Sam Houston Essay, Research Paper
Samuel Houston is considered by most Texans to have been the greatest man to ever live. While this is their opinion, it is a fact that he was one of the most important men in Texas path to becoming a state.
Samuel Houston was born near Lexington, Virginia on March 2, 1793. His parents started sending him to local school at the age of 8, but he was a very rebellious child and rarely attended class. Later in life, he was known to have said, By the time I was fourteen years of age I had most likely only attended six months of actual schooling. His father died when he was fourteen. The next year, his mother moved the family to a frontier settlement in the mountains of Tennessee. There, Sam held a job at a trading post until the age of fifteen. It was at this time that he got fed up with this particular lifestyle and decided to run away from home. He joined a local tribe of Cherokee Indians who adopted him. Sam had a quote about Indians in later life. I always preferred the wild liberty of the red man to the tyranny of my brothers. After three years of living with the Cherokees, Sam returned to the American Community to open a country school. Upon learning that America was again at war with Britain, Houston joined the United States Army. He excelled in the military, quickly gaining the respect of his superiors and the rank of sergeant. After the War of 1812, Houston served with Andrew Jackson in the Creek Indian Wars. In the battle of Horseshoe Bend during this war, he was severely wounded three times. The Creek war ended in 1816. Sam resigned form the army in 1818, having risen to the rank of first lieutenant. (1.Houston, Samuel, World Book Encyclopedia 1994, Volume 9. 2. Sam Houston The Raven , internet, http://www.lsjunction.com/people/houston.htm)
When he returned to Tennessee, Houston studied law for a few months before he passed the Bar. Soon after beginning his law practice, he was elected Attorney General of Nashville and shortly afterwards, Adjutant General of Tennessee. In 1823, Sam ran for congress and was elected to represent Tennessee. He served for two terms. After his second term in congress, Houston ran for governor and won in a landslide. On January 1, 1829, Sam married a woman named Eliza Allen who was form a prominent family. Soon after, the marriage dissolved for unknown reasons. Eliza s family then pressured Houston to step down form public office. He moved to the Indian Territory,(present day Oklahoma), to live with the Cherokee tribe. He adopted Cherokee citizenship and served as trader, advisor, and special envoy to the tribe. During this time he also married a Cherokee woman named Tiana Rogers. In 1832, Houston made his first visit to Mexican-ruled Texas in a futile attempt to obtain more land for his tribe. From this time on he was an active player in the Anglo-American Colonist s Secession Movement in Texas. (1. Sam Houston , internet, http://www.lnstar.com/mall/texasinfo/shouston.htm)
Houston was selected as the delegate form Nacogdoches, Texas to the Convention of 1833, which met in San Felipe, Texas. Seeing his place in the affairs of Texas, Houston moved to Nacogdoches in 1835. That same year he became a member of the Texas Consultation of 1835. He was also a member of the convention that met in Washington to discuss Texas declaring its independence in March, 1836. It was at this convention that Houston was declared Commander in Chief of the Army of Texas. He assumed command of the army shortly after the fall of the Alamo. Houston conducted the army s retreat until it reached San Jacincto. There, on April 21th, Houston s army made a valiant stand against the army of General Santa Anna. The Mexicans were defeated and Santa Anna was captured. Accepting defeat, Santa Anna granted Texas its independence. In September 1836, Houston was elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas. The constitution that Texas had drawn up did not allow for a president to run for re-election. So, in 1839, Houston stepped down as president and his Vice-President, Mirabeau Lamar took office as the second president of Texas. After stepping down he served in the congress of the republic. In 1840, having left his Cherokee wife, Sam married a woman from Alabama named Margaret Lea on May 9. They were to have six children and remain married until his death. Margaret was known to have forced Sam to drop his notorious drinking habits and become a religious man. Houston was elected to the presidency once again in 1841 and served as the third president until 1844. In 1845, the United States had granted Texas statehood and Houston was elected to serve as one of its representatives to congress. After 14 years as senator, Houston was elected as governor of Texas in 1859. During his time in office, he was strongly opposed to the proposed secession of Texas form the Union. He became an even more ardent opponent to secession after Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860. In 1861, The Texas state congress unanimously voted to secede from the union. Standing alone as a Unionist, Houston was forced by the Texas congress to step down as governor. Having had enough of the busy life of a politician, Sam Houston retired to the serenity of his home in Huntsville, Texas, whose hills reminded him of his boyhood home in Tennessee. It was here that he lived until his death at the age of 70 on July 26, 1863. Shortly before his death, Houston had this to say about the civil war, If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her; as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you to death. It will take the flower of the country-the young men. Houston could not have been more correct in his prediction of the fate, which lay in store for Texas, and the rest of the confederacy. Both of which were devastated by the war.
(1. Houston, Samuel , World Book Encyclopedia, 1994.
2. Sam Houston , internet, http://www.utexas.edu/courses/mis311f/history/hist017.htm.)
It is no doubt that Samuel Houston was a great man. He was in no way ambitious, as he only stood up for causes he believed in and not or his own glory. He was not a well-educated man, but he rose to become an attorney and help very high-ranking state and legislative positions. When the causes that he fought for crumbled he simply gave up and went home; as he knew that one man can not stand up against a nation. For his contributions to the great State of Texas, the city of Houston in that state was named after him.