Unit 6, Section 4 Notes

Unit 6, Section Four Notes
Living in Texas after the Revolution was
challenging in many ways. Many Texans
abandoned their homes during the Runaway
Scrape, and many of those who returned found
their homes destroyed. Some entire towns were
burned, including San Felipe and Refugio.
People were forced to build new communities.
Though the Constitution of 1836 granted land to
people who had lived in Texas before the
Revolution, the population of Texas was low,
with only 52,700 Texans in all, including
American Indians, African Americans, and
In order to get more people to come to Texas,
the government set up a land grant policy like
the Spanish empressario system. Agents
received land grants in return for bringing
people to Texas and establishing new
settlements. It worked! From 1836 to 1847,
over 100,000 people moved to Texas.
The largest group of immigrants in Texas came
from the United States. They came looking
for land and new economic opportunities,
especially after the financial depression
caused by the Panic of 1837. Though they
came from every state, most settlers came
from the Mississippi Valley area south of the
Ohio River. People from the southern U.S.
tended to settle in East Texas, while people
from the northern U.S. settled in Northeast
Texas, along the Red River.
Many U.S. settlers from the South were
slaveholders, and so they were comfortable
moving to Texas since the Republic allowed
slavery. The number of slaves in Texas quickly
rose from 5,000 slaves 1836 to 30,000 in 1845.
The life of a slave was hard in Texas, just as it
was in the United States. Many worked in the
cotton fields or on farms. They had no legal
rights to private property, to marriage, or to
have a family. And almost every slave knew that
if they did not obey, they would be punished
After Texas gained its independence, the life of a
free African American changed drastically. In
February of 1840, Congress passed a new law
that outlawed the immigration of free African
Americans to Texas. The law also stated that
those already living in the Republic would have
to leave within two years or be sold into slavery!
Many Texans were angry and tried to petition for
their friends. Many petitions were written for
free slaves that fought for Texas during the
Revolution, like Greenbury Logan. He fought at
the Battle of San Antonio.
In November 1840, three petitions were presented
to the Texas Congress of behalf of a family, the
Ashworth’s. In response, Congress passed the
Ashworth Act, which allowed all free African
Americans who were in Texas at the time of the
Texas Declaration of Independence to stay. But
over the next several years, Texas passed laws
that strictly controlled the lives of free African
Americans. If they broke the laws, they could be
whipped, branded, and punished in other harsh
ways. By 1850, fewer than 400 free African
Americans were left in Texas.
The Republic was also home to several thousand
Tejanos, who often lived in San Antonio or in Rio
Grande Valley, an area that was claimed by both
Texas and Mexico. New immigrants from the
United States were often hostile to Tejanos,
seeing them as Mexican enemies. Even those
who fought on the Texas side experienced
discrimination. Tejanos often had their land or
livestock stolen. In 1839, repeated attacks forced
100 Tejano families from their homes in
Despite being treated badly, many Tejanos
remained in Texas and prospered. Juan
Seguin, a hero of the Texas Revolution, was
mayor of San Antonio from 1840 to 1842.
José Antonio Navarro, a signer of the Texas
Declaration of Independence, served in
Congress. These Tejanos maintained their
culture; they ate traditional Mexican foods,
practiced their Catholic faith, and celebrated
Mexican holidays. That has helped to shape
the Texas that we live in today!
Many Texans were farmers and ranchers.
Though there were some large plantations, most
farms were small. Most of these small farmers did
the work on their own without the help of slaves.
The most popular crops were corn, cotton, wheat,
rye, and oats. Most ranchers raised cattle for their
own use and to sell to others. A few of them would
drive their cattle to other towns, such as New
Orleans, in order to sell them for a higher profit.
It was not easy to travel from town to town in
Texas. You could travel by horseback or
stagecoach, but both were dangerous and
uncomfortable. The government tried to
build new roads and fix bad ones, but it was a
slow process. Bad weather made it even
more difficult to travel. Some rivers were
soon used for transportation. The first
steamboat, the Ariel, operated on the lower
Rio Grande River in 1829.
Roman Catholicism was no longer the official
religion in Texas after the Revolution ended, so
many Protestant denominations - organized
religious groups with similar beliefs - soon built
churches. The Methodist Church was the largest
denomination, followed by the Baptist, though
there were many others. Catholicism was still
popular among Tejanos, and Czech and Polish
immigrants. There were also several Jewish
synagogues in Texas. Many preachers traveled
throughout Texas, and they were known as
circuit riders.
Because Mexico refused to recognize Texas
independence, Texas was eager to have other
nations recognize, or officially accept, its
status as an independent nation. Texans felt
that it might force Mexico to change their
position! The Texas government also needed
money, and foreign recognition could open
up trade with other countries.
Texas officials really wanted U.S.
recognition, which they hoped would
lead to annexation. But many U.S.
politicians were hesitant to recognize
Texas. They felt that it could anger
Mexico and lead to war. Also, many antislavery states did not want to recognize
Texas because the Republic allowed
Even though Texas was small, had a lot of debt,
and could have been easily taken over by
Mexico, the United States decided to recognize
Texas in 1837. U.S. officials felt that they could
do this because Mexico was having problems
with their own government at the time and the
U.S. realized that Mexico would probably not be
strong enough to retaliate. Still, annexation of
Texas to the United States did not happen at this
time. Though Texas officials put in a request for
annexation, it was later withdrawn in 1838
because nothing had been done.
In 1837, Houston sent James Pinckney
Henderson to Europe to try and persuade
European countries to recognize Texas.
Because they did not want the United States
to expand further, many nations in Europe
wanted Texas to stay independent. France
was the first European country to recognize
Texas in 1839, followed by Great Britain,
Belgium, and the Netherlands. Mexico still
refused to recognize Texas.
Even after the Treaties of Velasco were signed,
Mexico and Texas continued to disagree
about the independence and boundaries of
the Republic. Texas claimed all the land to the
east of the Rio Grande, which included half of
New Mexico. Mexican officials did not agree,
and neither did most of the people in New
Mexico. Unlike San Houston, President Lamar
felt that it was important to enforce Texas’
claim on the land and take advantage of the
trade moving along the Santa Fe Trail.
In June of 1841, President Lamar sent out an
expedition of 320 people to Santa Fe to take
control of the region. Five companies of soldiers,
under the leadership of Hugh McLeod, marched
with several well known Texans, including José
Antonio Navarro. But on their way, they quickly
encountered hardships. They were attacked by
American Indians as the passed on their land.
They also ran out of food and water. The wagons
finally got stuck on the Caprock, outside of
present-day Lubbock.
McLeod decided to divide the soldiers. He sent
half to Santa Fe, while he and the other half
stayed with the wagons. As the Texas soldiers
reached New Mexico in October 1841, they
were quickly captured by Mexican soldiers.
McLeod’s group was captured not long after.
They Texans were then marched the 1,200
miles to Mexico City and put in prison.
Eventually they were released, but the
expedition was considered a failure, with over
60 soldiers dead.
Even though the Santa Fe Expedition failed,
President Lamar was still determined to
pressure Mexico into negotiations with Texas.
In September of 1841, he sent the Texas navy
to the Yucatán coast to fight the Mexican
government. When Sam Houston began his
second term as president, he ordered the
navy home and attempted to sell the ships
for profit. He obviously disagreed with
Lamar’s tactics.
Edwin Moore was the commodore of the Texas
Navy. Like many of the men in the Texas Navy, he
was originally from the United States. During
Lamar’s administration, he was assigned to fight
the Mexican government off the coast of the
Yucatan Peninsula, but when Houston became
president again, he called the navy back, and
Moore refused to follow orders. For that, he was
court-martialed and dishonorably discharged by
President Houston.
The Mexican government, in response to
Lamar, began sending troops into Texas in
1842. 700 Mexican soldiers attacked San
Antonio, Goliad, Refugio, and Victoria, but
then returned to Texas. Houston feared that
the Mexicans would attack Austin, so he
ordered that all the government archives, or
records, be taken out of the capital city.
Residents in Austin were angry with this, not
wanting the archives to be moved. They
thought that it was an attempt to move the
capital of Texas back to Houston. Led by a
woman named Angelina Eberly, a group fired
at officials who were loading documents onto
wagons. This conflict, known as the Archives
War, ended with the documents staying in
In September of 1842, Mexican soldiers
invaded Texas again! General Adrián Woll and
1,400 soldiers captured San Antonio.
Hundreds of Texas militia and Texas Rangers
made their way to San Antonio and attacked
Woll’s force at Salado Creek, outside of the
city. The Mexican troops retreated, but took
captives with them.
The Mexican attack on San Antonio angered
many Texans, and they called for war! Sam
Houston sent 750 soldiers to the Rio Grande
under the command of Alexander Somervell
to recapture the prisoners taken by Woll.
Once they reached the Rio Grande, Somervell
realized that they did not have enough
supplies or troops. He ordered his soldiers to
go home, but 300 disobeyed orders and
invaded Mier, Mexico, under the command of
Colonel William S. Fisher.
When they arrived in Mier in December, the
Texas soldiers demanded for the
townspeople to bring them supplies. When
they refused, the Texans stormed the town,
but were met by 900 Mexican soldiers. After a
day of fighting, there were 100 dead on the
Mexican side and 30 Texans killed. Though
they were winning, the Texans surrendered
because they ran out of supplies.
The captured soldiers were then marched to
Mexico City. 200 tried to escape during the
march, but because they had no food or water,
most died or were quickly recaptured. Santa
Anna, who was again the ruler of Mexico,
ordered that every 10 soldier be shot. The 176
prisoners drew beans to see who would live and
who would die. White ones meant freedom,
while black ones meant that you would be
blindfolded and shot. Of the ones left, 18
escaped. At least 20 died in prison, and many
were eventually released.
Both Great Britain and France tried to pressure
Mexico into recognizing Texas independence
and ending further conflict. These countries
wanted Texas to stay independent in order to
keep the U.S. from expanding. Great Britain and
France tried to get Texas and Mexico to sign a
peace treaty, but Texas would have to promise
not to be annexed to the United States – Mexico
didn’t want the U.S. to expand either. What
would Texas do: accept the peace treaty and
reject annexation, or forget the treaty and join
the United States?
This election divided the Republic of Texas.
Much like elections today, negative things
were said and printed about both candidates
– Anson Jones and Vice President Edward
Burleson. Even though Burleson had been
Sam Houston’s vice president, Houston
supported Jones in the election. Mirabeau
Lamar decided to support Burleson. It pretty
much came down to who you liked more –
Lamar or Houston, again!
Jones defeated Burleson easily. He was a
doctor and veteran of San Jacinto. He had
also served in Congress and as Secretary of
State. Kenneth Anderson was chosen as the
vice president.
Lamar’s support of Burleson probably hurt him
– most people in Texas thought that Lamar
had caused many problems. It could also be
said that Jones might not have won without
the support of popular Sam Houston.
Just like Sam Houston, Jones worked to shrink
the Texas’ growing debt by limiting
government spending. He also continued to
work for peace with the American Indians.
Under President Jones, the Texas economy
began to improve. People began to believe
that Texas would soon be annexed to the
United States, and it made the value of Texas
currency rise.
In 1843, a poll was taken by a Texas newspaper.
They found that most Texans still supported
annexation to the U.S. Many people quickly
became frustrated with Jones because he did
not push for annexation as much as they wanted
him to. He, and some other Texans, believed
that it was important for Texas to try and have
peaceful relations with Mexico before giving up
and joining the United States. If they could
achieve peace, maybe Texas could stay a nation!
A debate over what to do was being fought all
over the Republic.

similar documents