The History Channel debuted the epic mini-series Texas Rising on Memorial Day. The timing seemed appropriate enough, as the holiday is a time to remember the brave fallen soldiers of the past. It’s not hard to argue that those who died during the events of the Texas Revolution contributed to the survival of the state, which joined the United States in 1845.
Since the show aired, a vocal group of naysayers have taken issue with Texas Rising for a host of reasons. The main two issues I observed were (1) the decision to skip the catalytic events of the Alamo and go right into the aftermath and (2) numerous historical inaccuracies. The second argument is a fair one considering this story is being brought to you by the History Channel.
However, let’s be honest about the “Battle of the Alamo”: For many non-Texans and non-historical buffs, that’s the beginning and end of the Texas Revolution as far as they’re concerned. There are numerous movies, television mini-series, documentaries, and books dedicated to the discussion of this significant but rather singular event in Texas history. We remember the Alamo, trust me.
The decision to make Texas Rising to focus on the aftermath of the “Battle of the Alamo” was a brave one, and probably the best decision. Persons who were important to the Texas Revolution outside of that event will get their chance to shine.
— HISTORY (@HISTORY) May 25, 2015
Now, as for the historical inaccuracies, it’s a problem that’s rather unavoidable. First of all, I’m going to imagine the Texas of the early 1800s looked quite different than the one of the early 2000s. There were no cars, paved roads, or a population of nearly 27 million people. With so much of the landscape forever altered thanks to the growth of Texas’s population, I’m highly skeptical that the events of the series could’ve been shot in entirely in locations that were historically accurate. For example, this is the Alamo as is it looks today in San Antonio, Texas.
How “historically accurate” would the events that took place at the Alamo look as shot in that setting?
There were other situational inaccuracies, such as Texans believed about slavery prior to the Civil War and whether or not Sam Houston would have had a one night stand with the Yellow Rose of Texas. I sincerely doubt this historical fiction (yes, that IS a thing…) was ever made with the intent of being 100 percent true to the times or the characters. Anal-retentive history buffs want history to be completely accurate all the time. I counter that it would be impossible for a well-produced and entertaining series to leave a unique mark on viewers by interpreting events exactly as history experts would want. Sometimes you have to shut up and suspend disbelief to enjoy something.
Texas Rising is meant to be entertaining and educational…but mostly entertaining. As long as the series attempts to be both (but especially the former), I’m willing to forgive the History Channel if not every event or situation is accurate.
What did you think of Texas Rising? Will historical inaccuracies keep you away from the series?
[Image Credit: The History Channel, Wikimedia Commons]