Accountability: The Story of the Alamo

Accountability - willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions

Where there is no accountability, evil men rule.

      At dawn near the old Spanish mission lay dead 700 Mexicans who had fought against some 200 patriots who called themselves Texans. They continued to fight until the last man was released from the hands of a tyrant who was considered by many to be the “Napoleon of the West”. This man was General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, dictator of Mexico.
      Between 1825 and 1830 U.S. citizens were flooding the territory known as Texas. By 1830 over 75% of the population was made up of Americans. The Mexican Congress soon passed a law forbidding further immigration from the United States. Eventually laws were passed to restrict their shipping and commerce.
These Texans were being forced to become members of the Catholic Church and their religious freedoms were being challenged. By 1832, Mexico went through a revolution and the new leader of Mexico was none other than Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
      Santa Anna enlisted in the Mexican Army at the age of 14. By the time he was 27, he had risen to the rank of Brigadier General. Santa Anna helped write the Federal Constitution of 1824 and later became President of Mexico. Santa Anna promised the people a democracy, but once he gained power in 1835 he declared himself a dictator and abolished the Constitution of 1824 which he helped write. As dictator, He had no room for accountability. He soon abused his power which was the primary cause for the revolution. Santa Anna had a weakness for pretty women and had many affairs. One of his famous sayings, which described the heart of this tyrant, was, “If I were God, I would wish to be more”. This statement should be a lesson that when there is absolute power it only brings desires to control more.

     Santa Anna began to have a deep hatred for the Texans who dared to demand freedom and equal rights. He decided who would receive liberty and no foreigners were going to challenge him. Deciding to personally wipe out this nest of rebels, he took his army and headed to San Antonio.
     Meanwhile back in Texas, Sam Houston was elected to command the Texan Army. These Texans wanted a republic for two reasons. First off, they saw how well it was working in the United States. They also saw that in a republic there were checks and balances that kept rulers accountable. They witnessed what happens when a ruler like Santa Anna has no one to be accountable to. Santa Anna promised democracy, but instead gave them tyranny.
Knowing that Houston needed as much time as possible to form an army, men like Jim Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett worked to do the same.
      On February 23rd, Santa Anna came into San Antonio unopposed. Later he would raise a blood red flag which indicated that there would be no mercy. Several times Santa Anna’s officers pleaded with him to show mercy, but his reply was, “I neither ask nor give quarter”. Jim Bowie tried to parley with him, but his only response was he would not discuss terms with rebellious foreigners. It would be surrender, which probably meant being butchered or to die while trying.
      The next day Bowie became quite ill and had to give the command over to Travis. It was then that Travis sent a message to the people of Texas and all Americans in which he called on them “in the name of Liberty, and of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid … I am determined to sustain as long as possible and die like a soldier … Victory or Death”.
     Several days and many messages later he realized that no help could be expected from the outside. Santa Anna would soon take the Alamo. Travis needed to address his men. On March 5th he told them that the final assault was soon and if any desired to escape, now was the time to let it be known. It was at this time Travis drew a line in the sand with his sword and asked all those who wanted to stay to step across the line. The only coward in the Alamo was Louis Moses Rose. It is said that he was the only one that did not cross the line. He took a few belongings and went over the wall before the battle began. It was his testimony that told about the line drawn in the sand.
     On March 6th, 1836, at 5:00 am, Santa Anna attacked and by sunrise the battle was over. All of the men were killed and their bodies were later burned. Santa Anna moved on to destroy Houston, only to be defeated in a battle which lasted 18 minutes. Later, Santa Anna was captured and then brought to Houston to reach an agreement declaring Texas’ independence.

Summary of the Alamo

     Here we have seen what happens to men like Santa Anna. How they can do good things while under accountability, such as the Federal Constitution of 1824, only to abolish it when he becomes absolute ruler.
     Then there are also men like Travis, Bowie and Crockett, as well as others, who gave their lives defending a way of life. These men were accountable to their men, as well as the people of Texas. They saw their duty clear even in the face of death. “Victory or Death!”                   William B. Travis

     History shows men like Hitler, Stalin and others, who have committed unspeakable crimes. It has shown how they rejected accountability and as a result, evil men rule. As Christians we need to be accountable for our actions and be examples to our family, knowing that our Heavenly Father is watching over us.