Two other individuals were also decisive. First, if Santa Anna had not existed, the Texans might have found it advisable to invent him. Without him there would likely have been no war, just disruptive unrest that could have gone on, Belfast-like, for generations. And without him the war would not have ended as it did. The Mexican army demonstrated no lack of competence, operating beyond support in territory with primitive communications. It's problem lay in its leader. While at other times and places, before and after, he would demonstrate at least adequate competence, in April 1836 in Texas he was a consummate dilettante. At some point he seems to have lost interest in the proceedings. That moment may have come on the morning of March 6, 1836.
Meanwhile, there were others in Texas who had higher public standing, more military experience and more political savvy than Sam Houston -- but none had the combination he did. And, with the world falling apart, he managed to cary on. A man whose life had been marked by bright promise followed by dismal failure, he was perhaps the best choice for the job -- a leader who could operate boldly because he genuinely did not fear failure. Because he'd lived with it.
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