Historically, wars and revolutions have offered politically and socially disadvantaged people the opportunity to contribute to the nation (or cause) in exchange for future expanded rights. Although shorter than most conflicts, the Texas Revolution nonetheless profoundly affected not only the leaders and armies, but the survivors, especially women, who endured those tumultuous events and whose lives were altered by the accompanying political, social, and economic changes.
While there is wide scholarship on the Texas Revolution, there is no comparable volume on the role of women during that conflict. Most of the many works on the Texas Revolution include women briefly in the narrative, such as Emily Austin, Suzanna Dickinson, and Emily Morgan West (the Yellow Rose), but not as principal participants. Women and the Texas Revolution explores these women in much more depth, in addition to covering the women and children who fled Santa Anna’s troops in the Runaway Scrape, and examining the roles and issues facing Native American, black, and Hispanic women of the time.
Like the American Revolution, women’s experiences in the Texas Revolution varied tremendously by class, religion, race, and region. While the majority of immigrants who crossed the Sabine and Red rivers into Texas in the 1820s and 1830s were men, many were women who accompanied their husbands and families or, in some instances, braved the dangers and the hardships of the frontier alone. Black and Hispanic women were also present in Mexican Texas. Most black women came as chattel property (or free blacks) and most Tejanas were already living in predominantly Spanish or Mexican communities. The Native American female population, a sizeable but declining segment of the population, was also in the region, inhabiting the prairies and plains, but rarely counted in the various censuses at the time. Whether Mexican loyalist or Texas patriot, elite planter or subsistence farm wife, slaveholder or slave, Anglo or black, women helped settle the Texas frontier and experienced the uncertainty, hardships, successes, and sorrows of the Texas Revolution.
By placing women at the center of the Texas Revolution, this volume reframes the historical narrative and asks different questions: What were the social relations between the sexes at the time of the Texas Revolution? Did women participate in the war effort? Did the events of 1836 affect Anglo, black, Hispanic, and Native American women differently? What changes occurred in women’s lives as a result of the revolution? Did the revolution liberate women to any degree from their traditional domestic sphere and threaten the established patriarchy? In brief, was the Texas Revolution “revolutionary” for women?
“Women and the Texas Revolution is a fresh and valuable addition to works on the Revolution and on women in nineteenth-century Texas. It is a serious and multifaceted treatment of a topic that has come in for very little scholarly study.”—Paula Marks, author of Hands to the Spindle and Precious Dust
“The gathering of scholars in this book is formidable. They have produced a well-done series of well documented vignettes of women in the revolutionary period, whether defined by ethnicity, as in African-American, or by fate (as in Alamo survivors, or participants in the Runaway Scrape).”—James L. Haley, author of Sam Houston and Passionate Nation
"A 'must read' for anyone interested in Texas history."—Texas Books in Review
"[This] is a needed, educational, and enjoyable anthology that can be used in a variety of studies—women's history, that of the Revolution, or early Texas. This book will be equally attractive to the non-academic world, as it contains all the ingredients in a great book—love, death, turmoil, survival, defeat, and victory."—East Texas Historical Journal
"What a great topic! After all the books about the battles, politics, and intrigue of the men in the Texas Revolution there is finally a book addressing the role of women. With chapters about women of various ethnicities followed by chapters about women at the Alamo, in the Runaway Scrape, and at San Jacinto, the book was a delight to read from beginning to end."—Journal of South Texas
1 Continuity, Change, and Removal: Native Women and the Texas Revolution Lindy Eakin
2 Tejanas: Hispanic Women on the Losing Side of the Texas Revolution Jean A. Stuntz
3 “Joys and Sorrows of Those Dear Old Times”: Anglo-American Women during the Era of the Texas Revolution Mary L. Scheer
4 Traveling the Wrong Way Down Freedom’s Trail: Black Women and the Texas Revolution Angela Boswell
5 Two Silver Pesos and a Blanket: The Texas Revolution and the Non-Combatant Women Who Survived the Battle of the Alamo Dora Elizondo Guerra
6 “Up Buck! Up Ball! Do Your Duty!”: Women and the Runaway Scrape Light Townsend Cummins
7 “To the Devil with your Glorious History!”: Women and the Battle of San Jacinto Jeffrey D. Dunn
8 Women and the Texas Revolution in History and Memory Laura Lyons McLemore