History of Texas (1865–99)

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Following the defeat of the Confederate States in the American Civil War, Texas was mandated to rejoin the United States of America. Union Army soldiers officially occupied the state starting on June 19, 1865; the date is now commemorated as the holiday Juneteenth, recognizing the official emancipation of slaves in the state. For the next nine years, Texas was governed by a series of provisional governors as the state went through Reconstruction. Texas fully rejoined the United States in 1901, with a new state constitution approved in 1903.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


Much of the politics of the remainder of the century centered on land use. Guided by the federal Morill Act, Texas sold public lands to gain funds to invest in higher education. In 1876, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas opened, and seven years later the University of Texas at Austin began conducting classes. New land use policies drafted during the administration of Governor John Ireland enabled individuals to accumulate land, leading to the formation of large cattle ranches. Many ranchers ran barbed wire around public lands, to protect their access to water and free grazing. This caused several range wars. Governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross guided the Texan legislature to reform the land use policies.

Texas A&M University public research university in College Station, Texas, United States

Texas A&M University is a public research university in College Station, Texas, United States. Since 1948, it has been the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. The Texas A&M system endowment is among the 10 largest endowments in the nation. As of 2017, Texas A&M's student body is the largest in Texas and the second largest in the United States. Texas A&M's designation as a land, sea, and space grant institution–the only university in Texas to hold all three designations–reflects a range of research with ongoing projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumni—over 450,000 strong—and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.

University of Texas at Austin public research university in Austin, Texas, United States

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.

John Ireland (politician) Governor of Texas

John Ireland was the 18th Governor of Texas from 1883 to 1887. During Ireland's term, the University of Texas was established, and construction on the Texas State Capitol began. Ireland is credited with the selection of local pink granite as the construction material.

The state continued to deal with the issues of racism, with hundreds of acts of violence against blacks as whites tried to establish white supremacy. Ross had to personally intervene to resolve the Jaybird-Woodpecker War.


During the American Civil War, Texas had joined the Confederate States. The Confederacy was defeated, and U.S. Army soldiers arrived in Texas on June 19, 1865 to take possession of the state, restore order, and enforce the emancipation of slaves. The date is now commemorated as the holiday Juneteenth. On June 25, troops raised the American flag in Austin, the state capital. [1]

Union Army Land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Union Army referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Also known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States of America as a working, viable republic.

Juneteenth Holiday to commemorate the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19 1865.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. Its name is a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth", the date of its celebration. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in forty-five states.

U.S. President Andrew Johnson appointed Union General Andrew J. Hamilton, a prominent politician before the war, as the provisional governor on June 17. He granted amnesty to ex-Conre, appointing some to office. Angry returning veterans seized state property and Texas went through a period of extensive violence and disorder. Most outrages took place in northern Texas and were committed by outlaws who had their headquarters in the Indian Territory and plundered and murdered without distinction of party.

Andrew Johnson 17th president of the United States

Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson assumed the presidency as he was vice president of the United States at the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. He favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves; he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. He was acquitted in the Senate by one vote. Johnson's main accomplishment as president is the Alaska purchase.

Indian Territory U.S. 17th-, 18th- and early-20th-century territory set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of the indigenous peoples of the Americas

As general terms, Indian Territory, the Indian Territories, or Indian country describe an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans who held aboriginal title to their land. In general, the tribes ceded land they occupied in exchange for land grants in 1803. The concept of an Indian Territory was an outcome of the 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the government was one of assimilation.

On March 30, 1870, the United States Congress readmitted Texas into the Union, although Texas did not meet all the formal requirements for readmission. Like other Southern states, by the late 1870s white Democrats regained control, often with a mix of intimidation and terrorism by paramilitary groups operating for the Democratic Party. They passed a new constitution in 1876 that segregated schools and established a poll tax to support them, but it was not originally required for voting. [2] In 1901 the Democratic-dominated legislature imposed a poll tax as a requirement for voting, and succeeded in disfranchising most blacks. The number of voters decreased from 100,000 in the 1890s to 5,000 by 1906. [3]

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Paramilitary Militarised force or other organization

A paramilitary is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but which is formally not part of a government's armed forces.

Establishment of publicly funded higher education

On February 11, 1858, the Seventh Texas Legislature approved O.B. 102, an act to establish the University of Texas, which set aside $100,000 in United States bonds toward construction of the state's first publicly funded university [4] (the $100,000 was an allocation from the $10 million the state received pursuant to the Compromise of 1850 and Texas' relinquishing claims to lands outside its present boundaries). In addition, the legislature designated land previously reserved for the encouragement of railroad construction toward the university's endowment. The state's involvement in the Civil War precluded further efforts to establish publicly funded higher education in Texas.

In 1866, there were discussions in the legislature concerning the establishment of two separate universities in Texas, one styled "The University of Texas" (as set forth in 1858), the other styled "East Texas University." [5] On November 12, 1866 the legislature considered a bill to amend the Act of 1858 that established the University of Texas, to provide for a second public university. No action was ever taken to establish a second public university and the Seventeenth Legislature, with the agreement of the State Teachers' Association of Texas, would later clarify that the intent of the legislature was to establish but one public university. [6] On April 17, 1871, 13 years after the establishment the University of Texas, the legislature took advantage of the Morrill Act and obtained funding for a land grant college styled the "Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas," and known as "Texas A.M.C." (and later as "Texas A&M University). [7] Section 5 of the 1871 act establishing the Agricultural and Mechanical College specifically stated the control, management and supervision of the agricultural college was to be subject to the Act of 1858 that established the University of Texas.

Article 7, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution of 1876 directed the legislature to "establish, organize and provide for the maintenance, support and direction of a university of the first class, to be located by a vote of the people of this State, and styled "The University of Texas." [8] Article 7, Section 10 also specifically mandated the establishment of an Agricultural and Mechanical Department within the university. While Section 7, Article 13 of the Constitution mandated the Agricultural and Mechanical College would be a branch of the university, the fact that the college was constitutionally mandated as a distinct department lead to the college being governed by a Board of Directors that was independent of the university Board of Regents in almost all aspects. The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas opened its doors in 1876 as the state's first public institution of higher education to begin operation.

On March 30, 1881 the legislature set forth the structure and organization of the state university and called for an election to establish its location. [9] By popular election on September 6, 1881, Austin (with 30,913 votes) was chosen as the site of the main university. Galveston, having come in second in the election (20,741 votes) was designated the location of the medical department (Houston was third with 12,586 votes). [10] The University of Texas officially opened its doors on September 15, 1883.

Land use issues

In the 1880s, Governor John Ireland reformulated the policy for selling public lands. While "this policy at first increased the state's revenues...[it] eventually led to large accumulations of land in the form of cattle ranches." [11] The ranchers soon began running barbed wire around their own land and the public lands that they used, without permission, for grazing. This practice often cut farmers and other ranchers off from water. During a large drought in 1882, people began cutting the barbed wire, leading to violence between the ranchers and farmers. Ireland called a special session of the legislature in 1884 to pass a law allowing the Texas Rangers to intervene in these disputes. The Rangers were able to quell some, but not all, of the violence. [11]

Lawrence Sullivan Ross presided over the dedication of the Texas State Capitol building. Texas State Capitol building-front left front oblique view.JPG
Lawrence Sullivan Ross presided over the dedication of the Texas State Capitol building.

Former Confederate general Lawrence Sullivan Ross became the 19th Texas governor in 1886. [12] His campaign had focused on land use reform, as most of the frontier issues now resulted from disagreements over the use of public land, especially between farmers and ranchers concerned with water rights and grazing issues. At Ross's urging the legislature passed laws to restore the power of the Land Office Commissioner, provide punishments for those using state lands illegally, and to catalog existing public lands. [13] In May 1888, Ross presided over the dedication of the new Texas State Capitol building. [14]

In March 1890, the U.S. Attorney General launched a suit in the Supreme Court against Texas to determine ownership of a disputed 1,500,000-acre (6,100 km2) plot of land in Greer County. [15] Determined to meet personally with the Attorney General, Ross and his wife traveled to Washington, D.C., where they visited President Benjamin Harrison at the White House. Following that visit, they traveled to New York, where they met with former president Grover Cleveland. While in New York, Ross was extremely popular with journalists. He was interviewed by several large northeastern newspapers, which recounted in detail many of his exploits along the frontier. According to his biographer Judith Brenner, the trip and the resulting exposure for Ross, "excited much interest in Texas among easterners, an interest that would eventually bear fruit in increased investment, tourism, and immigration". [16]

Racial issues

The Freedmen's Bureau was set up to help manage the transition for freedmen and oversee their labor contracts under the free labor system. During Reconstruction, incidents of white violence against blacks increased as whites struggled to reassert white supremacy. By the late 1870s, the Democratic-dominated legislature passed laws to impose legal segregation in public facilities and other "Jim Crow" laws. Nonetheless, freedmen organized, joined the Republican Party, and started to participate in politics.

During his second term, Ross was forced to intervene in the Jaybird-Woodpecker War in Fort Bend County. Sheriff Jim Garvey (a Woodpecker) feared that there would be armed battles between the State's Rights Democrats (the Jaybirds) and the black Federalist Republicans who had retained political power (with their white Federalist Democrat supporters, known as Woodpeckers) for 22 years. At Garvey's request, Ross sent two militia companies, which managed to impose a four-month peace. In August 1889, Ross sent four Texas Rangers, including Sergeant Ira Aten, to quell the unrest. Violence erupted, leaving four people dead and injuring six, including a Ranger. Aten wired Ross for help. The following morning, the Houston Light Guard arrived and instituted martial law; that evening, Ross arrived with an Assistant Attorney General and another militia company. Ross fired all the local Woodpecker and Republican civil officials and called together representatives from both factions. On his suggestion, the two groups agreed to choose a mutually acceptable sheriff to replace Garvey, who had been killed in the firefight. When they could not agree on a candidate, Ross suggested Aten; both groups finally agreed, thus halting the conflict. [17] [18]

Hogg governorship

Jim Hogg served two terms as governor, from 1891 through 1895. In 1894, Texas filed a lawsuit against John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company and its Texas subsidiary, the Waters-Pierce Oil Company of Missouri. Hogg and his attorney general argued that the companies were engaged in rebates, price fixing, consolidation, and other tactics prohibited by the state's 1889 antitrust act. The investigation resulted in a number of indictments, including one for Rockefeller. Hogg requested that Rockefeller be extradited from New York, but the New York governor refused, as Rockefeller had not fled from Texas. Rockefeller was never tried, but other employees of the company were found guilty. [19]

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  1. Clampit, Brad R. (April 2005). The Breakup: The Collapse of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Army in Texas, 1865. Southwest Historical Quarterly. CVIII.
  2. Constitution of 1876 from the Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 12, 2008
  3. W. Marvin Dulaney, "AFRICAN AMERICANS," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed February 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on June 20, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. accessed 22 February 2014
  4. "The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 4". H.P.N Gammel of Austin. Retrieved Jan 30, 2015.
  5. Lane, John J. (1903). History of Education in Texas. United States Bureau of Economics. p. 133.
  6. Lane, John J. (1891). History of the University of Texas: Based on Facts and Records. Henry Hutchings, Texas State Printer. p. 193.
  7. "The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 6". H.P.N Gammel of Austin. Retrieved Jan 31, 2015.
  8. "Tarleton Law Library, Texas Constitution of 1876". The University of Texas School of Law. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  9. "The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 Volume 9". H.P.N Gammel of Austin. Retrieved Feb 2, 2015.
  10. Lane, John J. (1891). History of the University of Texas: Based on Facts and Records. Henry Hutchings, Texas State Printer. p. 267.
  11. 1 2 Hendrickson, p. 112.
  12. Benner (1983), pp. 157, 160.
  13. Benner (1983), p. 162.
  14. Benner (1983), p. 166.
  15. Benner (1983), p. 173.
  16. Benner (1983), pp. 174175.
  17. Benner (1983), pp. 171172.
  18. Davis (1989), pp.179182.
  19. Hendrickson (1995), p. 127.