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Alexander Mendoza and Charles David Grear EXAS IS FOREVER associated with the concept of war. From pre-Columbian Indian conflicts, its inception as a nation and later a state, to modern times, conflict has largely been present in the Lone Star. Battlefields are found throughout the state, from the Battle of Rattlesnake Springs in the trans-Pecos to the Battle of Sabine Pass on the border with Louisiana, and from the Battle of Palo Alto near Brownsville to the Battle of Adobe Walls in the Panhandle. The Battle of the Alamo, one of the most famous events in Texas history, continues to enthrall people across the globe through countless books, movies, and documentaries. Additionally, military terminology is often associated with the fight for San Antonio. For instance, references to the “Alamo” are often attributed to a place or event that will be a last stand or that demonstrate some element of defiance in the face of long odds. Even during World War II, the very first Special Forces unit in American history was known as the “Alamo Scouts.” Historians and soldiers alike associate the Alamo to Thermopylae, the renowned battle between the Spartans and the Persians, with phrases such as “drawing the line in the sand.” Images of martial Texans, beginning with the Texas Revolution, thus remain strong today, including the stereotype that every resident of the Lone Star State owns a gun. Even at the turn of the twenty-first century, Texas has many notable military connections. Fort Hood, near Killeen, is the largest army post in the United States and home to the famous 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division. Every airman in the US Air Force goes to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The American military-industrial complex has also had many homes in Texas, ranging from Boeing in San Antonio to Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth and General Dynamics in Garland. Texas and Texans have also played significant roles in America’s military history. Conflicts in the Lone Star State began with the American Indian tribes fighting for dominance and access to resources such as food, fuel, and water. By the early fifteenth century, Spanish explorers entered the region, sparking a war between the two groups. Additionally, quarrels escalated amid Indian nations to strengthen economic bonds INTRODUCTION T INTRODUCTION 2 created by new technologies brought by the Europeans. With the French vying for control in the late seventeenth century, conflicts and an escalation of the Spanish military presence followed. Tension remained between Spain and France until the eighteenth century, when the British expelled the latter from North America and created a new concern of Anglo expansion into Texas, particularly after the American Revolution. Texas was not the first Spanish territory Americans wanted, but immigration, both de jure and de facto, began during the early nineteenth century . This influx reached its peak when Mexico gained its independence from Spain and welcomed Anglos into the region to buffer the bulk of the country from Native American attacks and US filibustering expeditions. Accordingly, cultural and political differences sparked the Texas Revolution. In less than a year, Texas became an independent republic. Thus a nation was forged in war. Yet as historian Stephen L. Hardin has noted, Texans’ martial spirit was not unique to those already there. The Americans that arrived amid the Revolution, for instance, “were no strangers to war: they were born to it.”1 These newcomers were descendants of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. And while they might have been far removed from the events of Valley Forge or New Orleans, they staked their own claims to martial glory at the Battle of San Jacinto. Yet independence from Mexico did not end hostilities in Texas. Over the course of the Republic era, Mexico invaded Texas several times, spawning several retaliatory Texan campaigns, the most noted being the Santa Fe, Somervile, and Mier Expeditions. With the treasury coffers empty and expensive conflicts with Mexico and American Indians continuing, Texas joined the United States with hopes that this union would ease the burden of combat through annexation of the nascent nation. But statehood brought war with Mexico, not only over the indignation of a former state joining another country but also over a dispute regarding the new border between the neighboring countries; was it the Rio Grande (as the United States asserted) or the Nueces River (as Mexico claimed). Texans played a significant role in the MexicanAmerican War (1846–48...


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