Mexican Texas, 1821-1836
When Spain established a liberal government in 1821, conservatives in New Spain feared that the lower classes might be encouraged to demand a liberal government in the colony. On the other hand, some liberals believed that independence from Spain might lead to an egalitarian government in the colony. Therefore, a conservative/liberal coalition led the 1821 revolution that resulted in Mexico’s independence. With the support of conservatives, Augustin de Iturbide established himself as emperor of Mexico and centralized rule in Mexico City. In 1823, liberals led by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna forced Iturbide from office and established a federalist republic.
Problems for Independent Mexico
1. Class distinctions
2. Economic chaos
3. Status of the military
4. Status of the Roman Catholic Church
5. Political inexperience
6. American intrusions in Texas
a. Philip Nolan
b. Spanish Bluff
c. James Wilkinson
d. James Long (Transcontinental Treaty of 1819)
Philip Nolan and James Wilkinson were American adventurers who plotted against the Spanish. In 1819, Dr. James Long led a group of filibusters in a failed effort to wrest Texas from Mexico.
Mexicans allowed Americans to settle in Texas for at least three reasons:
1. In the 1700's, Spain had unsuccessfully experimented with "defensive immigration." When the United States abandoned all claims to Texas in the Transcontinental Treaty (1819), the Spanish again decided to try defensive immigration. The first American to receive permission to settle Roman Catholics in Texas was Moses Austin.
2. Liberals wanted to end colonization led by the establishment of missions. They believed that the missions added to the power of the Roman Catholic church and its influence on the government.
3. New Spain lacked the population to settle Texas.
The National Colonization Law of August 18, 1824 left decisions on immigration and public lands to the states. This federalist – liberal law came from men who wanted a republic based on liberal, democratic principles.
These Federalists also wrote the liberal Federal Constitution of the United States of Mexico in 1824. This constitution created the state of Coahuila y Tejas. The Department of Texas stretched from the Nueces River to the Sabine River.
State Colonization Law of March 24, 1825
Goals: 1. settlement of Coahuila y Texas; 2. encourage farming and ranching;
3. stimulate commerce
1. Permitted the immigration of Anglo Americans if they took an oath to obey the laws of Mexico and promised to observe the Christian religion. The law did not prohibit the importation of slaves.
2. To entice Mexican immigrants, the law granted inexpensive land and exempted them from taxes.
Empresarios were men given land grants based on their pledge to settle Roman Catholic families from the United States on the land. Stephen F. Austin was the most famous of the empresarios.
The Mexican government soon accused the Americans of 1) squatting on unoccupied land, 2) smuggling, 3) applying American practices to local situations, 4) speculating with their land grants, and 5) violating the oath under which they had been allowed to settle.
When disgruntled settlers attempted unsuccessfully to establish the Fredonian Republic in East Texas many Mexicans feared further American immigration might dissolve Mexico’s hold on Texas.
The Mexican government sent Manuel de Mier y Teran’s to Texas to investigate the problems.
Teran Report (1828)
1. Americans were flooding into Texas
2. Nacogdoches had become an American town
3. Anglos could not be assimilated into Mexican culture
4. the Anglos refused to obey the colonization law
Based on Mier y Teran’s recommendations, the Centralist government passed the Law of April 6, 1830.
Law of April 6, 1830
1. declared uncompleted empresario contracts void unless 100 families had been settled
2. future immigrants could not settle in the territory bordering the United States
3. established new presidios garrisoned by convict soldiers
4. banned the further importation of slaves
The Anglo-Texas, who generally supported the liberal-federal faction, greatly resented Centralists' sponsored Law of April 6, 1830. The Centralists advocated counter-colonization from the Mexican interior instead of Anglo immigration. In Texas, the radical Federalists were called “the war party.” In 1832, when authorities tried to enforce policies regulating commerce and collecting new tariffs, the war party instituted clashes with authorities at Anahuac.
The “peace party” led by Stephen F. Austin controlled the “consultation of 1832” which drafted a petition protesting the Law of April 6, 1830. Due to the extra-legal nature of the consultation, the political chief in Bexar refused to forward the petition to Mexico City. The Texans renewed their protest at the consultation of 1833 and added a demand that Coahuila y Tejas be divided into two states.
When liberals briefly regained control of the national and state government, they tried to respond to the opponents of the Law of April 6, 1830. In 1834, Mexico's senate revoked the section of the law that had curtailed the immigration of Anglos, while refusing to separate Coahuila and Texas.
Actions taken by the liberal state government of Coahuila y Tejas to satisfy the demands of Texans
1. Accepted English a legal language
2. Permitted the extension of empresario contracts
3. Expanded the number of local courts
4. Provided for trial by jury
5. Increased Texas representation in the state legislature
6. Increased the number of departments in Texas to three
Mexicans confronted several problems in enforcing the Law of April 6, 1830. Although they did not meet the requirements of the law, some empresarios continued to settle families on their grants. Many immigrants entered Texas illegally. The Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company fraudulently sold land to settlers, even though the sales were unlawful. Between 1830 and 1834, the number of Anglos and their slaves approximately doubled to 20,700.
The number of town’s increased from three in 1821 to twenty-one in 1835. “For all Texas, life consisted of a battle for survival….”
Early on, farming earned one barely the minimum standard of living, but by the late 1820’s cash crop farming…began reaping better rewards.” Texas had a barter economy. Many depended on smuggling.
The first successful newspaper (1829) was the Texas Gazette. It emphasized Anglo-American loyalty to Mexico and reminded the colonists of the gratitude they owed to Mexico.
Both the government and the church neglected the Texans.
The Texas Rangers was a volunteer organization formed in 1835 to fight Indians.
White Texans perpetrated black slavery in the guise of contract labor.
The Catholic Church had given up its work in the far North, but most Mexican-Texans remained loyal to the church.
In the 1800's, Indians confronted an influx of Anglo-Americans. Coahuiltecans virtually disappeared; Karankawas moved from their traditional lands; by the 1820s, the Caddos numbered no more than 300 families. Comanches and Nortenos continued their traditional lives. In 1819-20, Cherokees forced from their ancestral home in Georgia and Alabama moved into northeastern Texas. In the 1820's, Cherokee settlements included eighty families.
Centralists in power
1. In 1834, Santa Anna, formerly the leader of the Federalists, replaced president Gomez Farias. Adopting a Centralist ideology, Santa Anna abolished the Federalist Constitution of 1824.
2. Several Mexican states; including Texas, Zacatecas, and Yucatan; revolted against Santa Anna's dictatorship.
3. Santa Anna prepared to send troops into Texas under the command of General Martin Perfecto de Cos.
4. On June 30, 1835, Texans under the command of William Barrett Travis captured Anahuac.
5. In September 1835, Austin gave his support to the war party.
6. In September-October 1835, Texans at Gonzales refused to surrender their cannon.
7. In October 1835, Texans captured Goliad.
8. In October-December 1835, Texans forced Cos to retreat from San Antonio.
9. Although most Anglo-Texans wanted independence, delegates to the Consultation of 1835 declared their loyalty to Mexican federalism as embodied in the Constitution of 1824. The delegates hoped to win support from Mexican liberals and gain time to acquire assistance from the United States. Despite their claim of loyalty to Mexico, the Texans created a provisional government.
10. In February 1836, the Mexican army crossed the Rio Grande with one column under Santa Anna moving towards San Antonio and another under Jose Urrea moving towards Goliad.
11. At the March 1836 convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos, all fifty-nine delegates, including Lorenzo de Zavala a liberal from the Yucatan, signed a Declaration of Independence.
12. On March 6, 1836, Mexican troops under Santa Anna's command captured the Alamo.
13. In March 1836, the inept leadership of James W. Fannin led to the surrender of his troops at Goliad. The Mexicans executed 340 of the Texan prisoners. These executions constituted the most casualties for Texans in their war for independence.
14. Texans retreated from East Texas in the "Runaway Scrape."
15. On April 21, 1836, Texans under the command of Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna's forces at the Battle of San Jacinto.
16. On May 14, 1836, Santa Anna, while a prisoner of the Texans, signed the Treaties of Velasco which 1) recognized the independence of Texas, 2) agreed to the removal of all Mexican troops from Texas, 3) accepted the Rio Grande as Texas's southern border, and 4) promised diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Texas.