The Battle of San Jacinto is a major turning point in the history of the United States, despite it not directly involving the United States at the time. The defeat of the Mexican forces under General Santa Anna and his capture by the Texian army under the command of Sam Houston led to the effective independence of the Republic of Texas. This in turn eventually led to the American absorption of the Republic of Texas and bringing the United States directly into conflict with the Republic of Mexico. Additionally, the United States were stuck with 10,000,000 dollars debt, in 20th century terms, nearly the cost of the entire Apollo program. Far more importantly than the conflict with Mexico, and the debt, Texas brought with it an expansion of slavery, the most controversial subject in 19th century America. The conflict with Mexico continued this issue, with many in the North East believing that the ensuing war with Mexico was provoked by “slave interests” in order to continue the expansion of slavery.
The monument itself is an excellent example of 1930s politics, economics, and art. Constructed at the height of the Great Depression it is reminiscent of other interwar memorials, like the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City (a World War Monument) which had both been completed during the 20’s, with impressive sculpture, and a clear message about the topic depicted and the fact that this IS the American Century. Yet at the same time, like many monuments in America, particularly in the American South certain topics are conveniently overlooked. Missing from the monument are any real references to slavery, to free Blacks who fought for the Republic of Texas, or to their disenfranchisement by that Republic. The monument itself was built to be the highest monumental column in the world funded by both the state and federal governments. Like many building projects in the 1930s the federal funds were intended to provide employment that otherwise would not have existed, providing Texans with needed income, and an amazing monument that needs to be seen in person.
Thinking of going to the park? Check out their site here: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/san-jacinto-battleground
Want to see this image and others from around Houston a bit larger? Check out my site: http://joshua-house.artistwebsites.com/art/all/houston/all