Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor: James Webb Throckmorton

Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor: James Webb Throckmorton

Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor: James Webb Throckmorton

Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor: James Webb Throckmorton

Synopsis

Of the 174 delegates to the Texas convention on secession in 1861, only 8 voted against the motion to secede. James Webb Throckmorton of McKinney was one of them. Yet upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Army and fought in a number of campaigns. At war's end, his centrist position as a conservative Unionist ultimately won him election as governor. Still, his refusal to support the Fourteenth Amendment or to protect aggressively the rights and physical welfare of the freed slaves led to clashes with military officials and his removal from office in 1867.

Throckmorton's experiences reveal much about southern society and highlight the complexities of politics in Texas during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Because his life spans one of the most turbulent periods in Texas politics, Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor, the first book on Throckmorton in nearly seventy years, will provide new insights for anyone interested in the Antebellum era, the Civil War, and the troubled years of Reconstruction.

Excerpt

In March 1997, I attended my first Texas State Historical Association meeting. It was at this meeting that the idea for this book was conceived. I really did not know anyone at the meeting and no one knew me, except for James M. Smallwood, my good friend and mentor who had suggested that it would be a good idea for me to attend the meeting. in an effort to make me feel more comfortable, Dr. Smallwood began introducing me to people he knew. Little did I know at that time, but the first introduction proved to be one of the most important—it was Barry Crouch, a longtime friend and colleague of my mentor. After just a few minutes of conversation, I took an immediate liking to Dr. Crouch, and I would like to think that the feeling was mutual. When he learned that I had just finished my M.A. and wanted to pursue a Ph.D., he asked, “What are you going to do your dissertation on?” His question came as a bit of a shock: I wasn’t even sure that I would be accepted into a Ph.D. program, and here this gentleman was asking me about a dissertation topic. I suspect he already knew what my answer would be, because he had an immediate response: “It is not too early, and you better start thinking about it.” This was the first (but not the last) sound advice that Dr. Crouch would eventually share with me over the brief time that I knew him. Most importantly, he suggested that I consider writing my dissertation on either E. M. Pease, A. J. Hamilton, or J. W. Throckmorton. I took his advice to heart, completing my dissertation on James Webb Throckmorton at Texas A&M University in the spring of 2005. Unfortunately, Dr. Crouch passed away before I began work on this manuscript, but I owe him special thanks for sparking my interest in Throckmorton and for convincing me that a biographical study of this nineteenth-century Texan was a worthwhile project.

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