Texas involvment in Slavery

One of the most unique
situations during the period of the Civil War in America was
the involvement of the state of Texas in the Confederacy.
Although it was once its own Republic separate from the
United States of America through annexation, Texas was not
entirely unique when it came to the institution of slavery. Just
like in all other southern states, slavery, and the use of slave
labor, was a major factor of the states agricultural economy.
During the years around and through the Civil War, Texas
became a home for many transient southerners in search of
sanctuary from the almost enviable furthering of
emancipation. Long before the war, Texas had been the
stomping ground for runaway slaves enroute to Mexico and
in search of freedom. The state of Texas was not only one of
the new frontier territories toward the west but it became
one of the final places in America were slavery was
practiced. Because of its geography much of Texas
remained untouched and unsettled. Many adventurous
plantation owners felt it necessary to keep news of the war
and emancipation from their slaves as much as a year after
the end of the war.(Campbell 249) The topic I have chosen
for my research to discuss the history of slavery in Texas
during the years of the Civil War. How the institution was
altered because of the Civil War and the process by which
emancipation was handed to black -Texans is the focus of
my report. I would like to uncover how and why slave labor
was used to both protect the state, the Confederacy and the
institution that held the future of the American Negro forever.
Well before the beginning of the Civil War, Texas and some
of its surrounding territories were property of Spain just like
its southern neighbor, Mexico. Soon after realizing their
particular suppression by Spain, Mexico fought for, and won
its independence from its mother country. Mexico now had
control of their country and the territory of Texas. As more
Americans moved west and into Texas it became evident
that there was going to be a continued clash between
Mexico and the white frontiersmen who quickly flooded
certain areas. The American government wanted to purchase
this valuable land but eventually it was taken by American
frontiersmen where it was declared its own realm. Fearful of
the loss of power if allowed into the Union, Texas expressed
in 1836 the right to join the Union under the condition that
Texas would have " free and unmolested authority over their
slave population"( Goodell P.278) Unable to come to an
agreement with the rest of the United States, Texas became
recognized as independent from the United States of
America. Although it was separate from the rest of the
United States politically, Texas was becoming more and
more similar to the rest of the South as Northerners moved
into the state and brought their position of anti-slavery with
them. Worried about the future of slavery in Texas, many
slave owners petitioned the immigration of Northerners and
expressed concern that the state might be overrun by pro-
abolitionists. Texas had a history richly imbedded in slavery
and there was little opposition from many of its original
inhabitants. Before long, continued tension between the
Northern states and the slave states began to strengthen as
more people in the North began to desire that the entire
country move towards complete emancipation. Many
citizens and leaders in Texas approached the legislature in
Texas to provide reasoning as to why Texas should continue
to be a slave state. Many of these Texans quoted the bible
as a reference and reasoning as to why it was "right" that
they continue to use "heathen" and "inferior" blacks as labor
for the superior "white dominant" masters. Like all whites in
the South many in Texas feared slave uprisings and revolts
as word of Northern slave emancipation traveled into the
border areas of Texas. Lynch mobs hung and killed people
they thought were pro- abolitionists who were organizing
anti-slavery groups and uprisings. Texans were firm in their
position that no one was going to destroy their God-given
right to have slaves and keep them. Fearful of the power of
the North over the Southern states, many states began to
consider the idea of secession as a means of both protecting
their economy and slave- aided lifestyle. When secession
from the Union started, Texas declared its position and
joined the Confederacy after declaring its secession from the
United States of America. Knowing the peculiarity of
Texas\'s situation there was ample room made by the state in
these declarations for it to seceded from the Confederacy if
it realized a better position in the near future.