The Birth of Texas

Stephen F. Austin. Artist Unknown.

In 1821, Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, changing the nature of America-Mexico relations. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 658-59.

Stephen Austin, an American, came to the territory known as Texas, and would become a colonization agent, or empresario, for the Mexican government. See id. at 658. American settlers came in droves to Texas, creating an issue for the Mexican government to deal with, as Texas was a territory, not a state under the Estados Unidos MexicanosId. at 658-59. Being a territory, Texans enjoyed a great deal of autonomy and became individualistic. See id. at 660 citing David Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846 (Albuquerque, N.M., 1982), 161-66.

Mexico was troubled by American diplomats, however, who were “pressing Mexico to sell Texas.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 660. The Mexican government initiated a fact-finding commission, which confirmed the fears that the American government wanted to take Texas for itself. See id.

Following the commission’s findings, the Mexican Congress “passed a law suspending immigration from the United States in April 1830.” Id. Austin would lobby in Mexico City for the repeal of the ban, which would be effectuated in November 1833. Id.

Mexico’s actions appeared to be justified, as it appeared the Americans were taking any actions necessary to impede on Mexican territory. Tensions were rising between the two countries, and Mexico was savoring its newly-acquired independence from Spain.

Individuals like Austin were ensuring that Texas would remain a unique territory, straddling Mexico and America, and developing its own culture related, but distinct, from both countries. Some modern Americans may recognize these characteristics of Texas, even today.

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