Stepela Pcar A Hdrews, Abolitioist,
and the A nHxatio# of rexas
MADELEINE B. STERN
N THE TWENTY YEARS BETWEEN 1845 AND 1865, A GREAT NET-
work of events expanded the frontiers of the United States,
divided it and then united it, fulfilled its "manifest destiny,"
and changed the history of the world. The events of those two
unprecedented decades led inexorably one to the other. The an-
nexation of Texas in 1845 led to the Mexican War and the acquisi-
tion of great new territories, California and New Mexico. The
Compromise of 1850, the agitation for and against the South's
"peculiar institution," the debates between Lincoln and Douglas,
John Brown's Raid, the Civil War, and the Emancipation Procla-
mation-these were the links in the historic chain that welded
Although a century has passed since the last of those events, one
of the forgers of the first link in that familiar series remains vir-
tually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave in Woodlawn
Cemetery. Yet it was he, a forgotten lawyer with anti-slavery
propensities, practicing before the Texas Bar, whose bold and
sometimes blundering machinations to some extent led on to
those great enterprises. It was he whose devices-magnificent, in-
credible, quixotic-resulted, all against his will, in the speedier
annexation of a slave state to the Union, and so touched off the
tremendous sequence of events. It was he who held, "If I do not
believe in Slavery I must believe in Freedom." It was he who,
"peddling schemes of humanity and collecting subscriptions for
perfecting the human race," helped catapult the country into the
events that in the end made of it a Union.
Stephen Pearl Andrews, the Texas lawyer who in the interests
of humanity hoped to "obliterate frontiers," had lived his own
unusual chain of events before he helped make the unforgettable
history in which only he has been forgotten.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed March 14, 2014.