Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Texas History: The Civil War and Beyond

The Lone Star
The Civil War was undoubtedly one of the darkest chapters in the history of the United States. The war's effect on Texas was quite different than its effects on other states in the Confederacy and the Union. While 70,000 Texans served in the Confederate Army and participated in just about every major battle in the conflict, no major battles were fought on Texas soil. The main role of Texas at this time was as a supply state to the Confederacy. Other than manpower, beef, ammo and cotton were the most vital contributions made by the state during the war. When Union troops blockaded Galveston and other Texas ports, cotton was traded with European countries and Mexico for supplies to aid the Confederate Army in its war effort.

While the overwhelming majority of Texans supported secession from the Union, there was significant opposition to such a move, spearheaded by none other than Sam Houston his own self. From Wikipeadia , "Houston was probably the premier "Unionist" in Texas. Like most of the same in the South, he strongly believed in the doctrine of states rights, and even assured his fellow Texans he would personally lead the state out of the Union should matters justify such. However, he thought secession at the moment in time was "rash action," and certain to lead to a conflict sure to favor– in the long run– the industrial and populated North. He predicted: "Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. The North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery impulsive people as we are...but once they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum of a mighty avalanche, and what I fear is that they will overwhelm the South with ignoble defeat." Houston was clairvoyant with his words.

Texas, of course, rejoined the Union.However, her rise to prominence on the national stage lay ahead of her. She had survived a war for independence, a stint as her own country, Civil War and Yankee Carpetbaggers during Reconstruction, but she would rise to meteoric heights in the future with the same dogged determination and courage her people had displayed during the toughest of times. She is, after all, "the damnedest lady you ever saw". She is Texas. Long may she live!

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