The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Intrastate Sectionalism
in the Texas Governor's Race of 1853
ROGER A. GRIFFIN*
FORTY YEARS AGO EUGENE C. BARKER SUGGESTED THAT SECTIONAL
rivalry between East Texas and West Texas was "an interesting
theme which needs to be developed by students of Texas history."'
The present work is an attempt to examine the existence, intensity,
and meaning of intrastate sectionalism in one of the political cam-
paigns of the early period of Texas statehood, the governor's race of
1853. This campaign lends itself to study because sectional factors were
present throughout the entire race and because most of the overt sec-
tionalism was centered in one area of the state, the east.
East Texas is here defined as it was by most mid-nineteenth-century
Texans: that is, as those counties lying wholly or in part east of the
Trinity River and comprising the First Congressional District. The
remainder of the state constituted West Texas." It should be noted
that Texans of the period often spoke of subdivisions within the two
major sections, such as "the Rio Grande," "the coast," or "the North."
Intrastate sectionalism had been developing for at least three dec-
ades prior to i853. Immigrants who settled near the eastern boundary
of Texas had problems and interests which differed from those of the
people who colonized the coastal plains and the river valleys further
inland. Poor communications also contributed to the development of
sectional animosities. Much of the trade of East Texas naturally flowed
overland into Arkansas or Louisiana, while that of the west moved to
such coastal ports as Galveston and Matagorda."
Two sources of sectional conflict in Texas politics during the years
of the Republic had been eastern pressure for freer trade with the
United States and western demands for increased appropriations for
*Mr. Griffin, an assistant instructor in the Department of History, University of Texas,
Austin, read an earlier version of this paper at the meeting of the East Texas Historical
Association, in Nacogdoches, Texas, October io, 1970o.
'Eugene C. Barker (ed.), Texas History for High Schools and Colleges (Dallas, 1929),
394.
2H. P. N. Gammel (comp.), The Laws of Texas, x822-x897 (io vols.; Austin, 1898),
Ill, 599.
8William Ransom Hogan, The Texas Republic: A Social and Economic History (Nor-
man, 1946), 64-67.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed August 27, 2015.