The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 455
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Rampant Individualism in the Republic of Texas
Texans are the most independent people under the whole canopy
of heaven the wealthey of the old states not excepted."3
Individualism manifested itself among all classes, in all types
of activity. In religion it was reflected in a report on the pros-
pects of the Disciples of Christ in Texas which was made to
Alexander Campbell: "There is a kind of manly independence
among them here (all denominations) that you do not see in
the United States."' That it existed among the doctors as late
as 1850 was the belief of Dr. Ashbel Smith, who wrote: "We
have, so far as I am aware, no medical organization in our State;
nor is there much prospect of any change. Each member of
the faculty [the medical profession] is a separate independancy
[sic], and sometimes adopts a sort of armed neutrality sys-
tem."5 In law the comman man was made a king in his own
domain by the homestead acts of 1829 and 1839. Among other
manifestations of individualism were resentment of encroach-
ments on personal "rights" and a concomitant readiness by
some persons who were "a law unto themselves" to settle dis-
putes without adjudication;" a democratic willingness to accept
any person regardless of his past record; and a state of affairs
wherein tough-fibered women like Mrs. Pamelia Mann could
project themselves into the forefront, economically and in other
ways.7 The whole pattern of "freedom" and unrestricted indi-
vidual profits made inevitable the beginnings of wanton sacri-
fice of grasslands, forests, and wild life-resources then very
humanly considered inexhaustible.
Cultural individualism in the raw was present in the realm
of imaginative, exaggerative humor. Texans made striking con-
tributions to the tall tales of the period. From yarns about
the unprecedented size and ferocity of crawfish and turkey
3[A. W. Moore?], "A Reconnaissance of Texas, 1845-1846," Southwestern
Historical Quarterly, XXX (1927), 271. The first fifteen volumes of this
publication appeared under the title Quarterly of the Texas State Historical
'John Stamps, writing from Gay Hill, Washington County, Texas, April
25, 1841, in Millenial Harbinger (Bethany, Va., 1830-1870), N. S., V
5Ashbel Smith, "On the Climate, Etc., of a Portion of Texas," Southern
Medical Reports, II (New Orleans, 1851), 458.
6Ira Ingram to Mrs. M. B. West, February 10, 1835, Ingram Papers
(Library of Congress). For one excellent example, see the amusing evi-
dence in the cases of Republic of Texas vs. John F. Sapp and Republic of
Texas vs. John Lynch.-Austin County District Court Records, MSS.,
Case No. 1, and Austin County District Court Minutes, I, 77 (Austin
County Courthouse, Bellville). All county records cited are in Texas.
7William R. Hogan, "Pamelia Mann: Texas Frontierswoman," Southwest
Review (Austin, Dallas), XX (1935), 360-370.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/506/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.