JESIJS F. DE LA TEJA, Editor
The Shattering of Texas Unionism: Politics in the Lone Star State During the Civil War
Era. By Dale Baum. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998.
Pp. xx+283. Acknowledgments, abbreviations, illustrations, photographs,
tables, conclusion, appendix, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8071-2245-9-
This volume offers a new analysis of Texas unionists and their competition
with the dominant Southern Rights Democrats from 1859 to 1869. The author
focuses on Texas voting patterns using quantitative methods, especially regress-
sion equations, that clarify the results of some elections and provide revised con-
clusions about others.
Baum begins with the 1859 victory of unionist Sam Houston over Hardin R.
Runnels in the gubernatorial race, a reversal of their 1857 contest. The author
differs from earlier views that Houston won back voters from Runnels. Instead
many former Runnels supporters failed to vote, while Houston attracted new vot-
ers. John Brown's anti-slavery raid during 1859 aroused fears across the South
that caused Houston's coalition in Texas to collapse in the 186o presidential
election. An analysis of the referendum on secession in 1861 reveals that wheat
farmers and Disciples of Christ in North Texas, and German Lutherans in
Central Texas showed the greatest opposition. After exploring questions of elec-
tion fraud, Baum judges most results plausible. Unionist manipulation probably
occurred in Uvalde County and secessionist fraud in Zapata and Cameron
Counties. Debate about other areas may continue, but secessionists clearly car-
ried most counties.
The author disagrees with postwar claims of Confederate unity during the
Civil War. Wartime elections concerned support for or opposition to the
Confederate government because of its expanding power. Results varied, but
administration supporters won more elections. Possible fraud in Harris County
may have helped Francis R. Lubbock win the governorship in 1861. Despite
existing anti-Confederate attitudes, unionists did not gain support, as shown in
the defeat of James H. Bell for chief justice of the state supreme court in 1864.
For the early Reconstruction period, debates over black status limited unionist
Republican strength primarily to German and Mexican Texans. Analysis of voter
registration under the Reconstruction Acts in 1867 suggests most former
Confederates could vote. Statistics do not support arguments of excessive black
registration. Finally, Baum considers the gubernatorial election of 1869, won by
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/. Accessed March 5, 2015.