There was no American conspiracy to Steal Texas from Mexico

Some historians contend that American settlers moved to Texas in the belief that sooner or later the US would annex Texas into the Union. While there is no doubt that some settlers had this in mind, this was a minority view.(24) To believe that thousands of poor immigrants moved to Texas as part of a vast conspiracy to steal Texas away from Mexico is ludicrous. Americans settled in Texas to start a new life because land was far cheaper then in the US. Most were content to live their lives peacefully in Mexico.(25)  This is easily proven as most Texans were so apathetic they didn’t join the revolt until Santa Anna’s Army was moving into Texas!(26) Had Santa Anna treated his prisoners humanely, the revolutionary zeal in Texas and the US would probably have waned.

This war was not a fulfillment of an abstract concept known as Manifest Destiny. Immigrants headed west for free land. Immigrants to Texas got one league (about 4500 acres) for free and immigrants to California got 11 leagues (about 50,000 acres) for free. If a settler bought unoccupied land in the US, you paid the federal government $1.25 per acre.(76b) 

The US was neutral during the Texas rebellion, refusing to send US Army forces to help Texas. Although young men were recruited from the United States and supplies were purchased in the US, it was not the deciding factor in the surprise victory of Texas forces over the Mexican Army at San Jacinto. If the US had grand designs for acquiring Texas, the logical step would be to support the Texans since there was no reason to believe that Texas would be successful in their revolt without outside help.  

In addition, the minutes of public meetings, town councils, and committees of correspondence, as well as private letters, provide extensive proof that in early 1835 most people were content being citizens of Mexico.(27)

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“To the south, the Union has a point of contact with the empire of Mexico; and it is thence that serious hostilities may one day be expected to arise. But for a long while to come, the uncivilized state of the Mexican people, the depravity of their morals, and their extreme poverty, will prevent that country from ranking high amongst nations.”  Alexis De Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America. De Tocqueville toured America in 1831-32 to search out the general principles of democracy in America - and for applying them to his native France.

To claim that the Texas revolution occurred because of Anglo settlers conveniently ignores the fact that many states in Mexico rebelled against the central government in Mexico City and these states had few if any Americans. Texas was NOT the first state to win its independence from Mexico. States rebelling against the central government occurred repeatedly throughout Mexico. With the near constant rebellion of Mexican states, it just might be the fault of the government of Mexico. The revolt in Coahuila, Zacatecas and Texas was the direct result of Santa Anna establishing a dictatorship - not an issue contrived by Texans so they had an excuse to revolt. What made the Texas situation unique - and unforgiveable from Mexico’s point of view - was that the central government was defeated by an Anglo army, not by fellow Spanish, as was the case of the five central American states that seceded from Mexico in 1823.

Return to: Origins of the Texas Revolution of 1835

Continue to Texas War for Independence.