Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sam Houston, We Have a Problem

(This article is on the Texas Secession Convention of Feb. 1, 1861.)
"Texas became embroiled in the national politics of slavery from the beginning of its statehood process. John C. Calhoun once planned to divide Texas into six states to magnify the power of slave states in the Senate; his plan failed. The Democratic Party, which controlled most of the state’s political scene, pushed Texas further into the Deep South camp, and skepticism against the Republicans and Washington grew intense. The Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society established by Kentucky plantation owners to promote slavery in the West, spread quickly through the state, establishing “castles,” or chapters, that encouraged talk of secession as the 1850s drew to a close and fear of a Republican win in 1860 rose."

"It finally came on Feb. 1, 1861; as Houston sat in his office, upstairs the Secession Convention, led by Supreme Court Justice O.M. Roberts, demonstrated the full power of cotton and slavery interests. Each delegate had moved to Texas from a slaveholding state. Most were older and wealthier. Many were lawyers, and 70 percent were slave owners. A large number were members of the Knights of the Golden Circle. "