What type of history has happened in Texas? What countries have held Texas before Texas turned to a state? How long have they had Texas? In what order have these flags held Texas? Why is Texas molded into the way it is today? These questions are what I will be going to explain in this research paper. The research I will be conducting will be about the six flags over Texas. Also, how multiculturalism and revolution have molded Texas. Then finally, if I think Texas is independent and unique when it comes to elections and policy matters compared to other states. As an example of the flags that will be mentioned are Mexico, Spain, and France.
To begin with flags that have flown over Texas. The first country flag to be flown over Texas is Spain. The Spanish flag flew over Texas from 1519-1685 and then again in 1690-1821. During 1519-1685 the Spanish were the first nations recorded to claim Texas and record the Texas coastline. According to Mora and Ruger, “Although Spanish Texas included a small part of today’s state Alonso Alvarez de Pineda explored and mapped the Texas coastline as early as 1519”. Now during 1690-1821 the Spaniards started to settle in Texas and their settlements expanded from coast to Rio Grande Valley. “These Spanish settlers were known as Tejanos, and the first area they settled was the Rio Grande Valley” (Mora and Ruger). These Tejanos built presidios (forts) and missions (religious conversion). These things that the Tejanos built were orders from the Spanish crown to increase Catholicism in Texas by conversion. The Spanish contributions to today’s Texas include names of lakes, rivers, and cities. “Spain left a lasting legacy that is still noticeable today in language, place names, and one of the largest cities in the United States—San Antonio” (‘The Six Flags of Texas’). They had also brought the castle law which is pretty much the second amendment.
Although Spain had Texas for a great amount of time, they ended up losing it to France and thus the second flag to fly over Texas is the French Flag. The French held Texas from 1685-1690 this is the second shortest time that a flag was flown over Texas. The reason due to this short period of time is because of the failure of establishing a settlement because the leader La Salle was murdered by his followers. “French explorer Robert de La Salle founded a new colony, Fort Saint Louis, near present day Victoria, Texas. After a series of mishaps La Salle’s followers mutinied and murdered him, and the colony was abandoned by 1690” (‘Six Flags Over Texas’). To add more to the history of the French colony it was a failure due to inadequate supplies and then Indians destroyed the fort and killed or captured the last of the followers at the fort (Mora and Ruger).
After the short French time the Spanish took it back but the lost it again but this time to the Republic of Mexico the third flag to fly in the skies of Texas. The Republic of Mexico held Texas from 1821-1836. Mexico ended up getting Texas after a decade war with Spain (‘Six Flags Over Texas’). With their newly claimed land Mexico had to eventually settle this enormous piece of land because if they didn’t it would either one be put to waste or two be taken by the growing union, so they created the empresario system. The empresario land grant system recruited new settlers to Texas in exchange for land and the people who were recruited brought slaves with them (Mora and Ruger). This system was very effective to getting people to settle in Texas and because of this it made Texas grow and thrive with people living in it. Like every government that gives out land there is always a price and with Mexico it was limiting property rights and infringing rights. According to Mora and Ruger, “President Santa Anna issued decrees limiting property rights and freedom for Anglos”. Like any place that is being limited by government and having rights infringed there is an uprising of the settlers living in this place. 1835 Texans, slaves, and rebelling Mexicans created the Gonzales flag which was basically a fight between defenders and Mexican forces over a cannon and the defenders raising a flag saying come and take it (Mora and Ruger).
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On March 2nd, 1836 the government of Texas declared its independence. Due to this it had ended the era of Mexican flag flying over Texas this independence led to the fourth flag to be flown over Texas by the Republic of Texas. The Republic of Texas had held Texas from 1836-1845. Before going into too much detail about the Texas revolution because you can write a whole other paper about, it had ended with the capture of general Santa anna and forced signing of the Treaty of Velasco which recognized Texas independence (Mora and Ruger). Once Texas became its own country Sam Houston was elected as the first president of Texas and the town of waterloo became the capitol of Texas and was renamed to Austin (‘Six Flags Over Texas History’). Texas even though it has survived its revolution it still had some other problems like the problems with its neighbor to the south since you know a revolution just happened and they also had a problem to the north because of the Indians. In the 1840s an organization called the Adelsverein society that promoted German immigration to Texas and many of the Germans settled in Texas ‘hill country’ (Mora and Ruger).
The Republic of Texas was struggling to stay a country and during this the union is growing due to manifest destiny and because of this it let Texas join the ever-growing union and so the fifth flag to fly over Texas is born. Texas joining the union had made it the 28th state, it included some parts of present-day states today. “When Texas entered the union, it retained public debt and its public lands forcing the US government to purchase land. US government purchased lands that were formerly the west and north parts of Texas which is now New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma” (Mora and Ruger). With these the Compromise of 1950 gave Texas its modern-day boundaries seen today. Of course, that Texas was just in a war with Mexico it would spark a war with Mexico and the U.S., so the Mexican American War which happens to end with the treaty of Guadalupe. “In the treaty of Guadalupe, the U.S. officially gained Texas, California, and all land between them” (Mora and Ruger). Texas would then be able to expand with settlers coming from all over the world. Due to this increase it would cause a shift in Texas economy to slavery which would lead to Texas seceding from the union.
When Texas seceded, it had gained the sixth flag to fly over Texas and that flag would be the Confederate flag. With the secession of many southern states due to slavery it would lead to the civil war the two sides of the civil war were the union being the north and the confederates being the south it ended up being a costly war. According to Mora and Ruger, “Texas was lucky compared to other southern states due to politics and geography which played a role because of Napoleon III of France and the red river since settlers didn’t go past the river”. Texas luck would soon run out since the war would hold home to two battles which are the battle of Sabine pass and the battle of Galveston which had happened in 1863. During the war it is estimated that almost about 100,000 Texans served. The end of the war was seen at the Battle of Palmito Ranch. “In the aftermath Texas like many former confederate states were in debt and under military control” (Mora and Ruger). Along with this aftermath it had also came along with the 13 Amendment which had freed slaves and had brought Texas back to the union and this concludes all the six flags that flew over Texas.
Now onto the next question on this research paper about how multiculturalism and revolution molded early Texas and contribute to what we see today. Some ways multiculturalism molded Texas is seen in names of cities, rivers, and lakes some of the examples are seen such as San Antonio, San Angelo, Fredericksburg, and Heidelberg. Now how revolution ended up molding Texas and contribute to what we see today is seen through the Texas revolution which led to battles between Texans and Mexicans and it had left us with the history of the battle of the alamo which is still in San Antonio which I believe made Texas as strong and independent as we are today and with this led revolution led to the Gonzales flag which was a battle over a cannon which was led by Santa anna to take it from a resistance group (Treibs), a lot of people in Texas still use for gun rights fights today. Another revolution that helped mold Texas is the civil war and what this had led to contribute to today is having people of all colors allowed into public schools and universities which leads to greater diversity in Texas.
Finally, the last question to be answers is do I believe Texas is truly unique and independent in elections and public policy matters. In my opinion I do believe Texas is unique in public policy matters because like I mentioned earlier is gun rights in Texas it is our 2nd Amendment right to possess firearms because if any presidential runner threatens to take away Texas’s firearms they pretty much have lost the state since that is the thing Texans believe is their freedom and for matters such as independent in elections I also believe it is since to be on a ballot you must have 1% of voters from previous elections or be a write in candidate, or also run as a major party candidate. These two things are what makes me believe that Texas is truly unique and independent compared to the other states in the U.S.
- Mora, Sherri, and William Ruger. The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. McGraw-Hill Education, 2019.
- “Six Flags Over Texas”. San Jacinto Museum of History, https://www.sanjacinto-museum.org/Monument/Six_Flags_Over_Texas/.
- “Six Flags Over Texas History”. Texas Proud, http://texasproud.com/history/six-flags-over-texas-history.
- “The Six Flags of Texas”. The Bullock Texas State History Museum, https://www.thestoryoftexas.com/education/texas-six-flags.
- Treibs, David C. “History of the 1835 Come And Take It Flag”. Detailed History of the October 2, 1835 Come And Take It Flag, & Why., http://www.comeandtakeit.com/txhist.html.