NORMAN D. BROWN, EDITOR
Rise oe o the Lone Slm: The Making of 7exa.s By Andlreas V. Reichstein. Translated
by Jeanne R Willson. (College Station: Texas A & M University Press,
1989. Pp. xviii + 303. Acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, map,
notes, bibliography, index. $29.95.)
The period of 'Texas history that Rie of the Lone Star covers begins with the
early efforts of Anglo-American coloniation and ends with U.S. annexation.
Its essential contribution is clearly the disclosure of land speculation interests
that several individuals, companies, and even American officials had in the
years prior to the Revolution of 1836; another factor revealed is the close rela-
tionship between the process of colonization and freemasonry.
This narrative includes an irreverent view of the "Father of Texas," Stephen F.
Austin; in spite of' his constant claims to the contrary, he is shown here, along
with other empresarios, as a land-hungry businessman whose only goal was
economic reward, regardless of loyalties or friendships to any particular nation
or government. It also clarifies the interests of some companies like the Texas
Association, which was initially founded to speculate with the land and not to
settle and cultivate it. Openly violating Mexican law, its directors tried to sell
some Texas properties when they were not even settled there.
A good example of the kind of maneuvers that the book describes is what in
fact became a disputed contest between President Andrew Jackson and big
businessman James Prentiss for the acquisition of Texas. At one point they
even had the same agent, U.S. minister to Mexico Anthony Butler, working for
an identical purpose, which put the reckless agent into a difficult dilemma:
either to become a patriot by increasing American national territory or to
become a wealthy man by participating in the benefits of what would be a lu-
crative transaction of a private interest.
In dealing with the influence of land speculation as a cause of the outbreak
of the Texas Revolution, Reichstein here meets some difficulties. Although he
points out quite properly the economic dimension-specifically land distribu-
tion policies-of conflicts for the statehood or territorial status of Texas within
the Republic of Mexico that existed among various empresarios and com-
panies, he does not approach the reaction of' Mexican officials to Monclova's
massive sale of land in the spring of 1835 in terms of a nationalistic defense of
territorial integrity (a cause that would easily unite conflicting factions of what-
ever political position) but only as it was seen by most of the colonists-another
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed May 26, 2015.