Heritage, Volume 13, Number 4, Fall 1995 Page: 19
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In May of 1842 a Texan editorialist worried openly about the "premature dissolution
of our young Republic" because "there is...no national spirit in Texas".
Fe, who surrendered without a fight. Three
hundred of them spent the next four years
in Perote prison in Mexico, bitter reminders
ofLamar's imperial dream turned nightmare.
The disappointed President - suffering
from a nervous breakdown took
an extended leave of absence.
Lamar's expansive goals had other expensive
consequences. The Texas debt increased
by four fold to $10 million in his
three years in office, and the paper currency
that floated the finances depreciated
to 15 cents to the dollar. Twice in 1842 the
Mexican government responded to Lamar's
aggressive acts with military expeditions
that captured San Antonio before Texas
volunteers could rally and retaliate. Lamar's
attempt to build nationalism through adventure
had failed. In May of 1842 a Texan
editorialist worried openly about the "premature
dissolution of our young Republic"
because "there is as yet no national spirit in
Houston, who returned to the presidency
in late 1841, could not unravel all
of Lamar's vision. The nation's capital
had been moved in 1839 to a site on the
Colorado River more central to the huge
western expanse claimed by the Republic
and named for Stephen F. Austin. Lamar's
government had also provided for education
by setting aside lands for its longterm
funding. Houston pursued rigorous
retrenchment, reducing expenditures at
one point from $5 million to $500,000,
dismantling the navy, and resisting efforts
to launch a retaliatory war against
Most significantly, he scuttled the dream
of extended nationalism through empire
building in favor of a carefully orchestrated
campaign for annexation. By flirting with
Great Britain, Houston manipulated the
Anglophobia of the United States and
stimulated a renewed urgency for seizing
the Texas prize before it was too late. The
controversy in the U.S. centered on expanding
slavery. There was little controversy
in Texas -virtually everyone including
Lamar now favored annexation
other than by those who bit on Houston's
overtures to the English and accused him of
subverting opportunities of joining the
And so Texas proceeded toward giving
up its independence with scarcely a whimper.
Grandiose imperial dreams of nationhood
had rotted with the Santa Fe
expeditionaries in Perote prison, and it
would be left to the United States to lay
effective claim to the imperial boundaries
that the Texas Republic had never governed.
However, a toast to past remembrances
was sounded as the flag of independence
lowered over the Capitol for the final
time on February 19, 1846. Texas President
Anson Jones issued a proud if mournful
epitaph: "The last act of this great drama is
now performed. The Republic of Texas is
Paul D. Lack is a professor of history at
McMurry University in Abilene.
HERITAGE * FALL 1995 19
CelebUs g 13O yearsn ofStathkeod
July 1 - December 30, 1995
Capitol Complex Visitors Center * 112 East Eleventh Street * Austin
Tuesday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
James L. Haley, Guest Curator
Enjoy the panoramic story of the Lone Star state told through an exhibit of historical
documents and artifacts. Among the items of historical significance are an original Texas
Declaration of Independence, Republic of Texas currency, Mexican General Santa Anna's
spurs, the State Constitution of 1845, and excerpts from various writings by Texas pioneers.
An interpretive text addresses all the major issues related to Texas' becoming the 28th state,
including annexation politics, slavery, and the Mexican War.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 13, Number 4, Fall 1995, periodical, Autumn 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45411/m1/19/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.