Nov 29 2023
Episode 34 The New Republic and Sam Houston becomes President.
Episode 34 - The New Republic and Sam Houston becomes President. The program is brought to you by Digital Media Publishers Ashby Navis & Tennyson. Download our audiobooks at Spotify, TuneIn, Apple, Google, Barnes and Noble, and stores around the world. Visit AshbyNavis.com for more information.
As I’ve talked about, the early Anglo settlers in Texas primarily came from the South. This means that they brought many of their southern traditions and biases with them. Now even though the term Manifest Destiny, wasn’t actually coined until 1845, the idea that formed it, which is that the United States was destined by God, to expand its control and to spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent was part of what built Texas. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was an example of the United States trying to expand, to fulfill what many thought was destiny. Texas was also seen as being part of that fulfillment, now one of the byproducts of that concept, was how it affected any person who was non-white. I have already spoken a little about the animosity between the Anglo newcomers and the Mexicans who had lived in Texas for decades and also about how the real native Texans, that is, the indigenous tribes had been changed and decimated. Well, this new republic would have an even more dramatic effect on both of those populations.
The Republic had been born and by July Interim President Burnet and his cabinet began shifting responsibilities. The ad interim president called an election for the first Monday in September to set up a government under the constitution. The voters were asked to (1) approve the constitution, (2) authorize Congress to amend the constitution, (3) elect a president, other officers, and members of Congress, and (4) express their views on annexation to the United States. So far so good, but as with everything about Texas, it was not all peaches and cream.
The choice of a president especially was a concern. Henry Smith, the governor of the provisional government, was most likely the first to announce his candidacy for the office. Stephen F. Austin (who many now consider to be the father of Texas) also entered the race, but he had accumulated enemies because of the land speculations of his business associate Samuel May Williams and, remember this was in the time when it was difficult to communicate with others, many newcomers to Texas didn’t really know Austin. Some of the newcomers thought he had been too slow to support independence. Finally, just eleven days before the election, Sam Houston became an active candidate. On election day, It was determined that Houston won by a landslide, with 5,119 votes, Smith 743, and Austin 587. Remember Mirabeau Lamar, the "keenest blade" at San Jacinto, he was elected vice president. Lamar becoming vice president will play a major role in the future, especially when it comes to relations with both the Mexican and Native tribes. I’ll talk about that in the next episode, anyway...
Houston benefited from strong support from the army and from those who believed that his election would ensure internal stability and because of his reputation, help Texas receive recognition from various world powers and, probably more important, help Texas get annexed by the United States. Remember, most of the Anglos in Texas at that time weren’t really interested in being their own country. Yes, they wanted independence from Mexico, but they also wanted to be part of the United States. Houston was expected to stand firm against Mexico and while waiting for the United States to act seek recognition of Texas independence from Mexico. The people voted overwhelmingly to accept the constitution and to seek annexation, but they denied Congress the power of amendment. And actually to this day, the legislature cannot amend the State’s constitution, it can only be done by a vote of the citizens.
On October 22, before a joint session of the Texas Congress,