Randolph B. Campbell’s “Sam Houston and the American Southwest” is a detailed and well-researched analysis of the life and legacy of one of America’s most iconic figures.
Born in Virginia in 1793, Sam Houston was raised in Tennessee and later migrated to Arkansas and then Texas, where he became a key figure in the fight for independence from Mexico. A skilled politician and diplomat, Houston played a pivotal role in the creation of the independent Republic of Texas, and later served as its first president.
During his lifetime, Houston was closely associated with the Cherokee Nation, forming a close friendship with Chief John Ross. He also had a complex relationship with President Andrew Jackson, who both admired and mistrusted him.
Campbell’s book sheds new light on Houston’s complicated legacy, and offers a nuanced portrait of one of America’s most controversial figures.
From the mid-nineteenth century through the first decade of the twentieth, the American Southwest was experiencing a period of growth, change, and uncertainty. In his novel Sam Houston and the American Southwest as well as in life, Sam Houston chronicled this historical time period. More than any other person, Sam Houston helped to guide southwestern expansion in the United States.
Born in Virginia in 1793, Houston first moved to Tennessee as a young man. There he made a name for himself as a lawyer and politician. In 1827, Houston was elected to the U.S. Congress. It was during his time in Congress that Houston first met Andrew Jackson, who would later become President of the United States. Jackson appointed Houston as his Minister to the Cherokee Nation in 1830.
In this capacity, Houston negotiated several treaties between the Cherokee Nation and the United States government. He also helped to secure Cherokee rights during a time when many white Americans were pushing for their removal from their ancestral lands. While working as the Cherokee Nation’s Minister, Houston developed a close relationship with many of its members, including its chief, John Ross.
Ross and Houston would remain friends for many years, even after Houston moved to Texas in 1837. By this time, Houston had become a strong advocate for Texan independence from Mexico. In 1836, he was elected as the first President of the Republic of Texas. He served two terms before resigning in 1838.
After a brief return to Tennessee, Houston settled permanently in Texas in 1839. He was soon elected to the Texas Senate. In 1841, he married Margaret Lea, with whom he would have eight children. The following year, Houston was once again elected President of the Republic of Texas. He served until 1845, when Texas was annexed by the United States.
As a state senator, Houston worked to keep Texas out of the Union. However, he eventually changed his mind and supported annexation when it became clear that it was inevitable. In 1846, Houston was elected as one of Texas’ first U.S. Senators. He served in the Senate until 1861, when he resigned to join the Confederate Army.
Houston is described by Campbell as a courageous, wise, and ambitious individual who was without equal in the southern political or military world. Sam Houston was able to play an important part in igniting the revolution, gaining independence, and establishing Texas due to his qualities. Even from a young age, Sam Houston had a passion for intrigue.
Campbell notes that as a young man, Houston ran away from home to live with the Cherokee. It was during his time with the Cherokee that Houston learned many valuable skills such as hunting, tracking, and wilderness survival. These skills would later come in handy during his military career.
It was also during his time with the Cherokee that Houston developed a strong sense of justice and fair play. He was appalled by the way that Andrew Jackson and the American government were treating the Native Americans, and he vowed to fight for their rights. This sense of justice would also motivate him to fight for the rights of Texas when it came time for them to break away from Mexico.
Courage, wisdom, and ambition were not the only qualities that made Sam Houston a great leader. He was also a man of his word. When he made a promise, he always kept it. This is one of the reasons why the Cherokee considered him to be a great friend and ally.
Houston’s character and abilities were put to the test when he led the Texan army to victory against Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. This battle was crucial in winning Texas’ independence, and it cemented Houston’s reputation as a brave and skilled military commander.
After Texas gained its independence, Houston was elected as the first President of the Republic of Texas. He served in this role for two terms, during which time he worked tirelessly to make Texas a prosperous and thriving nation. Thanks to his efforts, Texas became a state in the United States of America in 1845.
Randolph B. Campbell’s book, “Sam Houston and the American Southwest” is a well-written and informative account of one of the most important figures in Texas history. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the man who helped shape the American Southwest.
Houston fled his job as a clerk in Tennessee at the age of sixteen to join the Cherokee Indians. Houston tried his hand at teaching, served under Andrew Jackson as a lieutenant, and eventually worked for Andrew Johnson as an Indian Agent. Sam Houston also climbed from Nashville’s attorney general to governor of Tennessee between 1818 and 1827.
In 1827, he married Eliza Allen, the daughter of a wealthy Tennessee plantation owner. However, their marriage only lasted for three months because Eliza could not handle Houston’s drinking and gambling habit. Consequently, she left him and returned to her father’s plantation. The next year, Houston moved to Coahuila y Tejas (modern-day Texas), where he unsuccessfully tried to start a law practice.
During his time in Texas, Houston became friends with many of the Indians living there, including the Cherokee. In fact, his relationships with the Cherokee would prove to be beneficial when he later became their chief during the Texas Revolution. Additionally, Houston quickly rose through the ranks of the Texian Army and was eventually elected as the president of the Republic of Texas.
Under Houston’s leadership, the Republic of Texas was able to achieve independence from Mexico. However, after annexing Texas into the United States, Houston opposed the idea of secession and instead worked to keep Texas part of the Union. As a result of his efforts, Houston was removed from office in 1861 and replaced by Secessionist Governor Edward Clark.
Although he is best known for his time spent in Texas, Sam Houston’s early years in Tennessee and his relationships with the Cherokee Indians had a significant impact on the course of his life and career.