There are three primary historical memories developed throughout Texas History. The three narratives of the “old south,” “old west,” and “revolution era” all compete with each other throughout the 20th Century to be the dominant story of Texas’s past. Which memory is the most dominant in Texas society today? Follow the format below when constructing your essay.
Texas’ Historical Memories
Historically, Texas had been inhabited by humans for years. The city was situated along the Rio Grande and hosted various cultural groups including Mississippian people, Puebloan people, as well as, the Mesoamerican people (Baggs, 2016). However, during colonization, the city had six main cultural groups such as Atakapa, Comanche, Apachean, Coahuiltecan, Caddo, and Puebloan. Since then, several historical memories have unfolded and have greatly influenced the history of Texas. However, historical memories can be defined as a period that was marked by series of wars that were climaxed with the Texas Revolution era. However, the three main historical memories that have defined the history of Texas during the 20th century include the Old West, the Old South, and Revolution Era. From the three memories, Texas revolution Era is most dominant because it resulted in the independence of the state of Texas (Baggs, 2016). Therefore, the paper discusses these historical memories to determine the Texas revolution era as the most dominant memory regarding the present Texas society.
Old West is also referred to as Wild West or even American Frontier. The period lasted for over a century where it began during the early 19th century and ended in the early 20th century (Baym, 2011). The Old West was characterized by the colonization of the western regions of North America. Another activity associated with the Old West is the adventures of various groups such as the settlers, indigenous Americans, cowboys, luck seekers, and the outlaws. People used to travel as a family in carriages and endured difficult days and nights. They looked for food and water and sometimes would spend days without food and water (Baym, 2011). During this time, life was difficult and the comfort of civilization was absent.
The period was also characterized by the constant traveling of settlers in the wilderness, deserts, and forests in search of suitable and habitable land. Furthermore, the indigenous fought for their land. During this period, people worked in the ranches and farms as a way of livelihood. Others also worked in mines while many were trapped and traded fur. However, just like the modern time, people struggled for survival and life was not easier. The aspect of the Old West that is important is that western sceneries and culture are still evident in modern times (Baym, 2011). Therefore, the hard work and struggle for survival that characterized the modern life of Texas people could be traced from the era of the Old West.
From the cultural basis, Old South refers to the Antebellum South that was characterized by a slavery-based economy, rural way of life, as well as agriculture. The Old South American culture existed before the memorable American Civil War as opposed to the New South that came into force after the war. During the Old south, the Southerners were regarded as distinct people who had their values and culture. The southerners were regarded as plantation legends because they were farmers who own plantations. Besides, the southerners were associated with slavery especially the rich farmers and superstitious fields. One fact of life during the Old South is that not every farmer was rich and owned slaves. Some farmers were also poor and could not afford slaves as was the case of “yeoman farmers” (Mcintyre, 2011).
Politically, the Old South was subjected to the two-party systems. The Whigs had a strong influence in areas such as towns, upscale plantations, and business communities. However, Democrats had a strong influence among the poor western districts and common farmers. Moreover, the disfranchisement of black Republicans in 1877 following the Reconstruction led to becoming a small party that had its influence in the remote mountain districts of the South. In regards to religion, the southerners were dominated by the Church of England especially South Carolina and Virginia. The influence of the Church of England waned after the American Revolution when the colonists banned the Anglican Church. However, the first and the second awakenings saw the emergence of other churches such as the Methodists and the Baptized churches (Mcintyre, 2011).
During the time of the Old South, the southerners had a strong sense of honor that had a strong base in the European tradition. The sense of honor influenced the ethical behavior of men during the time of the Old South. Because of the existence of this honor, men were constantly fighting for their place in society. Besides, a man could not withstand his honor being disregarded without a fight. Additionally, it was a common occurrence for men to uphold and fight for the honor of their wives. Therefore, honor was an important aspect that men used to measure their manhood. Consequently, the period of the Old South was marred with violent duels that were responsible for the deaths of the honorable men that necessitated the college authorities to abolish violent duels (Mcintyre, 2011).
Texas revolution is also referred to as the War of Texas independence that took place between October 1835 and April 1836. The war was between the Texas colonies and Mexico (Jenkins, 2013). The positive result of the war was Texas gaining independence from Mexico that lead to the formation of the Republic of Texas. The primary cause of the Texas Revolution was the refusal by the majority of Texas that included both Mexicans and Anglo from accepting the governmental changes as was proposed by the Siete Leyes (Jenkins, 2013). The changes imposed by the government placed imperial power in the hands of both Santa Anna as well as the Mexican national government. Therefore, Texas felt despised and disrespected and sparked civil wars that culminated in Texas Revolution (Jenkins, 2013).
Several wars happened during this period such as the battle of Gonzalez that happened on the second of October the year 1835 (Jenkins, 2013). Moreover, another war that was associated with Texas Revolution was the Siege of Bexar that took place on December fifth the year 1835. The war was then followed by the Battle of the Alamo that happened on February twenty-third in the year 1836. Besides, the convention of 1836 followed shortly on the second of March in the year 1836. However, the fall of the Alamo happened on the sixth of March the year 1836 (Jenkins, 2013).
On the twenty-seventh March in the year 1836, the memorable Goliad Massacre happened that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives as well as the destruction of properties (Jenkins, 2013). However, the end of the Texas Revolution was marked with the Battle of the San Jacinto where blood was shed and lives and properties were lost. Despite Texans being badly defeated by the Mexican army, Houston’s army stepped in and won the battle on behalf of Texas at the famous San Jacinto. The win marked independence for Texas that resulted in the formation of the Republic of Texas with Houston Elected as the first president of the newly formed republic (Jenkins, 2013).
In conclusion, Texas has enjoyed memorable events that have shaped its history. Besides, such events have had a direct influence on the current situation in Texas. The three main events that greatly impacted Texas are the Old South, Old West, and Texas Revolution. However, the one that had the most impact as far as the current situation in Texas is Texas Revolution. It is because, through the Texas Revolution, Texas gained independence and was able to exercise self-rule. Besides, Texans were accorded the luxury of enjoying the freedom that is currently enjoyed by the citizens.
Baggs, C. (2016). A chronology of Texas library history 1685–2000 A bibliography of Texas library history 1685–2000. Library History, 20(2), 148-149.
Baym, N. (2011). Old West, New West, Postwest, Real West. American Literary History, 18(4), 814-828.
Jenkins, J. H. (2013). The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836. Austin: Presidia Press.
Mcintyre, R. C. (2011). True Relics of the Old South. Souvenirs of the Old South, 99-134.