Texas Independence Day, Timelines, and Privilege

Today is Texas Independence Day. Woohoo, right? Well, not so fast. 

Texas Independence was accomplished through deaths and injuries on both sides and ideas of superiority on both sides, although especially on the Texian side with their ideologies from the United States that would soon officially be named Manifest Destiny. In the aftermath of the Texas Revolution, enslavement escalated, efforts to rid the state of Indians continued, and Hispanic Women lost rights, for example. Except for White Men, the Texas Revolution was hardly “revolutionary,” at least not revolutionary in a positive way of expanding rights. 

One aspect of studying and teaching History that particularly fascinates me is the idea that different groups have different historical timelines (and naturally, different interpretations of events). For instance, the Black timeline of United States History is very different than the White timeline or Hispanic timeline. Different events were important and some “important” events are of no significance to another group.

Celebrating Texas Independence day, especially celebrating it as a singularly good thing, privileges a very specific White timeline of History and “whitewashes” associated History. It omits Mexican perspectives on the issues, and omits that the revolution at its core was not simply about spreading so-named liberty. If White settlers from the United States had been able to continue coming to Mexico and easily bring/keep their enslaved property, there would not have been an independence movement in the 1830s the way it developed, if at all.

If anything, Texas Independence Day should occur on the anniversary of the surrender (celebrating the day independence is declared suggest that Texas was destined to win from the beginning), but this would still be problematic because nations take time to recognize new nations. Indeed in part because of the existence of slavery and secret but not-so-secret United States involvement, Mexico refused to recognize Texas Independence until over a decade later when Mexico was forced to give up its land in present-day California, New Mexico, Arizona, etc. 

Of course, too, parallel concerns apply to revolutions and civil wars across time and place.