Thursday, August 1, 2013

For Those of You Who Have an Abiding Interest in the Civil War or, Sam Houston, We Have a Problem- Reprise

My Cousin Richard Parker* just had this essay published by the New York Times...
"...By early 1861, Texan legislators and powerbrokers were debating whether to become the seventh and last of the Deep South states to leave the Union.

Lined up against them were Houston and a small but influential resistance. Throughout the fall and winter of 1860-1861, Houston resisted tremendous pressure to call a special session of the legislature to secede. One petition, dated Nov. 24, 1860, landed on his desk decorated with the Texas flag: “Convene the legislature forthwith, to the end, that such measures may be adopted as the right of self-preservation now demands.” As governor, Houston alone had the power. He stubbornly refused.

A wily politician, the hero of San Jacinto coupled defiance with deception, alternately floating schemes to declare an independent republic again or convene a Southern convention, but to maintain the Union. Though he disliked abolitionists, he insisted that secession would lead to disaster — particularly at the hands of foreign powers like Great Britain, just as he argued in the Senate. “The Union is worth more than Mr. Lincoln,” Houston declared in September 1860. “I was denounced then. I am denounced now. Be it so!”"
Read the entire article here.

Richard Parker is an award-winning journalist and regular contributor to McClatchy-Tribune Information Service. He has been the visiting professional in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and is the former associate publisher of The New Republic.  He is formerly the Pentagon correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers, and has done extensive work in the Balkans, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as the U.S.