The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
grounds that the state was too concerned with the boundary dispute
to pay attention to other matters." The fact is, however, that while
there was no upsurge of popular support, the state did demonstrate
considerable interest in the Convention in 1850. The Texas legislature
provided for representation at Nashville, and the state did have a
delegate at the meeting in the person of former governor James
Pinckney Henderson. The story of this Texas reaction to the Nash-
ville Convention has not heretofore been fully told. It offers an insight
into both the politics of the early statehood period and the develop-
ment of ultrasouthern sentiment in Texas more than ten years before
The Nashville Convention was essentially the brainchild of John
C. Calhoun. The South Carolinian, long fearful for the rights of the
slave South in the face of increasing northern power in the Union,
preached the need for southern unity for two decades before 1850.
His fears took on new urgency in 1846 with the appearance of the
Wilmot Proviso calling for the prohibition of slavery in any territory
to be acquired as a result of the Mexican War. Calhoun replied to
Wilmot early in 1847 with a series of resolutions which denied the
power of Congress to restrict slavery in the territories and argued
instead the obligation of the central goverment to protect the prop-
erty of all citizens in territory belonging to the United States. Several
southern states responded to the Proviso with equally strong language.
Alarmed by the attitude of the North and encouraged by the reaction
of the South, Calhoun began in the summer of 1848 to work actively
for a southern convention to promote his dream of unity among the
Calhoun's quest for southern unity necessarily included Texas, the
newest addition to the ranks of slave states, but here the South Caro-
linian immediately ran into the towering figure of Senator Sam Hous-
ton. Houston meant to defend the interests of Texas including
slavery through the instrument of states' rights. He did not, however,
sAvery O. Craven, The Growth of Southern Nationalism, 1848-186z (Baton Rouge,
La., 1953), 89; Dallas T. Herndon, "The Nashville Convention of 1850," Transactions of
the Alabama Historical Society, V (1904-1906), 215-216; Dudley G. Wooten (ed.), A
Comprehensive History of Texas, 2685-1897 (2 vols.; Dallas, 1898), II, 27. Even the most
thoroughly researched account of the convention offers essentially the same picture of
Texas's reaction. Thelma N. Jennings, "A Reappraisal of the Nashville Convention"
(Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, 1968), 65, 136.
8Charles M. Wiltse, John C. Calhoun, Sectionalist, z84o-185o (Indianapolis, 1951), 308,
313, 357-358; Craven, Growth of Southern Nationalism, 33-35.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/m1/20/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.