The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 182
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
celerated these challenges to slavery and enabled many blacks to seize
their freedom. Emancipation had not triumphed uniformly or without
struggle even where the slaveholding classes had been weak, but revolu-
tionary movements had left slavery isolated and threatened from out-
side and within.2
This study of slavery and the Texas Revolution concentrates on the
impact of the 1835-36 struggle on both slaves and slaveholders. The
conflict with Mexico raised before Anglos the spectre of slave revolt,
created for blacks other avenues to freedom besides rebellion, gener-
ated forces that weakened the hold of masters over bondsmen, and
placed the very survival of the institution in Texas on the success of
Texas arms. In order to understand the events of these two years, some
attention will also be given to the status of slavery in the earlier period
of Mexican rule and to the difficult question of slavery as a factor lead-
ing to the Texas movement for independence.
This latter issue attracted attention as soon as war erupted between
Mexico and Texas; antislavery zealots quickly attributed the Texas
Revolution to a proslavery conspiracy. The most thoroughgoing of
these denunciations, The War in Texas by Benjamin Lundy, appeared in
1836. Lundy's suspicions regarding the conflict grew out of a decade-
old career as an antislavery writer and his visits in Brazoria, Bexar, and
other Mexican provinces in 1833. Lundy viewed the origins of the
Revolution as exactly opposite to those identified in public pronounce-
ments in Texas, which stressed liberty and human rights. His historical
narrative developed the theme that southern-born immigrants had
evaded Mexican emancipation measures and had finally sought sepa-
rate statehood in order to establish the institution on a firm constitu-
tional basis. When foiled in this and other proslavery efforts, a "vast
combination" of slaveholders in Texas, supported by land-jobbers,
slave-breeders and dealers, and their political lackeys in the United
States, implemented a "treasonable" "scheme" to divide Texas from
Mexico and reestablish slavery. Like most abolitionists, Lundy placed
blame on individual sin: the Texas war derived from "motives of per-
sonal aggrandizement, avaricious adventure, and unlimited, enduring
2David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 (Ithaca, N.Y.,
' Merton L. Dillon, "Benjamin Lundy in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXIII (July,
1959), 60 (the Quarterly is cited hereafter as SHQ); Stephen F. Austin to Thomas F. Leaming,
Apr. 30, 1836, Andreas Reichstein (ed.), "The Austin-Leaming Correspondence, 1828-1836,"
SHQ, LXXXVIII (Jan., 1985), 282; [Benjamin Lundy], The War in Texas: A Review of Facts and
Circumstances ... (2nd ed., 1837; reprint, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 1970), 3-7, 14 (1st quota-
tion), 20 (2nd quotation), 27 (3rd quotation), 33-34 (4th quotation).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986, periodical, 1985/1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/m1/220/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.