“while longhorns, Stetson hats, and the romance of ranching have replaced cotton, mules, and overalls in the historical imagination of Anglo Texans today, the fact remains that most Anglo Texans were descended from transplanted Southerners who had fought hard to maintain the ‘color line’ in Texas and to extend its barriers to Mexicans” (Foley)

Southern vs. Southwestern Image and Orientation / WS, 2

The postbellum image of the South also overlooks twentieth-century Texas and its large population of Mexicans, both native-born and immigrant, who came increasingly to displace Anglos and blacks on cotton farms in central Texas after 1910. As part of the Spanish borderlands before 1821 and as a Mexican state until 1836, Texas has had a long history of interaction between Mexicans and Anglos, as well as between masters and slaves in east Texas.[2] East [2] Texas, for example, fits comfortably within the cultural and historiographical boundaries of the South, with its history of slavery, cotton, and postemancipation society. South Texas, however, shares more commonalities with the history of the “trans-Rio Grande North” and Mexico than with the U.S. South. These discrete cultural regions of east and south Texas overlap in south-central Texas from Waco to Corpus Christi, where cultural elements of the South, the West, and Mexico have come to form a unique borderlands culture. Spanish, French, German, African, Mexican, English, Polish, Czech, and other groups have left their cultural mark in a society of such great social heterogeneity and hybridity that one geographer has called it the “shatter belt.” Texas is thus culturally and historiographically at some distance from the “most southern place on earth,” but its cotton culture nevertheless makes it recognizably southern, even if the state’s large Mexican population continues to link it with other western states and Mexico (see Maps 1 and 2).[3]

As the cotton culture of the South advanced westward, Texas retained the image of a state more western than southern, in part because, as one Texas historian has noted, cotton makes Texas seem “too southern, hence Confederate, defeated, poor, and prosaic.”[4] In Texas, “unlike the Deep South,” wrote the anthropologist Oscar Lewis, “there was no leisure class to romanticize cotton farming, and it could at no time compete with ranching in capturing the imagination of the people as an ideal way of life.”[5] Tourists flock to San Antonio more than any other Texas city because it alone captures the image that Texans most like to project of themselves–defenders of the Alamo, victors in the war against Mexico, pioneers in the western wilderness, manly cowboys and rich cattle barons. But while longhorns, Stetson hats, and the romance of ranching have replaced cotton, mules, and overalls in the historical imagination of Anglo Texans today, the fact remains that most Anglo Texans were descended from transplanted Southerners who had fought hard to maintain the “color line” in Texas and to extend its barriers to Mexicans. Many Anglo Texans thus often wore two hats: the ten-gallon variety as well as the white hood of the Invisible Empire.[6]

Neil Foley, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1-2.
  1. [2]On interactions between Mexicans and Anglos in Texas, see David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987); Américo Paredes, “With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958); and Arnoldo de León, The Tejano Community, 1836-1900 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982). On slavery in Texas, see Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989); Paul D. Lack, The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History, 1835-1836 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992), 238-52; and Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin: Founder of Texas, 1793-1836 (1926; reprint, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985), 201-25.
  2. [3]Terry D. Jordan, John L. Bean Jr., and William M. Holmes, Texas: A Geography, Geographies of the United States Series (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1984), 5, 91.
  3. [4]Robert A. Calvert, “Agrarian Texas,” in Texas through Time: Evolving Interpretations, ed. Walter L. Buenger and Robert a. Calvert (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991), 197.
  4. [5]Oscar Lewis, On the Edge of the Black Waxy: A Cultural Survey of Bell County, Texas (Saint Louis, Mo.: Washington University Studies, New Series, 1948), 2.
  5. [6]On the resistance of many white Texans to identify with the Texas of the South and the Confederacy, see Campbell, Empire for Slavery, 1. For a long-overdue discussion of the burden of Western history, see Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (New York: W.W. Norton, 1987), esp. 17-32. On the connection between southern and western regional identities, see David M. Emmons, “Constructed Province: History and the Making of the Last American West,” Western Historical Quarterly 25 (Winter 1994): 437-59, and, in the same issue, the responses by Joan M. Jensen (pp. 461-63), A. Yvette Huginnie (pp. 463-66), Albert L. Hurtado (pp. 467-69), Charles Reagan Wilson (pp. 470-73), Edward L. Ayers (pp. 473-76), and William Cronon (pp. 476-81). See also Edward L. Ayers, “What We Talk about When We Talk About the South,” and Patricia Nelson Limerick, “Region and Reason,” in All over the Map: Rethinking American Regions, ed. Edward L. Ayers et al. (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 62-104.

“became the nation’s leading cotton-producing state by 1890” (Foley)

Whatever image of the South one summons, it largely excludes Texas cotton farmers, even though Texas, as a slave state of the Confederacy, experienced defeat and Reconstruction and became the nation’s leading cotton-producing state by 1890.

Neil Foley, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1.

 

Race and slave law “drew its inspiration and precedents from practices in the southern United States, not from Hispanic America” (Campbell)

Constitutional conventions, legislatures, and courts thus developed the body of law necessary to protect and regulate slavery in antebellum Texas. This slave code, written and interpreted largely by Anglo-Americans, drew its inspiration and precedents from practices in the southern United States, not from Hispanic America.

Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press., 114.

“The great majority of immigrants to antebellum Texas came from the older southern states (77 percent of household heads in Texas were southern born), and many brought with them their slaves and all aspects of slavery as it had matured in their native states.” (Campbell)

Slaveholding South orientation: 77% of heads of household from the South, ~1/4 of [white?] families own slaves:

The limited nature of Texas’s historical experience with slavery, however, belies the vast importance of the institution to the Lone Star state. The great majority of immigrants to antebellum Texas came from the older southern states (77 percent of household heads in Texas were southern born), and many brought with them their slaves and all aspects of slavery as it had matured in their native states. More than one-quarter of Texas families owned slaves during the 1850s, and bondsmen constituted approximately 30 percent of the state’s total population. Proportions of slaveholders and slaves in the populations of Texas and Virginia during the last antebellum decade were closely comparable.[4] In this sense, then, slavery was as strongly established in Texas, the newest slave state, as it was in the oldest slave state in the Union.

Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press., 2.
  1. [4]Randolph B. Campbell and Richard G. Lowe, Wealth and Power in Antebellum Texas (College Station, 1977), 27-30. James D.B. DeBow (comp.), Statistical View of the United States . . . Being a Compendium of the Seventh Census (Washington, D.C., 1854), 86, shows that slaves were 27.3 percent of the population of Texas in 1850 and 33.2 percent of the population of Virginia. In 1860, the comparable statistics were 30.3 for Texas and 30.8 for Virginia; see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population of the United States in 1860, 483, 515. Approximately one-quarter of all families in Texas and Virginia owned slaves. Kenneth M. Stampp, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (New York, 1956), 30.

“Most Anglo Americans who went to Texas came out of the hierarchical, slaveholding culture of the South … Sanchez’s experience represented the difficult relationship between the Tejano settlers and the Anglo American newcomers” (Buitron)

Most Anglo Americans who went to Texas came out of the hierarchical, slaveholding culture of the South that retained in many respects the feudal traditions of deference that vanished in the northern states, where individualism and small-scale capitalism held sway. Persons who visited Texas, however, found Anglo Texas to be the dregs of that system, the refugees from debt, dishonor, and economic repression.

[11] Jose Maria Sanchez, a soldier in the Mexican army, formed an unfavorable opinion of the Anglos that were pouring into Texas after Mexican independence. The new government allowed in Americans and Europeans, provided they observed Mexican laws. Very quickly, Mexicans like Sanchez had second thoughts about their decision when he encountered settlers such as Jared E. Groce, who was “a man of 45 to 50 years of age. He came from the United States to establish himself on the eastern bank of the Brazos River in order ot avoid paying the numerous creditors that were suing him. He brought with him 116 slaves of both sexes, most of which were stolen. These wretched slaves are the ones who cultivate the corn and cotton, both of which yield copious crops to Mr. Groce. But he is a man who does not enjoy his wealth because he is extremely stingy, and he treats his slaves with great cruelty.” Finally, in a grievous breach of the etiquette of hospitality, Sanchez and his other Mexican friends were forced to camp overnight outside of Groce’s home.[39] From this and his visit to the settlement of San Filipe De Austin, Sanchez concluded “the Americans from the north are in general, in my opinion, lazy people of vicious characters.”[40]

Sanchez’s experience represented the difficult relationship between the Tejano settlers and the Anglo American newcomers. Migration into Texas was part of an expansion of sixty years duration, rooted in the Scotch-Irish settlement of the Appalachian South.

Arnoldo de León, They Called Them Greasers: Anglo Attitudes toward Mexicans in Texas, 1821-1900. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983., 10-11.Buitron[/ref]

  1. [39]Jose Maria Sanchez, “A Trip to Texas in 1828,” trans. Carlos E. Casteñeda, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 29 (April 1926): 270-281, quoted in David J. Weber, Foreigners in their Native Land (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1973), 83. It is worthy of reiteration that this slight, which could not have been accidental, took place while Texas was a part of Mexico, and that Sanchez was a member of the Mexican government.
  2. [40]Ibid., 81. For another opinion of the quality of Anglo immigrants to Texas, see the observations of the Abbé Emmanuel Domenech in Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans, 31-32.

“… a southern State, … the most southern State” (Capmbell)

John Henry Brown, the rabidly proslavery spokesman from Galveston, issued a public letter claiming that [Lorenzo] Sherwood had called slavery “a moral evil, a fleeting and temporary institution destined to gradually give way to some other institution.” Resolutions of censure were introduced in the house, but some felt that verbal condemnation was hardly enough. The Dallas Herald commented, “A man, a Texan, a southerner who could get up in the legislature of a southern State, of the most southern State, and deliberately outrage the feelings of the whole people without distinction of party, on a question so directly affecting their most vital interests, by uttering sentiments [223] that strike at the foundation of their social and political rights, possesses a heart too callous to be reached by votes of ensure.” Eighty or ninety pairs of boots should have kicked him out of the state capital, the Herald said.[22]

Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 222-223.

  1. [22]Fornell, Galveston Era, 165-74; Dallas Herald, December 8, 1855.

Alabama and the Texas Revolution (1947)

Claude Elliott – Southwestern Historical Quarterly 50, no. 3 (Jan. 1947)

  • “numerous public meetings held in Alabama” Oct ’35 – May ’36
  • Oct 1 – Gonzales cannon fight
  • Oct 17 – meeting in Mobile for Texas sympathizers
    • gathering volunteers, $1,500 subscribed
  • Oct 20 – Mobile courthouse meeting
    • comparisons to 1776, aid committee, news sent to Consultation
  • Late Oct – appeals for aid in Southern Advocate (Huntsville), Mobile Register and PatriotMercantile Advertiser and Transcript.
  • “An Appeal to the People of the States to help their Brothers in Texas” (Mercantile Advertiser, quoted in Southern Advocate, Nov. 3, 1835)
    • “Rise then, good men and true, and march to the aid of your brothers in Texas.”
  • Oct 31 – Huntsville meeting
  • Nov. 2 – Huntsville volunteers to set out west
  • Nov. 30 – Montgomery. “to emancipate that fertile portion of the globe from the arbitrary thraldom under which it groans” / “man will not be a slave” (Houston Telegraph and Texas Register, Jan. 30, 1836)
  • Dec. 1835 – Huntsville Volunteers reach Nacogdoches, relieve garisson at Goliad
    • Alabama units tend to concetrate at Goliad garrison
  • April 5, 1836 – Daily Commercial Register and Patriot, “the unnatural and savage massacre of the garrison at San Antonio”