The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 185
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Mirabeau B. Lamar and Texas Nationalism
hand in administrative circles, so that on successfully completing
the military revolution Texans made the idea of an independent
republic become a reality.
The first president of the new republic was Sam Houston,
Texas' military commander at the decisive battle of San Jacinto.
To Houston fell the problem of initiating and consolidating the
"upstart" nation-a task which left him scant time for promoting
nationalistic designs. At the conclusion of his two-year term, how-
ever, his successor, Mirabeau B. Lamar, entered office imbued
with an enthusiasm, not for just holding on, but for seeking the
development and aggrandizement of the young republic into an
empire that could one day be termed great. In the fashion of
later German patriots, Lamar wanted this infant to emerge from
the shadows and to seek and to find its place in the sun. To carry
out such a program for Texas and Texans, Lamar became the first
major proponent of nationalism in the young republic.
Mirabeau B. Lamar' was born in Georgia on August 16, 1798.
He had a desultory schooling but was an omnivorous reader. As
a boy he became an expert horseman and an accomplished fencer,
began writing verse, and painted in oils. Lamar became secretary
to Governor George M. Troup of Georgia in 1823, was married
in 1829, purchased a newspaper at Columbus, Georgia, during
the same year, and in 1835 journeyed to Texas to collect historical
data for a projected book. After reaching Texas, Lamar decided
to settle in the Mexican province. Characteristically, he immedi-
ately declared for Texas independence and joined the Texas Army
as a private. As the battle of San Jacinto was about to start, Lamar
was verbally commissioned a colonel and assigned to command the
cavalry.2 In the first national election held in September, 1836,
Sam Houston was elected president of the new republic and
Lamar, vice-president. By constitutional provision Houston was
1The name Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was suggested by an uncle for the two
leaders of the French Revolution. Texans seldom spelled or pronounced the middle
name correctly and usually pronounced the first name either My-ree-bo or Mee-
ry-bo. Lamar never signed his middle name in full-only Mirabeau B. Lamar-and
a legend sprang up in Texas that he repudiated the Buonaparte. Philip Graham,
Life and Poems of Mirabeau B. Lamar (Chapel Hill, 1938), 4; Herbert Pickens
Gambrell, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar: Troubador and Crusader (Dallas, 1934), 5.
ISam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Hous-
ton, 1932), 300oo. Lamar later was given the rank of major general in the Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/203/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.