During the frenetic last months of the Texas Revolution, when the situation seemed most perilous, anxieties among Texians reached a fever pitch and heated rhetoric proliferated. The pressure mounted for Texas men to act “manly,” which necessitated they meet the enemy on the battlefield (and not desert or retreat from the fight).

The turmoil of the Runaway Scrape affected gender expectations for women as well. In some instances, women grappled for power and decision-making roles with men in their refugee groups; in other cases, women ceded leadership decisions to their male counterparts.

Fear of defeat prompted larger questions of what it meant to be a man and woman in a period of war and retreat. Men could rise to the challenge and fulfill their manly obligations on the battlefield or fail to do so.

For women, the Runaway Scrape sometimes opened new opportunities for leadership and decision making, although that was not always the case. How stable were new configurations of gender roles and expectations? As it turns out, they were almost as fleeting as the rebellion itself.

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