How Did Davy Die? And Why Do We Care So Much?: Commemorative Edition, by Dan Kilgore & James E. Crisp,
College Station: TAMU Press, 2010. Pp. 120. Illus., notes. $18.95 paper. ISBN: 1603441948.
How Did Davy Die? consists of two parts, a reprint of the late Dan Kilgores 1978 essay of that name, based on his 1977 presidential address to the Texas State Historical Association and a commemorative essay entitled " . . . And Why do We Care So Much?" by Prof. Crisp (North Carolina), that together addresses one of the smaller of the many contentious issues in American history, the death of David Crockett at the Alamo.
Kilgore's speech reviewed the question of whether Crockett died at the Alamo in 1836, as popular culture has it, beating off overwhelming numbers of Mexican troops or, as most historians had begun to conclude, based on new evidence, was he one of several men captured, and later murdered on the orders of Santa Anna. Crisps essay reviews the evidence, including material that has surfaced since 1977, and discusses the curious political and pseudo-scholarly furor that has arisen about Crockett's death. This small scholarly conclusion has become a highly contentious issue in some circles, due far more to its importance in the shaping of American -- and specifically Texas -- identity than to any doubts about historical accuracy; arguments that the manner of Crocketts death somehow "discredits" the heroes of the Alamo hardly holds water when the Mexican witnesses to their murder tell us that he and his comrades died courageously, while the "scholars" in the contrary camp have been known to respond to new evidence by saying "So what?"
An important read for those with an interest in Texas history, American popular culture, and the process of Americanization.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.