The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 49
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Education in Texas during the Spanish-Mexican Periods 49
in little more than a decade, the American settlers had com-
pletely swamped the native Mexican population and had gained
virtual control of the province. This situation, entirely unfore-
seen by Mexican authorities when they had opened the country
to settlement, made it impossible for the newcomers to become
Latinized and assimilated-as had originally been intended. The
empresario contracts aggravated this situation inasmuch as the
Americans were compelled to settle in compact blocks rather
than intermingled with the Mexican population. When the
Mexican government finally recognized what was happening and
in 183o attempted to close the doors to further immigration, it
was too late. De facto control had slipped into the hands of the
The early empresario contracts contained a provision requiring
the establishment of schools in each colony. Instruction was to
be in Spanish.34 This provision was ineffective, as was the re-
quirement that the colonists become Catholics. In education
and religion, as well as in other mores, the American colonists
followed their own traditions.
Despite the sparse and scattered population, the high incidence
of single men, the wild frontier conditions, and the political
unrest, some communities succeeded in supporting local pay
schools, some of a comparatively high order. The educational
background of the American colonists and the efforts of certain
of their leaders, such as Stephen E Austin, were the chief factors
in making these schools possible.
The idea had become commonly accepted throughout the
United States that public education should be aided, if not en-
tirely financed, by permanent state support. In the Old South-
west, from which many of the settlers came, the custom was for
the states to set aside the proceeds from the sale of certain public
lands as the basis for a permanent fund. These settlers, there-
fore, were expecting something of the same thing in Texas. Even
private schools and academies received state aid in many South-
ern states." The right of local initiative in educational matters
was not generally established, particularly in the South. Hence,
s4Contract with the Government of the State for the Colonization of Five Hun-
dred Families, Article 8, April 27, 1825, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 48.
asE. W. Knight, Public Education in the South (Boston, 1922), 88-95.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948, periodical, 1948; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/m1/67/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.