The Blood of Heroes

I read a good book: The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo–and the Sacrifice That Forged a Nation by James Donovan. This is great story about how 200 brave Americans stood tall against the Mexican forces. Below is an excerpt from the book about the men’s protection of liberty, freedom and ownership.

The Blood of Heroes: The 13-Day Struggle for the Alamo–and the Sacrifice That Forged a NationThe Blood of Heroes

The American Revolution had been the first great uprising of modern times, its principles so just and honorable, its conduct so sound and admirable, that a wave of revolution inspired by the American colonists had swept across Europe and the civilized world. It was a movement still finding entire nations
of converts in countries such as Greece and Poland.

Americans were beseeched for assistance to these causes, and they had responded. Now their own brothers and sons and cousins and friends and neighbors, their own blood, were fighting for the same cause right next door. And all across the country, from New England to the newest state, Missouri, rallies were held to raise money and soldiers for Texas and its liberty, and thousands of men had answered the call.

Little more than five decades after Americans had secured their freedom, the word “liberty” remained far more than an abstract term, a right taken for granted. Liberty or death, as Patrick Henry put it, represented the American stand on the subject, and in 1836 the cost of freedom paid for with human lives was still vivid in the mind of every citizen and the memory of many. The word represented one of the basic rights every man was entitled to by birth. And the rebels believed passionately, just as Thomas Jefferson had written in the Declaration of Independence, that legitimate political authority rested on the consent of the governed, who retained the right to withdraw
their consent and change their government if it threatened those inalienable rights it was formed to protect. As Texians saw it, that was exactly what Santa Anna was in the process of doing.

Linked to this new concept of liberty, this idea of truly free men, and essential to its core, was landownership. Its importance went beyond the desire for riches, or large-scale exploitation of resources in the pursuit of progress. Suffrage, the right to vote and elect representatives, that most essential component of a republic, was even in the United States initially confined to property owners; land meant power. While that requirement had gradually been eliminated in all but a few states, the mindset remained. Too, it was a time, a world, an existence, based on an agrarian way of life-eight of ten men worked the land. To own land in 1836 was viewed by all as an essential condition of liberty. A man without land was nobody.

Eight of the Alamo’s defenders were Tejanos who had bravely decided to join the colonists in their rebellion-they, too, were outraged by Santa Anna’s actions. But like the great majority of Americans at the time, the rest were of Anglo-Saxon stock. Most of the men in the fort were Scots-Irish whose Scottish ancestors had fought for their freedom from the British at Stirling and Bannockburn, and then fought the Irish at the same time they were marrying and breeding with their women. A dozen or so were Englishmen whose fore-fathers had defeated the French at Agincourt and Crecy, and beheaded their own king for aspiring to tyranny. And for those who were American-born, 1776 was no such distant memory; there were veterans of that struggle still living. At least fifty of the defenders proudly claimed fathers or grandfathers who had participated in the Revolutionary War. No, whatever else happened, these men would back down from no one. …

Almost all the men from the southern states claimed Scotland and Ireland as their hereditary birthplaces, many of them only one or two generations removed from the old countries. Journeying west-for freedom, for land-was in their blood. And they were fighters. Fighting for these things, and other, sometimes lesser things, too-family, honor, justice, or even sport-was also in their blood. Truth to tell, some of the men had walked or ridden hundreds of miles just for a good fight.

Most of them were not trained soldiers. Save for the New Orleans Greys, they wore no uniforms, and their arms were their own, a mixture of muskets, rifles, shotguns, pistols, tomahawks, and blades. In almost every respect they did not meet the definition of an army. But in a letter to Sam Houston, Green Jameson had summed up their most important quality: “They have all been tried, and have confidence in themselves.”

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