Sunday, July 3, 2016

American Biography: David Crockett

David Crocket (he only became known as Davy late in life) was a frontiersman born in Kentucky.  He hunted bear and birds, trapped forest animals, planted crops and fathered two boys by Polly Finley who he married before he turned 20.  In 1813 he served with Andrew Jackson against the Red Sticks of the Creek.  Crocket performed well in battle, but he had a conflict with Jackson's ruthless tendencies.  Crockett's anger with Jackson would follow him into politics.
Crockett's political career began when his former commanding officer, Captain Matthews was a candidate for lieutenant colonel and asked Crocket to run for major.  However Crockett realized Matthews had picked Crockett to run against his son, hoping he was and easy candidate to beat.  He decided to run against Matthews instead, and became the commander of the militia.
Crockett's wife passed away, but he remarried, and now through his wife had some money.  Crocket would run for state legislature.  He wasn't a natural politician, and admitted this readily and made fun of himself, but would offer whiskey after his short words, and nobody would be left to listen to his opponent.  Crockett won.  When Crockett ran for Congress, he again ran a populist campaign.  He ran against Dr. William Butler, nephew of Andrew Jackson.  Crocket wore his buckskin clothes, while saying in the doctor's fancy house he the doctor walked on carpets better than most women's clothes.  Crockett again won.
The same year Andrew Jackson had run for president, and although he won the popular vote, he lost the electoral collage vote.  However Jackson's political hopes were looking up.  Crockett stood up for the rights of the poor and the down trodden.  Crocket supported Jackson in his next run for the presidency, which he won, but did not support his policies.  Crockett wrote a couple autobiographies, "The Life and Adventures of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee" and "A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, written by Himself."  A big bone of contention between Crockett and Jackson was the Indian Relocation Act.  Crockett opposed, while this was Jackson's goal to repay those who had supported him.  Gerrymandering had made Crockett's reelection less sure.  He won one campaign but lost the next.  He had said if he lost, he would move to Texas, and he did.  However Crockett was not just leaving, he was also going to be part of something bigger than himself.  He joined the Texans in the Alamo.  There were more than 1800 Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator, who laid siege to 175 Texans inside the Alamo in San Antonio.  It is known that Crockett entertained the men with his storytelling and his violin.  He also put a cannon out of action that moved too close with his sharp shooting.  When the North Wall of the fort was breached, many of the Texans escaped to the barracks and chapel.  Crocket and his men fought in the open, exhausting their ammunition, and then using their weapons as clubs.  Most historians believe Crockett died with a pile of Mexican bodies around him, being stabbed by a bayonet.  A diary found many years later said Crockett had been executed.  Of the Texans there were three survivors, a woman and her son and a black slave.
Excerpts from Bill O'Reilly's Kegebds & Lies: The Real West, by David Fisher, Fox News.

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