Texas Constables: A Frontier Heritage

By Allen G. Hatley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE LONE STAR STATE,
1846 TO 1873

FROM ANNEXATION TO SECESSION

Within four months of the annexation of Texas, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande, and the United States and Mexico were at war. For almost ten years, Mexico had feared and forestalled (as best they could) Texas’s absorption into the United States. Between the revolution and Texas’s annexation, Mexico continued on occasion to mount armed invasions into the republic. But these so-called invasions amounted to no more than occasional harassment, with no land occupied for more than a few days or weeks, and they were of little consequence to anyone north of the Rio Grande, except, of course, to those few who were killed. By making no serious effort toward a lasting peace with the republic (which with some assistance from Europe at critical times, might have forestalled Texas’s eventual union with the United States) Mexico had gambled foolishly. Several important Texas politicians would have preferred to see Texas remain independent. ‘Yet Mexico’s decision to wage war over what it had lost ten years earlier resulted only in greater losses in lives and land—this time more than one-third of its territory.

In its first year, the Lone Star State launched thirty-one new counties and an economic boom that would last almost fifteen years. Suddenly Texas had access to money, an army, and more settlers to counterbalance the ever-occurring problems of living on the edge of civilization.

James P. Henderson was voted first governor of the state of Texas, and Houston and Thomas J. Rusk went to Washington, D.C., as the state’s first U.S. senators. With few exceptions, county government under the 1845 Constitution differed little from that under the republic’s constitution. The county board still comprised a chief justice and four county commissioners. The new office of

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