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Texas Secession: Major Problems in Texas History

The Texas secession from the United States in 1861 was not an unforeseen political move as discontent among Texans with the Union’s direction had been continuously growing. This decision resulted in joining the group of six other states that left the Union earlier before the inauguration of Lincoln. Then Texas played an important role on the battlefields of the Civil War, providing pro-slavery Confederacy with soldiers and officers. Despite the ultimate defeat of the South, there were serious reasons concerning slavery and state’s rights that justify the Lone Star State’s choice. The secession movement did not eliminate nationalism in the southern state. It was rather redirected towards Confederacy in order to preserve their own interests. The separation of Texas was inevitable both in economic and political terms, so profound changes could be brought only as a result of the war.

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The most crucial point of the argument is the existence of slavery in the state and its strong economic dependence on cotton. According to Walter I. Buenger, localism and nationalism were two interconnected and powerful ideas that existed simultaneously among the Texas population.1 For instance, in 1858 and 1859, there was the unionism revival due to influential personalities, like Sam Houston, party politics, and ideological beliefs. However, the number of people who came from the Lower South significantly increased by 1960 and settled highly populated East Texas.

Their culture was based on the plantation system and slavery. It reached dominance within the state and consolidated its Mexican, German, and Upper South population. The alliance of Lower South states’ Democratic parties also contributed to the change of direction. Moreover, secessionists lost confidence in the federal government and perceived the new Republican authority as a threat to their slave-holding lifestyle.2 Texans justifiably expected that the federal government would destroy the institution of slavery and undermine the ability of southerners to control their Afro slaves.

Furthermore, the Union was seen as a failed state that is not able to provide military protection, social harmony, and unique individual rights for the southerners. The Confederacy seemed to be a better choice at that time, taking into consideration some facts that proved the notion of the Union’s weakness. For instance, the House failed to allocate funds to defend the Texas frontier in 1859.3 Reasons presented in the Texas Ordinance of Secession included the failure of the Union to defend the state’s borders against Mexican outlaws, Indian population attacks, and slave-stealing raids organized by the northern states.4 The new Republican government under the Lincoln presidency was also blamed for promoting laws regarding racial equality and slavery abolishment what was an insult for Texas.

The policies of the Federal government excluded Texas what made its leadership assume that it was done intentionally to ignite hatred between the non-slaveholding North and cotton-growing South. The consolidated strength of Republicans in Congress made it impossible for Southerners as Union’s minority to defend their rights and pursue aspirations within the existing system. The legislation also was unequally favoring the enrichment and development of a free-market economy, which had domination in the northern US.

To conclude, despite having unique cultural features, Texas left the Union and joined the Confederate States because it was a chance to preserve their rights and economic development. History showed that Sam Houston was right, but there were too many failures of the government that justify the secession. Texas was isolated in terms of legislation and politics, its border safety was neglected, and slavery was under pressure. The majority of people were reluctant to change their cultural attitudes, so the dispute had to be resolved by separation and further war.

Bibliography

Hayness, Sam and Cary Wintz. Major Problems in Texas History. 2ed ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016.

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Footnotes

  1. Sam Hayness and Cary Wintz, Major Problems in Texas History. 2ed ed. (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016), 252.
  2. Hayness and Wintz, Major Problems in Texas History, 230.
  3. Hayness and Wintz, Major Problems in Texas History, 255.
  4. Hayness and Wintz, Major Problems in Texas History, 231.

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StudyCorgi. "Texas Secession: Major Problems in Texas History." January 29, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/texas-secession-major-problems-in-texas-history/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Texas Secession: Major Problems in Texas History." January 29, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/texas-secession-major-problems-in-texas-history/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Texas Secession: Major Problems in Texas History'. 29 January.

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