The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico. The convention was the first in a series of unsuccessful attempts at political negotiation that eventually led to the Texas Revolution.
Mexican Texas is the historiographical name used to refer to the era of Texan history between 1821 and 1836, when it was part of Mexico. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 after winning its war. Initially, Mexican Texas operated similarly to Spanish Texas. Ratification of the 1824 Constitution of Mexico created a federal structure, and the province of Tejas was joined with the province of Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas.
The Texas Revolution was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.
Under the 1824 Constitution of Mexico, Texas was denied independent statehood and merged into the new state Coahuila y Tejas. After growing suspicion that the United States government would attempt to seize Texas by force, in 1830 Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante enacted the Law of April 6, 1830 which restricted immigration and called for customs duty enforcement. Tensions erupted in June 1832, when Texas residents systematically expelled all Mexican troops from eastern Texas.
The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 was enacted on October 4 of 1824, after the overthrow of the Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with Catholicism as the official and unique religion. It was replaced by the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857.
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. A Conservative, he first came to power by leading a coup against President Vicente Guerrero. Bustamante was deposed twice and exiled to Europe both times.
The lack of military oversight emboldened the colonists to increase their political activity. On October 1, 1832, 55 political delegates met at San Felipe de Austin to petition for changes in the governance of Texas. Notably absent was any representation from San Antonio de Béxar, where many of the native Mexican settlers ( Tejanos ) lived. The delegates elected Stephen F. Austin, a highly respected empresario , as president of the convention.
San Felipe, also known as San Felipe de Austin, is a town in Austin County, Texas, United States. The town was the social, economic, and political center of the early Stephen F. Austin colony. The population was 747 at the 2010 census.
Tejanos are the Hispanic residents of the state of Texas who are culturally descended from the original Spanish-speaking settlers of Tejas, Coahuila, and other northern Mexican states. They may be variously of Criollo Spaniard or Mestizo origin. Alongside Californios and Neomexicanos, Tejanos are part of the larger Chicano/Mexican-American/Hispano community of the United States, who have lived in the American Southwest since the 16th century.
Stephen Fuller Austin was an American empresario. Known as the "Father of Texas", and the founder of Texas, he led the second, and ultimately, the successful colonization of the region by bringing 300 families from the United States to the region in 1825.
Delegates passed a series of resolutions requesting, among other things, a repeal of the immigration restrictions, a three-year exclusion from customs duties enforcement, permission to form an armed militia and independent statehood. They also voted themselves the power to call future conventions. Before the petition could be delivered to Mexico City, the political chief of Texas, Ramón Músquiz, ruled that the convention was illegal and annulled the resolutions. In a compromise, the ayuntamiento (city council) of San Antonio de Béxar drafted a new petition with similar language to the convention resolutions and submitted it through proper legal channels. Músquiz forwarded the new document to the Mexican Congress.
A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.
Don Ramón Músquiz (1797–1867) was the Governor of Coahuila and Texas from 1830 to 1831 and in 1835. He promoted the expansion into Texas and peaceful relations of its population, regardless of their nationalities.
A cabildo or ayuntamiento was a Spanish colonial, and early post-colonial, administrative council which governed a municipality. Cabildos were sometimes appointed, sometimes elected; but they were considered to be representative of all land-owning heads of household (vecinos). The colonial cabildo was essentially the same as the one developed in medieval Castile.
In 1821 several of Spain's former colonies in the New World won their independence and banded together to create a new country, Mexico. The Constitution of 1824 established Mexico as a federalist republic comprising multiple states. Sparsely populated former Spanish provinces were denied independent statehood and instead merged with neighboring areas. The former Spanish Texas, which marked Mexico's eastern border with the United States, was combined with Coahuila to form the new state Coahuila y Tejas.To assist in governing the large area, the state was subdivided into several departments; all of Texas was included in the Department of Béxar. With the formation of a new state government, the Texas provincial governing committee was forced to disband, and the capital was moved from San Antonio de Béxar to Saltillo. Many Tejanos —native Mexican citizens who lived in Texas—were reluctant to give up their self-rule.
The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.
Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government with regional governments in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.
Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1690 until 1821.
The bankrupt federal government was unable to provide much military assistance to the settlers in Texas, who faced frequent raids by native tribes. Hoping that an influx of settlers could control the raids, in 1824 the government appointed empresarios to encourage families from the United States and Europe to settle in Texas.However, as the number of settlers from the US and other non-Spanish-speaking areas increased in Texas, Mexican authorities became apprehensive that the United States might wish to annex the area, possibly using force. On April 6, 1830, the Mexican government passed a series of laws restricting immigration from the United States into Texas. The laws also cancelled all unfilled empresario contracts and called for the first enforcement of customs duties.
An empresario was a person who had been granted the right to settle on land in exchange for recruiting and taking responsibility for settling the eastern areas of Coahuila y Tejas in the early nineteenth century. The word is Spanish for entrepreneur.
The new laws angered both Tejanos and recent immigrants (Texians).Stephen F. Austin, a well-respected empresario who had brought the first group of American settlers to Texas, warned Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante that the laws seemed designed to destroy the colonies. Texas's two delegates to the state legislature, both Tejanos, were so vocal in their opposition that one of them was expelled from the legislature. Austin was elected to fill his seat, and in December 1830 he left for Saltillo.
Implementation of the laws led to much tension within Texas. Much to the displeasure of the colonists, a new military post was established in Anahuac to begin collecting customs duties. The commander of the post, Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn, often clashed with the locals over his strict interpretation of Mexican law. In June 1832, colonists armed themselves and marched on Anahuac. As a result of these Anahuac Disturbances, Bradburn was forced to resign.
The small Texian rebellion coincided with a revolt led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna against Bustamante's centralist government.The chaos in the Mexican interior and the Texian success at Anahuac emboldened other Texas settlers to take arms against garrisons throughout eastern Texas. Within weeks, settlers expelled all Mexican soldiers from eastern Texas. Free from military oversight, the settlers began to increase their political activity.
Buoyed by their success, Texians organized a political convention to persuade Mexican authorities to weaken the L830.On August 22, the ayuntamiento at San Felipe de Austin (the capital of Austin's colony) called for each district to elect five delegates. Although Austin attempted to dissuade the instigators, elections were held before his return from Saltillo. Sixteen communities chose delegates. The two municipalities with the largest Tejano population, San Antonio de Béxar and Victoria, refused to participate. The majority of the elected delegates were known as relatively even-tempered. Many known agitators, such as James Bowie and William B. Travis, were defeated. Tejanos did not have a large presence at the convention, largely due to the boycott by the Béxar and Victoria municipalities. Convention organizers invited several prominent Tejanos from these towns to attend, but all declined.
On October 1, 1832, 55 delegates met in San Felipe de Austin;attendance may have been diminished due to the short notice. The gathering marked the first time residents from each of the colonies had convened to discuss common goals.
The convention was called to order by John Austin, one of the alcaldes of San Felipe de Austin.In his remarks, John Austin laid out four key points that the convention needed to address: the "misrepresentations" made by "enemies of Texas" that the settlers desired independence from Mexico, an appeal of the restrictions on immigration from the United States, a method to grant land titles to residents in certain areas of the province, and reduction of tariffs on many imported items. The first order of business was the election of officers. Stephen F. Austin and William H. Wharton, a known hothead, were nominated to lead the convention; Austin won, 31–15. Frank W. Johnson, who had led the armed resistance at the Anahuac Disturbances, was elected secretary. In his acceptance speech, Austin praised the delegates for exerting their constitutional rights to petition the government.
Over the next six days, the delegates adopted a series of resolutions requesting changes in the governance of Texas.Historian Eugene Campbell Barker suggests that the discussions would likely not have concluded so swiftly unless the delegates had done "considerable preparation before the meeting". Several of the resolutions were designed to stimulate the local economy. Delegates requested that customs duty enforcement be delayed until 1835 and that citizens be granted a method to remove corrupt customs officers. Resolutions encouraged that land titles be issued more quickly and that public lands be sold to raise money for bilingual schools. Delegates from Nacogdoches asked that the government take a firmer hand in preventing new settlers from encroaching on lands that had previously been promised to native tribes. After explaining that law-abiding potential citizens were being excluded from Texas while disreputable squatters continued to stream illegally in, the delegates asked for the repeal of the prohibition on immigration from the United States. Furthermore, they requested permission to raise a militia, ostensibly for protection from marauding native tribes. The most controversial resolution asked that Texas become an independent state, separate from Coahuila. The separation request was added by a vote of 36–12. The motion included as justification the fact that Coahuila and Texas were very dissimilar in climate and economy and mentioned that Texas's limited representation in the state legislature made it very difficult to enact laws that specifically addressed the needs of its citizens. Delegates insisted that independent statehood was not a pretext for secession from Mexico.
After approving the list of resolutions, delegates created a seven-member central committee to convene future meetings.The central committee would be based in San Felipe "for the purpose of circulating information of events of importance to the interest of the people". In addition, each municipality was asked to create a committee of correspondence and safety. The sub-committees would keep in close contact with the central committee because "united our strength and resources are more than adequate to our defense in any possible event. Disunited, we may become an easy prey, even to a handful of cowardly invaders."
The convention adjourned on October 6 after unanimously electing Wharton to deliver the resolutions to the state legislature in Saltillo and to the Mexican Congress in Mexico City.Just before the group dispersed, Rafael Manchola, the alcalde (mayor) of Goliad, arrived. He was the only delegate from Goliad and the only Tejano to appear at the convention. Manchola volunteered to accompany Wharton at his own expense—he and other delegates thought the expedition might have more success if a Tejano was also involved. Days later, Austin wrote that "we have just had a convention of all Texas, native Mexicans and foreign settlers—all united as one man".
Following the convention, much of the unrest in Texas subsided. Austin believed the public was calmed simply by having the opportunity to air their grievances. Before the list of concerns could be presented to the state and federal governments, Ramón Músquiz, the political chief, or head, of the Department of Béxar, ruled that the convention was illegal.This type of activism was traditionally forbidden in Texas. The law directed that citizens should protest to their local ayuntamiento (similar to a city council), which would forward their concerns to the political chief. The political chief could then escalate the concerns to the state or federal government. Because the colonists had not followed this process, Músquiz annulled their resolutions. The ayuntamientos at San Felipe, Nacogdoches, Gonzales and Liberty half-heartedly apologized for their participation, and Wharton's mission was cancelled.
The lack of Tejano representation and the San Antonio de Béxar residents' refusal to participate fostered a perception that only newcomers to Texas were dissatisfied.Austin agreed to meet with the political leaders in San Antonio de Béxar to persuade them to support the resolutions. These Tejano leaders, including Erasmo Seguin, largely agreed with the result of the convention but opposed the methods by which the resolutions had been proposed. The Tejano leaders urged patience; Bustamante was still president and would not look favorably on a petition from Texas settlers who had sided with his rival, Santa Anna.
Austin and the Tejano leaders agreed to a compromise. Because San Antonio de Béxar was the seat of the Department of Béxar, its ayuntamiento drafted a petition containing similar language to the convention resolutions.The petition was endorsed by the ayuntamientos at Goliad, San Felipe, and Nacogdoches and then given to Músquiz, who forwarded it to the Mexican Congress in early 1833. Although Músquiz had publicly supported the petition, he secretly included a note to the Coahuila y Tejas governor warning that this might be a precursor to secession.
The political leaders also agreed to Austin's stipulation that if the federal government refused to address the petition within several months, Texas residents would form their own state government, essentially declaring independence from Coahuila, if not from Mexico.The central committee elected by the convention was too impatient to wait long. In late December, the committee called for a March election for delegates to the Convention of 1833. The second convention reiterated some of the previous concerns and took additional steps to declare Texas an independent state, further concerning Mexican authories, who feared this was a step towards Texas joining the United States.
The Mexican government attempted to address some of the concerns identified by the conventions of 1832 and 1833. In November 1833, part of the Laws of April 6, 1830 were repealed, allowing Americans to immigrate legally to Texas.Several months later, Texas was granted increased representation in the Coahuila y Tejas legislature. Several American legal concepts, such as trial by jury, were introduced to Texas, and English was authorized as a second language. Unimpressed with these compromises, some Texas residents continued to campaign for independent statehood. Rising tensions eventually led to the Texas Revolution, which began in October 1835.
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. A detailed, first-hand account of the battle was written by General Houston from Headquarters of the Texian Army, San Jacinto, on April 25, 1836. Numerous secondary analyses and interpretations have followed, several of which are cited and discussed throughout this entry.
Juan Nepomuceno Seguín was a Tejano political and military figure of the Texas Revolution who helped to establish the independence of Texas and signed its declaration of independence. Numerous places and institutions are named in his honor, including the county seat of Seguin in Guadalupe County, the Juan N. Seguin Memorial Interchange in Houston, Juan Seguin Monument in Seguin, World War II Liberty Ship SS Juan N. Seguin, Seguin High School in Arlington.
The Anahuac Disturbances were uprisings of settlers in and around Anahuac, Texas in 1832 and 1835 which helped to precipitate the Texas Revolution. This eventually led to the territory's secession from Mexico and the founding of the Republic of Texas. Anahuac was located on the east side of the Trinity River near the north shore of Galveston Bay, which placed it astride the trade route between Texas and Louisiana, and from there to the rest of the United States. In new attempts to curtail smuggling and enforce customs tariffs from the coastal settlements, Mexico placed a garrison there after 1830. American settlers came into conflict with Mexican military officers, and rose up against them. They increased political activity and residents of numerous communities declared support for the federalists, who were revolting against the Mexican Government.
José Antonio Navarro was a Texas statesman, revolutionary, rancher, and merchant. The son of Ángel Navarro and Josefa María Ruiz y Peña, he was born into a distinguished noble family at San Antonio de Béxar in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. His uncle was José Francisco Ruiz and his brother-in-law was Juan Martín de Veramendi.
The Convention of 1833, a political gathering of settlers in Mexican Texas, was a successor to the Convention of 1832, whose requests had not been addressed by the Mexican government. Despite the political uncertainty resulting from a recently concluded civil war, 56 delegates met in San Felipe de Austin to draft a series of petitions to the Government of Mexico.
The Consultation served as the provisional government of Mexican Texas from October 1835 to March 1836 during the Texas Revolution. Tensions rose in Texas during early 1835 as throughout Mexico federalists began to oppose the increasingly centralist policies of the government. In the summer, Texians elected delegates to a political convention to be held in Gonzales in mid-October. Weeks before the convention and war began, settlers took up arms against Mexican soldiers at the Battle of Gonzales. The convention was postponed until November 1 after many of the delegates joined the newly organized volunteer Texian Army to initiate a siege of the Mexican garrison at San Antonio de Bexar. On November 3, a quorum was reached in San Antonio. Within days, the delegates passed a resolution to define why Texians were fighting. They expressed allegiance to the deposed Constitution of 1824 and maintained their right to form an independent government while this document was not in effect. Henry Smith was elected governor of the new provisional government and the remaining delegates formed a General Council. In the next weeks, the council authorized the creation of a new regular army to be commanded by Sam Houston. As Houston worked to establish an army independent from the existing volunteer army, the council repeatedly interfered in military matters.
Francis White "Frank" Johnson was a leader of the Texian Army from December 1835 through February 1836, during the Texas Revolution. Johnson arrived in Texas in 1826 and worked as a surveyor for several empresarios, including Stephen F. Austin. One of his first activities was to plot the new town of Harrisburg. Johnson unsuccessfully tried to prevent the Fredonian Rebellion and served as a delegate to the Convention of 1832.
Rafael Antonio Manchola was a politician and military officer in Mexican Texas. He twice served as commandant of Presidio La Bahía. He served two terms in the legislature of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. At his behest, the community which had grown outside the fort was renamed Goliad and elevated in status to a villa. During his legislative service, Manchola also negotiated official boundaries for the colony of his father-in-law, Martín De León, and had a commissioner appointed to grant official titles to the settlers in that colony. After returning home, Manchola became the alcade of Goliad and initiated a resolution–then considered illegal– supporting the Constitution of 1824 and Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He briefly attended the Convention of 1832 and volunteered to accompany William H. Wharton in journeying to Mexico City to request separate statehood for Texas. The mission was postponed, and Manchola died of cholera in late 1832 or early 1833.
Agustín Viesca (1790–1845) was a governor of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas in 1835. He was the brother of José María Viesca, also a governor of Coahuila y Tejas during 1827-1831.
Juan Jose Maria Erasmo Seguin was a prominent citizen and politician in San Antonio de Bexar in the 19th century. From 1807 until 1835, Seguin served as head postmaster of San Antonio, Texas. After Mexico achieved independence from Spain, Seguín was named the sole representative from Texas to the constitutional convention. He helped to draft the Constitution of 1824 and was a major influence in the addition of a general colonization provision. Seguín assisted Stephen F. Austin in choosing land for the first colony of American settlers to immigrate to Texas. He later supported the Texas Revolution, providing political as well as material support.
Salvador Flores served as a volunteer in the Texan Army in 1835–1836. He was instrumental in organizing and commanding Texian volunteers in support of the Texas Revolution. He participated in many battles and would rise through the ranks to reach Captain status during the fight for Texas independence from Mexico. Salvador continued to provide protection for the ranches and settlers of Texas throughout the Republic years.
José Gaspar Flores de Abrego (1781–1836) was a Tejano who served three terms as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He was also a land commissioner and associate of Austin's early colonists.
Manuel Flores served as a volunteer in the Texas army in 1835–1838. Fighting and commanding, he rose through the ranks to reach sergeant status during the fight for Texas independence and was commissioned a captain during the Republic years.
James Grant (1793–1836) was a 19th-century Texas politician, physician and military participant in the Texas Revolution.
Jose Miguel de Arciniega (1793–1849) was a Mexican military explorer and legislator. He was mayor of San Antonio, Texas, in 1830 and 1833.