- not even soldiers of fortune who are willing to fight. 
     In 1826, a little group of "renegades" from the United States -- renegades, that is, in the sense that they were non-slaveowners from the South, but were now claiming to assert some kind of political authority -- appeared in East Texas (which was then Mexico, but just across the border from Louisiana).  Setting up headquarters in Nacogdoches, they proclaimed themselves the republic of Fredonia, and they began to negotiate with neighboring Indian peoples.  With some chiefs they signed a treaty of alliance, calling for war to claim land from Mexico.  The Indians would get everything from Louisiana to New Mexico, north of a line west from Nacogdoches.  The whites would get everything that could be conquered south of the line. 

    What the Fredonians failed to take into account was that there were migrants from the United States already settling south of that lineStephen Austin and all of his people in the area toward San Antonio.  Some of these migrants held slaves, in violation of Mexican law, but they were men of property, and therefore respectable. They worked easily enough with Mexican authorities at that time, to put down the raffish intruders. 

    And nothing came of the supposed alliance between Fredonians and Indians. 
    When Sam Houston fled from Tennessee in 1829, he took up residence among the Cherokees who were already living west of the Mississippi, but on the U.S. side of the international line.  He turned himself into an agent for these Cherokees in their dealings with the United States, appearing in Washington in his version of native dress.  And he talked of winning for the Cherokees land that would compensate them for what they had lost in the eastern part of the United States.  That land would be found on the Mexican side of the international line, in Texas.  Later, Houston did move across into Texas.  After 1836, when he and other new Texans broke away from Mexico, some his Cherokee friends still lived in the northeastern part of the new republic.  Many whites from the United States did not like them there.  It was in fact political rivals of Houston who worked hardest, and successfully, to expel the Cherokees.

    In 1849, though, Houston was quick to propose that the United States aid the planters of Yucatan in their war to repress Maya resistance.

    Nothing had come of alliance between Houston and Indians.

    While Houston was still fighting for the Texas Revolution, a poet-warrior named James Dickson appeared in Washington, proclaiming himself as Moctezuma II, determined to go out to the region west of the Great Lakes, where he would recruit an "Indian Liberation Army" that would move down across the Rockies, to conquer California for a new republic where only Indians would be permitted to own lands.  He did recruit a few supporters in the East, he did go West, but he there found himself with his words growing thin in the cold air. He faced local opposition from the Hudsons Bay Company.  Most of his followers drifted away.  In the middle of the winter, he headed toward the mountains.  Nobody heard from him again.

    Nothing came of the appeal by Dickson to the Indians.

    In the years just after the Texas Revolution, the Mexican government did not recognize Texas independence, and kept planning expeditions against it.  Some of those expeditions went, and stayed on Texas soil for short periods of time.  Besides that, the Mexican Army sent agents into northeastern Texas, to arrange an alliance with the Indians there, whom Texans were threatening with expulsion.   The Indians listened, and waited to see what help might come.  None came.  Texans captured some of the agents, finding on them documents that became one more ingredient in the campaign to expel the Indian nations.  Later, when the United States was invading Mexico, Mexican commanders talked of a new effort to negotiate with indigenous nations against the gringos.

    But nothing came of any of the Mexican appeals for a common cause with northern Indians.


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