The Untold Story Of The Texas Rangers Violent Past

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From Heroes to Villains: The Untold Story of the Texas Rangers’ Violent Past
Between 1846 and 1910, over 6000 Mexicans were murdered or lynched in Texas. Compare this to the much more covered, researched, and taught number of African Americans murdered or lynched during the same time span, about 6500. While the numbers seem similar, there is a striking difference. In the 1910s, the height of anti-Mexican violence in the United States, there were only 250,000 Mexicans compared to nearly 10 million African Americans. This substantive difference has left anti-Mexican violence largely overshadowed by anti-Black violence in the modern day. While partially due to the covered-up history of anti-Mexican violence, the reason lies within an American …show more content…

In order to ensure that the Anglo settlers would prosper, Rangers often blurred the lines between enforcing the territory's laws and practicing vigilantism. Targeting the “Indian Warriors” that had previously inhabited Texas, tribes including the Waco, Karankawa, Lipan Apache, Tonkawas, Kiowa, and the Comanche were all subject to violence and harassment. Fueled by the current American politics which had been ousting Indian tribes for decades, Rangers operated under the slogan “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” killing hundreds of Indians, many of whom civilians, in battles leading up to the Mexican American War. However, Indian tribes were not the only groups that suffered under the rule of the Rangers in the mid 19th century. Escaped slaves from the South who were chasing freedom via the Rio Grande River were tracked and brutalized by Rangers. In the words of renowned historian Gary Clayton Anderson, the Rangers had embraced a “culture of war” that established violence as a necessary pillar for nation building in the Southwest. By the time the Mexican-American War concluded in 1848, Rangers had gained a reputation in the Southwest as abusers of authority that were guarded by impunity, a characteristic that made the Texas Rangers lethal throughout their …show more content…

The trigger happy Rangers were lauded for their expertise in protecting the borderlands using any means necessary, but today many historians, like Doug Swanson, highly disagree with their tactics and historical remembrance. In an interview with NPR, Swanson made it clear that the Rangers “didn’t invent police brutality, but perfected it … on the border” while also referring to the Rangers “as what we would now term death squads.” Through unjustifiable murders and constant harassment it took the Texas Rangers just 10 years to successfully change the borderlands from a semi autonomous cross cultural zone to a region guarded by a new political and social

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