Davy Crockett Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1564 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Native Americans

Davy Crockett was one of the most important people of the American frontier. During his lifetime, Crockett played many roles. Crockett's first role was that of frontiersman, and he played an important role in the westward expansion of the American west. Crockett's second role was the role of politician for the state of Tennessee. Crockett's third and, perhaps, most famous role, was as a soldier, and he died defending the Alamo.

Davy Crockett was born David Crockett on August 17, 1786 in Greene County, Tennessee. He was born to a frontier family, and spent much of his childhood living in a cabin. Crockett was also from a large family; his parents John and Rebecca Crockett had nine children.

Crockett came from a family of frontiersmen:

The elder Davy Crockett, Davy's grandfather, left the settled lands of North Carolina and crossed the mountains into present-day East Tennessee, in search of fresh territory to settle. While his older sons were away with the Revolutionary army at King's Mountain in 1777, the grandfather and his wife, were two of a dozen or so settlers living near present-day Rogersville who were massacred by Creek and Cherokee Indians. (American West).

Following the death of his father, Davy's father, John Crockett, moved to Greene County. During Crockett's childhood, the family relocated twice; the first time to Cove County so that John could run a mill, and the second time to Jefferson County, where John Crockett operated a tavern. Davy ran away from his home in Jefferson County at an early age, after having a fight with a fellow student, in order to escape his expected punishment.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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It was after running away that Crockett began his life as an adventurer. First, Crockett joined a cattle drive to Virginia, then lived and worked there for another two and a half years. Crockett then returned to Tennessee, where he acquired his skills as an expert marksman. It was here that Crockett married Polly Finlay, who bore him two sons, John and William, and daughter Margaret. After Polly's death, Crockett married Elizabeth Patton. It was in Tennessee that Crockett began his role as soldier; Crockett served as a scout in the local Militia under Major Gibson. The purpose of that militia was to avenge an Indian attack on Fort Mimms, Alabama. Crockett's military career did not end his Tennessee military career as a scout; from 1813-13814, he commanded a battalion in the Creek Indian War. His superior officer was future President Andrew Jackson. It was under Andrew Jackson that Crockett "participated in the retributive massacre of the Indian town of Tallussahatchee." (Lofaro). Although Crockett returned home when his enlistment expired, he later re-enlisted under Captain John Cowan. Crockett went to the Florida swamps, and was once again utilized as a scout; his job was to help find Native Americans that had been trained by the British military.

While Crockett undoubtedly had a life of adventure, there were many misconceptions regarding Crockett's adventures. It has been established that Crockett was a bear wrestler, a sharpshooter, and a hunter. However, it was unlikely that Crockett actually took part in all of his reputed adventures. In fact, Crockett's reputation as an adventurer was largely due to the fact that playwright James Kirke Paulding-based Nimrod Wildfire, the hero of his play, The Lion of the West, on Crockett's life. In addition, two books and a series of comic almanacs celebrated Crockett's reputed adventures. While these publications may have been based on Crockett's actual adventures, they certainly exaggerated his accomplishments, resulting in a legend known as Davy Crockett. Therefore, it was not surprising that Crockett's actual accomplishments were sometimes obscured by the tall tales about him. Crockett attempted to correct these misconceptions. In 1834, Crockett and author Thomas Chilton wrote, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee. The goal of the work was to correct the misconceptions created by the other works.

Of course, Crockett's most famous contributions to Tennessee history came from his role as statesman. There was an overlap between his career in the military and his career in politics. In May 1815, Crockett was elected as a militia lieutenant. In 1817, Crockett became a justice of the peace, and later Lawrenceburg town commissioner. Finally, Crockett was elected a colonel in the militia. These smaller roles helped prepare Crockett for a major political career. Crockett later served two terms in the Tennessee state legislature from 1821 to 1824. Crockett was also in the United States Congress as a representative of Tennessee from 1827 to 1831 and from 1833 to 1835. Crockett's lack of a formal education did not harm his political career. On the contrary:

Throughout his political career Crockett had created an image of himself as a homespun, "common" man. He advertised the fact that he had never read a law book and possessed only a rudimentary education. Crockett served two terms, but when he argued against Andrew Jackson's Indian removal bill, his supporters deserted him and he lost a close bid for a third term. (PBS Online).

Although Crockett eventually served a third term in Congress, he lost his bid for a fourth term. This also ended Crockett's more ambitious political aspirations. He had been touted as the possible Whig contender for the presidency. "Crockett apparently thought himself a serious candidate, but he was likely only a convenient political tool to the Whigs, an independent frontiersman with a national reputation perhaps the equal of Jackson's who opposed Jackson on key political issues." (Lofaro). At that point, Crockett gave up politics and left Tennessee, reputedly after saying, "You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas." (PBS Online).

Crockett, his family, and three companions, William Patton, Abner Burgin, and Lindsey Tinkle set out for Texas. Not all of them reached Texas; Burgin and Tinkle returned to Tennessee, but Crockett and Patton signed the oath of allegiance to Texas. However, even this action bore the mark of Crockett's unique personality; he refused to sign the oath of allegiance until the word republican was inserted in the document. (Lofaro). Therefore, Crockett and Patton "swore their allegiance to the 'Provisional Government of Texas or any future republican Government that may be hereafter declared.' Crockett had balked at the possibility that he would be obliged to support some future government that might prove despotic." (Lofaro).

Crockett was immediately taken with Texas. He believed it was a gorgeous and healthy place, with plenty of land and opportunity for settlers. Texas did seem as if it would provide many opportunities for Crockett. In fact, Crockett believed that "government service in Texas would rejuvenate his political career and, as he stated elsewhere, provide the source of the affluence he had unsuccessfully sought all his life. He intended to become land agent for the new territory." (Lofaro). However, Mexican general Antonio L. pez de Santa Anna had different plans for Crockett's future.

Even his decision to support Colonel William B. Travis was marked by Crockett's tenacity. Travis chose to disregard Sam Houston's orders to withdraw from the Alamo. Crockett chose to support Travis because Houston was a Jackson sympathizer. However, Crockett's decision was not based simply on an old political rivalry; he believed that an independent Texas was part of his future. (Lofaro).

A from the Alamo, rather than support Houston, a Jackson sympathizer. What was more, he saw the future of an independent Texas as his future, and he loved a good fight.

Crockett's larger-than-life personality contributed tremendously to the legend of the Alamo. Witness accounts prove that Crockett was central in the Alamo's defense. Not only did his expert marksmanship help account for the 2,000 Mexican deaths at the Alamo, but Crockett's personality also helped encourage others to fight. For example, Crockett helped boost morale during the siege of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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