Colonel Juan Nepomuceno Seguin is the only Tejano man in history who would prioritize the needs of a country that would later betray him rather than a country with which his roots lie. However, in a way, his heritage was his downfall when tensions ran high between Mexico and Texas after the revolution. Rumors and lies caused Colonel Seguin to flee the country that he loved, and seek shelter in the country with which he denied his allegiance to on multiple occasions because the people who loved him the most were the same people who wanted him imprisoned for treason.
Born in San Antonio, Juan Seguin was exposed to politics at an early age. His father, Juan Jose Maria Erasmo Seguin, helped create the Mexican Constitution after Mexico won its independence with Spain in 1821. Stephen Austin saw this as an opportunity to ask the Mexican officials if they would allow settlements from English-speaking families, and with the help of Juan Seguin’s father and Juan Seguin, he was able to get that approval. Once Seguin was old enough, he became involved with local politics ranging from alderman to the mayor of San Antonio in 1833.
However, by this point, tensions were running high between the Mexican citizens, Tejano citizens, and the Anglo-settlers. They did manage to find a mutual hate toward the Mexican President, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. It was then that it was decided to declare independence from Mexico. Once word spread to Mexico, Santa Anna began to gather an army and traveled to Texas in order to end this rumor of rebellion. Texas, however, was not as organized. The people who volunteered for battle were either lacking experience, training, or even, in some cases, limbs.
So in order to win this war with Mexico, Texas had to have some tricks up their sleeve. In a private conversation between Seguin and his father, his father was giving him his opinion on the war. His father is known to publically announce his support for his homeland of Mexico. Of course it is where his roots lie; however, he did not agree with how Mexico was treating its citizens in Texas. He told his son, “I have sided with the leaders of Mexico for so many years, but today I can no longer defend their actions and deeds.
I ask vou, not as a father, but as a man educated in the liberties of man, to join in the cause and lead toward the the eventual independence of Texas. ” When your own father admits that the government that he has respected and stood next to all these years tells you that its time for a change and that you’re the one to do it, then that is a lot of pressure. After a night of thinking it through, Seguin decided to join the army. Seguin could not do it alone. He knew there were people in his community who felt as he did about ending their suffering.
He managed to get a small group of Tejanos to join him to travel to Austin in order to join the army. Seguin told his group of Tejanos this, “It is liberty, my friends, when it takes roots, that is the plant of extravagant growth. Man loves liberty and must someday pay the price to acquire and preserve it. Let us begin together, today, for a greater and more free Texas. ” Seguin wanted to ensure that his group knew that once they leave San Antonio, there is no guarantee that some of them will be coming back. Seguin fought in the Battle of Concepcion and participated in the siege of Bexar.
He was a man of planning and of motivation. However, lack of supplies for his men were his weakness and was forced to retreat and regroup in Gonzales. In a letter to Captain Pratt, Seguin ordered him to search for horses for his men from near by farms and ranches. He asked Pratt to give them receipts in order to ensure them that they would receive at least something for allowing them to use their horses.
After the Battle of Gonzales, Stephen F. Austin granted Captain’s commission to Seguin and allowed him to set up his own ompany. Austin praised Seguin by saying, “Captain Seguin and his men were at all times ready and willing to go on any service they were ordered. They uniformly acquitted themselves to their credit as patriots and soldiers. ” Seguin was one to take pride in everything he did and was very highly respected for it. Not long after Seguin and his company arrived to Austin in the Alamo, Santa Anna sent a message to the base demanding their immediate surrender or suffer the consequences. The Battle at the Alamo lasted 12 days.
Both sides were running out of supplies and the Alamo wasn’t really the most ideal fortress. The Alamo used to be a mission. It was abandoned long ago so civilization was miles away. It was in the middle of no where and has no water resources near by so receiving supplies was nearly impossible. Because of his Tejano heritage, Seguin and Antonio Cruz Arocha were able to sneak through enemy lines at night to travel to Gonzales or Goliad and ask for help in any way they could. While they were gone, Santa Anna was able to defeat the Texans and killed every last one of them.
Once Seguin and Arocha returned, it was too late. He and Arocha took every dead body and gave them the proper burial and memorial they deserved. Juan Seguin gave a memorial speech before departing to Golliad to be with Sam Houston, “Comrades in arms: These remains which we have had the honor of carrying on our shoulders are the ones of the brave heroes who died in the Alamo. Yes, my friends, the preferred a thousand deaths rather than surrender or serve the yoke of the tyrant. What a brilliant example. Worthy indeed of being recorded in the pages of history.
The genius of liberty seems to be witnessing from its high throne, from whence with praising look points out the deed saying; “Here you have your brothers, Travis, Bowie, Crockett and a few others whose valor, places them in the member of my heroes. The worthy remains of our venerable companions baring witness, I ask you to tell the world, Texas shall be free and independent or we shall perish with glory in battle. ” Seguin was a great leader for both his actions and for always knowing what to say at the right time. Seguin was the right hand man of Sam Houston.
Not only for his military tactics but because he was able to translate for Houston. On April 21, 1836, Santa Anna was to cross the Buffalo Bayou. Sam Houston, Juan Seguin, and his men were able to cut him off and defeat Santa Anna who tried to run away. Santa Anna surrendered and Texas won the war. Seguin was promoted to Lieutenant colonel and went back to San Antonio to look over the military there. From there, he was a part of the Senate for the Bexar District of the Republic of Texas. He pushed for laws that guaranteed equality for both Texans and Tejanos alike.
However, no matter what he did, there was no peace between the Texans and the Tejanos. In 1839 during the Lamar administration, President Lamar of the Republic of Texas ordered an attack on Mexico. Seguin and a few others did not agree to this attack. In an effort of keeping the peace with Mexico, Seguin was leaving Mexico after speaking with the government and was captured by the Mexican army accused of being a traitor for helping Texas win the revolution and forced to make a choice between fighting against the United States or face prison time.
Seguin chose to fight. Once the war was over and he was free to leave, Seguin went back to San Antonio and became mayor. Although he publically showed interest in supporting Texas to succeed as a Republic, it was the Mexican Officials that ruined him. They were somehow able to convince the people of Texas that Seguin was a traitor to Texas and was always a loyal subject of the Mexican government. The citizens of San Antonio ran him out of his home.
Seguin’s reaction was recorded in his journal, “A victim to the wickedness of a few men… foreigner in my native land; could I be expected to stoically endure their outrages and insults? I sought for shelter amongst those against whom | fought; I separated from my country, parents, family, relative and friends, and what was more, from the institutions, on behalf which I had drawn my sword, with an earnest wish to see Texas free and happy. ” He found shelter in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico where he lived the rest of his life and finally died in 1889.
It is difficult being of a specific decent in a different country because once trouble happens, one must decide whether to be on the side of where his roots lie or the side with which he calls his home. Whichever side he or she chooses, they are a traitor to one and a loyal subject to the other. Unfortunately, this was Seguin’s case except this time he was the one who was alienated in the end. A man born in the country he loved the most, died in a country he hardly knew anything about.