Why do you think the Alamo was so important?

What happened at the Battle of the Alamo?
Well, the Battle of the Alamo took place from February 28 to March 6, 1836. Travis and Bowie, with 250 men, held the Alamo against approximately 2,000 of Santa Anna’s soldiers. Travis and Bowie intended to hold until reinforcements arrived, unaware that none would be forthcoming. Ultimately, their tiny garrison was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Mexican army. It was a costly victory for Santa Anna, however. In taking the Alamo, he lost around 600 soldiers. Furthermore, the battle became a later rallying point for Texans.
(Get ready, here's a fun new term to throw around. No doubt using this argument, your teacher is going to be impressed.)
The term “Pyrrhic victory” comes from the Greek historian, Plutarch. He wrote about the third-century BCE Greek victories over the Romans that left the Greeks so weakened that they lost the war. Keep that in mind and let's look at the Alamo. We always think about the Alamo from a Texas perspective. It was a big deal and we brag about the heroic sacrifice of 250 invaluable men against overwhelming odds. It makes a good story. What did the Mexicans think about it? From their perspective, the Alamo was a big victory that eliminated a substantial proportion of the Texas army's manpower. In fact, the harsh whipping started the Runaway Scrape. Remember? Thousands of settlers fled toward Louisiana in an effort to escape Santa Anna’s approaching army. At this point in the war, it looked like the jig was up for the Texians, and Houston’s only plan was to get to the Louisiana border as fast as he could in hopes of drawing an American army into the fight. His men, using the Alamo massacre as a rallying cry, had other ideas and turned off toward San Jacinto, but most Texians (including the interim government) thought they would be slaughtered just like the defenders of the Alamo. We now know that the Alamo was something of a Pyrrhic victory for Santa Anna, but it did not appear that way at the time. The point is that the Alamo battle created a story that became legend after the fact -- it seems like it was inevitable, but nothing in history is inevitable.
I think the Alamo is important because of its historical significance (what we say in the first paragraph) and because it illustrates how Texas history has been written "backwards" through the heroic defense of the Alamo. It looked like a disaster at the time, and anything but heroic--that came after the fact. What do you think?

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