12.2 Houston`s First Term

 Houston became the first popularly
elected president of the Republic of
Texas on October 22, 1836.
 In has inaugural address, Houston laid
out his goals.
 Peace with American Indians
 The need to stay alert and guard
against a Mexican attack
 Expressed hope for Texas annexation
to the United States
 Houston’s cabinet (executive
department heads to assist him)
 Secretary of State: Stephen F. Austin
 Secretary of the Treasury: Henry
 Secretary of War: Thomas Rusk
 Secretary of the Navy: Samuel
Rhodes Fisher
 Stephen F. Austin served the Republic for
only a few months.
 As a result of overwork and exposure to
cold, he developed pneumonia.
 On December 27, 1836, Austin died at the
age of 43.
 Houston issued the statement “The
father of Texas is no more. The first
pioneer of the wilderness has departed.”
 Houston ordered a 30 period of
mourning to honor Austin.
 The court system was formed as
required by the Constitution.
 The Congress set up
 A Supreme Court
 4 district courts
 23 county courts and justice courts
James Collinsworth, Texas first
Supreme Court Justice
 Another order of business was to
specify the Republic’s boundaries.
 To the south and west, the congress
claimed the Rio Grande as the border.
 The Mexican government did not
recognize this border.
 Many people who lived south and
west of the Nueces River still
considered themselves Mexicans.
 Selecting a capital was also an issue.
 Ad interim President Burnet, moved
the capital from Velasco to Columbia
and officials found the town too
 John and Augustus Allen had recently
founded a town near Harrisburg on
the Buffalo Bayou and named it in
honor of Houston.
 In late 1836, the Congress named
Houston the temporary capital.
 Republic of Texas soldiers
 The new government faced a
challenge from its own army.
 Many volunteers from the U.S. who
arrived to late to fight in the
revolution were still eager for action.
 Felix Huston, the army’s commander
and many others wanted to invade
 Houston considered the move too
 To stop the growing unrest, Houston
replaced Huston with Albert Sidney
 This only led to more conflict.
 The decision angered Huston, and he
challenged Johnston to a duel and
severely wounded him.
 With Johnston unable to take
command, unrest in the army grew.
Albert Sidney Johnston
 One commander urged the soldiers to
march on the capital to cause trouble.
 To regain control, Houston placed all
but 600 troops on leave and never
recalled them.
 For defense and frontier protection,
Houston relied on militia companies
and the Texas Rangers.
Texas Rangers
 The new nation had serious financial
problems. Its spending far exceeded its
When Houston took office, the Republic had
a debt of $1.25 million dollars.
The new nation collected taxes and placed
customs duties on imported goods.
Texas officials tried to get loans from the
The Republic also put public lands for sale.
Despite these efforts, the debt increased.
A political cartoon laments
unemployment brought on by the
Panic of 1837
 The U.S. experienced a
financial crisis in 1837. This
Panic of 1837, led to an
economic depression.
 Texas traded heavily with the
U.S. and soon felt the effects.
 Business slowed and goods
became scarce..
 The Republics limited money supply
posed another problem. The
government printed more money, but
had no gold or silver to back it up.
 Texas manufactured few goods and
had to import many items.
 As debt grew, confidence for the
government fell and the value of its
money dropped
 Although the Republic was in debt, it
was rich in land.
 In 1836, Texas claimed more than 200
million acres of public land.
 The Constitution of 1836, povided for
a land policy based on the Spanish,
Mexican and southern U.S. practices.
 Heads of families living in Texas on March
2, 1836 – excluding African Americans
and American Indians– were guaranteed
4,606 acres.
Single men aged 17 and over were
guaranteed 1,476 acres.
Veterans of the Texas Revolution was
given more land.
Later laws provided smaller land grants
to new settlers.
In all, the Republic distributed 37 million
acres under this land policy.
 To encourage immigration, the
Republic established a colonization
policy in the early 1840’s .
 Based on the Mexican empresario
system, this policy gave agents
contracts to settle immigrants in
 The Republic distributed another 4.5
million acres under this system.
 As settlements spread on to American
Indian land, many conflicts arose.
 American Indians wanted to keep their
land, but many Texans wanted to
remove them from Texas – by force if
 President Houston opposed such action
and supported a peaceful solution.
 He wanted to avoid a full-scale Indian
war, which the Republic could not afford.
 Houston sympathized with the Indian’s
desire to control their land.
 During the Revolution, Houston had
negotiated a treaty with the
Cherokee guaranteeing title and
control of land in East Texas.
 The Texas Senate refused to ratify
the treaty and Mexican agents
convinced some of them to fight the
 President Houston urged the
Cherokee and wrote to their leader,
Chief Bowles, to be patient and told
them that he would try and help them
hold on to their land.
 Houston set aside land for the
Cherokee in an attempt to keep the
 This angered many Texas settlers
who wanted land and viewed the
Cherokee as Mexican allies.
Texas Cherokee
 Chief Bowles agreed to help Texas
officials establish peace with Plains
Indians to the west, where fighting
had increased.
 The Comanche, Kiowa, Wichita and
other Plains Indians viewed these
newcomers as invaders and attacked
 Comanche and Kiowa forces attacked
Fort Parker and killed most of the 34
residents and took five captives
Chief Bowles and Sam Houston
 Houston and the Congress developed an
American Indian policy to reduce
conflicts and protect Texas settlers.
 The policy established a line of forts along
the frontier and encouraged trade with
the Indians.
 It was hoped that the policy would
promote peace and friendship.
 While the Texas Rangers patrolled the
frontier, Houston tried to negotiate and
sign treaties with Texas Indians.
Texas Rangers on the Frontier
 Houston attempted to make peace with
each American Indian group in Texas.
 He was one of the few Texas leaders
who believed that Indians and settlers
could live together in peace.
 Most Texans in the Republic disagreed
and preferred to remove the Indians
from Texas.
 Some Texans believed that Houston’s
policy was slowing westward expansion.