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Emily Wilcox Dr. Hoover Texas Immigrants and the Mexican Authorities: Draft In the 1 !

"s some American citi#ens chose to settle in $hat is %resent day Texas. Thy $anted to immigrate for multi%le reasons. The most im%ortant reason $as land. &y the 1 ""s 'e$ England $as cro$ded. With over %o%ulation( other %ro)lems li*e %overty arise. Many immigrants chose to settle in Texas to ex%loit the land. The settlers encountered issues in the Texas territory( many coming from their ne$ landlords. At that time though Texas a %art of the Mexican em%ire. The Mexican authorities had conditions the immigrants had to follo$ if they $anted to settle the land. Those conditions led to issues )et$een the settlers and the authorities. Through their interaction $ith the Mexican authorities( such as the government and the +atholic +hurch( American immigrants to Texas re,ected Mexican hegemony. Many of the issues the immigrants faced $ere cultural differences in religion and race. The tension )et$een the t$o %arties eventually caused the the Texas revolution to )egin. -ne of the conditions the immigrants had to meet $as to )ecome Mexican citi#ens. Though the immigrants legally renounced their American citi#enshi%( in reality most still considered themselves Americans. The Mexican government ex%ected the immigrants to a)andon their former country. .ince the immigrants $ere technically Mexican citi#ens( communication to America $as limited. Many families $ere se%arated $ith little to no communication after the settler left for Texas. /ames 0add a concerned father( $rote to .te%hen 1. Austin a)out his son( an immigrant to Texas. 2I fear my letters are often lost or miscarried.31 0add also $rites that in ho%es of contacting his son( he sent letters to a friend in 'e$ -rleans. 4nfortunately( 0add informs Austen that he did not receive a re%ly. A %o%ular theory among historians is that the Mexican government %ur%osely interfered $ith corres%ondence )et$een immigrants and their families. The Mexican government $anted to discourage communication )ecause they did $ant to lose %ossi)le immigrants. Archeologists and historians have only found a fe$ letters that $ere $ritten )y the immigrants themselves. 0add mentions in his letter that he chose to $rite to Austin )ecause of an advertisement that had some of Austin5s $ritings. .ince that families of immigrants rarely received letters( they had to rely on $hat merchants and frontiersmen had to re%ort. Empresarios, or entre%reneurs li*e Austin not only had to deal $ith the government and the settlers they led( )ut they $ere res%onsi)le for $riting accounts of the colony. Another condition the immigrants had to meet $as religiously )ased. Mexico had state religion( and so naturally the government $anted to s%read the +atholic religion to the ne$ land. 2Article 6th. The families of $hich this colony is to )e com%osed( )esides )eing +atholics as he offers in his %etition.3! The %etition that is )eing referred to is the %etition made )y Austin to allo$ families to settle in Texas. The main issue $ith this %romise is most( if not all immigrants $ere 7rotestant. As 7rotestants the immigrants had an issue $ith converting to the +atholic church. &y la$( immigrants to Texas had religious freedom( )ut any denomination other than +atholicism $as loo*ed do$n u%on. Immigrants to Mexico $ere encouraged to convert to +atholicism )y %romises from the government. 2The government of the Mexican nation $ill %rotect the li)erty( %ro%erty and civil rights( of all foreigners( $ho %rofess the 8oman catholic a%ostolic religion( the esta)lished religion of the em%ire.39 The issues the immigrants had $ith the church $ill )e discussed further. Austin %romised the Mexicans that he $ould )ring good families and moral individuals to Texas to )uild a colony. .ince Mexico $as already struggling $ith *ee%ing the %eace near its o$n ca%ital( the government $anted moral colonists that $ould not cause trou)le. What the Mexican government got though $as not $hat they ex%ected. The immigrants and the government did not %eaceful relationshi%. It $as a relationshi% that $as filled $ith mistrust and little res%ect.

The Mexican government had the same %lan as the .%anish )efore it. The authorities )elieved that once the immigrants $ere true Mexicans they $ould fight for Mexico against their former home. The government had a clear vision of $hat they $anted Texas to )e. The Mexican government also ex%ected the immigrants to convert to +atholicism( the official religion of the nation. Austen $as given s%ecific instructions on ho$ the to$n should )e li*e. 2 Article th. The official communication $ith the government and $ith the authorities of the state in all instruments of $riting and other %u)lic documents must )e $ritten in .%anish.36 The government $as very %articular a)ut the la$s for the colony. Ho$ever( the government tended to )e more lenient $ith the la$s enforced in Texas. In the heart of Mexico every citi#en $as forced to )e a catholic. Also if a citi#en in the center of Mexico s%o*e against the government that individual $ould )e severely %unished( or in extreme instances executed. +olonists in Texas $ere granted some religious freedom. .ince the %eo%le lived further from the seat of %o$er( the colonists $ere not as harshly %unished. The to$ns must have schools( $hich $ould only teach in .%anish. It $as im%ortant to the Mexican government to create true Mexican citi#ens in Texas. 2The language of the inha)itants is chiefly English( though .%anish is the language of %u)lic )odies.3 : Though the .%anish schools $ere there( in day to day life the %eo%le generally s%o*e English. In order to create those true Mexicans tried to enforce their cultural %ractices( language( and religion on the settlers. Even though the Mexican government had very s%ecific and strict la$s for the colonies( the la$s $ere not often enforced. Miles a$ay in Mexico city trou)le $as starting. After Mexico5s very o$n revolution( the ne$ government )ecame $ea* and corru%ti)le. The government officials hungered for %o$er. Through corru%t means( Mexican officials gained the %o$er they longed for. The government had enough to deal $ith in Mexico. The colonists in Texas $ere often overloo*ed )y the Mexican government. The reasons for the oversight )eing the internal chaos and the distance form Mexico +ity. 2The Mexican government has retained )ut little authority over the ne$ settlers.....not to a government( the influence of $hich is hardly felt in such remote districts.3; The distance )et$een Texas and Mexico city $as so vast that interaction only occurred for serious issues. The settlers tended to get any needed hel% from the 4nited .tates )ecause of %roximity and familiarity $ith the authorities. .ince 'e$ -rleans $as the closest large city( many Texans relied on su%%lies and ne$s from there instead of Mexico. The only time the Mexican government too* any action in Texas $as to in force la$s. The authorities had so much internal strife that a far off colony $as the least of their $orries most of the time. In order to *ee% its influence in the region( the Mexican government made the mista*e of large territory of Texas $ith another %rovince. 2The 4nion of +oahuila and Texas as a state of the Mexican federal re%u)lic( had )ecome odious to the colonists of American origin( $ho $ere no$ numerous.3< The colonists $ere dissatisfied $ith the fact that the government %laced them under the control of another %rovince. The colonists in Texas $anted to govern themselves or at least have in%ut on $ho $orld govern them. 0i*e many other 0atin American countries( Mexico had a roc*y %olitical history. 2Her civili#ation is very im%erfect( as $e and the Texans have al$ays *no$n..3 That =uote is from a letter $ritten )y William E. +hanning. +hanning $as concerned a)out the Mexican government and ho$ it $ould affect a Texan re%u)lic. Though his letter $as $ritten concerning the annexation of Texas( it is relevant )ecause he )rings u% the Mexican legacy of corru%tion as a concern. Through dealings $ith the government( Texans reali#ed Mexico5s corru%tion( and $anted to se%arate. The immigrants sa$ ho$ the Mexican authorities treated their o$n countrymen. Another issue that arose )et$een the immigrants and the government $as race. Most of the immigrants to Texas $ere Anglo>American and vie$ed other cultures through that mindset. Anglo> Americans( es%ecially those form the southern states( vie$ed anyone $ith dar*er s*in as less human.

The immigrants had a slightly higher o%inion of the Mexican %eo%le than they did the 'ative Americans or their slaves. Though the leaders in Mexico $ere lighter s*inned than most of the %o%ulation( they $ere still dar* enough to )e degraded )y the immigrants. 2...The Indians have melted )efore the $hite man( and the mixed degraded race of Mexico must melt )efore the Anglo .axon.3? This is another =uote from +hanning. The immigrants did not $ant to )e governed )y %eo%le they thought $ere inferior. The immigrants felt as if they $ere )etter then the Mexicans. The harsh reality is that many government officials agreed $ith the Anglo )eliefs. In Mexico( li*e other 0atin American countries( having lighter s*in meant having a higher social status. Though Mexico $as its o$n inde%endent nation( it still %ossessed a .%anish mindset. Mexico favored the lighter s*in of the Anglo immigrants over its o$n %eo%le. To the Mexican culture( $ealth $as correlated to s*in tone( the lighter a %erson5s s*in the $ealthier that individual $as. The government $as only one of the t$o Mexican authorities over the immigrants( the other $as more s%iritual. The +atholic +hurch( the official religion of Mexico( also had an influence on the immigrants. The immigrants disagreed $ith much of $hat the church )elieved. Many %eo%le $anted to immigrate )ut they did not $ant to give u% their o$n )eliefs in order to do so. Those $ho did chose to settle in Texas $ere ex%ected not only to give u% their nationality )ut their most sacred )eliefs. As %reviously mentioned( the +atholic church $as one of the Mexican authorities the immigrants had issues $ith. Though the la$ said the immigrants had religious freedom( they $ere highly encouraged to %u)licly convert. The 7rotestant immigrants resented Mexico for forcing them to %u)licly convert. Though they $ere forced to )e +atholic in %u)lic many immigrants %rivately %racticed $hat they $anted. They only *e%t u% the a%%earance of +atholicism for the government. The only reason the immigrants %retended to )e +atholic $as to )e a)le to settle the land. 2This( he said( reminded him of the offer $hich the Devil made $ith our .avior( for all the *ingdoms of the earth.31" This is com%aring the conditions the settlers had to meet to $orshi%ing the devil. The settlers li*ed the land so much( and the relative freedom they had( that they $ere $illing to hide $hat they )elieved in. Many of the immigrants $ere the decedents of the original %ilgrims in 'e$ England. The immigrants ne$ the history of the %ilgrims and their search for a %lace to $orshi% freely. The immigrants *ne$ this history of %ersecution )y the +hurch. The 7rotestants $ere a%%rehensive a)out sacrificing a treasured freedom. -ne as%ect of the +atholic church that did not sit $ell $ith the immigrants $as the 7o%e. They already did not $ant to su)mit to Mexico )ut to have to su)mit to another foreign $as unthin*a)le. There $as a fear and a resentment of $hat the 7o%e might as* of Mexico. 27rinci%ally such as the a%%ointment of curates and the cha%lains for the army( and granting indulgences.311 As %rotestants( they did not $ant to %artici%ate in +atholic traditions( such as follo$ing the 7o%e. .ome of the older settlers had )een alive during the American revolution and did not $ant to )e ruled )y an Euro%ean %o$er. 2The 7resident received a letter addressed )y his holiness the 7o% dated !?( /une( $hich on account of the ideas of /ustice and )enevolence.31! This $riting here sho$s that Mexico5s %resident $as under the 7o%e5s authority. The immigrants $ere fearful of the %o%e and afraid of $hat he might as* Mexico to do. The immigrants com%letely re,ected Mexico5s la$s and authorities. The immigrants resented all the la$s and conditions the Mexican government $anted them to follo$. The immigrants des%ised the fact that they had to su)mit to a foreign %o$er. They $anted freedom( to not only %ractice their o$n religion )ut they also $anted the land that $as in Texas. The immigrants could have gone )ac* to their lives in America( )ut they li*ed Texas. The immigrants had made a life for themselves in Texas. After some time they sto%%ed vie$ing themselves as American citi#ens. The immigrants did not consider themselves Mexican li*e the government had originally %laned. They considered themselves something com%letely different( they sa$ themselves as Texans. In conclusion( the $ay the authorities and settlers interacted caused %ro)lems. 1rom the

)eginning the settlers did not identify $ith Mexico.The Mexican authorities and Texans did not cor%orate $ith one another. The immigrants $ere un$illing to give u% their customs and government refused to allo$ them the freedoms they $ere used to. Also the internal chaos Mexico $as going through at the time $as a factor. 1ran*ly( Mexico could not have a significant %resence in Texas and solve its internal issues at the same time. These factors( the interactions $ith the government( and the general re,ection of Mexico5s sovereignty( led to the immigrants unrest and eventual se%aration.
1. James Ladd, letter to Stephen F. Austin, May 30, 1834 2. [Transcript of colonization grant and boundaries issued by Ignacio de Arispe to Arthur G. Wavell, March 9, !"#$, Text, March 9, 1826; digital images, (http://texashistory.u t.edu/ar!:/6"#$1/metapth216#1%/ : accessed &ecem'er (%, 2(1$), * i+ersity o, -orth Texas .i'raries, The /ortal to Texas 0istory, http://texashistory.u t.edu; crediti g &olph 1riscoe 2e ter ,or 3merica 0istory, 3usti , Texas. 3. David, Woodman, Jr. Guide to Texas Emigrants, Book 4. [Transcript of colonization grant and boundaries issued by Ignacio de Arispe to Arthur G. Wavell, March 9, !"#$, Text, March 9, 1826; digital images, (http://texashistory.u t.edu/ar!:/6"#$1/metapth216#1%/ : accessed &ecem'er (%, 2(1$), * i+ersity o, -orth Texas .i'raries, The /ortal to Texas 0istory, http://texashistory.u t.edu; crediti g &olph 1riscoe 2e ter ,or 3merica 0istory, 3usti , Texas. 5. David, Woodman, Jr. Guide to Texas Emigrants, Book
6.A Visit to Texas, Being the Journal of a Traveller through Those Parts Most Interesting to American Settlers ; Texas. Observations, istorical, !eogra"hical, an# $escri"tive, in a Series of %etters &ritten #uring a Visit to Austin's (olon), *ith a Vie* to a Permanent Settlement in That (ountr), in the Autumn of +,-+ by Mary Austin Holley; An A##ress $elivere# by S. F. Austin The .orth American /evie* , Vol. 43, No. 92 (Jul., 183 !, "". 22 #2$%

8. William E. Channing, A letter to the Hon. Henry Clay on the annexation of Texas book, 1837 9. 10. David, Woodman Jr..Guide to Texas Emigrants, Book, 1835 11. Transcript of abstract of the the memorial of the Secretary of Justice and Ecclesiastical affairs presented to Congress, January 1826, Text, 1826 12..