Houston was the first elected president of the Republic of Texas, defeating Stephen F. Austin. Houston had become popular during the battle for San Jacinto. During his two presidential terms he successfully guided the new state through many difficulties.
During his first term, Houston tried to demilitarize Texas by retiring much of the army.
He also tried, with limited success, to avoid trouble between white settlers and Indians. One of his biggest crises came with the Córdova Rebellion, an unsuccessful revolt in 1838 by a group of Indians and Mexican residents along the Angelina River.
In late 1836, Houston sent Santa Anna, then a prisoner of war, to Washington to seek the annexation of Texas to the United States. Houston’s efforts to bring Texas into the United States did not work out during his presidency.
The Constitution of the Republic of Texas did not allow a president to run for more than one term at a time. As a congressman, Houston opposed President Lamar’s expansionist tendencies and harsh measures toward the Indians.
Houston succeeded Lamar to a second term as president. During this time, Houston focused on cutting back expenses and a reduced number of government offices and salaries.
Houston reestablished peace with the Indians by making treaties with the bands that still remained in Texas. Although many Texans wanted war with Mexico, President Houston managed to avoid it after two Mexican invasions of 1842. After the second invasion, Houston authorized a force to chase the enemy to the Rio Grande and possibly attack Mexico. Part of the legion became the disastrous Mier expedition, which Houston opposed.
Houston tried to move the government archives from Austin, but the local residents of Austin prevented it.
In 1844 Houston found it necessary to send the militia to calm the Regulator-Moderator War land dispute in East Texas.
Houston was succeeded to the presidency by Anson Jones, whom the electorate viewed as a "Houston man."
Source: Sam Houston
Copyright © Texas State Historical Association