• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Most desperate people The genesis of Texas exceptionalism

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Michael G Kelley
Abstract:
Six different nations have claimed sovereignty over some or all of the current state of Texas. In the early nineteenth century, Spain ruled Texas. Then Mexico rebelled against Spain, and from 1821 to 1836 Texas was a Mexican province. In 1836, Texas Anglo settlers rebelled against Mexican rule and established a separate republic. The early Anglo settlers brought their form of civilization to a region that the Spanish had not been able to subdue for three centuries. They defeated a professional army and eventually overwhelmed Native American tribes who wished to maintain their way of life without inference from intruding Anglo settlers. This history fostered a people who consider themselves capable of doing anything--an exceptional population imbued with a fierce sense of nationalistic and local rooted in the mythic memoirs of the first Anglo settlers. The purpose of this study is to explore the origin and development of Texan exceptionalist beliefs. The "taming of the Texas wilderness," the Alamo, the defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto, the formation of a republic that earned recognition by major foreign powers, Stephen F. Austin, Davy Crockett, William Travis, are all elements in the great Texas myth. From the letters and documents of the early settlers, the extensive papers of Stephen F. Austin, the war papers of the Texas Revolution, newspapers of the era, and other sources, it is apparent that the early Texas settler did not come to Texas for any altruistic purpose. Texas provided a second chance for many who had been previously unsuccessful and an opportunity to gain riches from the extensive land bounty granted by the Mexican government. This research provides additional depth to a neglected part of Texas history. Removing the mystique of the Texas legend reveals a far more colorful and complex period. These early Texans were a complex, divided, greedy, racist people who changed the course of the United States and established a legend that has withstood the test of time. INDEX WORDS: Empresario, Spanish colonies, Texas, Mexico, Alamo, San Jacinto, Goliad, Texas Revolution, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, James Bowie, Santa Anna, James Fannin, Stephen F. Austin, Eugene Barker, Texas Indians, Texas settlers, Andrew Jackson

v TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................................................................................................... iv

LIST OF FIGURES ..................................................................................................................... vi

PREFACE ...................................................................................................................................... 1

I

MIGRANTS TO TEXAS: A SPECIAL PEOPLE ............................................................... 5

II

SETTING THE STAGE ....................................................................................................... 48

III

THE FIRST YEARS ............................................................................................................. 96

IV

THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD, 1830 – 1836 .......................................................... 150

V

MYTH AND PROSPERITY .............................................................................................. 208

ENDNOTES............................................................................................................................... 264 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................... 293

vi LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Native American groups in early Texas (used with permission of native-languages.org) ................................................................................................... 52

Figure 2. Map of Spanish Texas (J. H. Colton & Co., Prints and Photographs Collection, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission) ................................................................................................................. 55

Figure 3. Texas empresario grants (courtesy of The University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin) ............................................................................. 118

Figure 4. The Alamo Chapel, the most visited historic site in Texas (image in public domain, http:/www.pdphoto.org/PictureDetail.php?mat=&pg=5402) .......... 235

Figure 5. Dawn at the Alamo (Prints and Photographs Collection, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission) .......................... 239

Figure 6. San Jacinto Monument (image in public domain, Tijuana Brass, Fall 2006) ......... 245

Figure 7. Fannin Monument, Goliad, Texas (reprinted with permission of Stephen Arthur, photographer) ............................................................................................................. 247

Figure 8. Texas, A Land of Opportunity (reprinted with permission of Dalhart Windberg, artist) ........................................................................................... 260

1

PREFACE Since the founding of the Texas Republic in 1836, the first Anglo settlers to the then Mexican province have enjoyed an almost mythical status. This attitude has carried over to the present day. In a recent discussion concerning the deployment of the Texas National Guard to Iraq, an eight-year-old exclaimed, “We are Texans—we never give up.” This exceptionalist mind-set pervades modern-day Texas society and culture. Historians appear reluctant to submit the Texas myth to close examination. Presently there is little extensive research into the character, motivations, and actions of the early Anglo Texans. Eugene C. Barker, the dean of Texas historians and the author of numerous books and journal articles on early Texas, had already classified these people as exceptional in the early twentieth century, and numerous historical societies throughout the state steadfastly adhere to and promote the Texas legend as historically accurate. Modern historians have found borderlands and Tejano studies less controversial and more relevant in the period of New West history than the research of early Anglo settlers. Thus, the settlers who moved to Texas during the empresario years have remained perched upon their exceptionalist pedestal. The roots of Texas exceptionalism began in 1821 and matured during the empresario and revolutionary period. This was the era of the “Old Three Hundred,” the Alamo, and San Jacinto, as well as larger-than-life figures such as Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and William B. Travis. The period between 1821 and 1836 was complex and dynamic. While research indicates that the first Anglos in Texas did not vary appreciably from other pioneers moving west—they moved to settle new lands, take advantage of increased opportunities, and seize the chance for a “new beginning”—several factors set them apart. To the Anglos, Texas

2

was a foreign country whose small population lived according to different customs and habits than the American frontiersman. The purpose of this study is to advance the knowledge of early Anglo settlement of Texas, to provide a foundation for further inquiry into the individuals who settled Texas in the Mexican era, to add to the body of early Texas history, and to question the validity of Texas exceptionalism. The research includes settler diaries, letters, and journals as well as the papers of empresario Stephen F. Austin and the documents and letters collected during the Texas Revolution. The writings of early and modern Texas historians firmly established the formulation of the Texas legend and enumerate its sustaining power. Further, this study is concerned with the relationship of the Anglos with the Tejanos, the Mexicans, and the Native Americans who also lived in Texas and offered serious opposition to the encroachment of Anglo Americans into the region. Native American resistance to the settlers was, on one hand, part of a larger conflict found on almost all the frontiers throughout the United States, but, on the other hand, many of the Texas Indians had battled the Spanish for possession of the region for centuries. The study of this conflict and the problems between the two competing cultures embrace a period much longer than the fifteen years of this study and a set of issues that require extensive research beyond the scope of this analysis. However, if no Indians had lived in Texas, Anglo colonization probably would not have occurred. Spanish and Mexican colonization was unsuccessful due to the Native Americans who controlled most of Texas at the time. The Spanish introduced Anglos to the region to serve as a buffer against the Indians who had successfully thwarted the Spanish for three centuries. Mexico separated from Spain before the Mexican government had a viable frontier policy; however, Mexican leaders knew that if they did not colonize Texas, the United States would eventually

3

absorb the region. Faced with this dilemma, Mexico opened Texas to colonization under the sponsorship of empresarios. Logic might have it that only those on the fringes of Anglo society or the desperate would venture into an alien world controlled by Native Americans under a government that demanded adherence to a religion many despised and to a faulty legal system. However, these negatives barely dented the Anglo dreams of limitless wealth in fertile land that the Mexicans gave to those who were brave and hardy enough to start a new life. Thus, Texas attracted criminals, families, single men and women, widows with children, European migrants, and the despondent and depressed, all wishing for the “second chance.” This dissertation presents in general chronological order the foundation of Texas exceptionalism and presents a complicated and critical analysis of the Texas myth. Chapter I enumerates the historiography of the early Texas period, defines exceptionalism, and attempts to fit this research into modern western history. It describes how the first Texas historians initiated the myth and embellished the accomplishments of the Anglo settlers. Chapter II analyzes the Spanish colonial period and the first unsuccessful attempts to colonize Texas. Chapter III examines the period from 1821 until 1830 as Anglo migration steadily increased and the Texan “idea” attracted immigrants from a cross-section of American society. Chapter IV analyzes the events leading to the Texas Revolution, ending with the Anglo defeats at Goliad and the Alamo. This period of Anglo division and indecision nearly resulted in defeat. The final days of the Texas Revolution as well as the endurance of the exceptionalist myth are discussed in Chapter V. In the end, this study demystifies the persona of the early Anglo settler in Texas. The Anglos were not as portrayed in legend, and only by extraordinarily good luck did their revolution succeed. They were arrogant, greedy, and racist, but they were also rugged individuals and risk takers. The Anglo settler experience in Texas was mirrored throughout the

4

west as pioneers settled western lands but Texans successfully constructed their history to portray themselves as different and exceptional.

5

CHAPTER I MIGRANTS TO TEXAS: A SPECIAL PEOPLE “Texas, our Texas! All hail the mighty state! Texas, our Texas! So wonderful, so great! Boldest and grandest, withstanding every test; O empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest.

God bless you, Texas! And keep you brave and strong. That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.” 1

The Texas State anthem, sung in every Texas school room and at all football games, embodies the spirit of Texas exceptionalism. Its words immortalize the original Texas pioneers as they tamed a wilderness, fought a foreign power, established a Republic that lasted ten years, and battled Indians decimating whole tribes. Texas exceptionalism refers to the perception that Texas differs from other states because of its unique origins, historical evolution, and distinctive, rugged, individualistic people. Exceptionalism refers to the belief that something is unusually excellent or superior. 2 A modern day manifestation of Texas exceptionalism occurs on the football field every fall. Texans feel that football represents their supremacy over the rest of the country. Texas college teams rank high every season, and every successful college team in the country covets Texas high school football players. Even today, Texans believe they are bigger, braver, and smarter than anybody else. This dissertation examines the foundation of the Texas exceptional myth, the first Anglo settlers. Few have actually understood the nature, character, and motivations of the settlers who ventured forth from the comfort and sanctuary of their Eastern homes to carve out a new life in a Mexican colony. Texans believe that these were unique people, with extraordinary powers, destined to establish an original and special country. History has immortalized these early Texas

6

pioneers, but aside from myth and folktales there has been little research on their background, motivations, and actions. These settlers were not different from other pioneers who ventured to the American West. They were greedy, racist, and bigoted, but they were also brave, hardy, and ambitious. The question is why and how these people became venerated in Texas history. C. Vann Woodward estimated the shelf life of history—that is, the period between generational revisions—to be about twenty years. 3 The shelf life of the first Anglo settlers is approaching two hundred years. This study analyzes the period between 1821 through 1836, the era of empresarios in Texas. Empresarios were granted the right to settle on Mexican land in Texas in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for new settlers. Spain, and later Mexico, failed in numerous attempts to colonize Texas, and finally the Mexican government made the distasteful decision to open the province to Anglo settlers. The purpose of this analysis is to add to the body of research on early Texas history; examine the validity of Texas exceptionalism during the period of the first Anglo settlements; study the political situation pertaining to the United States, Spain and Mexico; and compare the early Texas settlers with those of Kansas and Oklahoma. The first Texas settlers arrived after 1820, the Kansas pioneers began to arrive in large numbers in the 1840s, and the Oklahoma Land Rush occurred in the later nineteenth century. The migrants to Oklahoma and Kansas, while revered by some in their respective states, do not enjoy the same mythic status given Texas settlers. These myths portray Texas as the Promised Land and the New Eden. The Texas creation narrative identifies a great nation “born in blood” centering on the Alamo and its defenders and the victory over the Mexicans at San Jacinto. It glorifies the Davy Crockett-type hero, a rugged

7

individualist, who is solitary, wears homespun, understands the wilderness and firearms, spins tall tales, and triumphs without the benefit of formal education. Related are a whole cluster of other myths, including manifest destiny and the racial superiority of the Anglo-American settlers, and the understanding that the Texas Revolution and the Indian wars represented the apolitical battle between good and evil. These myths supported the concept that Protestantism was right and qualified to dictate values to all society—thereby justifying materialism, Darwinism, and political, racial, and religious bigotry. Manifest destiny is defined as “a dogma of supreme self-assurance and ambition—that America’s incorporation of all adjacent lands was the virtual inevitable fulfillment of a moral mission delegated to the nation by Providence itself.” Proponents of Manifest Destiny believed that American territorial expansion was not only prudent but also apparent (manifest) and inevitable (destiny). 4 The term was used synonymously with other ideas of the nineteenth century such as American exceptionalism, nationalism, and the belief in the racial superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. Texans have reviled the two groups that share their regional history, Tejanos and Native Americans. In fact Texans have tended to define themselves as against non-Texans generally. Here lies the most pervasive and ironic of all Texas history myths: the idea that Texas is unique, “a whole other country” or “state of mind,” an exception to the mistakes and woes of the rest of the world. 5

The legend surrounding the early Texas settlers to date obfuscates the facts of what actually occurred during the period of 1821 to 1836. The story of the original Texas pioneers has been embellished over many decades through story and song, resulting in a mystical Texas and a romantic legend. The basis of the myth is a resilient and brave people enduring the hazards of

8

the frontier, fighting for liberty against a cruel and inhumane system of government. In fact, the history of early Texas settlement is far more complex and far more interesting than the traditional legend. Texas has undergone many political and social changes; its recorded history spans more than five centuries, beginning with the early explorations of the Spanish. It passed through numerous stages: a Spanish province, a Mexican state, an independent Republic, a State of the United States, a Southern Confederate State, and finally, again, part of the Union. The first Anglo settlers did not encounter an untouched wilderness. Native Americans entered Texas approximately seven thousand years ago. 6 Tejanos established flourishing ranches throughout the Rio Grande Valley a century before the arrival of Anglo Americans. Cattle from these ranches fed American Revolutionary War soldiers fighting in the southern United States. 7

Many early Texas historians preached the gospel of exceptionalism. George Garrison argued that competition on the frontier produced the superior Texas character that civilized the state and vanquished the Native American and Spanish cultures. 8 Eugene C. Barker used the “manifest destiny” maxim to describe the expansion of Anglo Texas. According to him, the Texas revolution was a clash of Anglo and Hispanic cultures that became inevitable once the Anglos entered Texas. 9 Barker stated that Texans “believed themselves morally, intellectually and politically superior” to Mexicans, declaring that this racial feeling has affected American relations with Mexico since 1821. 10

Frederick Jackson Turner developed the thesis that the frontier experience made America exceptional. He described the 1820s, marked by the beginning of mass emigration west of the Mississippi, as the most important period in American history. Turner’s central contention was that “the existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American

9

settlement westward explain America’s development.” Turner’s thesis argued that the existence of a frontier and the constant westward movement forced Americans to discard the habits and attitudes of their European ancestors and develop unique American traits such as strength, energy, practicality, and self-reliance. 11

The vast majority of the people who moved West in the nineteenth century shared several common traits. According to Turner, the hero of the frontier was democratic and egalitarian in his approach to social and political issues. He was an opportunist, individualistic and competitive. While nationalistic in outlook and expansive in attitude, he simultaneously cherished sectional loyalties. He was a militant who hated Indians, destroyed forests, and was apathetic to capitalists who might stop him. He was inventive when facing problems, quick to judge and act, and a born explorer. His western personality included behavioral qualities such as materialism, optimism, energy, coarseness, strength, intensity, and wastefulness. Finally, the pioneer was mobile, moving from frontier to frontier. These qualities are general in nature but still applicable to every frontier settlement. 12

Turner declared that the opening of the western frontier attracted the poor, the discontented, and the oppressed that, due to circumstances, had to develop inventiveness and resourcefulness. The isolation encountered on the frontier both prompted the erosion of the traditional societal customs and promoted the growth of distinctly American practices and ideas. Turner contended that the frontier was a safety valve or an avenue of escape for society’s misfits and malcontents and served as a laboratory for American democracy. 13

One of the most enduring traits of Turner’s thesis was its democratic spirit. Turner presented American history as a creative act in which all participated regardless of wealth.

10

Every American boy could envision himself as some sort of pioneer. Americans had separated themselves from the Old World and could claim a new and greater history. 14

Turner wanted Americans to reconsider the frontier experience. He changed the direction of the study of the West, and his analysis is still debated today. He also produced a radical proposal for historians and advocated a premise of secular, democratic, American exceptionalism. He also asserted that Americans were a unique people with distinctive cultural traits based on their own experience and not inherited. Finally, he claimed that the essence of American identity was to be found among the people on the moving frontier. There is no mention of race, class, or gender in Turner’s essay. 15

Turner’s frontier thesis appealed to the American people. It provided an amenable history for a nation becoming aware of its rising role in world leadership. The American frontier experience exhibited a past as grand as that of any power, a landscape as beautiful as any in the world, and heroes and myths equal to any in Europe. In fact, these were the same myths transposed and transported across the Atlantic Ocean. The frontier theory was a rationale for national distinctiveness. It provided a basis for American exceptionalism; the frontier distinguished America and Americans—despite the multiple origins of immigrants—from Europe and Europeans. 16 The new continent offered the common man an opportunity to be freed from the authoritative and oppressive institutions of the old world. He was a new man, an American, representing a new set of values—individuality, equality, and democracy. Turner publicized his thesis across the country writing for Atlantic Monthly and other publications. 17 He also gave numerous public lectures and became a featured speaker at commencement exercises. However, the primary reason for the success of the frontier thesis was that it made sense to the average citizen and that it elevated the achievement of ordinary settlers.

11

Turner’s rhetoric entered into all aspects of American life. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush repeatedly used the frontier as an example. No other nation in the world defines the frontier as Americans do. The most prevalent foreign meaning is a border between nations. No other piece of American historical writing has so impacted American historical imagination, celebrated American exceptionalism, stimulated additional western research so thoroughly, initiated a dispute over such a long period of time, or embedded itself so deeply within the American psyche. The timing of the migratory tidal waves to Texas appears to offer supporting evidence of Turner’s safety-valve thesis, as the greatest surge occurred in the wake of the American financial troubles of 1819 and 1837. This concept, that the free lands in the West offered a convenient outlet to the economically depressed of the East, suggests that economic forces pushed pioneers into Texas. However, many historians disagree with Turner’s analysis. They suggest that “prosperity stimulated migration; depressions halted the westward-flowing stream.” The high cost of transportation, along with the initial expenses of starting a home hindered the movement of those in financial difficulties. 18

The myth that the early Texans were an exceptional people is a regional variation of the national myth of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism refers to the controversial theory that the United States holds an extraordinary position amongst the nations of the world due to its national beliefs, historical evolution, political and religious institutions, and unique origins. The core of this belief is that the United States is not just the richest and most powerful nation in the world but that it also is morally and politically exceptional. Ostensibly, Alexis de Tocqueville popularized this term when he noted that the then-fifty-year-old United States was special because it was a country of immigrants and the first modern democracy. 19

12

Exceptionalism suggested that America had set out on a unique historical path that avoided the European terrors of authoritarian regimes, class conflict, and mass poverty. Not all historians subscribed to the virtues of exceptionalism, and many were its fiercest critics, but the exceptionalist paradigm did at least frame much historical debate. John Winthrop was the first to proclaim American exceptionalism in his sermon ‘A Modell of Christian Charity’ given in 1630 when he claimed “wee shall be as a City upon a Hill.” 20 A decade later Peter Bukeley set out Winthrop’s plans for the colony in more explicit terms using the vocabulary of exceptionalism: “We should in a special manner labor to shine forth in holiness above other people; we have that plenty and abundances of ordinances and means of grace as few people enjoy the like. We are as a city set upon a hill, in the open view of the earth; the eyes of the world are upon us because we profess ourselves to be a people in covenant with God.” 21

Benjamin Franklin also used the language of exceptionalism to describe the infant American republic. Franklin described the characteristics of the model American as industrious, imbued with community spirit, practical and possessing common sense. The Autobiography represents Franklin’s life as enacting the newly formed myth of individual self-realization in a land of opportunity. Franklin redefined the mythology of exceptionalism, away from religious origins and centering on the creation of a secular state that is purified by the corruption of European politics and a social structure based on inherited title. According to Franklin, it is the secular America that will be the model of democratic government and the envy of the earth. 22

Abraham Lincoln discussed American exceptionalism in his first major public address in 1838: “All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.” 23

13

Lincoln’s point was that no foreign power could seriously threaten the United States as long as the Union stayed intact. American exceptionalism also has a negative image. It signifies violence, racism, and bigotry. A realistic understanding of American exceptionalism demands a balanced, rational approach. From an objective viewpoint the boasts of American exceptionalism are highly exaggerated as are the negative aspects so often mentioned as American evils. Unfortunately, the zealots dominate and divide the debate, making it difficult to define the complex issue of exceptionalism. The exceptionalism debate brought about several new trends in historical writing. First was transnational history which looks at the movement of people, ideas, culture, and technologies across national borders. Second is new western history which directly attacks American exceptionalism. Exceptional can have different meanings and can be subject to linguistic confusion. Exceptional can mean unusually good or being immune to the general laws of history. The common meaning of exceptional is simply “unusual.” The United States is noteworthy among major world countries. No matter private attitudes about wars like Vietnam and Iraq, what other country in the world would send its best young people to secure freedom for others? The concept of the United States being an exceptional country is the motivating factor that propels these young male and female warfighters. All societies are exceptional in some fashion—not better or worse, but distinct in their own ways. 24

Ann Richards, the late Governor of Texas, challenged the notion of western American exceptionalism in the PBS series The West. According to Richards, “If you stop and think about the kind of prejudice a lot of people suffered, a lot of destruction that took place as a result of

14

war and conquering,” then Western history “is not such a pretty place.” Richards goes on to say that the conquering, the sacrifice, the loss, “the taking away of things that really belong to someone else” are not unique to the West. They make up the history of any place, the world over. 25

Richards further states that even if we acknowledge conquest and its unpleasant legacies and results, we cannot “take away the spirit and the idealism and the excitement that the people felt that actually did it.” 26 Thus, Richards acknowledges the exceptionalism of the western pioneer while at the same time condemning their actions. That is the dichotomy facing “Western” historians. Western history has to reconcile the differences between the new and old ideas. Most historians now consider the concept of Manifest Destiny to be archaic and racist. Geoffrey Hogsdon in a professional and non-threatening manner debunks most of the myths of exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny, providing many examples. The success of the American Revolution was dubious before events in Europe persuaded the French to enter the war on the side of the American Revolutionaries. Many of the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are based on those of European intellectuals. The purchase of Louisiana could not have been possible without European strife and politics. In Texas the British played a role in the independence movement when they promised support to the Anglo rebels if they abolished slavery. History is a complex set of intertwined relationships. 27

Historian Amy Greenburg writes of a feminized Manifest Destiny justifying the right to expel Native American and Hispanic owners from their land. 28 The principle of the racial superiority of the Anglos and the so-called inferiority of mixed races of Latin America evolved into a gendered vision of Mexican expansionism in Texas and Mexico. As historian Frederick Pike states, “Latin Americans, regardless of gender, were stereotyped as feminine and destined

Full document contains 324 pages
Abstract: Six different nations have claimed sovereignty over some or all of the current state of Texas. In the early nineteenth century, Spain ruled Texas. Then Mexico rebelled against Spain, and from 1821 to 1836 Texas was a Mexican province. In 1836, Texas Anglo settlers rebelled against Mexican rule and established a separate republic. The early Anglo settlers brought their form of civilization to a region that the Spanish had not been able to subdue for three centuries. They defeated a professional army and eventually overwhelmed Native American tribes who wished to maintain their way of life without inference from intruding Anglo settlers. This history fostered a people who consider themselves capable of doing anything--an exceptional population imbued with a fierce sense of nationalistic and local rooted in the mythic memoirs of the first Anglo settlers. The purpose of this study is to explore the origin and development of Texan exceptionalist beliefs. The "taming of the Texas wilderness," the Alamo, the defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto, the formation of a republic that earned recognition by major foreign powers, Stephen F. Austin, Davy Crockett, William Travis, are all elements in the great Texas myth. From the letters and documents of the early settlers, the extensive papers of Stephen F. Austin, the war papers of the Texas Revolution, newspapers of the era, and other sources, it is apparent that the early Texas settler did not come to Texas for any altruistic purpose. Texas provided a second chance for many who had been previously unsuccessful and an opportunity to gain riches from the extensive land bounty granted by the Mexican government. This research provides additional depth to a neglected part of Texas history. Removing the mystique of the Texas legend reveals a far more colorful and complex period. These early Texans were a complex, divided, greedy, racist people who changed the course of the United States and established a legend that has withstood the test of time. INDEX WORDS: Empresario, Spanish colonies, Texas, Mexico, Alamo, San Jacinto, Goliad, Texas Revolution, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, James Bowie, Santa Anna, James Fannin, Stephen F. Austin, Eugene Barker, Texas Indians, Texas settlers, Andrew Jackson