First, some geographical background is in order.
Austin, the leader of the Anglo colonists in Texas, proposed the formation of a volunteer force to defend white settlements from Indian raids. After the Rangers were invested with the responsibilities typical of peace officers.
This mission involved the expulsion of Native peoples, the defense of cattle syndicates from aggrieved homesteaders, and the policing of industrial disputes.
The force achieved its greatest notoriety, however, by subjugating ethnic Mexicans in South Texas between and Ranger anti-Mexican vigilance must be understood in the context of intense white prejudice against Tejanos Mexican Texanswhich in the nineteenth century flowed from a host of sources.
For one thing, notwithstanding the fact that a number of Mexicans had fought alongside Sam Houston and other white leaders during the struggle for Texas independence, bitter memories of the slaughters perpetrated by the Mexican Army in at the Alamo and Goliad, coupled with doubts about Tejano political loyalty to the new Republic of Texas, fostered a climate of white distrust.
Moreover, the southern origins of most Anglo-Texans imbued many of them with the racist tenets of herrenvolk democracy, characterized by a low opinion of those not belonging to the supposed master race.
Ranger atrocities committed against Mexicans during the Mexican-American War —actions for which they became known as los diablos Tejanos the Texan devils —deepened the animosity between whites and Mexicans during the late s. Conditions for Texas Mexicans deteriorated rapidly after Although guaranteed equal citizenship by the Treaty of Guadalupe HidalgoTejanos who elected to remain in the United States following the war became second-class citizens and suffered dispossession at the hands of a small but powerful Anglo elite that included Mifflin Kenedy, Richard King, Stephen Powers, and Charles Stillman.
Throughout the s, Texas Mexicans lost much of their land in the Nueces Strip the area between the Nueces River and the Rio Grandea process facilitated by tight white control of the legal establishment.
Such injustices led some South Texas Mexicans to take up arms in the fall of under the leadership of Juan Cortina, a wealthy landowner. Although the rebellion was crushed the following spring, Ranger excesses during the fighting, which included the lynching of an elderly Cortina lieutenant, once again worsened relations between white Texans and Mexicans.
While the Civil War caused a lull in such hostilities, the period immediately after the conflict witnessed a surge in racial violence in South Texas, which was the result of widespread cattle rustling.
Anglos blamed Mexicans including Juan Cortina, who had taken refuge across the Rio Grande in the Mexican state of Tamaulipasbut the question of theft was thorny, for Tejanos insisted that they were merely reclaiming livestock that had been stolen from them by whites since Responding to the unrest, in the Texas legislature institutionalized two divisions of the Rangers, with one of them, the Special Force, charged with ending alleged Mexican depredations in the Nueces Strip.
Without warning, the Rangers attacked them, killing all twelve of the suspected raiders and stacking their bodies in the plaza at Brownsville as a warning to other prospective rustlers. Later that same year, McNelly and his men crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico, where they hoped to recover another herd of supposedly stolen livestock.
Acting on a bad tip, they ambushed the wrong ranch, killing at least five and perhaps as many as thirty vaqueros Mexican cowboys.
Though the Rangers continued on to their intended destination, they were intercepted by several hundred Mexicans, who drove them back to the Rio Grande. Once at the river, the Rangers dug in to fight, but they eventually crossed back into Texas under cover provided by a U.
Army detachment posted nearby. Incredibly, McNelly bluffed the Mexicans into returning sixty-five cattle.Learn the texas revolution essay with free interactive flashcards. Choose from different sets of the texas revolution essay flashcards on Quizlet.
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