The Texas Revolution was a short 6 months, 2 weeks, and 5 days long. There are a handful of battles, and most of them barely qualify as battles. It all ended at the Battle of San Jacinto, and in the 1930s the Texas Historical Commission created the San Jacinto Monument as part of the Texas Centennial. A few years ago we went on a San Jacinto Monument field trip as part of our weekend trip down to Galveston and Houston. It’s a fun Texas history field trip.
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What is the significance of the Battle of San Jacinto?
For those of you who don’t live in Texas, and just know the Battle of the Alamo, and that’s it. The Battle of San Jacinto is the final battle of the Texas Revolution. It was a crazy battle won more by accident, and shouldn’t have ended the war if it wasn’t for Santa Anna being a complete and total idiot.
After the battle, General Houston negotiated a surrender, and then shipped Santa Anna off to the United States to make sure someone else knew Mexico had surrendered and admitted Texas was free.
Why the San Jacinto Monument?
Texas hit its Centennial right in the middle of the Great Depression. This was around the time the Civilian Conservation Corps was building monuments all around the country. Most of the ranger buildings at our national parks, a large number of state parks, and many of our giant public buildings were built using funds and people from the CCC.
So a San Jacinto Monument field trip teaches us about two bits of history. We get to learn about the Texas Revolution and the Great Depression.
Things to learn on your San Jacinto Monument field trip
First, before you go into the San Jacinto Monument, walk around the outside. Take the time to read the information explaining the events of the Battle of San Jacinto.
- Why was this battle key to the final victory?
- What were the battle cries at the Battle of San Jacinto? Why were those the cries?
- What history did the creators think is important?
- What were the causes of the Texas Revolution?
Now, look at the murals covering the obelisk. They represent the key features Texas was celebrating in its 100 years of independence.
- What events did Texas think was important?
- Who did Texas memorialize?
- How recent were the events depicted?
Head inside the San Jacinto Monument
Once you’re inside the San Jacinto Monument, head over to the Texas History dioramas. These depict the early frontier days of Texas history.
- How is life then, similar to life now?
- How is life different?
- How do these dioramas depict an idyllic version of Texas history?
- What struggles do you think Texas pioneers had?
Head over to the Texas forever paintings. These paintings depict the most famous events from the Texas Revolution. These are the paintings every public school student knows from Texas history. They show up in every Texas history textbook, and are a great look at the history we celebrate.
- Put the events of the Texas Revolution in chronological order.
- Talk about the art styles of the paintings.
- Why were these events chosen to be depicted here?
- Many of these paintings can also be found in the Texas capitol, why do you think they would have duplicates?
There’s one final thing you can do on your San Jacinto Monument field trip, take the elevator to the top of the San Jacinto Monument, that’s the only thing you’ll have to pay to take part in. We opted not to because my kids really were not interested in going up in the elevator, and were being super squirrelly.
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