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Map 1) Borderlands 1700-1763. Map 2) Borderlands 1763-1800. Map 3) Borderlands 1800-1819. Map 4) Borderlands 1819-1848. Moses Austin (1761-1821). Stephen F. Austin—Land Empresario. Philip Nolan (1801). A scientific expedition dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson. (1806).

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Philip Nolan (1801)

A scientific expedition dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson. (1806)

General James Wilkinson



In 1819, Dr. James Long and a force of fellow filibusters attempted to wrest Texas from Mexico. This endeavor apparently had the backing of a group of Natchez entrepreneurs who were upset over the passage of the Transcontinental Treaty of 1819. p. 57.


The Investigation and Report of Mier Y Terán

  • In order to evaluate how the national government might best deal with the troubles in Texas, Mexico dispatched Manuel de Mier y Terán, a high-ranking military officer and trained engineer, to the north. Crossing into Texas in 1828, Mier y Terán reported that:
  • The province was flooded with Anglo Americans
  • Nacogdoches had essentially become an American town
  • Prospects for assimilation of the Anglos into Mexican culture appeared dim
  • The Anglo settlements generally resisted obeying the colonization laws.
  • Mier y Terán report spurred the drafting and implementation of the Law of April 6, 1830.
  • p. 64.

The Law of April 6, 1830

  • The Law of April 6, 1830 intended to stop further immigration into Texas from the United States by declaring uncompleted empresario agreements as void, although Mier y Terán let stand as valid those contract belonging to men who had already brought 100 families.
  • Future American immigrants must not settle in any territory bordering the United States.
  • New presidio were established to check illegal immigration.
  • The Law banned further importation of slaves into Texas.
  • p. 64.

The era of Santa Anna:

An era of flamboyant caudillaje and chronic instability

1821--he switched allegiance and joined Iturbide's fight for Mexican Independence.

1823--he led republican forces against the empire and was instrumental in overthrowing Iturbide.

1827--he took the lead in suppressing Vice-President Nicolás Bravo's (conservative) revolt against President Victoria (liberal).

1828--he saw to it that the defeated liberal candidate, Vicente Guerrero, was installed in office.

1829--he defeated the Spanish invasion forces as Tampico to save the infant republic.

1832--he overthrew the Bustamante dictatorship after it had become intolerable.

But his illustrious career in a chaotic Mexico was just getting started in 1833. Indeed--if you can believe it--1833 marks the beginning of an era that was even more chaotic for Mexico.

Between May 1833 and August 1855 the presidency changed hands thirty-six times, the average term being about 7½ months. Santa Anna occupied the presidential chair on eleven different occasions, and, without question, he was the most powerful political figure in Mexico during this time. Even when he was out of office he was a powerful force to be reckoned with and a constant danger to the incumbent regime and to anyone aspiring to the succession.


Santa Anna wins the Presidency in 1833, then leaves it to Gómez Farías

In 1833, Santa Anna won the presidency with the largest majority in Mexican history. But, he soon grew bored of the presidential day-to-day work. Thus, he returned to his estate in Vera Cruz and left the presidency to Vice-President Valentín Gómez Farías.


The liberal reforms of Valentín Gómez Farías

  • Military Reforms:
    • Reduce the size of the army
    • He abolished military fueros (i.e. army officers would now have to stand trial in civil courts.)
b g mez far as s clerical reforms
B. Gómez Farías’s Clerical Reforms
  • Clergymen throughout the country were advised that they should limit their directives and admonitions from the pulpit to matters of religion.
  • The secularization of education--including the University of Mexico.
  • All future clerical appointments would be made by the government rather than the papacy. 
  • The mandatory payment of the tithe was declared illegal. (The individual was asked to search his own conscience and respond as he would.)
  • Congress enacted legislation permitting nuns, priests, and lay brothers, who had taken oaths to spend their entire lives as brides and servants of Christ, to forswear their vows. (This was done in the name of individual freedom--a concept much in vogue with the nineteenth-century liberals.)
  • The Franciscan missions in California were secularized and their funds and property sequestered.
the texas revolt
The Texas Revolt

A. Permission to settle:

 Starting in 1821, Spain and then an Independent Mexico had granted permission to Catholic (North) Americans to settle the sparsely populated territory of Texas.

 B. Incentives for settlement:

Soon there was a great influx of Americans settlers into Texas. The land was practically free--only 10¢ an acre as opposed to $1.25 an acre for inferior land in the U.S. Each male colonists over twenty-one years of age was allowed to purchase 640 acres for himself, 320 acres for his wife, 160 acres for each child and, significantly, an additional 80 acres for each slaves that he brought with him.

The numerical dominance of the American settlers:

1827: By 1827 there were some 12,000 United States citizens living in Texas, while there were only 7,000 Mexicans.

1835: By 1835 the immigrant population had reached 30,000, while the Mexican population had barely passed 7,800

the mexican response to the influx of americans
The Mexican response to the influx of Americans

1. Slavery was abolished:

The first important piece of legislation designed to prevent a further weakening of Mexican control was President Guerrero's emancipation proclamation of 1829. Because slavery as not important anywhere else in the republic, the measure was clearly directed at Texas. Although manumission was not immediately enforced, it was hoped that the decree itself would make Mexico less attractive to colonists from the U.S. South and would thus arrest immigration.

2. Forbiddance of further immigration:

The colonization law of 1830 explicitly forbade all future immigration into Texas from the United States and called for the strengthening of Mexican garrisons, the improvement of economic ties between Texas and the remainder of Mexico by the establishment of a new coastal trade, and the encouragement of increased Mexican colonization.


October 2, 1835—The Battle of Gonzales. The first battle of the Texas Revolution begins when Santa Anna sends a detachment of Mexican Calvary to retrieve a cannon. Texans drive them back using the cannon. The battle flag used by the Texans features a picture of a cannon and the written dare "come and take it."

the texans response
The Texans Response

The Texans considered these measures repressive. The last straw, as far as the Texans were concerned, was the news from Mexico City that Santa Anna had arbitrarily annulled the federal Constitution of 1824. The centralist tendencies of the new regime meant that, instead of having a greater voice in the management of local affairs, the Texans were to have no voice at all.

The Lone Stare Republic is declared.

The Texans had decided on independence and subsequently chose David Burnet as president of the Lone Star Republic and Zavala as vice-president.


* 1835: Santa Anna moves north at the head of some 6,000 troops.

* In 1836 a Mexican force of about 4000 men commanded by Santa Anna reached San Antonio. The San Antonio garrison—187 men under the command of Colonel William Barrett Travis—withdrew to the Alamo. About 15 civilians were with the men inside the Alamo. Santa Anna attacked the Alamo, eventually breaching the mission walls. Only the civilians survived.


The Goliad Affair: Mexican forces executed 365 Texan prisoners who had surrendered. Several weeks after the surrender of the Alamo, Genaral José Urrea engaged a force of Texans under the command of Colonel James W. Fannin at the small town of Goliad. Surrounded and outnumbered, Fannin surrendered in the belief that he and his men would be afforded the recognized rights of prisoners of war. Realizing that the tenor of the war had been set at the Alamo, General Urrea wrote to Santa Anna urging clemency for Fannin and the other prisoners. Urrea then moved on to another engagement and left the Texas prisoners in the charge of Lieutenant Colonel Nicolás de la Portilla. Santa Anna, however, ordered Nicolás de la Portilla to execute the prisoners, which he promptly did despite some moral misgiving. All 365 prisoners were executed.


The Houston administration also passed legislation to encourage immigration and raise revenue; for this it turned to land, the government’s most tangible resource. The ad interim government had provided headrights (grants of land that obliged grantees to comply with certain conditions, such as improving the land) in order to entice volunteers into the Texas army. (p. 90.)

Texas Forever!! [New Orleans? 1836]. Broadside, CN 00834, Broadside Collection. This is the only known copy of an inflammatory circular issued in New Orleans that demonized the Mexican army and offered substantial inducements of land to all who would come to aid the Texan cause. The broadside contains a brief account of the Alamo siege, the outcome of which was still unknown at the time this circular was issued.


Santa Anna is defeated and captured at the Battle of San Jacinto:

The excesses committed by Santa Anna's troops at the Alamo and Goliad crystallized opposition to Mexico both among Texans and in the United States. Supplies and men began to pour into Texas, and by the third week in April Houston felt strong enough to make a stand. He chose his own ground and, in the middle of the afternoon on April 21, caught Santa Anna's troops of guard near San Jacinto River. Within half an hour the Mexican arm was routed, and Santa Anna himself fled for safety. Two days later he was captured by one of Houston's patrols.


In this popular print the victorious General Houston, dressed in colorful Indian garb, vents his moral wrath on the defeated Mexican commanders. The contemporary lithograph suggests how deeply the events of the Texas Revolution resonated in the United States.