The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 135

Book Reviews

landowners, who have claimed that O'Connor forced them off their land, he
admits that the pages and pages of land sales by Thomas O'Connor indicate that
there may have been "some form of advanced notification involved" (p. 22o).
Davis also briefly highlights O'Connor's illegitimate son, Thomas Marion
O'Connor, whom he sees as a stabilizing force in the often drunken life of
Dennis O'Connor, the only surviving son.
In conclusion, Davis argues that the Irish immigrants, driven by a desire for
Texas land, accepted a ranching culture from their Mexican neighbors. Through
Darwinian survival of the fittest, men such as Thomas O'Connor took advantage
of opportunities, added their own brand of hard work and frugality, and created
the great ranching estates of modern Texas. With the O'Connor papers available,
Davis might have used the life of Thomas O'Connor to provide a far more inter-
esting vehicle for tracing the Irish settlements in Texas. As it stands, however, the
book offers a broad scholarly perspective of the history of the Irish in Texas.
Sam Houston State Unzverszty CAROLINE CASTILLO-CRIMM
Texas in the Confederacy: An Experiment in Nation Building. By Clayton E. Jewett.
(Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002. Pp. vi+310. Acknowledgments,
introduction, appendix, note on sources, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8262-
1390-1. $37.50, cloth.)
ClaytonJewett argues that the Civil War was, at least for Texans, far more than a
war to preserve slavery. Texas charted an independent course from other
Confederate states by closing ranks in defense of its economic interests and
launching a war "not against the Union threat, but against civilized and uncivilized
Indian tribes" (p. 4). Subsequently, pragmatic men in the state legislature
advanced the welfare of all citizens with their belief in "liberal laws, property
rights, and practical rules" (p. 241). As a consequence, Texans achieved more for
themselves than anything they could have possibly obtained from the Richmond
government. The author admires this process of what can loosely be called democ-
ratic separate nation building-a unifying endeavor in which the state's legislators
always met the needs of Texas ahead of the Confederate government and army.
This bold experiment in Texas nation building, in turn, helps explain why the
South lost the Civil War.
The author uses sophisticated quantitative methods to test the relationship
between state and Confederate governments by means of his "original theory of
nation building" (p. 3). A multitude of independent variables in addition to
those representing mere slaveholding interests is used to demonstrate that a
wider range of economic interests is associated with secession and subsequent leg-
islative support for state institutions or economic development. Many explanatory
variables are found to have meaningful relationships with secession or the legisla-
ture's promotion of the state's economic interests because the former correlate
with the latter and meet a test of significance. In this manner, the author claims
to have demonstrated statistically that Texas established a unique separate identi-
ty in order to preserve the economic interests of all Texans, not just slaveholders.



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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.