Revolution and Republic, 1836–1845

Growing tensions between the Mexican government and the Texans boiled over and the short Battle of Goliad confirmed that the Texas Revolution was in full swing.

In November 1835, delegates met at San Felipe to discuss the future of Texas. Although a handful of native-born Tejanos joined the revolt, most support came from Anglo American immigrants, who now outnumbered Tejanos in the state.

After the Texans captured San Antonio, they had a cause they believed in; their victory celebrations did not last long as Santa Anna was not finished fighting. The Texans were weak and disorganized. By February, their government had disintegrated, and Texans forces were spread thin. Expecting that Santa Anna would take months to organize a campaign against Texas, the Texans military leaders in San Antonio were slow to prepare the city against an attack. When word of the Mexicans’ approach reached them, the city’s few defenders took refuge in the Alamo. William Travis led the effort at the Alamo, but was unable to defeat Santa Anna’s Mexican army. The Alamo fell to Santa Anna. The Texans cause would use the defeat as the morale-boosting cry of “Remember the Alamo!”

Led by Sam Houston in April of the same year, Sam Houston’s forces defeated Santa Anna’s army in a swift and bloody battle at San Jacinto. The Texas Revolution was over in less than a year, and a new government led largely by Anglos had emerged.

When delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, the document resembled Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. The Constitution of the Texas Republic, followed the pattern of the U.S. Constitution, with the difference that it specifically made slavery legal. Not all Americans were anxious to annex Texas—because the huge population of slaves in Texas threatened to tip the balance between north and south.

Although the revolution was over, the Republic was still under threat from Mexico. The war drained the economy, and Texas needed the United States to recognize their new nation for trade purposes. U.S. President Andrew Jackson, a friend of Sam Houston officially recognized Texas in 1837. In the ten years of the Republic, Texans had to cope with invasions by the Mexican army, hostilities with Indian groups, economic turmoil, and lack of funds to run the government. Texans were overjoyed when the United States Congress finally agreed to annex Texas in 1845.

Source: Revolution and Republic, 1836–1845
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