On December 10, 1838, Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar became the second president of the Republic of Texas. He was an individual of high culture and, simultaneously, rather an idealist dreamer than a successful politician. His primary envision was a Texas empire expanding to the Pacific Ocean. During his political career, Lamar succeeded in driving Cherokees out of Texas and waging war with the Comanches. He was commonly known as a Texas nationalist who supported slavery in southern America. Notwithstanding all Mirabeau’s political failures, a number of his initiatives became a foundation of Texas’s educational system, annexation to the United States, and Austin as a state capitol.
Taking into account the date of the document named “Mirabeau Lamar Appeals to Texas Nationalism, November 10, 1838, it might be considered a part of his political campaign. Therefore, the intended audience to which he appeals includes the people of Texas and its governmental structures. Mirabeau intended to awaken in the souls of his audience a sense of authenticity and nationalism. They had the power to decide whether Texas would be annexed or not. That is why the appeal to the group’s reaction to this document was critical for the future of Texas.
The main idea of the document lies in the necessity of independence for Texas and the inadmissibility of its annexation to the American union. It describes civil, commercial, and political potential results of annexation for the state. He grounds the theory that, if being dependent on the American union, Texas will be deprived of all its decisions and rights to independently make fateful decisions determining the state’s future destiny and development. Lamar states that Texas has enough potential and natural resources for its separate existence, economic growth, and significant territorial expansion.
The Main Idea
The primary purpose of this document is to call people for thought about Texas independence and the full spectrum of privileges it provides. Devotion to the idea and faith in it runs through the whole document. Lamar brings in plain language the political and economic preconditions and consequences of annexation so that they are clear both for politicians and ordinary people. The main question raised by the source is whether Texas has a potentially prosperous, progressive, and bright future in terms of annexation, or it is likely to succeed better being independent. All arguments boil down to Texas being much more profitable and more promising to manage its most precious resources independently.
Evidence from the Document
Lamar appeals to “the right of making either war or peace; the right of controlling the Indian tribes within her borders; the power of appropriating her public domain to purposes of education and internal improvements1”. He also mentions the rights “of levying her own taxes; regulating her own commerce and forming her own alliances and treaties2” as Texas’s invaluable rights which it will be deprived of in case of independence loss.
Texas “can hope for nothing but a participation in the strifes that distract the public councils, and after passing through many throes and convulsions be the means perhaps of producing or accelerating an awful catastrophe3”. This is the main doubt of Lamar about the future of Texas in case of annexation.
From numerous historical examples, it is well known that the possibility of annexation directly depends on the mood of the people living in the potentially annexed territory. They can either agree to this or express strong protest in the form of an open struggle. Mirabeau Lamar insists that only the independent Texas will be able to reach prosperity and flourish in all the fields. He aims to inspire the souls of Texas’s population with the concept of the state’s self-sufficiency and the potential benefits of independence.
Hayens, Sam W., & Wintz, Cary D. Major Problems in Texas History. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2017.
Hayens, Sam W., & Wintz, Cary D., Major Problems in Texas History (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2017), 150.
Hayens & Wintz, 151.
Hayens & Wintz, 151.