Talk:Texas in the American Civil War

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Hill Country and Secession[edit]

Hi. Since there's a fight going on over whether the hill country was anti-secession let's look at some of the facts that are pertinent. We can evaluate these counties by their delegates to the secession convention and by their votes in the secession referendum. Here are the counties that had delegates who opposed secession:

Lamar County: 3 out of 3 delegates Titus County: 1 out of 3 delegates Williamson County: 1 out of 2 delegates Wood County: 2 out of 2 delegates

The results of the referendum can be seen at this map: http://www.texasalmanac.com/politics/secession.html

Again, there are a handful of anti-secession counties including a small cluster around Austin in the Hill Country, but the overwhelming majority of counties were for secession, as were 75% of the state's voters. So yes there was unionist support in some counties, but it was a very small number compared to the counties that supported secession. -- DickDowling 18:04, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

don't mix up secession vote and opposition to the war. The Texans were afraid of massive resistance--that's why they lynched so many antiwar people and kept 2/3 of their army inside Texas. Rjensen 18:11, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Your history is uninformed. You treat the Gainesville hangings as if they were some intentional statewide conspiracy to strike fear into the hearts of unionists, but they weren't. They were a localized mob event at the climax of tensions that had been going on in that region of the state since the late 1850's. There had been skirmishing with abolitionists there for years, including a particularly nasty episode of arson and well poisonings in the summer of 1860. Unfortunately the war provided a pretext for mob action. It started as a military trial of a core group of suspected unionist organizers, who in all probability were guilty of sabotage acts and other insurrectionist activities. But the mobs got involved very quickly and lynched some of the accused while the military court was in recess. It was a random mob occurrence - not a conspiracy out of Austin. Things only went down hill from there when the unionists struck back and assassinated the prosecutor from the military court, prompting the largest of the hangings. -- DickDowling 18:51, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree. The same thing happened all over the state - for example, in the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, slaves and abolitionists were hung, and abolitionists were also driven out of town. The overwhelming majority of the state was pro-secessionist, as in most other Southern states. --Stallions2010 19:13, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

>>On a related topic here, it is important to remember that, in Texas, neither a vote against secession nor the term "Unionist" was necessarily synonymous with being a Northern sympathizer. In fact, with very few exceptions, unionists in the South stood four-square for Southern rights...they simply believed those rights could best be secured in the Union as it existed and that secession would be "rash action." Sam Houston himself once assured his fellow Texans that he would personally lead the state out of the Union if the Lincoln administration were to overtly threaten Southern rights.

>>As was mentioned in the article, in addition the the German population in the Hill Country, the other area of pro-Union feeling was in a few counties of North Texas where the majority of settlers were from the Upper South (states which themselves rejected secession until the incident at Ft. Sumter forced a choice). In any event however, when war came, the vast majority of those who opposed secession accepted the verdict and became loyal Confederates. Houston, in fact, even though he refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy, wrote to a friend that "The time has come a man's section is his country. I stand with mine....I was a conservative citizen of the United States. I am now a conservative citizen of the Southern Confederacy." TexasReb 20:15, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Collapse of Confederate Authority Section[edit]

Many thanks to Scott Mingus for the rewrite of this section. If anyone else has the article in the SHQ around, perhaps they'd like to take a stab at the flight of Confederate authorities to Mexico (including Shelby's role both reestablishing order and plundering stores along the way)? We could also use more detail on the month of June, and the role of the Federal authorities in occupying Texas, reestablishing order, and Juneteenth. -Ben 18:49, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Secession convention section[edit]

This section seems more appropriate for an article on 19th century TX politics. It goes into way too much detail for an article on the Civil War. I recommend deletion.Verklempt 02:58, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

>>And I vote to keep it. While it might be a bit lengthy, I can -- if others think so too -- to do some editing and shorten it some. But the main reason for adding a seperate section on the topic of secession and the Confederacy is that, heretofore, the article gave very little detail to the sentiment in Texas prior to secession, and the details of secession itself and of the state being a belated charter member of the Confederacy.

>>On the other hand, a large section was devoted to opposition to the same. That is, an emphasis on "Unionist" activity in Texas, and downplay the documented historical fact that Texans overwhelmingly supported secession and the Confederacy for practical and noble reasons. That is what the addition is intended to balance. TexasReb 23:01, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

    • I have no problem with the amount of detail. I wish all state articles on the Civil War would provide details of the state's actions in the decade leading up to the decision to secede or not. Having said that, this section has no source information whatsoever. I would think the best way to provide "balance" would be to hit the books and cite some sources, but that seems to be a problem with the entire article and not just this section. Perhaps the article should be tagged for lack of sources. Tom (North Shoreman) 17:43, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

>>No problem. I can do that (provide sources, that is, although Lubbock's quotations and info is mentioned). But anyway, you have a good point about lack of citation and/or mention of sources within the section itself, and to be listed in the portion of the article reserved for the same. Much of the research is not directly accesible on line, however, the sources themselves are printed classics of history, and can be mentioned and cited (such as Lubbock's memoirs, and Ernest Wallace's "Turmoil In Texas"). I will take care of that soon. TexasReb 23:01, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Military Recruitment[edit]

"Over 900,000,000,000 Texans served in the Confederate army and Texas regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war." I am sure this is a typographical error? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 111.248.93.209 (talk) 15:29, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

The article as it currently stands fails to reflect the fact that there was never any such thing as the "Confederate States of America", nor was there any secession from the US to establish such. There was an attempt to do so and an accompanying armed rebellion, however the US Constitution does not provide for the secession of any of the nation's member states, and the rebellion (known as the "American Civil War") failed miserably (as decisively demonstrated by Gen. William T. Sherman in his march through the south and by President Lincoln at Appomattox but with consequences, many believe, lasting to this day). The supposed "Confederate States of America" was never recognized by the world powers of the day and therefore never really existed; it was a wholly imaginary figment of the minds of traitorous southerners overly prone to playing army.

Thus my insertion of "putative" and quotation marks around "Confederate States of America" in the article introduction.

Your obvious hostility and bias to Texas Confederate history is noted. At the same time, your revisions reflecting the same are not and should not be part of an article which attempts to conform to professional language and "encyclopedic" parameters. And certainly not before being discussed first when such massive revisions are made. Thus, yours have been removed and reverted to the former version. Again, while you are certainly free and entitled to express your opinion here, the article itself is not intended to be a personal editorial of anyone. I call upon other editors to join in this, and I will be happy to respond to any reply you might have. Regards. TexasReb (talk) 20:09, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
the problem is that BLZebubba acts like he once heard a teacher comment on the Supreme Court's Texas v White case of 1869 and so he concludes that "there was never any such thing as the "Confederate States of America" That misunderstanding leads to his cascading sequence of wrong conclusions that are supported by zero reliable sources. Rjensen (talk) 21:17, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Rjensen (which I agree with). BTW, can you go to the Deep South article and talk page, I wanted to make a slight revision in the article based on something you mentioned. Thanks in advance! TexasReb (talk) 22:24, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Twiggs' surrender and seizure of Federal property and soldiers[edit]

The situation appears to be far more complicated/intricate than currently written (from reading the O.R. reports and several short modern accounts), and I don't see any way to easily summarize the multiple turns and twists other than giving each date and event in order. Has anyone written a detailed and objective (reliable) accounting of this that can be used to create a much better summary? (The O.R. has one but I'm seeking historian verification/cross checks.) The timeline is challenging as Twiggs was being replaced by Waite as this was happening...and Confederate Texas authorities reacted by accelerating the timetable before Waite could intervene...as best I can tell from various sources. I noticed in the O.R. that Hunt complains of having to move the field artillery by hand because the agreement and/or Confederates took away the horses. I'm not sure how many of the various commands got out before Sumter.

A good summary would include what forts/stations were seized (some of these may have been in the territories), what artillery (and other important materials...including cash) they contained, as well as the total number of men eventually taken as POW's. I've seen one account that indicates some were held as long as 22 months! That is amazing considering that these U.S. forces were stationed to defend Texans and were a substantial portion of the U.S. army at the time. The part that seems most egregious/hard to explain by Twiggs' is that men in remote postings were ordered to march to the coast (per Confederate demands) and then captured, when instead the logical move would have been for them to march to the nearest U.S. territorial commands. While a (my) knee jerk reaction would be to blame this on Twiggs because of his Southern sympathies as was done at the time, one (I) also could make a case of him trying to do the minimum to not dishonor his command, but without allowing any bloodshed against Southern aggressors who were in far greater numbers, itching for a fight and unwilling to compromise to any substantial degree, all happening in the absence of any clear instruction from Buchanan until it was too late to act. (In other words, while it would be easy/convenient to blame this fiasco primarily on Twiggs, other explanations/defenses offered at the time seem to have some validity...we need a source that weighs them.) Red Harvest (talk) 11:40, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Killings of Unionists[edit]

There is no doubt that there were "many" killings of Unionists. Putting a lower limit appears difficult. Gainesville, Decatur, and Nueces push the value in the range of 80+ in Aug. through Oct. 1862 alone. And these examples weren't the acts of lone individuals, they were all directly sanctioned by civil/military authorities even though a number of them were simply lynchings. The problem I have is stating that it was primarily German Unionists who were killed. I think we need a source to verify that, because vigilante action was used against anyone considered a threat to the Confederate govt. or slavery in general. Germans were an easily identified category, but certainly not the only one. Some of those lynched in individual actions were women.

What isn't mentioned in the article is how many Unionist families fled...hundreds were known to have left North Texas in the immediate aftermath of secession in early 1861. Sequestration cases (confiscation of property of "alien enemies") amounted to 2,746 in the Western District Court of Texas alone--that was 99% of the total cases heard by that court. McCaslin's Tainted Breeze goes into considerable detail about the violence in North Texas. And it wasn't just a wartime event, it started earlier with lynchings of suspected abolitionists and slaves (fear of slave revolt); and continued after the war. From June 1865 to Dec 1867 550 people were killed, 249 suspects indicted, and only 5 convicted. In a post war incident, three daughters of a Union man lynched during the war were lynched as well, then his widow and two more daughters were killed shortly thereafter. Red Harvest (talk) 12:03, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Nice try, RH, but it doesn't stand up to true scrutiny. I realize you (and others) have a deep-seated fear of anything that that might dispute your own biases. But naturally, you can only lash out at it, and present no facts of your own to back it up as in anything other than that. Digusting? HAHAHAHA. What you are really doing is just expressing a frustration you can't really deal with. Also, what you say has no bearing whatsoever on an objective view of what actually happened. So here, I will help you out (from actual trial testimony):

http://archive.org/stream/accountofgreatha00diam/accountofgreatha00diam_djvu.txt

And yes, I know all about the "Tainted Breeze" articles. I have read many of them. But what you probably don't know is that it was not so simple as what you try and present. See above. Try actually reading the whole story. Those hanged in North Texas were duly tried. Was there some mob action? Of course there was, it was an event that occurs in war-time on both sides, but it wasn't sanctioned by the CSA or Texas government.
And cite your sources where women and children were "killed" by anything connected with the actual trials. That is so ridiculous as to be laughable, especially that some of those lynched were women. Where in the world do you come up with this stuff? Cite the source, please. There is no way any Texas -- even if a mob -- would have lynched women. But go ahead and provide the link to this lunacy you are advancing.
Also, those convicted and duly sentenced to be executed were mostly members of a group of individuals known as the "Order", who were planning themselves to murder innocent people and lead an insurrection against what was (at that time) the CSA state of Texas. Again, read it.
Bottom line is, your revision is un-sourced, poorly written, and totally slanted and full of fiction. Also, while the "U.S. state" is fairly innocuous on the surface of things, it is also transparent. It doesn't fool me a bit. It is a subtle attempt to impart the position that there is no right of secession, by repetition. And redundant as hell. Were it not, I probably wouldn't even bother with it. Good lord, what in the world is the sense of using the abbreviation "U.S" in the same sentence as United States??? If Texas had not been a U.S. state, then it would only stand to reason it couldn't have declared its secession from the United States to begin with! That is only historical common-sense.
Well, I gotta get to work... TexasReb (talk) 15:02, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
User:Texasreb uses uncouth, hostile language in pursuit of his extreme fringe position. He has not learned his lesson, and is at risk of being permanently banned from Wikipedia for his aggressively hostile relationships with serious editors. Rjensen (talk) 17:06, 16 November 2014 (UTC)
It will be unfortunate if it has to come to that, but Texasreb doesn't seem to approach any of this constructively and doesn't respond appropriately to efforts to improve his/her editing. Texasreb wastes a lot of other editors' time with pointless talk page discussions, ignoring reliable sources, instead quoting highly partisan/fringe stuff or simply his/her own beliefs. Texasreb needs to learn that attacking other editors and edit warring endlessly isn't really the way to improve articles and eventually brings out ugly responses from the other editors. Red Harvest (talk) 07:31, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Texreb, the main source was right there in my description, Richard B. McCaslin's Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas 1862. McCaslin wrote his dissertation on the subject in 1988... It's not a series of "articles" as you put it, it is an actual researched, peer reviewed analysis that has been published as a book. From what I see of McCaslin's education and career he graduated from Delta State University (Mississippi), received his masters at LSU, and his doctorate at UT-Austin. He's presently the chair of the History Dept. of the University of North Texas.
Your POV is getting in the way of reading and understanding the history of what happened in Texas. Around half of the lynchings occurred without trial or of those who had been released (acquitted?) once by the "Citizens Court"--ever heard of double jeopardy? The lynch murder of women is certainly unusual for the period, but it was reported by a survivor who eventually escaped through Arkansas. The woman lynched around the time of the Great Hanging was a Mrs. Hillier who said some rash things when her husband was arrested and released into service of the Confederate army. Per p. 57, "Six women, some said men dressed as women--came to her house after her husband departed and lynched her while their three young children watched." The post war episode is Allen C. Hill's family, he was "lynched as a Unionist in the winter of 1863" but the family remained. Eldest son was killed in "an altercation in Palo Pinto County" in 1869/70. The widow and mostly adult children were taken from their homes or fled and killed in various ways in 1872 in Clay, Wichita and Parker counties. It does not give the ages of the two youngest killed. Two daughters were spared. (This from page 289.) Red Harvest (talk) 02:00, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

RH, no matter how good your intentions are and how well researched your responses are you can not win an argument agains an AWM. I don't have the article, but one study revealed that the more conclusive your evidence is the more entrenched the opponent will become. This is not about the facts it is about his manhood. To admit that you are right is to admit that the very foundations of his existence is wrong. It will not happen. Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 15:21, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

2010 cite tag in Secession section[edit]

I've been searching for the source of the wording used in this section, "Calling Lincoln's election 'unfortunate,' he nonetheless emphasized, in a reference to the upcoming meeting of the secession convention, it was no justification for 'rash action'." It was tagged back in 2010. I've found the address in Life and Select Literary Remains of Sam Houston of Texas by William Carey Crane (pp. 631 -642) but I don't see that this sentence adequately summarizes it, particularly since the quoted "unfortunate" is absent ("deploring" was used.) I've seen this misquote in this Wikipedia article restated verbatim in a 2012 blog, so it appears best to strike it entirely now. The whole back end of this paragraph is uncited and needs revision and examination against sources. It appears to be the result of a large IP edit in May 2007. The "Handbook of Texas" article on "Secession" is more to the point on this: "Once it was clear that some sort of secession convention would meet, Houston convened the legislature in mid-January, with the hope that it would declare the convention illegal. Instead, legislators validated the calling of a convention, turned over the House chambers to the convention, and adjourned.")

An issue in this section overall is jumbling of the timeline in places. The Journal of the Convention can sort much of that out where order is not readily apparent in secondary sources. And some of the secondary sources seem to imply things out of order including the "Handbook of Texas" article above, since Houston called the session back on Dec. 17, 1860 (per Journal of the Convention and other sources.) Once the timelines are sorted, editing/evaluating sources becomes easier. Red Harvest (talk) 09:24, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

Sam Houston characterization dubious[edit]

The Sam Houston section is lacking in proper cites for some claims that don't appear to be correct. He's being simultaneously listed as a Southern Unionist and "strong believed in" States Rights. That's not what I get out of reading his public statements. He was pro-slavery, but he did not accept the States Rights reading of the Constitution. His words wreck the States Rights secession arguments completely, while at the same time advocating for cooperation to protect slavery rights. This section seems to be conflating both pro-slavery and States Rights stances as if they were the same.

In another paragraph it states "Houston accepted the result of the secession convention", yet his final action as governor was to publicly denounce it: " I protest....against all the acts and doings of this convention and I declare them null and void." He accepted them only in the sense that he was powerless to alter them. He didn't consider them legitimate, particularly since the election of the delegates to the convention was not proper. Red Harvest (talk) 10:37, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

The claim that he was both the "premier Southern Unionist" and "believed in States Rights" is a mutually incompatible stance. It does not match his public record and I'm not seeing the claim made elsewhere. As the Handbook of Texas notes: " In 1854, Houston alienated Democrats in Texas and the South even further by opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Bill because it allowed the status of slavery to be determined by popular sovereignty, a concept he saw as potentially destabilizing to the nation. He likewise embraced the principles of the American (Know-Nothing) party as a response to growing states'-rights sentiment among the Democrats." It is going to take some direct quotes from reliable secondary sources to support the claim. What he said after ouster in an attempt to appease a hostile crowd of secessionists is not the same as actually changing his stance--it is political rhetoric contradicted by his many other statements. In looking at several positions he took he not only opposed secession but had opposed the expansion of slavery in areas prohibited by the Missouri Compromise. Red Harvest (talk) 08:28, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
It is not important, necessarily, that you see them as you do. All you have to do is read his actual words, in what was probably the premier statement he made as concerned his prophesy and beliefs; which have been cited in countless works on his life. It is up to you to prove his own words do not underscore his true feelings on the relationship of the states to the central government. The contradiction is of your own making, as many Southern Unionists also supported states rights. But at least you are talking about it reasonably, I will give you that. No, he was not an extreme states-rightist, but he was far, far, from a supporter of a totally centralized government. At the time of his involvement with the KnowNothing Party -- a strongly pro-nativist group -- which would probably be called extremely racist by todays standards -- there was no real looming threat to Southern rights on the part of northern interests. Or at least he didn't perceive there to be. Even though he despised Calhoun, he might be likened to him in the sense of beginning as an ardent nationalist, and gradually evolving into one much more interested in his own state's welfare. And his famous speech was not made after the fact, but during the time of crisis itself. His "membership" in the Constitutional Union Party, in many way, indicates this, as the whole platform was designed to appeal to the Upper South and border states as in proper relationship of the states (ala' 9th and 10th) amendments) to the federal Union itself. Certain things one just has to glean from the events of history and understanding of the Constitution itself as per the day and time. The fact he deplored the election of Lincoln seems to carry the message that he sensed it would be the latter and the northern faction he lead who would be the ones who would pose the greatest threat to the original intent of the document (prophetic indeed...). TexasReb (talk) 11:27, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I've read his actual words and addresses of the period and I've scanned through reliable sources looking for support of the of "states rights" claim. I'm not finding it. You should try reading more of what he said rather than cherry picking a few select samples. Avoid synthesis from a single statement or two and you'll do better. Understand context and what Texas was like at the time, not how you would like it to have been. His speech was after the fact, he had been deposed a month before, Fort Sumter had already surrendered, and the state had seceded despite his best efforts to prevent it. He had to give lip service to states rights while addressing a hostile crowd or risk a lynch mob, far too common in Texas before, during, and after the war. (One person at the gathering had shouted, "here's a rope; hang the old traitor!") He wasn't abandoning his state or siding against it, although he disagreed with its decision. Paying lip service to states rights to hold an audience doesn't make him a "states rights" supporter, it marks him as a savvy speaker. His career had long involved opposing states rights adherents, and the expansion of slavery. He had been ejected from office for refusing to acknowledge a primary states right: secession.
After a little bit of research...the only reason we are discussing this is because you wrote the Houston claims back on May 19, 2007 Diff file without citing sources, and it slipped by other editors at the time unchallenged. This is something we've been through before when it came to the state secession declaration of causes in their own words. Red Harvest (talk) 13:00, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
It is not "cherry picking" to present the case I presented. I am a native Texan so Houston is not exactly a figure I am unfamiliar with. And I have read enough about "Civil War" Texas as to this not being something I "would like it to be". This comes across as a bit condescending, with no reason for being so. It could just as easily be you also look at it thru your own historical lens to some degree(we probably all do that to some extent). I had a double major (political science and history, with emphasis on Texas). Although again, yes, as I said before, you definitely come across much more reasonable than in the past on many occasions. As I said earlier, no, he was not an extreme "states righter", but he was certainly no ardent nationalist when it came to making the hard decision to stick with his state when the real choices were laid out.
And certainly you are right and I totally agree that he wasn't abandoning his state or siding against, but yes, he definitely disagreed with Texas course...and the reason was he feared the disaster that it would mean for Texas if War were to break out (which he correctly predicted would occur). I will have to go back through some old books I have and find where he said to the effect that he would "personally" lead Texas out of the Union if he felt circumstances warranted such (i.e. that the Lincoln administration made a hostile move against Texas institutions (I think it may have been in Ernest Wallace's Texas in Turmoil, but I will have to dig it out and be sure). But I definitely know I have read it before somewhere, I didn't just make it up. I'll get back on that one. Anyway, yes, he was a savvy speaker, but he was brave beyond measure and he didn't fear a lynch mob. If he said something, you can bet he believed it on many levels. And if he had feared the "mobs", it should stand to reason he would not have told them -- in effect -- that they were a bunch of damn fools for thinking secession would be a "cake walk." As you know and alluded to, that was a pretty dangerous place to be in those days. And no question where he stood once Lincoln decided to invade the Lower South states. See -- if you haven't already -- http://www.nytimes.com/1861/06/02/news/gen-houston-s-position.html?pagewanted=1. It is hard to believe he suddenly underwent a miraculous conversion out of the blue, with no previous leanings in that direction.
Anyway, on a tangential aside, so far as causes go, only four of the 11 Lower South states(South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas specifically mentioned slavery as a direct cause for secession, and each of those -- Texas certainly did, listed other reasons as well and/or bound it up into other concerns as well (although Alabama made indirect reference by the phrase "our domestic institutions). Louisiana and Florida didn't say a word about slavery and none of the Upper South states mentioned it at all in their secession ordinances.
But anyway, enjoyed the exchange, and present wording of the article is fine. No problem there. Although again, yes, I do want to go back through some old books of mine and see if I can find that quote of his about leading Texas out personally if it got to a truly serious point. TexasReb (talk) 12:16, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
The issue with some of the edits discussed is that they misrepresent the actual positions. If you start adding misc. quotes trying to illustrate that Sam Houston was a states' rights guy then there is a vast amount of material that should also be added to demonstrate he was not. Otherwise you've given undue weight to a few primary accounts, rather than mainstream secondary analysis.
Claiming that states didn't "specifically" mention secession in their ordinances was a red herring from the outset. When one examines their declarations of causes (including drafts, see Florida) and their convention journals a clear picture emerges: it was about slavery for all of them. Alabama "domestic institutions" = slavery. Slavery is what defined the South and where Southern nationalism came from. Mainstream historians (reliable sources) have stripped through the post-war Lost Cause veneer.
Also, whether or not one is a native Texan doesn't have much bearing on these things. Being native to an area doesn't make one an expert on the history of the area or key figures. You don't know for instance whether or not the person you are discussing with is also a native Texan (or not) or whether or not they grew up there (or not), or worked there for a long time, or are raising a couple of native Texans of their own. Red Harvest (talk) 14:33, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
You seem to be missing my point and actual position. I said from the outset I agreed that Houston was not -- at least at first -- an all out "states righter." Did you miss that? I DID however state when it came down to having to choose between a nationalist course and siding with his state, he came down hard with the latter. This was especially indicated in the link I provide concerning "Sam Houston's position."
But to backtrack a minute, many of these "mainstream historians" -- especially the "traditionalists" you speak of are simply demonstrating the old historical adage of that "the winners write the history". That may be a simplistic was to put it, but it has always been true, no matter the conflict. As it is, in just reading around a bit, it appears that there are emerging some "mainstream" historians today who, while still perhaps taking a generally pro-northern viewpoint, are not so quick to chalk it all up to slavery and a rabid pro-Lincoln outlook, but rather, give a bit more of a balanced analysis of all things involved.
My biggest issue is that many want to turn it into a morality play, which is why many are so obsessed with attributing slavery as the end all and be all, without paying the slightest bit of attention to that in every "declaration of causes" put out by only four Southern states (and yes, I mentioned Alabama's reference to domestic institutions which I know you could not have overlooked), that slavery in each case was bound up in other considerations as well.
As an aside here, it is interesting to note that the slave trade itself was a purely northern commodity, to the point that one could truthfully say, that the early economic infrastructure of the northeastern states was definitely defined by such. Anyway, to say Southern nationalism was about slavery and nothing else ignores many things and just reflects your own historical biases and viewpoints (granting that history is not an objective subject and we all have our own biases, me included, that is just natural among people interested in the subject of history).
Speaking of -- again on a bit of a tangent, I didn't bring up my native Texan status OR double major (one being history) to indicate that such somehow made me a complete expert on the matter, only that I am not unfamiliar with Texas history and the players involved.
But back to the point. I am sure there were probably resolutions, drafts, etc referencing slavery. I am talking about the actual wording of the secession documents, and Florida made no mention of it, whereas they just as easily could have. Same with Louisiana, and definitely with each and every one of the Lower Upper South states. Had it not been for Lincoln course to invade the Lower South, the four Upper South states would have very likely remained in the Union. There is no "red-herring" in any of this, unless one wants to dismiss the actual wording of the secession documents as nothing more than an elaborate ruse designed to fool everyone, when there was no reason to do so. To attempt to define Southern nationalism by slavery alone strikes as a bit myopic in many ways. Read Randolph and Calhoun for instance. A determination to preserve an agricultural society, a general distaste for sudden change, and preference for local rule also figured into the Southern tradition.
The unfair tariffs imposed on the South had long been a source of resentment, as was the increasing perception that the Northern states (specially the merchant interests) were intending to use the federal government as a way of economically dominating the country. Of course to say slavery had nothing at all to do with it would be very foolish on my part (and I never said such in any event). It was the issue of the expansion of slavery into the western territories that brought everything to a head, in fact. Although it is interesting to hear what Lincoln said on the matter: "The whole nation is interested that the best use shall be made of these territories. We want them for the homes of free white people. This they cannot be, to any considerable extent, if slavery shall be planted within them."
Anyway, back to Houston. You are correct -- and I have never disagreed -- that he was, in essence, a Southern man for preserving the Union. And he did all in his power to try and do just that. He defended "Southern rights" within the context of any enrochments on Southern soil itself, but took some unpopular stances (with some of the more "fire-eating" faction) in an effort to compromise and hopefully preserve the Union. So all this is really what I meant to say. That is, he was a states right man within the context of when it involved Texas and the South directly. Which is why I said that his speech in April of 1861 to his fellow Texans about what he felt would be the foolhardy consequences of secession, yet being totally honest when he also states his support for the doctrine of states rights (within the context mentioned above). Does that clarify things a bit?
On a related tangent, one reason for his Southern Unionist stance was almost certainly because he was from the Upper South where secessionist sentiment was never as strong as in the Lower South. But another one to speculate about concerns his devotion to Andrew Jackson who was certainly a Unionist. Anyway, enough of all this. Have a good one. TexasReb (talk) 02:29, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
No, I've read what you said and still don't come away with the impression you do. Nor do historians. This illustrates the problem, you are trying to push a personal POV that is not an accepted view of Houston. Houston didn't "come down hard" for secession after the fact. He did however, have to get by in a state that murdered many Unionists, including those attempting to flee it.
  • "Winners wrote the history" is baloney in cases where the vanquished are still around and allowed to publish. While the rest of the country moved on, the South remained obsessed with putting its recent actions in the best possible light. Hordes of Southern revisionists (most often participants) created an alternate reality of the "Lost Cause" after the war to take the spotlight off of what they had really done. Lots of romantic spin was/is the result. Unfortunately for them, there is a massive paper trail...and traditional historians have a knack for following such trails.
  • The slave trade claptrap is flat out wrong/intentionally misleading. The vast majority of slave trading was done in the South (internal markets including the border states.) Slave importation had long been outlawed and has zero relevance to the ACW and lead up to it.
  • Southern nationalism and all the things you mention spring from slavery. As the NPS site says: "A number of issues ignited the Civil War: states’ rights, the role of the federal government, the preservation of the Union,the economy; but all were inextricably bound to the institution of slavery." http://www.nps.gov/fosu/historyculture/upload/slavery-brochure.pdf
  • You turn the ACW into a morality play (not those with whom you disagree.) Instead of focusing on what Southerners said and did/cause and effect you try to bury the fact that the Southern position was (as they said at the time) completely tied up in slavery. Not only that, but Southern society rested on race based caste system even for free blacks. Southerners were not shy about stating this at the time and the secession commissioners made it a central fixture of their appeals. I can understand your modern discomfort with slavery, but Southerners of the time were extremely defensive of it. So quit judging them based on modern morality and instead evaluate what they did in their own accepted moral basis.
  • The tariff issue is again slavery at its core. It is the result of the South picking the wrong horse to ride toward prosperity: backwards slave based agrarianism (the ultimate big business farming economy) in a world that was rejecting slavery for free labor and industrialization. The agrarian utopia fantasy was fatally short term thinking/navel gazing based on a single high value crop. Other sections took the long view on the matter of tariffs/industrialization even when it was counter to their short term interests. "A rising tide lifts all boats." The tariffs were not for "dominating the country", they were for growing its economy. Red Harvest (talk) 16:07, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
You guys could make following comments easier if the two of you used a consistent indention. Anyway, I have been reading the comments, and find certain parts to be rhetoric, that has emanated heretofore from over-thinking, and think you may be editing the wrong article. I think you may have this article confused with The Psychological Study of Texas in the American Civil War. In some apparent attempt to psychoanalyze positions or to defend preconceived ideas (of which you both exhibit) there is possibly a point you both have missed.
  • In this article you both may have forgotten that there are these silly little Wikipedia: policies and guidelines that hamper such dissecting of the thoughts and intents of the subjects at hand in edits. While you both show a flair of exuberant verbiage the point is that such psychological studies prove what? I do not want to garner disdain for both of your almost text book points of opposite views so I will suggest that you either not edit this particular article, start one like I have proposed, or just stop trying to analyze the thoughts and intents of Sam Houston and the entire Southern Confederate ideology. A forth option would be to express your personal ideas, pondering the infinite possibilities of the minds of those of years past, but not let it affect your actual editing with bias either way. That, in the best of circumstances, is difficult and more often than not impossible.
On a personal note I think all this crap about what he might have been thinking versus his actions, or some of them, and trying to prove or disprove that he held a particular stance by either thoughts or actions, no matter what he said, is trying to go deeper than the latitude afforded Wikipedia editors. There is no drama in reading his words and taking them at face value. If there is no conspiracy theory, then where is the excitement? I just know what I have read from multiple accounts of history.
On the one hand Sam Houston was at times a drunk, a womanizer, had duels that were against the law and was blessed. He ran out on debts, possibly was confused as to what he wanted in life, and no doubt had a miraculous injury recovery that surely defies medical explanation, and he was even a criminal. He was a man that could take charge and yet still be allowed to be led.
On the other hand he was a run-away, an adopted Indian and Cherokee citizen. He was an Indian Emissary, an enlisted soldier then officer. He was a politician that included being a State and U.S. Representative, Senator, a Governor of two states, and the President of Texas twice. He was a teacher, lawyer, and adventurer. He ran a trading post, was an Indian agent, a foreign diplomat, a general, and Commander-in-Chief. He became a Catholic convert under an assumed name, and then became a Baptist. He was a hero, proving this on more than one occasion, and throughout all this he found time to father nine children. He certainly had an interesting life that would be a feat for someone today with cars and jets.
He had a mentor that I would say he revered. The man was Andrew Jackson who not only groomed him for politics he did more. He was a friend and taught Houston things like how to duel and I would say did a good job. Houston was shaped as a "Jacksonian" and Unionist and he was also a slave owner. He fought to get Texas into the Union and fought to keep the state in the Union. His politics were controversial and created problems. He stated he loved Texas and he did not want to see needless bloodshed. He did not want Texas to leave the Union but if that happened he wanted Texas to remain a Republic. Whatever the reason (maybe pride) he was offended that it was required that he SAM HOUSTON, would have to pledge his allegiance to the Confederacy. He turned down a Union offer to be a general with 50,000 troops if he wanted revenge. With all he accomplished in 70 years I find it amazing that we JUST HAVE TO try to stereotype him and analyze him because he certainly can't be what he appears so there must be more to it right?
I somehow find it hard to even consider that Houston would be even a little concerned about being "murdered" as a reason for some positions he took.
I do NOT live in Texas but do live in the South. That means that for some unknown reason I surely HAVE to fit the stereotype as having fallen for the alternate reality of the "Lost Cause". I really don't care about any agenda to "alter" history, or to not present history in any way other than what actually happened, as I can find in reliable sources.
I do know that the North had slavery for over 200-years. Since admitted to the Union: MA; 5 years, NH; 57 years, NY; 39 years, CT; 60 years, RI; 52 years, Pa; 58 years, NJ; 78 years, Vt; 14 years, so we can be assured that morality was not the issue. Some of the most historically famous northern people owned slaves.
With all that said--- edit this article with neutrality from references and not with psychology. One can NOT impugn the integrity of a reliable source, because it don't agree with certain ideas or preconceived notions, nor can we state against policy that we need more than one reference to KNOW it is valid. If that were true each of us could argue about any article to whatever way we like. If a references is called into question bring it up at the appropriate place for a determination. Also, collaboration can be rewarding. Otr500 (talk) 02:02, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
That's what I've been saying for the most part! The point has been that Texasreb added the statements and constructed a narrative at odds with Houston's record some years ago--and notably at odds with secondary sources as I've pointed out. In fact, it was synthesis using primary sources to create a counter narrative to the section. This is nothing new for this particular editor, nor is the resultant lengthy talk page discussion that repeats the same lines above and never really concludes.
I don't have a problem with Houston's record on the matter, he opposed secession with the tools he had until there was nothing he could do. He didn't choose to accept Federal backing and make war against the majority of Texans (I don't see any surprise in that.) Following being deposed he remained in the state and made some statements in support of the state. That doesn't mean he "strongly believed in the doctrine of states rights" as added by Texasreb in 2007. Again, if folks can find some reliable secondary sources that analyze and interpret his actions as a repudiation of his anti-secession mindset and a conversion to states' rights, then insert it and reference it. I did some searches on it, could not find support for it and removed it. Hence, this longwinded discussion. Red Harvest (talk) 05:12, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you sir, for this post. It spoke insight and a very good analysis of all things being discussed. I appreciate it. TexasReb (talk) 06:47, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Why don't we just let it go, Red Harvest? I believe that Otr500 has spoken better sense than either of us have. And certainly a more balanced viewpoint. His post was excellent.
You and I will never agree. But I can't resist saying a couple of things:
If you do not believe that the slave trade itself was totally in the hands of the northeastern shipping merchants, then you are just totally ignoring history. Please read the book:
Complicity; How the North promoted, prolonged, and profited from Slavery" By Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant
These writers were New Englandjournalists who came upon some disturbing evidence that slavery as an institution that was not quite as confined to the South as they were conditioned all their lives to believe. So they decided to investigate. Here is an opening excerpt:
"We were now looking at nothing less than an altered reality.
"Our first reaction was confusion. Hold on, weren't we the good guys in the Civil War? Wasn't the South to blame for slavery? After all, Southerners had plantations, we had the Underground Railroad. They had Simon Legree, we had his abolitionist creator, Harriet Beecher Stowe.
"But the more we looked, the more we found what appeared to be unshakeable proof of Connecticut's complicity in slavery. What more, it quickly became obvious that our economic links to slavery were deeply entwined with our religious, political, and educational institutions. The truth is that Connecticut derived a great part, maybe the greatest part of its early surplus wealth from slavery. What was true of Connecticut turned out to be overwhelmingly true of the entire North"...
Often it is next to impossible to talk and have a productive discussion with certain pro-northern historians; because they simply will not really admit of anything that goes outside the box of "slavery". Sometimes I honestly think that the existence of slavery in the South was a "godsend" to the pro-Northern faction in writing history, as it affords a moral righteousness, all the while ignoring their own complicity in the existence of slavery itself. Which actually has been deliberately censored.

Also, your mention above of how "historians" think is really kinda strange. What historians? Do you honestly think all historians agree with your outlook? This doesn't make much sense, no offence intended.

It is honestly baffling how so many pro-northern "historians" can go to the lengths they do to convince themselves it was all about slavery as per the War itself. Yes, a case can be made that -- in the Lower South -- slavery was a reason for secession (although again, it didn't stand alone, it was bound up in other larger issues as well) -- but it wasn't the cause of the War itself. Secession may well have been foolhardy, rash, and even unnecessary...but it was Lincoln who chose to initiate war. The Southern states offered to pay their share of the national debt, pay for all federal installations, and negotiate a mutually beneficial economic and defensive alliance. But Lincoln ignored (deliberately) the "Peace Commissioners" sent by the new CSA government, because he was determined to force the South back into the Union for their tax money. Which is why (as he later pretty much admitted) he deliberately forced the incident at Ft. Sumter. *shrug* An ingenious move, I admit.
The South had done the North no wrong; they had no plans to overthrow the Union government, they only wanted peaceful separation.
And Red Harvest? I have been saying "this" (what Otr said), myself. You are not the only one. And I haven't been "constructing a narrative". I have been giving an outlook. Just as you have. By the way, here is an interesting little quote taken from Houston's anti-secession speech of 1860:
Now, when the “cotton States“ are “precipitated into a revolution,” and the Southern Confederacy is formed, is the idea of State Rights to be maintained, or is there to be a centralized government, forbidding the States to change their institutions, and giving peculiar privileges to classes? I warn the people to look well to the future.
Is that not a bit telling? Does it not indicate his basic belief in "states right"? BUT...he simply believe that "states rights" could best be perpetuated by remaining in the Union itself. That is Houston's outlook as it were.
But anyway, as I say, you and I will never agree. I believe the South had the best constitutional arguments on its side and you think opposite. Which is fine far as that goes. But let's try and at least have a congenial discussion even in vehement disagreement, ok? TexasReb (talk) 06:43, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
In other words, you continue to try to push your POV and fringe theories in more long rambling irrelevant posts, and still without secondary sources for the initial claim. Have fun talking to yourself, I have other things to do. Red Harvest (talk) 09:24, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
That is patently beyond ridiculous. How in the world am I doing that when I have not changed one edit you have made in the article itself? And isn't a "Talk Page" for discussion and talking differences? I am not "pushing a POV" on anyone. You seem to be the one doing that. What is increasingly obvious is that you are unwilling to even accept that those with opinions differing yours may have done some historical study and research as well. Instead, you vehemently object to anything that goes against your own outlooks that the existence of slavery was the alpha and omega. You label anything otherwise -- as you just did -- a "fringe" viewpoint and/or irrelevant. Even though it is neither one; only your take on it. And you seem to take personal any disagreement. Sorry you are so sensitive. It is beyond me why you cannot carry on a civil discussion without impugning the motives of others when they disagree with you. But that is your affair. Merry Christmas TexasReb (talk) 15:38, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Article improvements[edit]

  • This article can be elevated to C rating, but some improvements can be made.
  • Is there a reason that The Sam Houston article not be listed under his subsection as "Main|Sam Houston"?
  • The lead The U.S. state of Texas declared its secession from the United States... needs to be reworded because U.S. and United States does not need to be in the same sentence, Possibly; The state of Texas declared secession from the United States..., however:
  • The lead could be expanded to at least two paragraphs. Otr500 (talk) 00:55, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
The third one is done! TexasReb (talk) 18:04, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

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