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Salt Warriors
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The El Paso Salt War of 1877 has gone down in history as the spontaneous “action of a mindless rabble,” but as author Paul Cool deftly demonstrates, the episode was actually an insurgency, “the product of a deliberate, community-based decision squarely in the tradition of the American nation’s original fight for self-government.” The Paseños (local Mexican Americans) had held common ownership of the immense salt lakes at the base of the Guadalupe Mountains since the time of Spanish rule. They believed their title was confirmed in the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. However, to the American businessmen who saw in the white expanse a cash crop that could make them rich in the years following the American Civil War, ownership appeared up for grabs. After years of struggle among Anglo politicians and speculators eager to seize the lakes, an Austin banker staked a legal claim in 1877, and his son-in-law, Charles Howard, started to enforce it. Cool chronicles the ensuing popular uprising that disrupted established governmental authority in El Paso for twelve weeks. Unique features of this pioneering book include the author’s employment of previously untapped sources and the first thorough and systematic use of familiar ones, notably the government report El Paso Troubles in Texas, to create this detailed study of the war. First-person accounts from reports and newspaper items create a landmark day-by-day account of the San Elizario battle, including the location of the Texas Ranger positions. This fast-paced account not only corrects the record of this historical episode but will also resonate in the context of today’s racial and ethnic tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-v
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Illustrations
  2. p. ix
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. The "Salt Warriors"
  2. pp. xv-xvi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-5
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  1. Part One - Community
  2. p. 7
  1. Prologue - Salt Roads
  2. pp. 9-16
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  1. 1 "This country is destined to become of importance."
  2. pp. 17-26
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  1. 2 The inhabitants rallied their fighting men."
  2. pp. 27-32
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  1. Part Two - Corruption
  2. p. 33
  1. 3 "Salt lakes on the brain"
  2. pp. 35-44
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  1. 4 "What chance is there for reform?"
  2. pp. 45-56
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  1. 5 "Relieve us from the insolent oppression of those men."
  2. pp. 57-68
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  1. 6 "Both were alike ambitious, and alike unscrupulous."
  2. pp. 69-76
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  1. 7 "Leave this county within ten days."
  2. pp. 77-85
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  1. 8 "My men are all frontiersmen."
  2. pp. 86-98
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  1. 9 "Invasion of our territory should no longer be endured."
  2. pp. 99-106
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  1. Part Three - Chaos
  2. p. 107
  1. 10 "Our county is in open insurrection."
  2. pp. 109-118
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  1. 11 "That never satisfied greed in man."
  2. pp. 119-125
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  1. 12 "I feel like killing until I am killed."
  2. pp. 126-137
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  1. 13 "Twenty good men"
  2. pp. 138-150
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  1. 14 "We do not care what happens after we even the score."
  2. pp. 151-158
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  1. 15 "Now is the time."
  2. pp. 159-176
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  1. 16 "Howard they wanted; nothing else, nothing less."
  2. pp. 177-187
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  1. 17 "I heard my men had surrendered."
  2. pp. 188-201
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  1. 18 "Half crazy from our troubles."
  2. pp. 202-211
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  1. 19 "I will drive the scoundrels ahead of me like sheep."
  2. pp. 212-226
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  1. 20 "I wish they would clear out of here."
  2. pp. 227-240
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  1. 21 "Little if any crop will be planted this season."
  2. pp. 241-249
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  1. 22 "Fearing that their statements might be published"
  2. pp. 250-257
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  1. 23 "The general state of the county is not improving much."
  2. pp. 258-273
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  1. Part Four - Coda
  2. p. 275
  1. 24 "With the Alamo and Goliad"
  2. pp. 277-286
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  1. 25 "My enemies are all dead."
  2. pp. 287-294
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 295-297
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 299-338
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 339-347
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 349-360
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