Sam Houston was one of the most extraordinary figures in American history. During his life, he held an astonishing range of positions: governor of two states (Tennessee and Texas), congressman (Tennessee), senator (Texas), and president of the Republic of Texas during its independence. He was an ardent expansionist who helped make Manifest Destiny a reality, and more than any other individual, he was responsible for Texas's entry into the United States.
But Houston was a complex man whose life was marked by disappointments and failures. He had a lifelong drinking problem, which probably caused the dissolution of his first marriage, a scandal that caused him to resign as governor of Tennessee. Following that disgrace, Houston fled into Indian Territory and oblivion. After years of wandering in the wilderness, he came to Texas and political rebirth.
Houston's military fame, forged in the War of 1812, brought him to the attention of the commanding general, Andrew Jackson, who made Houston his protégé and nurtured Houston's military career. In Texas, Houston's fellow settlers, determined to break free from Mexico, chose him to command the Texas Army. After a series of tactical retreats, Houston won a decisive victory at San Jacinto, crushing the army of Mexican general Santa Anna and guaranteeing Texas's independence. But even Houston's own officers quarreled over his victory and how much credit Houston deserved for it.
As governor of Texas in 1861, Houston, fiercely pro-Union, refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy when Texas joined the new Southern nation, and he was forced from office. He died in 1863, a bloody war raging as he predicted it would following succession.
This is a vivid, exciting biography of one of the giants of nineteenth-century America.
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John Williams (Author)
John Williams is the author of Sam Houston.