College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)


Christopher Smith


Texas Revolution, Battle of Coleto Creek, Goliad Massacre, Alamo, American West, American myth




From the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836, the Alamo looms larger than life over the other battles of the six-month conflict. The men resolved to die at the Alamo gained immortal fame and were enmeshed as the icons of a frontier identity. There is another story, however, that reveals the shattering of frontier ideals, and that is the Battle of Coleto Creek and the Goliad Massacre. How these two connected events have been remembered in the American mind has led to certain misconceptions of the Texian and Mexican sides of the Revolution. This is largely due to the American appeal of legend and the Homeric strain of many a playwright, poet, novelist, and historian of the nineteenth century that helped to form what is known as the Texas mystique. To break down the mystique, or mythos of the Revolution, it is important to analyze both shifting historiography and historical mythology that not only addresses the scholarship around Coleto but the mixed motives of the Texians and their own mystique that was conjured to combat Mexican tyranny in a story of highly idealistic volunteer soldiers on a violent frontier.

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