From Greeks to GringosrnWhy Mexico Lost Texasrnby William MurchisonrnAmong the terms of endearment applied to Amerieans whornworry about present immigration pohcy is “xenophobe.”rnThis high-toned word normallv precedes lower-toned ones—rn”racist,” “bigot,” “neo-Nazi,” etc.—which take over as the exasperationrnlevel rises.rnA “xenophobe” is someone who fears foreigners. Fears themrnwhy? No dictionary is competent to sav. Every xenophoberndoubtless has his own reasons. I raise the point not for Freudianrnbut for analytical reasons. Xenophobia, whatever connotationsrnthe word may take on in the mouths of the liberal establishment,rnspeaks to a reality of human existence: to wit, therernare foreigners we’d damn sure better fear. Or at the very leastrnkeep an eye on.rnTimeo Danaos et dona ferentes—”I fear the Greeks evenrnv^’hen they bear gifts.” What a shame the Trojans in generalrnlacked Laoeoon’s appreciation of the wooden horse situation.rnCaught with their xenophobia down, they lost everything. Andrnthe peoples of Central Asia in the time of Cenghis Khan? Theyrnshould have gone to bed affirming pluralism and brotherhood?rnThere is one modern exanrple of a people whose xenophobiarnwas too languid for their own good. I mean the Mexicans of thernearly 19th century. Had the Mexicans, and the Spanish beforernthem, possessed the sense to shut out my buckskin-clad for-rnWilliam Murchison is a nationally syndicated columnist for thernDallas Morning News.rnbears, scratching themselves and smelling no doubt of bearrngrease, nudging their wagons through the piney forests of thernSabine region, or debarking on the sandy beaches of the CulfrnCoast, Texas might be a different place today. That would notrnmake me happy personally. There is every likelihood that inrnsuch an event 1 would be living in, say. North Carolina.rnWhat Spain and Mexico lacked was a critical mass of xenophobes,rnready, out of cultural pride, to point out the GringornPeril, to close their minds fast to entreaties concerning brotherhoodrnand diversit)’, to utter a curt but meaningful: No—nunca,rnsenores, nunca. They didn’t, and that’s that. Still, the sibilantrnsi of 200 years ago, which ushered in the Gringo era, has residualrnresonance. And maybe more than that.rnWhat the Spanish, and subsequently the Mexican, authoritiesrndid was open Texas to Anglo settlement—for entirelyrnlogical and understandable reasons. The Spanish policy began,rnindeed, in the Missouri country, around the time of the Declarationrnof Independence. The population of the Louisiana territoryrnat that time comprised only 20,000 Europeans, mostlyrnFrench, and Spain sensed the tenuousncss of its hold on thernplace, what with Anglos rapidly establishing themselves in Kentucky,rnIf the Anglos were going to come, asked Don FranciscornBouligny, commander of the Missouri area, might not they berndomesticated by land grants and oaths of allegiance to thernSpanish crown? The Spanish governor was amenable, actuallyrndeciding not to notice that few if any of these prospective new-rnJULY 1997/27rnrnrn