The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

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Aoudary Surey, 1848-1853
W. H. GOETZMANN
B OUNDARIES have always had a peculiar significance for the
development of Texas. This was particularly true in the
years that followed the Mexican War when the future of
Texas became ever more closely bound up with the fortunes of
a federal policy for the West that was itself governed by the
political and economic objectives of sectionalism. Before the war,
the question of the Nueces or Rio Grande boundary had seemed
all-important, and the Army of the United States was sent south
of the Nueces to defend the national and Texan soil. After the
war, federal policy, as it related to two boundary controversies,
had a vital significance for the history of Texas, and, as it turned
out later, for the future development of the whole South. The
first of these was the well-known struggle between Texas, New
Mexico, and the United States Army over the western boundary
of Texas. As far back as the days of the Santa Fe Expedition,
Texas had attempted to exercise jurisdiction over all the country
north and east of the Rio Grande, including Santa Fe. By 1849
the conflict had ceased to be one of local inhabitants, and the
federal government had become involved through its exercise of
military jurisdiction over what was claimed by Texas to be its
territory. New Mexicans, claiming the right of self-determination,
voted for territorial status. The United States Army refused to
surrender its authority, and various Texas commissioners waged
abortive political campaigns in Santa Fe and El Paso, or else
fumed in helpless rage at the capitols on the Colorado and
Potomac. Inevitably the controversy reached the hallowed cham-
bers of the United States Senate, but before it did, military
reinforcements had been dispatched to the Department of New
Mexico, and a corps of determined militiamen was formed in
Austin. The South as a whole, concerned over the territorial
slavery question, was prepared to stand behind Texas, come what

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed July 23, 2014.