Remember the Alamo!
The U. S. War Against Mexico:
A Catholic Perspective
We have previously examined the ideological basis of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as its first practical application: the revolt against the Mother country, England, and the altogether rejection of the monarchical form of government. (see Revolution in Ideas and Action) This article is the first of a two part series concerning the efforts of the United States in advancing the Revolution that began in the 1770's. When we speak of ‘THE Revolution’ we mean, in part, the substitution in the political realm of nothing but laws made by men for the laws of God and the teachings of the Church; a substitution that is both the goal and result of no longer recognizing Christ as King over society, over states and nations, as well as over individuals. In other words, this term refers to the revolt against the traditional Christian social and moral order as willed by God and inspired by the Catholic Church. At the same time, this term refers to the series of actions –the process- by which God’s laws in the socio-political realm (and thus Catholic governments or monarchies) are overturned and replaced entirely by the ones that (supposedly) "enlightened" men devise.
Much of the history of these actions by the U S. has been given a "spin" that distorts and misrepresents either what infact took place, or the reasons/motives behind these actions. The Catholic view is to see these things in a spiritual light, that is, in light of the war between the kingdom of Satan (the Revolution) and the Kingdom of Christ played-out in time, among men and nations. Unfortunately, since its inception the United States has been a leader in the advancement of the Revolution in the socio-political realm. The second part of this series will focus on the efforts of the U. S. to advance the Revolution beyond the shores of America.War Against Mexico
What was the war against Mexico back in the 1830's and 1840's really about? How did the United States actually gain Texas, as well as the rest of the Southwest -including California? Was it by honorable methods and for honorable reasons? We have pointed out elsewhere how the Masonic U. S. government under presidents James Madison and James Monroe, with General Andrew Jackson leading the charge in the field, had deceptively and agressively worked to gain all of Florida and thus get rid of its monarchical Spanish-Catholic government. (see Catholic Florida: Stolen by the Masonic-U. S. Government) Unfortunately, once Andrew Jackson -also a Mason- became president, he had as one of his primary aims the goal of driving the Catholic presence (i.e. laws, government, and customs) on the continent beyond the Rio Grande River and gain Texas for the United States. By the time Jackson became president, Mexico had granted large plots land to numerous Anglo-American settlers to farm and grow crops. Using the fact that there were numerous American colonists already in Texas, late in 1829 he made a proposal to Mexico to buy Texas. Mexico rejected the proposal and also forbade slavery, which the English-speaking colonists of Texas were trying to introduce on their farms.
One of the laws of Mexico was that, before one could settle in Texas, one had to convert to the Catholic Faith and swear allegiance to Mexico. This was not at all liked by Jackson and the MAsonic government. It should be remembered that, after Spain had ceded the southwestern part of today’s U.S. to Mexico, Texas was a Mexican state, but had been a Spanish territory since the 1600's and still had many of its traditional laws on the books. Nevertheless, Jackson encouraged more and more Anglo-American settlers to go over the Mexican border into Texas anyway. The vast majority of their conversions were insincere. The settlers did not really mean to convert, they just wanted the land. Among other law-breaking activities, these Anglo-settlers formed unauthorized governing bodies that collected taxes from the locals but did not return any of this revenue to the state.Remember the Alamo!
Anglo-American settlers, though they swore allegiance to Mexico when they arrived in Texas, nonetheless rebelled. On October 2, 1835, Mexicans fought a skirmish with the rebel Anglo-Texans at Gonzales. The rebel militia won, and this has become known by propagandists as the "Lexington of Texas." After this victory, the Anglo-Texas militia marched on San Antonio and laid siege to the city. On March 2, 1836, the rebels declared Texas an independent republic. They took over several institutions, including the Mission of San Antonio de Valero, known as El Alamo (established in 1718), in San Antonio, and the Mission of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (established in 1749), in Goliad near the Rio Grande. The rebel settlers chased the Franciscan friars and the native Indian converts away from the missions. Sacrileges were committed against Our Lord in the tabernacle at the Mission of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit. This is a clear sign that anti-Catholic bigotry was at least part of the motivation for why the American settlers wanted to take over Texas.
General Antonio López de Santa Anna, with an army, came up to recover the Alamo, which was held by just over 180 mostly Texan rebels, including the famous Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Santa Anna demanded that they surrender and give the Alamo Mission of San Antonio back. The rebel Texans refused. So, after allowing the women and children to leave, a bloody battle was fought by Santa Anna’s army against those who held the mission. Despite the natural bravery of the rebels, they all were killed. Not one surrendered.
Americans called the event at the Alamo an unmerciful slaughter by the “invading” army of the “evil” Santa Anna. But this is not factually correct. The facts are that Santa Anna was sent to gain back what rightfully belonged to Mexico. His army was not at all an invading army. Rather, the Americans who settled in Texas and swore loyalty were the actual invaders, because they lied when they took their oaths. Santa Anna offered them the chance to surrender. They refused. He made sure all women, children and elderly had left the area before he attacked, and the fact that not one of the rebel Texans surrendered before the end, when it was clear that they were defeated, shows that it was not an “unmerciful slaughter.” The Texans purposely and stubbornly chose their fate. The fact that they were expecting reinforcements at some point was no excuse to fight to the bitter end when it was clear that they had lost.
Santa Anna’s army then headed on to Goliad to recover the Mission of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit. At one point when they were resting during their after-dinner siesta, they were ambushed by rebel colonists led by Sam Houston. Unable to react in time, Santa Anna and his army were defeated and captured. This occurred on April 21 at a place called San Jacinto. “Remember the Alamo!” was the battle cry used by the Americans commanded by Sam Houston as they attacked the Mexican army.
Interestingly, Houston had intended to execute General Santa Anna. But he did not do it when he discovered that Santa Anna also was a Freemason, as was Houston himself. Houston forced Santa Anna to sign a document declaring the independence of Texas. Catholic students should know that the Texas declaration of independence described the Catholic priesthood as one of “the eternal enemies of civil liberty, and the usual instruments of tyrants.” Clearly, anti-Catholicism was behind the entire action of taking Texas from Mexico.
Texas was now an independent Republic. Sam Houston became president and saw enacted a constitution that legalized slavery. He also asked for Texas to be annexed, for purposes of protection, to the United States. President Jackson, not wishing to endanger relations with his fellow Masons in Mexico, did not immediately move towards annexation. After things calmed down, Jackson and Congress recognized the independence of the Republic of Texas on March 3, 1837. However, the government would not yet annex Texas as U.S territory.
These early confrontations and battles of the U.S. with Mexico are often distorted and romanticized. The courage of Davy Crockett and the outnumbered Texans fighting at the Alamo Mission against the Mexican army has grown to almost mythic proportions. But the Catholic student of history must ask himself: Were they fighting for the rights of Christ the King and His Church? Were they fighting for a type of freedom that would allow the laws of the land to conform to the laws of God and honor the Kingship of Christ? Were they fighting in order to establish a government that would enact laws based on these truths? Or were they fighting for the (false) “Enlightenment” notion of freedom, whereby men would rule and govern themselves rather than let a government which acknowledged the authority of God to rule them? Or were they fighting simply because Americans coveted Texas for themselves? Sadly, it was the latter two reasons. The Texans had no just cause or purpose for their deeds.
We also need to look at this episode in this way: What if a group of Mexicans came and settled in Alabama, and falsely converted to the Southern Baptist religion, falsely swore allegiance to the United States (i.e., perjury), and then repaid our welcoming generosity by taking the state over and proclaiming independence? Would they have had a moral right to do such? No, of course not. Would we not send in our army to take the state back? Yes, we would and we would be in the right to do so. Well, this is exactly the situation Mexico was in with the Texan rebels.War Again:1846-48
Because the boundaries of Texas were really never settled back in 1836, new disputes arose concerning just what constituted the Texas border in the south. Mexico said the border cut diagonally across Texas (northwest to southeast), making the territory half the size it now is. The Americans claimed that the boundary was the Rio Grande. As usual, Americans wanted more land than they already had gained.
In 1841, President Lamar of Texas, who followed after Houston, invaded New Mexico with some 350 men, but he was roundly defeated. In 1843, President Santa Anna of Mexico warned the United States that any attempt to annex Texas would be considered an act of war against Mexico. However, Santa Anna died the next year and the new Mexican president, Joaquin Herrera, promised to accept the independence of Texas, but not its annexation to the United States. However, on March 1, 1845, with the approval of Congress, President John Tyler signed the document proclaiming the annexation of Texas to the United States. The Mexican representative in Washington, D.C., protested this act, but to no avail. Soon after, President Tyler died.
President James Polk (1845-1849), another president who was a Freemason, followed after Tyler. He wanted the Revolution to spread farther and knew he had to conquer the last lands left which had both a Catholic culture and government – the New Mexico Territories (New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah) and California. Accordingly, he turned his attention south. Polk sent General Zachary Taylor and his troops marching into Mexican territory in April of 1846. Thus, we have the U.S. simply invading a land it wanted.
The U.S. Army marched in and took the capital of New Mexico, with the Franciscan friars and Christian Indians and Mexicans helplessly looking on as this occurred. General Taylor’s troops crossed the Rio Grande and took over two cities in northern Mexico. General Winfield Scott took ten thousand soldiers by ship from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico. From there they marched right to the capital of Mexico, Mexico City. They fought a number of battles and won them all. They took the capital and proclaimed they had conquered the “halls of Montezuma.”
Mexico agreed to surrender. On February 2, 1848, the Mexican government signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with the U.S., which formally ended the war. As a result, America gained all of New Mexico Territories and California. The U.S. now had all the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. (Earlier during the war -June 15, 1846- Polk signed an agreement with England giving Oregon to the United States.) The Treaty included three conditions for it to be considered valid, and both sides agreed to these conditions before signing. The conditions were as follows:1. The properties of the present owners were to be respected
In the years which followed, not one of these conditions was respected or kept by the U.S. The Catholic Indians and Mexicans would be persecuted for their faith and constantly pressured to conform to the ways of an Anglo-Protestant culture. It was nothing less than a cultural invasion meant to destroy, if possible, the beautiful Catholic-Spanish culture and heritage of the Southwest.
What we were not told about this war is that it was deeply anti-Catholic in character. The way volunteers were recruited to join the fight was by listening to “pep talks” which were filled with anti-Catholic attacks and lies about how terrible the Catholic religion was and how the “bad Catholic priests” kept Mexicans in bondage. Proof that this was as much a religious war as it was a war of greed, was the fact that the invading U.S. Army deliberately bombarded Catholic cathedrals, churches, and even convents in Mexico (yes, convents with innocent nuns inside praying!).California
Polk also desired to gain California, so he encouraged American colonists there to cause trouble, and then planned to move in with the U.S. Army, claiming Mexico was unable to keep order (sound familiar?). However, a group of American colonists, led by John Fremont, having heard about the war, decided to take California before they knew of President Polk’s plan. In the area of Sacramento the group caused some riots and rebelled against the local authorities. In September of 1846, they took over the Catholic mission-town of Sonoma and there declared the independence of the Republic of California. The U.S. Army then went from mission-town to mission-town, taking over without much of a fight. There were not many to fight and protect the mission-towns since California was largely a Catholic civilization made up of peaceful Catholic Indians and Mexicans, as well as Franciscan friars.
If this pattern appears familiar, it is because this is almost exactly what was done earlier in both western and eastern Florida and in Texas. That is, Americans living as colonists in a land under a Catholic government simple rebelled, fought any local resistance, then claimed independence with the immediate support of the U.S. government. In Florida and Texas not only was this done, but after treaties were signed, Americans proceeded to change the boundaries and claim even more land, taking it by force. These actions have serious consequences in the eyes of God. Americans must be warned: “Curse be he that removes his neighbor’s boundary marks” (Deut. 27:17).
What the United States gained from this war was not a vast uncivilized region with wild Indians roaming around and small villages of illiterate Mexicans. Unfortunately, this is a myth still taught. On the contrary, thanks to more than 300 years of heroic Spanish-Catholic labor, it was a territory that had already been explored, evangelized, civilized and unified. It was a territory with a language and a Catholic culture deeply rooted in its people and its cities. It was a territory where much of its Indian population was Catholic and civilized. For example: by the year 1835 in California alone more than 85,000 native Indians had converted and been baptized. More than 25,000 were living at the time. They had been educated, trained in a variety of skills and were now living in towns. Many lived their Faith with devotion and dedication. There was an entire Catholic civilization thriving in the Southwest and West. But, as already noted, with the change of governments the missions were taken over, most of the missionaries driven into exile, and the Indian converts left to the influence of an invading anti-Catholic Anglo population that was more concerned with land and material gains than anything else.
Worst of all, the Indian converts ended up being scattered without direction or proper government. They were deprived of the continued spiritual/moral guidance and cultivating efforts of the Franciscans, which they needed. They were deprived of the sacraments and those conditions needed to develop and strengthen a strong Christian life. In the decades to come, many Indians eventually lapsed into the old heathen ways of the American Indian. As a result of all this, an entire Catholic culture was suppressed and almost totally destroyed. Nearly an entire people was lost because of the revolutionary ideas and policies of the American people and its government. This is one of the worst tragedies in our country’s history, yet it is barely noticed.Anti-Catholicism Back East
The War against Mexico and her territories was not the only form of anti-Catholicism occurring in America around this time. Back in the east there were numerous attacks upon Catholics and Church property. Here are just a few of more than a dozen examples that could be provided.
• On August 11, 1844, the Ursuline convent and school in Boston was attacked by an anti-Catholic mob. The chapel was violated with sacrileges committed against the tabernacle, the vestments were torn to shreds, and the Bible burned in mockery. The mob barely gave the nuns and their pupils time to get out before they burned the buildings to the ground. One of the maniacs took a Sacred Host from the tabernacle and ran off bragging of his deed. But God saw to it that He would not be mocked. Somehow the man could not control himself and fell into the flames screaming in agony. To escape the pains of his burning flesh, he took a razor and cut his own throat. • During November of 1844, three days of rioting took place in Philadelphia, during which a canon was fired point blank into St. Philip Neri Catholic Church. Two separate convents were attacked and set on fire. The churches of St. Michael and St. Augustine were burned, as were 30 homes of Catholic citizens. • In July, 1854, numerous homes of Catholics in Massachusetts were either set on fire or “gutted” to the point of being un-inhabitable. On July 4, the only Catholic church in Dorcester, Massachusetts, was blown up as part of their “Independence Day” festivity, and a church in Bath was set on fire and destroyed.
Soon a connection was made between the destruction of Catholic churches back east and those destroyed in Mexico by the invading U.S. army and other depredations by Protestant volunteers. This connection was made clear in widely distributed leaflets written by the Mexican leaders. They read in part:
Can you fight by the side of those who put fire to your temples in Boston and Philadelphia? Did you witness such dreadful crimes and sacrileges without making a solemn vow to our Lord? If you are Catholic, the same as we, if you follow the doctrines of Our Savior, why are you murdering your brethren? Why are you antagonistic to those who defend their country and your own God?
Why indeed? These were thought-provoking questions, and the war's anti-Catholic character soon became so clear that numerous Catholics who were at first on the U. S. side went over to the Mexican side. The story of these men is a suppressed fact of our American history. When it is told, it is usually distorted, making the men involved appear to be the “bad guys.” In reality, they were courageous men who recognized the real nature of the war and decided they could not contribute to the spread of the anti-Catholic Revolution in which the United States was engaged. We speak of the San Patricios.
There was a very large body of Catholic men fighting on the American side against Mexico. Most, but not all, were Irish or of Irish descent. On reaching Mexico, they discovered that they had been hired by Protestant heretics (i.e. the U.S. government and its Army) to slaughter brethren of their own Faith. As already mentioned, the invading U.S. Army deliberately bombarded Catholic cathedrals, churches and convents in Mexico; and U.S. soldiers often brutally interrupted Masses, and even attacked processions and other religious services.
As just mentioned, the Mexicans published appeals addressed directly to the consciences of Catholics on the U.S. side. These appeals set forth in strong language the sin Catholics were committing in fighting against men who had never injured them and who were united with them in the same Faith. The Irish-Catholic soldiers felt they could endure no more. They were fighting men who were not their true enemies, Catholics like themselves, men against whom they had no grievance, and this was being done under the command of Protestant officers who treated them, the Irish soldiers, with contempt and disdain.
A Mexican newspaper at the time condemned the “savage outrages” committed by the U.S. Army. “Mexicans, these are the men that call us barbarians and tell us that they have come to civilize us. These men who have sacked our homes, taken our daughters, camped in our holy burial places, covered themselves in blasphemous uproar with the ornaments of our altars—and have gotten drunk from our sacred chalices.”
Finally, at a meeting of soldiers where many spoke in the old Keltic language, it was recognized this was a war between Protestant greed and Catholic culture and life. As a result, many decided to go over to the Mexican side. Several hundred of them took their arms and quietly, under cover of night, marched away and joined the Mexican side of the conflict.
These American Catholics who defected were not all Irish. They also included Catholics of German, Scottish, and some of French and Spanish descent. The majority, though, were Irish. Out of these Irish immigrants, the Saint Patrick Battalion was organized, armed, trained and sent to fight for Mexico. They were known in Spanish as the “San Patricios.”
The San Patricio Battalion was not made up entirely of deserters from the U.S. Army. Indeed, the known deserters represented no more than about a third of the total force. They served in the Mexican Army as artillery men. Though men of Irish birth may not have made up an absolute majority of the San Patricios at any time, Irish Catholics did form its largest ethnic component—ranging by various estimates, from 40 to 60 per cent. Of the 120 identified members, 40 were born in Ireland and 18 others, born in the U.S., Canada, or Great Britain, had Irish surnames.
These men felt comfortable with the rituals and symbolism of Catholicism as expressed in Mexico, and were willing to fight to the death for what was obviously the losing side. They recognized that being on the side of the true and eternal Faith is infinitely more important than being on the side of earthly and temporal victory.
The San Patricios had Irishmen in key command positions and they carried a banner on which was inscribed Erin go Braugh, along with images of St. Patrick and the Harp of Erin. As a major issue in the conflict, religion has been ignored or glossed over by many historians. The San Patricios fought alongside the Mexicans gallantly, and in the San Angel battle they were cut off from the main Mexican force on Chapultepec Heights at Mexico City. They continued fighting until their ammunition was gone, when they were overrun by the American troops. Fifty-two of the courageous men who survived were taken prisoner. A gallows was built within sight of Chapultepec Heights, and when the Mexican position was finally taken, the Mexican prisoners were lined up and forced to watch the hanging of the 52 Catholic Irish. The San Patricios leader, John Reilly, was spared death because he had deserted before the “official” declaration of war against Mexico, but he was branded with a “D” for deserter on both cheeks. (Some San Patricios who survived the fighting and then succeeded in avoiding capture settled in Mexico, married Mexican women, and became founding fathers of some of the countries leading families).
The San Patricios Battalion was lovingly remembered by the Mexicans with a Commemorative Plaque of marble which is still located at No. 24 San Jacinto in the Mexico City suburb of San Angel. Every year, on September 12, a commemorative ceremony is held at the Plaza of San Jacinto to honor the San Patricios. (In September, 1997 both the Mexican and Irish governments issued commemorative postage stamps in honor of the St. Patrick’s Battalion.)
Unfortunately, such counter-revolutionary efforts are hardly honored by American Catholics, precisely because most have been thoroughly assimilated into the false "Enlightenment"-Masonic-American ideology and its society. (See the article Americanism and the American Catholic) This is why such a perspective as has been offered in this and our other articles on the foundation of the United States may come across as "foreign" to most U. S. Catholics. But it is first for love of the True Faith we write (and as the San Patricios acted), and second for love of our country, our Patria, which we recognize as distinct from our government, its ideological foundation -as well as its actions. As we will see, after gaining Texas, California, and the entire American Southwest, the United States supported and contributed to the over-throw and removal of those governments (i.e. Catholic Spain and her territories) which were obstacles to the advancement of the Revolution elsewhere in the world. Faithful Catholics, then, must pray and work for the conversion of America to the True Faith, for the Revolution begun in 1776 is still advancing full strength.
Return to US Catholic History main page
Return to the Tower of David Ministry main page