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Texas Declares Independence
Digital History ID 341

Author:   Republic of Texas and Stephen F. Austin


On November 3, 1835, American colonists in Texas adopted a constitution and organized a temporary government but voted overwhelmingly against declaring independence. A majority of colonists hoped to attract the support of Mexican liberals in a joint effort to depose Santa Anna and restore power to the state governments, hopefully including a separate state of Texas.

While holding out the possibility of compromise, the Texans prepared for war. In the middle of 1835, scattered local outbursts erupted against Mexican rule. The provisional government elected Sam Houston (1793-1863), a former Tennessee governor and close friend of Andrew Jackson, to lead whatever military forces he could muster.

In this letter, Austin seeks to justify the Texas Revolution and discusses the Texans' efforts to recruit soldiers in the American South.


The revolutions and usurpations and violations of the constitutional rights of the people of Texas by the Mexican Govt. have compelled us to arm in self-defense--ours is a war of independence--our object is a total & everlasting separation from Mexico and to form a new and independent republic, or to become a part of these U.S.--we shall be satisfied with either....

We have an organized provisional govt. in operation, an army on the frontier and four armed schooners to protect our coasts.

Gen. Santana [sic] is however preparing to invade us in the Spring with all the forces he can collect. The main contest will probably take place in April & we shall then need all the aid we can procure in men and money. Col T.D. Owings late of the U.S. Army has engaged to train two regiments in Kentucky to be called the Kentucky legions and must see the privilege of old friendships so far as to elicit your aid in our cause--a move more just and holy one never existed in any country, and it is one which pertains to the interests of the people of the U.S. & especially the western country. Texas ought to be American. The tranquility of Louisiana requires it. The cause of liberty, of freedom of conscience, & of civilization, most correctly demand it. This state [Tennessee] & Alabama, & Mississippi have formed many companies who have marched and are preparing to march. I hope that Kentucky will not be behind them.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Stephen F. Austin to to Gen. John McCalla

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