Texas Revolution

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Texas Revolution

Texas Revolution, series of events and military battles that resulted in the independence of Texas. Unrest began with the Fredonian Rebellion (1826), when some Anglo settlers disputed with Mexican authorities over land claims. In 1832 Anglo-Mexican clashes were exacerbated by the end of the customs exemption (a seven-year dispensation from paying some tariffs or customs taxes on imports and exports to promote economic development of the region), the desire for more local government, and fears that slavery might be abolished as well as by underlying ethnic and cultural differences. Despite creation of new municipalities in Texas, centralization of power in Mexico by President Antonio López de Santa Anna in 1834 and land speculation revived earlier issues and led to renewed conflict in 1835. Opposition to Santa Anna flared in several Mexican states. Texans rejected calls for the arrest of resistance leaders in the summer of 1835. In October they defended a cannon at Gonzales and then captured a small Mexican garrison at Goliad. Under Stephen Fuller Austin, an army of Anglo and Mexican Texans besieged San Antonio later that month. Led by Edward Burleson (1793–1851) and Ben Milam (1788–1835), they captured the town from General Martín Perfecto de Cos in December.

In November, the Texas Consultation government publicly took a federalist stand in favor of the Constitution of 1824, though many Anglo Texans urged independence. Governor Henry Smith (1788–1851) and a general council failed to cooperate or accomplish much during the winter. Meanwhile, Santa Anna gathered an army to put down the revolt. A few Texas troops held San Antonio while volunteers from the United States moved to the Goliad area for an advance on Matamoros. Santa Anna's army surrounded the Texans in San Antonio, commanded by William B. Travis during late February 1836 and stormed the Alamo on March 6, while the Texas Convention of 1836 declared an independent republic on March 2. Later that month, near Goliad, a second Mexican force under José Urrea defeated or captured four groups of Texans, the largest led by James W. Fannin, and executed the prisoners. Sam Houston gathered another Texas army but retreated. The government of President David G. Burnet retreated as well. On April 21 at San Jacinto, Houston defeated a wing of the Mexican army led by Santa Anna. As a prisoner, Santa Anna signed the Velasco treaty, which granted Texas independence and ended the conflict.

See alsoAlamo, Battle of the; Austin, Stephen Fuller; Cos, Martín Perfecto de; Santa Anna, Antonio López de; Texas; Urrea, José de.


The best summaries of the Texas Revolution are in David J. Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821–1846 (1982); and Paul D. Lack, The Texas Revolutionary Experience: a Political and Social History, 1835–1836 (1992). Andreas V. Reichstein, Rise of the Lone Star: The Making of Texas (1989), emphasizes land issues. An older account of some value is Eugene C. Barker, "Texas Revolution," in The Handbook of Texas, edited by Walter Prescott Webb and H. Bailey Carroll, vol. 2 (1952), pp. 757-758.

Additional Bibliography

Brands, H. W. Lone Star Nation: How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle for Texas Independence, and Changed America. New York: Doubleday, 2004.

Davis, William C. Lone Star Rising: The Revolutionary Birth of the Texas Republic. New York: Free Press, 2004.

                                            Alwyn Barr

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Texas Revolution