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Sam Houston – President of Texas

U.S. #1242 – As president, much of Houston’s energy was focused on finance and keeping peace with Native Americans and Mexico.

Sam Houston – President of Texas

On October 22, 1836, Sam Houston became the first elected president of the Republic of Texas.

Following the Louisiana Purchase, France had made claims from Texas all the way to the Rio Grande. A treaty in 1819 fixed the southern boundary of the Louisiana Territory at the Sabine and Red rivers. Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821, and Texas became part of the Empire (and later Republic) of Mexico.

U.S. #776 – This Texas centennial stamp honors three of Texas’ most famous names – the Alamo, Am Houston, and Stephen Austin.

Moses Austin obtained permission from Spanish officials to establish an American colony in Texas in 1820. The colony grew rapidly and soon more Americans received land grants from Mexico. However, the Mexican government became concerned over the high percentage of Americans living in its territory. In 1830, Mexico officially halted American immigration, and relations quickly deteriorated. In 1834, a Mexican politician and soldier, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, took over the Mexican government and established himself as dictator. A year later, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

U.S. #2204 – Houston’s victory at San Jacinto helped Texas gain its independence in 1836.

After a few clashes between Texans and Mexican soldiers, Texas leaders organized a temporary government on November 3, 1835. Texas troops captured San Antonio on December 11, 1835. Enraged, Santa Anna sent a large army to San Antonio to put and end to the uprising. Texan forces withdrew to the walls of the Alamo. From February 23, to March 6, 1836, Santa Anna’s forces attacked the fort until it finally fell apart. Many famous men died while defending the Alamo, including Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and William B. Travis. On March 27th, Santa Anna ordered 330 Texan rebels executed after they surrendered at Goliad. Rather than crush the independence movement, these actions galvanized Texan resolve. Texans rallied to the cries “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad.” On April 21, Sam Houston led a smaller Texan army against Santa Anna’s forces in a surprise attack at the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston captured Santa Anna and crushed his army. Texas had won its independence.

Among the first orders of business was the government, specifically electing a president. Henry Smith and Stephen F. Austin (who helped create the first successful American colony in Texas) were the first two candidates to run. Austin believed himself to be the front runner. Then, 11 days before the election, Samuel Houston, Commander-in-Chief of the Texian Army, announced his candidacy. Houston won the September 5 election by a landslide – with 76 percent of the vote. He was inaugurated on October 22, and remained in office for two years. He later served another term as the third president of Texas between 1841 and 1844.

Early on, Texans also voted to join the United States. They remained independent for 10 years before being admitted to the Union on December 29, 1845, which sparked the Mexican War. Mexico surrendered in 1848 and ended all of its claims to Texas and much of the Southwest.

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21 responses to "Sam Houston – President of Texas"

21 thoughts on “Sam Houston – President of Texas”

    • I;m under the impression , in addition to Mexico’s gift to the established TX;s colony was that the Texans were required to embrace the Catholic Faith. but they (Texans refused) to do so. So technically the Texans were revolutionarys and wanted no part of Mexico. Correct me if I am wrong, is Golan Heights a deravation of Cuck Norris’ Productyion Company??

      Reply
      • Many American males embraced the Catholic faith because it they married a Mexican female they could own land in Texas or in California. Not knowing much about the settlement of Texas, I can say for sure that California’s settlement came about this way.

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  1. In your presentation slavery is not mentioned at all. Would you be fair enough to inform us of this aspect of the fight between the Mexicans and the people that conducted slavery in that area
    they were allowed to occupy?

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    • It seems that the Mexican government turned a blind eye in that area. Unfortunate indeed, but they wanted people on the frontier who would “tame” the land and fight the Comanches. Many colonists became Catholics by baptism, but most followed their own religious way. It was interesting though that the Republic of Texas did allow women to vote.

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  2. Nice to get the “rest of the story” – 330 slaughtered at Goliad – first time I’ve learned this part of the story and it’s something that I probably should have learned in school say 55+ years ago. Thanks.

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  3. Great article! It amazes Me how you guys manage to find something very interesting for every day of the year. Love it!
    Keep up the good work!

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  4. Great history lesson. Having lived in Houston, TX for many years, I was aware of some of these facts but did not know “The Rest of the Story”…..Thanks for these history lessons.

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  5. Every day when I open “Today In History” there is an interesting, history lesson and an opportunity to collect authentic historic items. This site should be a required study by school room computer teachers throughout America. Since This Day in History began on July 1 ,2015, I have collected every one.

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  6. ‘Remember the Alamo’ was the Battle
    cry! On March 6,1836, he Alamo has
    fallen to the Mexican Army,who tried
    to keep Texas part of Mexico.
    Davy Crockett,William B. Travis and othere deffenders
    were killed during Rhe Battle oof the Alamo! In savage hand to hasnd fighting!
    Sam Huston ,led a small band of Vollenters ,wanted Texas to become part of
    United States of America!

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  7. Judy, above took the words from me. We never learned the other details of the history of Texas in school then. I hope these stories are passed on to young people today from our family of collectors, because they are taught less than we learned then. Thanks for the informative articles every day.

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  8. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War and was the deciding factor in establishing the river boundary from the Nueces to the Rio Grande. Those living between these rivers were called Mexican-Texans.

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  9. My father, a newspaperman, always said that Sam Houston was a great man to name a city after. Something not many people know is that Sam opposed cessation and joining the Confederacy in 1861. He stood courageously as a Unionist. But secret organization prevailed on the Texas legislature in spite of the pleas and speeches given by then governor Houston.

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  10. Houston is a very interesting character. He was governor of Tennessee, general in the revolutionary army of Texas, President of the Republic of Texas, U.S. Senator from Texas, and governor of Texas. When Texas voted to secede from the Union in 186 and join the confederacy, Governor Houston denied the legitimacy of secession and refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy. He was forced from office and died during the Civil War.

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  11. The Alamo did not actually fall apart under any attack by Santa Anna. The inconvenient truth of the fall of the Alamo is that very little damage was done to the fortifications. Two thirds of the defenders were either in sick bay or awaiting treatment, The remainder were asleep, waiting for the drier air after sunrise to load their guns. The Mexicans attacked at dawn and were over the wall and into the fort before the defenders could organize a defense. Crockett was among 10 survivors, and was summarily executed along with six others. The 3 remaining survivors went free. The 120 or so of the defenders who fled the Alamo during the 30 minutes the engagement lasted were cut down by Mexican cavalry on the fields outside the fort, where their bodies were subsequently cremated by the Mexican forces. Most of the relatively few casualties suffered by the Mexicans came during the initial advance on the wall from friendly fire from the following ranks firing at the wall and hitting those going over it. Bowie, Travis, Crockett and many of the other defenders detested the Jackson/van Buren administration in Washington while Houston favored the same. Houston had advised the Alamo defenders to leave the Alamo prior to Santa Anna’s arrival, and when they did not, Houston declined to send any assistance. Bowie and Travis had a history of involvement in the slave trade, and one of the freed survivors was Travis’ personal slave, Joe.

    Reply

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