The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 66
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66 The Southweslern Historical Quarterly
acy of the laws; and I do not consider that there is any cause
for a dissolution of the Union at this time."52 It seems that the
primary object of the Democratic leaders at this time was to pre-
serve their rights in the Union if they could; but at the same
time they were preparing the minds of the people for the idea of
withdrawing from the Union should a situation arise in which
these rights would be threatened. That such might be the case
in the near future, it took no seer to discern. The final crisis
seemed to depend upon the presidential election the following year.
Houston had always been a state-rights man, and although he
himself upheld the federal doctrine that secession meant rev-
olution, both he and his adherents firmly believed that it was a
matter of expediency to remain in the Union, that the rights of
the state, could be better preserved in the Union than out of it.
The Democrats, on the other hand, held that the state had a right
to secede, and that to secede would probably soon be a wise course
to pursue. The outcome of the election was a decisive defeat for
the party which had controlled the affairs of the state since
1845, as far as congressional representation and the governorship
were concerned. But this did not necessarily imply that the sen-
timent of Unionism had triumphed in Texas. As has already been
stated, there were other factors that played an important part
in the election. And the Democratic party had by no means been
defeated, for the Democrats still controlled both houses of the
What Union sentiment there was in Texas in 1859 received a
rude shock in the John Brown raid at Harper's Ferry. This
was fully believed to be a. premeditated attack by Northern aboli-
tionists upon the institutions of the South; and the result was soon
seen in Texas. Louis T. Wigfall, one of the most radical men
in the state, and Houston's most bitter opponent, was elected to the
United States Senate just before Houston's inauguration. Accord-
ing to one leader the election was due to the resentment against
the Harper's Ferry outrage, and there are indications that this
opinion was shared by many.3 To elect him, however, a party
caucus was necessary. Since Wigfall at the time was a member
'Lubbock, Six Decades in Texas, 247.
5"Roberts, Political, Legislative, and Judicial History of Texas, etc., in
Wooten (editor), A Comprehensive History of Texas, II, 56.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/72/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.