Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. F.W. Gregory
The purpose of this paper is to study the Southern attitude towards Texas between 1844 and 1846. To understand the range of Southern opinions it is necessary to realize that Texas was a political issue in national affairs at this time, and national politics were extremely fractious during this era. Both Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun had a hand in the in the controversy as did the lesser luminaries of the day, Presidents John Tyler, James K. Polk and Martin Van Buren. Because some national overview is vital for a proper perspective on the problem, the first section of this paper is devoted to reviewing the overall political picture.
The second and third sections will be the body of the work. Here the arguments in favor of annexation will be broken down and classified as political, economic, legalistic, or emotional. The role of slavery will be discussed as well as the demographic considerations of Southern opinion in support of annexation. This same approach will be taken in regard to the Southern opposition to the annexation of Texas. As with most historical questions, the contemporary debate was more articulate and more easily preserved in the words of the society's leaders, the politicians. This fact limits the scope of the paper to the extent that the politicians of the day failed to be mirror images of the great majority of their constituents. To make-up for this in-built restriction, the fourth section will turn away from declared opinion and bombastic rhetoric and examine the actions of Southerners as they indicate an attitude towards Texas.
The outline of the four sections has admitted limitations. A truely exhaustive study would need to take into account the legislative annals of all the Southern states during this period and this paper considers only one primarily and two others at second-hand. Also, a definitive work would require a much broader survey of contemporary public opinion as represented in the newspaper of the day. In this paper the non-Virginian newspapers have been reflected only through secondary sources. A third limitation is the natural perverseness of research materials like the diaries of Thomas Eugene Massie, kept while traveling in Texas but kept in an undecipherable shorthand.
Clevenger, Kenneth H., "The southern attitude towards Texas, 1844-1846" (1971). Honors Theses. 438.