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Sam Houston and the Knights of the Golden Circle

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  • cherokeeraven
    Sam Houston and the Knights of the Golden Circle Texans vote not once but twice to leave the Union Even though the outcome was never in doubt on Feb. 1, 1861,
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 27, 2009
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      Sam Houston and the Knights of the Golden Circle
      Texans vote not once but twice to leave the Union

      Even though the outcome was never in doubt on Feb. 1, 1861, tension
      was in the air as the time came for the 174 delegates to the special
      convention to cast their ballots on the question of secession.

      James W. Throckmorton rose in opposition to the resolution that would
      end the decade and a half of Lone Star statehood. "Mr. President," the
      Collin County representative said to the presiding officer, "in view
      of the responsibility, in the presence of God and my country, and
      unawed by the wild spirit of revolution around me, I vote 'no.'"

      In spite of the defiant dissident's impassioned eloquence, only seven
      delegates joined the future governor in registering their rejection of
      the secession ordinance.

      Of the 400,000 whites living in Texas, 95 percent owned no slaves and
      cared little about preserving the "peculiar institution" of black
      bondage. Nevertheless, having grown up with slavery the vast majority
      saw it was an integral part of the natural order of their world. Fear
      of the economic and social consequences of emancipation made poor
      whites especially susceptible to manipulation by firebrand
      opportunists.

      Strong ties of family heritage inexorably pulled most Texans into the
      coming calamity. Nine of out 10 in 1850 were either immigrants from
      the Deep South or first-generation offspring of Southern-born parents.
      The debate he had dismissed as irrelevant in the past became a matter
      of personal honor for the typical Texan, who could not stand idly by
      as his Dixie kin marched off to war.

      Ironically, in Texas and throughout the South, the slave-holding
      planters dreaded secession and the prospect of a military reckoning
      with the industrialized North. Their fear stemmed from private doubts
      about the chances of a southern victory and the catastrophic cost of
      defeat.

      Texas planters cautiously threw their support behind Sam Houston, who
      was nearing the end of his second term in the United States Senate.
      While sympathetic to Southern criticism of the national government and
      the fanatical wing of the abolitionist movement, Houston denounced the
      dangerous talk of secession.

      Constituents at first shrugged off his unpopular position as the
      latest of the outspoken General's eccentricities. But his 1854 vote
      against the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, a loyalty test for Southern
      senators, so infuriated the Texas legislature that Houston was forced
      to abandon his bid for a third term. In those days, senators were
      elected by state legislatures.

      The hero of San Jacinto came home in 1857 to run for governor and
      waged a vigorous campaign against staunch secessionist Hardin Runnels.
      But his charismatic best was just not good enough, and he suffered his
      first repudiation at the polls.

      Houston diligently mended fences and broadened his political base in
      the aftermath of the ballot-box embarrassment. His new allies included
      the Know-Nothings of the American Party, a secret group whose primary
      appeal was a double-barrel bias against Catholics and foreigners. With
      his mixed bag of backers, Houston thrashed Runnels in their 1859
      gubernatorial rematch, but the comeback testifi ed to Texans' enduring
      respect for a living legend rather than a change of heart on the
      secession issue.

      John Brown's suicidal attack on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry
      in the fall of 1859 shattered the faint hope of escaping the domestic
      bloodbath. Abolitionists embraced Brown as a heroic martyr, while
      panic and paranoia gripped the South. The election the next year of
      Abraham Lincoln by a 40 percent plurality set the stage for secession
      and inevitable war.

      Weary and frustrated at the age of 67, Houston was powerless as a pro-
      Union governor. Under the tremendous pressure of the crisis, he
      drifted into fantasy reviving his pet scheme of saving Texas and the
      nation with an invasion of Mexico. His improbable co-conspirators in
      this far-fetched plot, which did not progress to the planning stage,
      were the shadowy Knights of the Golden Circle.

      The statewide referendum ordered by the special convention resulted in
      a 3-to-1 verdict in favor of Texas seceding from the United States.
      The negative vote in ten predominantly German counties and eight
      others north of Dallas was swamped by the zealous turnout everywhere
      else. A small minority, which advocated a restoration of the Republic
      and a policy of neutrality toward the war, was rashly ignored.

      Texas officially left the Union on Mar. 2, 1861 and joined the
      Confederacy. Houston refused to take the Confederate oath of
      allegiance, and an awkward stand-off ensued for two tense weeks.

      During this limbo, President Lincoln offered federal troops to keep
      Houston in office, and the General firmly declined. Whatever his
      differences with the secessionists, he did not want the war to start
      on Lone Star soil.

      After his ouster on Mar. 16, an exhausted and downhearted Houston went
      into seclusion at his home in Huntsville. A month later, Rebel forces
      fired on Fort Sumner, and the four years of civil carnage commenced.

      "Revolution & Republic: Texas 1832-1846" - the latest "Best of This
      Week in Texas History"
      http://www.dibollfreepress.com/news/2009/0129/history/024.html

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KnightsoftheGoldenCircle
    • William H Keene
      ... About 3/4 of the 400,000 whites were women or children, some of whom were married to or children of slave owners.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 27, 2009
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "cherokeeraven"
        <SouthernCherokee@...> wrote:
        > ...
        > Of the 400,000 whites living in Texas, 95 percent owned no slaves

        About 3/4 of the 400,000 whites were women or children, some of whom
        were married to or children of slave owners.
      • Bob Huddleston
        Using the census archive at the University of Virginia, 28% of Texas families owned slaves. By comparison, in 1950 only about 2% of American families owned
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 27, 2009
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          Using the census archive at the University of Virginia, 28% of Texas families owned slaves. By comparison, in 1950 only about 2% of American families owned corporate stock valued as much as the value of a slave. See how many people voted for the Socialist party in 1948 or 52. Indeed, today fewer than half of American families own any stock, let alone more than $1000.

          In decreasing order, family slave ownership in 1860 was:
          Mississippi                                    49%
          South Carolina                              48%
          Georgia                                         37%
          Alabama                                       35%
          Florida                                          34%
          Louisiana                                      29%
          Texas & North Carolina                28% each
          Virginia                                          26%
          Tennessee                                    25%
          Kentucky                                    23%
          Arkansas                                    20%
          Missouri                                     13%
          Maryland                                   12%
          Delaware                                     3%

          You may notice a pattern here! :>)
           

          Tremont House Hotel

          Galveston, Texas

          April 19, 1861

           

          Excerpt..................

           

          You may, after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure, and hundreds of thousands of precious lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence, if God be not against you; but I doubt it.

           

          I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of States rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union . They are not fiery impulsive people as you are, for they live in cooler climates.

           

          But when they begin to move in a given direction, where great interests are involved, such as the present issues before the country, they move with steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche, and what I fear is they will overwhelm the South with ignoble defeat.

                                                                                                                                   ---Sam Houston
          Take care,
          
          Bob
          
          Judy and Bob Huddleston
          10643 Sperry Street
          Northglenn, CO  80234-3612
          Huddleston.r@...
          
          The Civil War can be described as the kudzu vine of American historiography: books about it will grow anywhere, in vast numbers.


          William H Keene wrote:

          --- In civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com, "cherokeeraven"
          <SouthernCherokee@ ...> wrote:
          > ...
          > Of the 400,000 whites living in Texas, 95 percent owned no slaves

          About 3/4 of the 400,000 whites were women or children, some of whom
          were married to or children of slave owners.

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