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The past versus history in the Lone Star State

The Young Ted Cruz Claimed an Affinity with James Madison–Not So Fast

This article was originally published by the History News Network in 2012, under the title “Senator Cruz, You’re No James Madison.” The following version has been updated. John Willingham is a regular contributor to the History News Network. He has …

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John Graves, Larry McMurtry, and the Nature of Goodbyes

This essay, by John Willingham, originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of the Southwest Review, a century-old literary quarterly published by Southern Methodist University. I. John Graves On its surface, the Brazos River today differs little from the murky, …

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Earl Rudder and Point Du Hoc: Vivid Air Signed with Honor

June 6, 1944, a day that is now a lifetime behind us, commands a place in our national memory because it was then, and there, more than at any other place and time in our history, that American force shone …

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Oliver Loving’s Death and the Fate of Gus McRae in Lonesome Dove

The elder partner in the famous team of Goodnight and Loving, and the man who pioneered cattle drives from Texas, Oliver Loving died in September, 1867–but the story of his death has lived on in Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove. …

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The Texan Who First Called General Jackson ‘Stonewall’

When Barnard Bee was a misbehaving cadet at West Point, notorious for spitting tobacco and accumulating demerits, military glory was likely high on his list, but becoming known primarily for giving a nickname to another, more famous soldier surely was …

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John Nance Garner and the Paradox of Loyalty

“I have always done what I thought was best for my country, never varying unless I was advised that two-thirds of the Democrats were for a bill and then I voted for it.”–John Nance Garner The man that FDR called …

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Roy Orbison: A Texan Not So Lonely

Though not so dark and lonely as his songs made him seem, Roy Kelton Orbison had a lot of pain in his life.  He absorbed that pain and transformed it with dramatic lyrics and a three-octave voice, a one-two punch …

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Remembering Sam Houston and San Jacinto

Post-San Jacinto: Gratification, ire for Houston Revolution’s leader saw Texas’ statehood, then disaster. By John Willingham / Special to the San Antonio Express-News Published 12:02 a.m., Thursday, April 21, 2011 Gen. Sam Houston’s (1793-1863) defeat of Mexico’s army in Texas in …

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Waco–The City Where “Waco” Didn’t Happen

Note: This article originally appeared on April 19, 2013, on the History News Network HNN.us, under the title: Waco–The City Where the “Waco” Siege Didn’t Actually Happen April 19, 2013, is the twentieth anniversary of the bloody end to the …

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The Cowboy Strike of 1883 and the Demise of Old Tascosa

A cowboy strike, in Texas?  In a state now known for its right to work laws and general hostility toward unions?  And cowboys–well, let’s just say that they are not often associated with the words “collective” and “bargaining.” Yet these …

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