Somewhere back, not long ago, I was reading an article at the New York Times website about Union sentiment in Texas during the Civil War.
But more interesting than the article were some of the reader comments regarding the Texas Revolution.
From a 'scholar' in Oregon:
"A principal cause of Anglo Texans' uprising against Mexico in the 1830's in fact, was that the Mexican government had abolished slavery in all Mexican lands, and was angered by the re-introduction of slavery into the then-Mexican territory of Texas by Anglos migrating from US Southern states...And as far as I know, the annexation of those territories from Mexico represents the first and only time in history that slavery was re-introduced into a region in which it was abolished."
Then there's this from a guy in Austin:
"I've read enough in this series and elsewhere to suspect that the desire of the immigrating Anglos to hold slaves was at least a significant contributor, and perhaps the primary one, to the Texans' desire for independence from Mexico. As you suggest, how bitterly ironic is that, in light of all the glorification of the heroic struggle for freedom and independence Texas kids have been exposed to for generations. Pretty sickening, really."
Finally, from some fool in Houston:
"As a Texan, I can report that the real cause of the Texas war for independence from Mexico -- slavery -- is never mentioned to Texas schoolchildren. Ironically, the revolution is said to have been about "liberty" and "freedom." Texans still prefer pleasant fantasy to unpleasant reality."
The reality is, President Guerrero's decree of 1829 did abolish slavery in Mexico. And Texas was part of Mexico. But he also issued a second decree three months later exempting Texas.
The abolition decree was never enforced in Texas. That the importation of slaves was still illegal, slave owners circumvented by having slaves sign 99 year contracts of indentured servitude. This was legal under Mexican law.
To understand the true cause of the Texas Revolution you have to understand the internal struggles in Mexico between the federalists and the centralists.
To cut to the chase, the centralists won the day. President Santa Anna suspended the constitution, a very liberal (in the original sense) document based on the US Constitution. He also disbanded the congress and dissolved all the states and their elected governments.
In response, the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas revolted in May of 1835, almost a year before Texas declared independence. The Northern four states formed the Republic of the Rio Grande for a short while, but the centralists where able to put down that rebellion.
The main reason Texas took longer to rebel is that the slave holding class was AGAINST the idea. For the simple reason that they had much invested in their plantations (including their slaves) and much to lose if a Mexican army came marching through.
Their attitude toward Santa Anna was, "Let's try to work with this guy." That is, until he crossed the Rio Grande with the stated intention of driving out or killing every one of them.
The garrison at the Alamo died fighting for the Mexican Constitution the dictator had suspended and for their separate statehood in the Mexican union under that document.
There are a multitude of ways that slavery has affected our history and culture. The story has layers...and surprises with layers of their own. It's like a jawbreaker wrapped in baklava.
But as for the fight with Santa Anna, slavery had nothing to do with it.