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How did the Texas Revolution Happen?

Texas Revolution Part 1 | Texas Revolution Part 2 

The Texas Revolution, as we call it today, came about after a number of attempts from different groups of people to seize control of Texas had failed.

Stephen Austin / Texas Revolution

Stephen Austin, in a 1833 painting, around the time that the Texas Revolution began.

At one time, Texas belonged to Spain. Then, it belonged to Mexico. However, the Comanche and Apache Native American nations were the true rulers of Texas at that time. There were small towns that comprised of churches and small stores, although the territory was very hostile.

After the Louisiana Purchase, settlers from the United States were moving closer and closer to Texas. Some Americans had their eyes on Texas with ambitions of enterprise. Although Texas was already lawfully governed, the ambitious Americans thought Texas needed “liberated.” In fact, the Burr Conspiracy was also probably involved in 1806. Historians believe the intention of the Burr Conspiracy was to seize land from the Texas / Mexico area, perhaps with the goal of beginning its own nation. (The United States saw the Burr Conspiracy as a treasonous endeavor.)

Jose Guteirrez de Lara and Augustus Magee were frontiersmen. They enlisted the help of 600 Mexicans and Americans, and in 1812 they attempted to invade, gain power and control over Texas. Some Spanish officers were captured by this group, in San Antonio. Americans were angered when Jose Guteirrez executed these Spanish officers. The group was finally defeated by a Mexican army. Augustus Magee however, died after a long illness.

Another pair of invasions were attempted by a Dr. James Long, in 1819 and in 1821. He was aided by small armies which he led, and these attempts were later called the “Long Expeditions.” However, Long was caught and executed during the second attempt in 1821.

Moses Austin was born in Connecticut in 1761 and moved to Missouri in 1796 (where he opened lead mines). His business did not go well, but he took an entirely different approach to getting Texas land which was more successful. Since Texas was still under Spanish control, Moses Austin became a Catholic and a Spanish citizen. He got the approval to bring 300 Catholic American families to Texas. During this, he died of pnemonia. However, his son would later continue Moses Austin’s dream.

Moses’ son, Stephen Austin was born in 1793. He was a former judge in Arkansas, and an alumni of Transylvania University. After Mexico’s revolution with Spain, Stephen Austin went there to learn Mexico’s customs and language. He got the approval he sought so he could begin a colony on the Colorado and Brazo Rivers. Because of Stephen Austin’s patience and efforts, he became the most successful of any contractor (also known as “empresarios”) during that time. The agreement to his colonization arrangement had the following terms:

  • Settlers receive 13,100 acres for grazing and 177 acres for farming.
  • Settlers pay Stephen Austin 12.5 cents per acre for his services.
  • Stephen Austin would receive a grant of 65,000 acres when 200 families were settled.

By 1833, the American settlers grew discontent to the point that they began calling for the separation from the Mexican state of Coahuila. There were restrictions placed upon the settlers that they were no longer willing to tolerate. For example, even though New Orleans was closer, they were forced to purchase their goods from Mexico City — and were charged much higher prices.

Protestants among them were discontented with the restrictions upon their religious liberties. Others among them who owned slaves were afraid that the Mexican rule would make slavery illegal. Collectively, the American settlers were so angry with the Mexican rule, and wanted Texas to become an independent state.

 To be continued in Part 2…

Texas Revolution Part 1 | Texas Revolution Part 2 >>

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Source of fact information: Mark Twain Media, Inc., Publishers

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