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Antebellum Texas

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Derickbarnes
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ANTEBELLUM TEXAS. In the drama of Texas history the period of early statehood, from 1846 to 1861, appears largely as an interlude between two great adventures-the Republic of Texas and the Civil War.qqv These fifteen years did indeed lack the excitement and romance of the experiment in nationhood and the "Lost Cause" of the Confederacy. Events and developments during the period, however, were critical in shaping the Lone Star State as part of the antebellum South. By 1861 Texas was so like the other Southern states economically, socially, and politically that it joined them in secessionqv and war. Antebellum Texans cast their lot with the Old South and in the process gave their state an indelibly Southern heritage.
When President Anson Jonesqv lowered the flag of the republic for the last time in February 1846, the framework for the development of Texas over the next fifteen years was already constructed. The great majority of the new state's approximately 100,000 white inhabitants were natives of the South, who, as they settled in the eastern timberlands and south central plains, had built a life as similar as possible to that experienced in their home states. Their economy, dependent on agriculture, was concentrated first on subsistence farming and herding and then on production of cotton as a cash crop. This meant the introduction of what southerners called their "Peculiar Institution"-slavery.qv In 1846 Texas had more than 30,000 black slaves and produced an even larger number of bales of cotton (see COTTON CULTURE). Political institutions were also characteristically Southern. The Constitution of 1845,qv written by a convention in which natives of Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia alone constituted a majority, depended heavily on Louisiana's fundamental law as well as on the existing Constitution of the Republic of Texas.qv As befitted an agricultural state led...

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