History free essay: The History of Texas
The History of Texas
The state of Texas in the US was originally part of Mexico. The circumstances of the first half of the 19th century led to its separation from Mexico. The first trigger of the separation was the settlement of the Americans into Texas. Second, the separation was triggered by the leadership changes made by the Mexican government after independence. Third violent revolution that involved several battles between the Texans and the Mexican soldiers made a major contribution to the separation. After the end of the revolution, the issue about whether Texas would remain and independent republic or be annexed to the US as a state became a major subject of debate in the US Congress. Eventually, Texas was annexed as a state of the US. This paper describes the circumstances and events that contributed to the formation of Texas as one of the states of the US.
Prior to 1821, Mexico was colonized by Spaniards. In 1821, the Spaniards lost control of the Mexican War of Independence that had started eleven years ago and thus, decided to grant independence to Mexico. The same year, Mexico came up with a law that granted households to settle in Mexico regardless of immigrant or racial status. A US citizen called Moses Austin took advantage of the situation through seeking to settle 300 households to Mexican Texas. His request was approved by the governor of Texas (Browning 27). In June the same year, however, Moses Austin died before having accomplished the settlement plan. His son, Stephen F. Austin was allowed to proceed with his father’s plan. Stephen announced his plan in newspapers that sold in New Orleans. The families that agreed settled at Brazos River (Browning 27). The initial grant to Moses Austin was granted under the Spanish rule. The Mexican government that was formed afterwards ratified a grant to Stephen to settle 300 families in Texas in 1923. Afterwards, Stephen received a contract from the Mexican government to settle 900 more households in Texas (Browning 27).
After the Americans settled in Texas, the Mexican government made several changes in its governance strategies and laws that triggered Texans to fight for independence from Mexico. In 1824, the government of Texas came up with a new constitution that established Mexico as a federal republic. However, General Antonio López de Santa Anna changed the government of Mexico into a military dictatorship (Brown 86). Second, the Mexican government had promised the settlers to Texas a republican government and constitutional liberty. After Santa Anna took over leadership, however, the Texans were denied the guarantees. Most settlers, for instance, were regarded as illegal immigrants (Brown 87). Third, the Mexican government created the state of Coahuila and united it with Texas. Texas’ affairs were dealt with in a capital that was located in Coahuila, which was far from reach by the Texans. Further, the Mexican government denied the Texans political rights that they had been accustomed to, such as right to trial in a court and the right to bear and carry arms (Brown 87). In addition, the Mexican government failed to establish a system of education in Texas. Also, the government of Mexico made an attempt to enforce import tariffs to products imported into Texas. Last, the Mexican government came up with a law that denied the settlers freedom to worship. For instance, all settlers were forced to be followers of the catholic religion (Brown 87). Such issues led to a violent revolution that eventually culminated into the declaration of independence of Texas in 1836.
Among the famous violent conflicts that triggered Texas to declare its independence were the battles of Goliad and the Alamo. The Battle of Goliad started on October 9, 1835, when the settlers of Texas attacked the Army soldiers of Mexico that were camping near at Presidio La Bahía, a place that was near Goliad. The attacks occurred soon after the Texans won the Battle of Gonzales (Haberle 12). The Texans managed to defeat the Mexican soldiers at La Bahía after killing one and injuring three of the soldiers. As Haberle (12) explained, “the Texans confiscated military properties and instruments worth more than $10,000 and instructed the Mexican soldiers to leave from Texas.” In December the same year, a group of Texans who had volunteered to fight against the Mexican soldiers moved to Alamo, which was a former Franciscan mission center. Alamo was near to the capital of San Antonio. On February 23 of the following year, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led thousands of soldiers to attack the Texan soldiers at Alamo (Haberle 12). The Texan soldiers were around 200 in number and thus, they were overpowered. All the Texan soldiers were killed during the attack. Some soldiers were still fighting against Mexican soldiers at Goliad. When General Sam Houston, who was in charge of the Texan soldiers, heard about what happened at Alamo, he instructed soldiers at Goliad to retreat. The Mexican soldiers met the Mexican soldiers that were retreating at Goliad and killed 400 of them (Haberle 12).
The battles of Goliad and Alamo triggered the battle of San Jacinto. The killings of Texan soldiers by Mexican soldiers at Alamo and Goliad angered The US citizens and Texans. General Sam Houston reorganized Texan soldiers and secured the support of the US. He led an attack on Mexican soldiers on April 21, 1836 at San Jacinto River (Huffines, 17). The battle took place in Southeast of Texas. The Mexican soldiers had not expected the attack and thus, they were surprised during an afternoon rest. The Texan soldiers attacked the Mexican soldiers while shouting, “Remember the Alamo.” The Mexicans surrendered about a battle that took place in 20 minutes. Around 600 Mexican soldiers were killed and 200 wounded. The Texan soldiers captured 730 Mexican soldiers that surrendered. AS Huffines (18) noted “one of them was General Santa Anna.” After surrendering, General Santa Anna agreed to move his soldiers from Texas to Mexico. “General Houston allowed Santa Anna to live and return to Mexico” (Haberle 14). The battle of San Jacinto led to the end of the violent revolution and soon afterwards, Texas became independent from Mexico and Sam Houston was chosen as the president of Texas.
After Texas became independent from Mexico, most Texans wanted it to become one of the states of the US. However, a major controversy emerged in the US Congress regarding whether or not to admit Texas as a state of the US or support it to remain an independent republic. The controversy was caused by the issue of slavery. In the late 1830s, the Northern States of the US were against slavery whereas the Southern states supported it. The issue about whether slavery should be abolished was already being discussed by the congress (Kellogg 102). The representatives of the northern states in the Congress that were against the slavery were more than the representatives of the southern states. The members of the Northern States felt that if Texas was added to the southern states, the southern states would gain more influential in the congress since they would have more representatives. Thus, most representatives of the northern states in the congress did not support the annexation of Texas (Kellogg 103). For instance, one of the representatives of the northern states, John Quincy Adams, brought a motion in the Congress in 1938 that led to the blocking of the annexation (Kellogg 103). At the same time, the southern states were supporting the annexation in order to enhance their influence.
Attempts by the southern states to enhance the annexation of Texas did not succeed until 1945. One of the major political issues in the presidential campaigns that took place in the US in 1944 was about whether or not to admit Texas as a state of the US. Kellogg (103) explains that, “The democratic candidate, James Polk, ardently supported them annexation.” The Congress was given the mandate to resolve the issue. After James Polk became president, the Congress narrowly passed the resolution to make Texas the 28th state of the US in 1945.
Overall, the formation of the state of Texas and its annexation as a state of the US took many years and involved many turbulent experiences. The separation of Texas from Mexico was initiated by the changes made by the Mexican government under the leadership of General Santa Anna that were unfavorable to the Mexican settlers. The situation was exacerbated by the violent conflicts such as the battles of Goliad, San Jacinto and Alamo. Eventually, the US congress dealt with the controversial issue of slavery before determining whether or not to annex Texas. Texas was eventually admitted as a state of the US in 1945.
Brown, Lyle, Joyce A. Langenegger, Sonia R. Garcia, Ted A. Lewis and Robert E. Biles.
Practicing Texas Politics. New York: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Browning, Dick. Explaining Texas. Lulu.com, 2014. Print.
Haberle, Susan E. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. Minnesota: Capstone, 2003. Print.
Huffines, Alan C. Texas War of Independence. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2011.
Kellogg, William O. Barron’s American History the Easy Way. New York: Barron’s Educational
Series. 2003. Print.
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