Texas Insights - January 2014

Volume IV, Issue 3
 

What’s New?

Join the Texas State Historical Association at the 116th Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting will take place at the Houston Omni Hotel, March 1 – 3, 2012. K-12 educators who attend the meeting and conference have the opportunity to earn CPE hours. This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Darlene Clark Hine, the Inaugural Director of African American History at Northwestern University, will speak on Civil Rights in Texas in the Sawyer Auditorium in Hannah Hall at Texas Southern University. With a generous grant from Humanities Texas, the Keynote Address is Free and open to the public. As an added bonus, thanks to a gift from a Houston area member of the TSHA Board of Directors, the registration rate for K-12 educators, which is usually $35.00, has been lowered to only $15.00 for the full 2 ½ days of the content-oriented conference. This is an excellent opportunity for educators to brush up on their Texas History Content. Visit TeachingTexas.org for additional information. 
 The program is now available for the 118th Annual Meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. Make plans to attend, March 6-8, 2014 at the Wyndham San Antonio River Walk Hotel. The meeting presents an opportunity for 45 sessions on Texas history, exhibitors of both new and rare books, a silent auction, and a live auction hosted by Heritage Auctions. Teachers are able to register to attend all three days of the meeting for only $25.00 per person. Teachers can earn CPE hours, each day, including a special session just for educators.
Join the Texas State Historical Association at its Annual Meeting in San Antonio. The program is now available for the 118th Annual Meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. Make plans to attend, March 6-8, 2014 at the Wyndham San Antonio River Walk Hotel. The meeting presents an opportunity for 45 sessions on Texas history, exhibitors of both new and rare books, a silent auction, and a live auction hosted by Heritage Auctions. Teachers are able to register to attend all three days of the meeting for only $25.00 per person. Teachers can earn CPE hours, each day, including a special session just for educators.

The meeting provides an excellent opportunity to listen alongside the most respected historians in the field as the newest research on Texas history is shared. It is also an outstanding venue to network with historians and peers who all share an abiding passion for our state's heritage. More information is available on TeachingTexas.org.

Discovering Texas History Conference

 The Texas State Historical Association and the Region 13 Education Service Center are proud to present the Discovering Texas History Conference, January 23-24, 2014 at The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. This event, for 4th and 7th grade Texas history educators, will focus on the history of Texas from 1900 to the present. Participants will be able to choose from a variety of breakout session addressing historical content, geography, economics, civics, teaching strategies, and resources. Participants will also enjoy general sessions by noted scholars such as Greg Cantrell from Texas Christian University, Texas State Historian Bill O’ Neal, and Don Carleton of the Dolph Briscoe Center. Lunch I and tours of the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Texas General Land Office Reading Room are included with each registration. Participants will receive 12 CPE or 12 GT credit hours for attending the event. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more informationThe Texas State Historical Association and the Region 13 Education Service Center are proud to present the Discovering Texas History Conference, January 23-24, 2014 at The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin. This event, for 4th and 7th grade Texas history educators, will focus on the history of Texas from 1900 to the present. Participants will be able to choose from a variety of breakout session addressing historical content, geography, economics, civics, teaching strategies, and resources. Participants will also enjoy general sessions by noted scholars such as Gregg Cantrell from Texas Christian University, Texas State Historian Bill O’Neal, and Don Carleton of the Dolph Briscoe Center. Lunch and tours of the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art, and the Texas General Land Office Reading Room are included with registration. Participants will receive 12 CPE or 12 GT credit hours for attending the event. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.

 

A President's Vision

 Humanities Texas has released an innovative suite of curriculum material, A President’s Vision, which examines the aspirations of notable U.S. presidents and the programs and initiatives that advanced each man’s vision. The centerpiece of the program is a series of seven posters examining the vision that shaped the presidencies of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Rossevelts, Johnson, and Reagan. Online resources include a rich set of curriculum materials and primary sources from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and other repositories, all of which help students to see each presidency within the broader context of U.S. history. Humanities Texas is also holding a contest for students to design their own President’s Vision posters. Posters may be digital or paper-based and must be submitted by March 7, 2014. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 

Featured Institution

Not Even Past
By Joan Neuberger
The University of Texas at Austin
Professor of History and Editor of Not Even Past

Since January 2011, NOT EVEN PAST has been using the internet to open UT Austin’s History Department to the public. Our goal is to make the research that we find fascinating available to anyone with an interest in history. Professional publications can be highly detailed or they can require a great deal of specialized knowledge, but the best and most significant history can also be translated into the kind of everyday language that everyone can understand. At NOT EVEN PAST, our distinguished and award-winning faculty and graduate students write history for everyone.

 


Each month we feature a recent book by one of our faculty members with stories, illustrations, a list of related reading, links to related online articles, and a video interview with the author. This fall we featured Denise Spellberg’s new book, Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an and Seth Garfield’s In Search of the Amazon. We are also running a series of features this year on the innovative ways we are transforming the teaching of history at UT. We began with a story on Mary Neuburger’s summer teacher-training program in Siberia and in October we featured the Course Transformation Project run by Karl Hagstrom Miller and Penne Restad to transform the US History survey.

Every week we also post at least two book recommendations and articles about interesting historical images and documents. Recently we published articles by Ann Twinam about “castas,” or the mixed race populations in colonial Latin America and by Jeremi Suri, who rereads Machiavelli’s The Prince from the perspective of an international historian.  We have just begun a series of articles featuring the many extraordinary collections at UT Austin, including an article by Blanton Museum curator Ann Merkle on Peter Dean’s two paintings connected with JFK’s assassination, and by Brenda Gunn, associate director for research and collections at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History (and a PhD student in History), about a revealing list of books Stephen F. Austin bought in New Orleans in 1835.

Among the most popular stories on NOT EVEN PAST are film reviews that provide an historian’s look at popular historical films, or “What Really Happened.” Readers from all over the world read about last year’s Lincoln and this year’s 12 Years a Slave. Once we capture readers’ attention with stories on familiar topics we always hope they’ll read an article about something new to them (and our Google analytics show that they do!)

In 2012 we launched a spin-off site specifically for teachers and students, called 15 Minute History. With our partner, Christopher Rose, at Hemispheres, UT’s international studies outreach program, we have developed a series of 15-minute podcasts on historical subjects ranging from the Ottoman Empire to the Global American Revolution, from Ancient India to modern Eugenics, from the Atlantic Slave Trade to Apartheid. Listeners can stream, download, or subscribe to the podcasts on our own website or through iTunes U.  We must be doing something right because recently 15 Minute History became the #1 ranking podcast collection on iTunes U.

In November 2013, NOT EVEN PAST launched another public history project called our/stories, a website for anyone to write a piece of history. We hope that people everywhere will tell us stories about historic events they witnessed, or about businesses they started, or monuments they erected, or buildings or parks they helped restore. Teachers can use this site to help students to learn about primary documents – those letters and ledgers and photo albums that might be tucked away in their attics can tell us great stories about history. That strange object pushed to the back of the family’s bookshelf might be a memento of an interesting moment in history. Then when we collect enough stories about specific events, such as the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis or the 2001 Enron scandal, for example, Our/stories can provide small but significant archives of eyewitness accounts that everyone – students and teachers at all levels – can use for research.

Texas History occupies a special place in all our projects. NOT EVEN PAST has always had a special link on our homepage for Texas history. We have posted articles on the historical background to current legislative issues and profiles of prominent Texans including Liz Carpenter and Clyde Rabb Littlefield. We have a running series on Texas technology, including Austin’s moontowers, electric street cars, and slaughterhouse and the Mcdonald Observatory. And we regularly post stories about Texas women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Mexican-Americans. One of our first episodes of 15 Minute History was on the Mexican-American War. Among our first stories on Our/stories are a Texas ghost town and a Dallas child’s memory of the day JFK was shot and we have plans to solicit stories on specific topics in local history in Texas. During the last two summers, we have been posting the winning projects by middle school and high school students for Texas History Day.

Some people claim that the Humanities are facing a crisis in the United States but the success of public history websites like NOT EVEN PAST (as well as programs like Texas History Day and TSHA websites like The Handbook of Texas), show that History is, in fact, thriving in the public sphere. NOT EVEN PAST seeks to stoke that public curiosity about history and encourage people to read stories about all kinds of history: from down the street and around the world. Readers can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, for announcements and links to additional history sites and stories. Anyone who would like to recieve our bi-monthy newsletter, can contact us on the site. Have you ever gone to a museum and wanted to touch the artifacts or costumes?   Or for those who are still a kid at heart, wanted to talk with the costumed manikins?  On a more serious note, have you ever asked yourself, “What is my connection to this place?”  At Texas Parks and Wildlife, all of these experiences are possible.   The Buffalo Soldier Heritage and Outreach Program (BSOHP) is an educational outreach program in State Parks that features costumed interpreters, interactive exhibits, and offers participants unique cultural and historical experiences.
      Primarily focused on the African American military experience in Texas, BSHOP also features the life and times of Tejanos, Native Americans, and Frontier Women.  Targeting ethnic minorities and urban populations, the program’s goal is to create connections for audiences unfamiliar with State Parks and Historic Sites, as well as offer new historical insights. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers, the first African American men to serve in the regular Army in the late 19th Century, is an excellent example of an important part of Texas History seldom elaborated in traditional textbooks. By sharing these stories, TPWD opens doors into communities that once questioned their stake in Parks. 
      BSHOP has three component programs to accomplish this task.  First is the educational outreach program, Texas Buffalo Soldiers.  This program brings the museum to the audience and features authentic military camps, uniforms, horses, and even firing demonstrations.  This unique vehicle provides BSHOP the opportunity to bring interactive programming to audiences ranging from traditional classrooms to State Parks.
      The second program component is the Blazing New Trails program. In addition to lack of being stakeholders, studies have found that urban and some ethnic minorities also shy away due to lack of outdoor experience.  Blazing New Trails partners with multiple entities, such as the National Buffalo Soldier Museum, to offer these audiences the opportunity to experience State Parks and Historic sites with a minimal investment of their time or monetary resources.  For many participants, this represents the first time they have ever camped, cooked over an open fire, or even played baseball.
      Finally, for those looking for expert advice about the Buffalo Soldiers and other Texas History components, the program offers research assistance.  Exploring Texas Roots is the program’s research component. Tasked originally with identifying African American Heritage sites, this program now also provides support to educators and community groups who desire to share these stories as well.
      If interested in learning more about the Buffalo Soldiers and all the other voices of Texas History, please feel free to pay a visit to the following events:
March
2-3 “Life’s Better Outside: Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo” Houston
23-24 “McKavett Western Heritage Days” Fort McKavett State Historic Site
April
27-28 “Life’s Better Outside: Buccaneer Day’s” Corpus Christie
May
3-5 “Buffalo Soldier Education Day and Open House” Lake Brownwood State Park
18-19 “Buffalo Soldier and Frontier Education Day” Lake Arrowhead State Park
August
11 “Buffalo Soldier and Texas State Parks Heritage Expo” Old Settlers Park, Round Rock Have you ever gone to a museum and wanted to touch the artifacts or costumes?   Or for those who are still a kid at heart, wanted to talk with the costumed manikins?  On a more serious note, have you ever asked yourself, “What is my connection to this place?”  At Texas Parks and Wildlife, all of these experiences are possible.   The Buffalo Soldier Heritage and Outreach Program (BSOHP) is an educational outreach program in State Parks that features costumed interpreters, interactive exhibits, and offers participants unique cultural and historical experiences.
      Primarily focused on the African American military experience in Texas, BSHOP also features the life and times of Tejanos, Native Americans, and Frontier Women.  Targeting ethnic minorities and urban populations, the program’s goal is to create connections for audiences unfamiliar with State Parks and Historic Sites, as well as offer new historical insights. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers, the first African American men to serve in the regular Army in the late 19th Century, is an excellent example of an important part of Texas History seldom elaborated in traditional textbooks. By sharing these stories, TPWD opens doors into communities that once questioned their stake in Parks. 
      BSHOP has three component programs to accomplish this task.  First is the educational outreach program, Texas Buffalo Soldiers.  This program brings the museum to the audience and features authentic military camps, uniforms, horses, and even firing demonstrations.  This unique vehicle provides BSHOP the opportunity to bring interactive programming to audiences ranging from traditional classrooms to State Parks.
      The second program component is the Blazing New Trails program. In addition to lack of being stakeholders, studies have found that urban and some ethnic minorities also shy away due to lack of outdoor experience.  Blazing New Trails partners with multiple entities, such as the National Buffalo Soldier Museum, to offer these audiences the opportunity to experience State Parks and Historic sites with a minimal investment of their time or monetary resources.  For many participants, this represents the first time they have ever camped, cooked over an open fire, or even played baseball.
      Finally, for those looking for expert advice about the Buffalo Soldiers and other Texas History components, the program offers research assistance.  Exploring Texas Roots is the program’s research component. Tasked originally with identifying African American Heritage sites, this program now also provides support to educators and community groups who desire to share these stories as well.
      If interested in learning more about the Buffalo Soldiers and all the other voices of Texas History, please feel free to pay a visit to the following events:
March
2-3 “Life’s Better Outside: Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo” Houston
23-24 “McKavett Western Heritage Days” Fort McKavett State Historic Site
April
27-28 “Life’s Better Outside: Buccaneer Day’s” Corpus Christie
May
3-5 “Buffalo Soldier Education Day and Open House” Lake Brownwood State Park
18-19 “Buffalo Soldier and Frontier Education Day” Lake Arrowhead State Park
August
11 “Buffalo Soldier and Texas State Parks Heritage Expo” Old Settlers Park, Round Rock Have you ever gone to a museum and wanted to touch the artifacts or costumes?   Or for those who are still a kid at heart, wanted to talk with the costumed manikins?  On a more serious note, have you ever asked yourself, “What is my connection to this place?”  At Texas Parks and Wildlife, all of these experiences are possible.   The Buffalo Soldier Heritage and Outreach Program (BSOHP) is an educational outreach program in State Parks that features costumed interpreters, interactive exhibits, and offers participants unique cultural and historical experiences.
      Primarily focused on the African American military experience in Texas, BSHOP also features the life and times of Tejanos, Native Americans, and Frontier Women.  Targeting ethnic minorities and urban populations, the program’s goal is to create connections for audiences unfamiliar with State Parks and Historic Sites, as well as offer new historical insights. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers, the first African American men to serve in the regular Army in the late 19th Century, is an excellent example of an important part of Texas History seldom elaborated in traditional textbooks. By sharing these stories, TPWD opens doors into communities that once questioned their stake in Parks. 
      BSHOP has three component programs to accomplish this task.  First is the educational outreach program, Texas Buffalo Soldiers.  This program brings the museum to the audience and features authentic military camps, uniforms, horses, and even firing demonstrations.  This unique vehicle provides BSHOP the opportunity to bring interactive programming to audiences ranging from traditional classrooms to State Parks.
      The second program component is the Blazing New Trails program. In addition to lack of being stakeholders, studies have found that urban and some ethnic minorities also shy away due to lack of outdoor experience.  Blazing New Trails partners with multiple entities, such as the National Buffalo Soldier Museum, to offer these audiences the opportunity to experience State Parks and Historic sites with a minimal investment of their time or monetary resources.  For many participants, this represents the first time they have ever camped, cooked over an open fire, or even played baseball.
      Finally, for those looking for expert advice about the Buffalo Soldiers and other Texas History components, the program offers research assistance.  Exploring Texas Roots is the program’s research component. Tasked originally with identifying African American Heritage sites, this program now also provides support to educators and community groups who desire to share these stories as well.
      If interested in learning more about the Buffalo Soldiers and all the other voices of Texas History, please feel free to pay a visit to the following events:
March
2-3 “Life’s Better Outside: Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo” Houston
23-24 “McKavett Western Heritage Days” Fort McKavett State Historic Site
April
27-28 “Life’s Better Outside: Buccaneer Day’s” Corpus Christie
May
3-5 “Buffalo Soldier Education Day and Open House” Lake Brownwood State Park
18-19 “Buffalo Soldier and Frontier Education Day” Lake Arrowhead State Park
August
11 “Buffalo Soldier and Texas State Parks Heritage Expo” Old Settlers Park, Round Rock  Have you ever gone to a museum and wanted to touch the artifacts or costumes?   Or for those who are still a kid at heart, wanted to talk with the costumed manikins?  On a more serious note, have you ever asked yourself, “What is my connection to this place?”  At Texas Parks and Wildlife, all of these experiences are possible.   The Buffalo Soldier Heritage and Outreach Program (BSOHP) is an educational outreach program in State Parks that features costumed interpreters, interactive exhibits, and offers participants unique cultural and historical experiences.
      Primarily focused on the African American military experience in Texas, BSHOP also features the life and times of Tejanos, Native Americans, and Frontier Women.  Targeting ethnic minorities and urban populations, the program’s goal is to create connections for audiences unfamiliar with State Parks and Historic Sites, as well as offer new historical insights. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers, the first African American men to serve in the regular Army in the late 19th Century, is an excellent example of an important part of Texas History seldom elaborated in traditional textbooks. By sharing these stories, TPWD opens doors into communities that once questioned their stake in Parks. 
      BSHOP has three component programs to accomplish this task.  First is the educational outreach program, Texas Buffalo Soldiers.  This program brings the museum to the audience and features authentic military camps, uniforms, horses, and even firing demonstrations.  This unique vehicle provides BSHOP the opportunity to bring interactive programming to audiences ranging from traditional classrooms to State Parks.
      The second program component is the Blazing New Trails program. In addition to lack of being stakeholders, studies have found that urban and some ethnic minorities also shy away due to lack of outdoor experience.  Blazing New Trails partners with multiple entities, such as the National Buffalo Soldier Museum, to offer these audiences the opportunity to experience State Parks and Historic sites with a minimal investment of their time or monetary resources.  For many participants, this represents the first time they have ever camped, cooked over an open fire, or even played baseball.
      Finally, for those looking for expert advice about the Buffalo Soldiers and other Texas History components, the program offers research assistance.  Exploring Texas Roots is the program’s research component. Tasked originally with identifying African American Heritage sites, this program now also provides support to educators and community groups who desire to share these stories as well.
      If interested in learning more about the Buffalo Soldiers and all the other voices of Texas History, please feel free to pay a visit to the following events:
March
2-3 “Life’s Better Outside: Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo” Houston
23-24 “McKavett Western Heritage Days” Fort McKavett State Historic Site
April
27-28 “Life’s Better Outside: Buccaneer Day’s” Corpus Christie
May
3-5 “Buffalo Soldier Education Day and Open House” Lake Brownwood State Park
18-19 “Buffalo Soldier and Frontier Education Day” Lake Arrowhead State Park
August
11 “Buffalo Soldier and Texas State Parks Heritage Expo” Old Settlers Park, Roun

Historian's Corner

John Slidell and the Outbreak of the War with Mexico
 
By Sam W. Haynes
The University of Texas at Arlington
Professor and Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies

Most student textbooks present the war with Mexico, which resulted from the annexation of Texas, from the perspective of what was occurring north of the Rio Grande. To fully understand the situation, it is important to understand to some degree what was happening in Mexico as well. The following piece provides a brief glimpse of how both American and Mexican leaders reacted to annexation.

On February 26 1845, the U.S. Congress passed the Brown resolution, extending an offer of annexation to the Texas Republic. President John Tyler signed the resolution as his last act in office, and immediately dispatched a courier to Texas to present it to the government of Texas. On March 6, two days after the inauguration of James K. Polk, Mexico’s minister in Washington demanded his passports, thus severing diplomatic relations between his country and the United States.

Ominous as these developments seemed, Mexico’s president, José Joaquin Herrera, was anxious to avoid a conflict with Washington. And while he continued to look for ways to block annexation, he was equally determined to resist the demands of conservatives who insisted that only a war could redeem the nation’s honor.

Several months passed, but in the fall of 1845 a series of discussions between Herrera’s foreign minister, Manuel Peña y Peña, and U.S. consul John Black, the lone U.S. representative in Mexico, seemed to offer a way out of the impasse. In October, Black asked the Mexican minister if his government would agree to receive an envoy with the authority to "adjust all questions" between the two countries. Peña y Peña responded in the affirmative, stating that the Herrera regime wished "to settle the present dispute in a peaceful, reasonable and honorable manner." With these meetings, the groundwork for productive negotiations between the two countries appeared to have been laid. Believing that Mexico was now prepared to restore normal diplomatic relations, the Polk administration on November 10 appointed John Mason Slidell, a Louisiana attorney, as U.S. minister to Mexico.

In fact, Black and Peña y Peña had agreed to two very different things. The Herrera government had expressed a willingness to discuss only "the present dispute," i.e., the Texas question. Since this matter would first have to be resolved before normal diplomatic intercourse between the two countries could be restored, it assumed the Polk administration would send a commissioner empowered to settle Mexico’s grievances regarding the loss of its former province. Only then could Mexico receive a U.S. minister and resume regular diplomatic relations.

The Polk administration, on the other hand, regarded the annexation issue as settled, and declined even to give its diplomat the authority to discuss the issue. Since the Texas Republic had existed for almost a decade as a sovereign nation, and had now chosen to enter the Union of its own accord, Polk believed Mexico had no just cause for complaint.

Nor did Polk believe that Mexico had a valid claim to the stretch of land between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River, another bone of contention for Mexico. On this point he was prepared to be more conciliatory, however, regarding the boundary dispute as the principal obstacle to normal diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico. To obtain the Herrera government’s recognition of the Rio Grande as the legitimate boundary of Texas, the president offered to assume payment of U.S. claims against the Mexican government totaling three-and-a-quarter million dollars.

Slidell’s mission would have been ambitious enough had it been limited to a satisfactory resolution of the Texas boundary dispute. But the Polk administration believed the time was ripe to pressure Mexico into making further concessions. Alarmed by reports of British interference in California, Polk instructed Slidell to warn Mexican leaders that the United States would take steps to prevent the cession of California to any European power. Should Mexico wish to sell the land, however, the United States was prepared to make several propositions. For the New Mexico territory, Polk authorized the U.S. envoy to offer the Herrera government $5 million. The administration was also willing to pay $20 million for a territorial cession that included the Pacific ports of San Francisco and Monterey.

Anxious to resolve its problems with Mexico as quickly as possible, the administration took the unusual step of sending Slidell on his diplomatic mission as a recess appointment, without waiting for Senate confirmation. On November 29, barely six weeks after Black and Peña y Peña had met to discuss the reopening of diplomatic channels, Slidell disembarked at Veracruz.

Slidell’s arrival caught the Herrera regime off-guard. Assuming that a U.S. envoy would not be named until the U.S. Congress convened in December, the Mexican government did not expect Slidell to arrive until early the following year. Peña y Peña had not yet had time to build support in the Mexican Congress and in the state legislatures for the regime’s controversial decision to open a dialogue with the United States.

Herrera’s conservative critics strongly condemned the regime’s apparent willingness to negotiate with the United States. Playing for time in hopes that the public furor might die down, Peña y Peña declined to accept Slidell’s credentials on the grounds that Mexico had agreed only to receive a commissioner empowered to settle existing grievances, not a minister plenipotentiary. He urged Slidell to write to Washington to obtain new credentials, a request the U.S. diplomat rejected.

By this time, however, conservative forces were now moving to supplant the Herrera regime. In a chain of events which had become all too familiar in Mexico, General Manuel Paredes, a conservative who had engineered the overthrow of Santa Anna one year earlier, declared his opposition to Herrera and marched on the nation’s capital. On December 30, Herrera resigned.

Believing that a new government might be in a stronger position to negotiate with the United States, the U.S. diplomat withdrew to Jalapa, midway between the capital and the port city of Veracruz, to await further instructions from Washington. But the U.S. minister’s hopes for the success of his mission soon proved groundless. A man of strong anti-American sentiments, Paredes showed little interest in reaching an accord with the United States. In addition, Washington had already sent troops under General Zachary Taylor into the trans-Nueces and ordered its navy off the Mexican coast, warlike measures that made an accommodating posture on the part of the new regime politically untenable.

In mid-January 1846 the Polk administration learned of Paredes’ refusal to accept Slidell’s diplomatic credentials. Secretary of State Buchanan wrote to the U.S. envoy ordering him to sever diplomatic relations if Mexico did not abandon its position and recognize him as a representative of the United States. In March Slidell demanded his passports and prepared to return to the United States. With Slidell’s departure, all hope of a constructive dialogue between the two countries came to an end.
Arriving in Washington, Slidell briefed the president on May 8. The following day, Polk discussed the situation with members of his cabinet. Despite the absence of aggression on the part of Mexico, Polk now believed that its refusal to receive Slidell gave the United States "ample cause of war" and favored sending Congress a declaration to that effect. All cabinet members agreed except George Bancroft, who advised the president to wait until some act of provocation by Mexico.

In fact, the pretext for war which Bancroft sought had already occurred. At 6 p.m. that same evening, Polk received dispatches from General Taylor, notifying him that the Mexican army had crossed the Rio Grande, attacking a patrol of 63 dragoons on April 25. Sixteen Americans were killed and wounded in the exchange, and the rest captured. Taylor’s note read: "Hostilities may now be considered as commenced."

Featured Lesson

As you plan instruction on the war with Mexico, be sure to check out the U.S.-Mexican War website by PBS. The website features valuable content information that explains what lead up the war, during the war, and the aftermath of the war, biographies of notable figures from both the United States and Mexico, and an interactive timeline that describes each event of the war. The website also features an educators section which includes, lesson plans, classroom activities, a video library, biographical essays, links to resources, and primary source material. This website and lessons are sure to encourage students to discover the events that occurred resulting from the annexation of Texas.

Texas History News

Several opportunities for Texas history educators and students are available or are on the near horizon:

 Join the Fort McKavett State Historic Site and the Texas Historic Commission on January 18, 2014, for an interactive educational program showcasing the various games and sundry items that a soldier stationed at Fort McKavett would have employed to keep them entertained during his down time. Learn the period games of Chuck-a-Luck, Mill, hearts, and marbles, and try your hand a making clay marbles or read one of the dime novels available to the soldiers through the sulter’s store. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.

 

Live the History! The San Jacinto Museum of History Association would like to invite you to participate in the annual San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment, on April 21, 2012. This year’s event marks the 176th Anniversary of Texas Independence and record attendance is anticipated! More than 20,000 visitors joined us at the San Jacinto Monument for the Festival in 2011. Highlights of the Festival include family entertainment, living history demonstrations, a children’s area and vendors reflecting all things Texas. In the late afternoon, the largest battle reenactment in the state celebrates the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.  
Live the History! The San Jacinto Museum of History Association would like to invite you to participate in the annual San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment, on April 21, 2012. This year’s event marks the 176th Anniversary of Texas Independence and record attendance is anticipated! More than 20,000 visitors joined us at the San Jacinto Monument for the Festival in 2011. Highlights of the Festival include family entertainment, living history demonstrations, a children’s area and vendors reflecting all things Texas. In the late afternoon, the largest battle reenactment in the state celebrates the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.   Live the History! The San Jacinto Museum of History Association would like to invite you to participate in the annual San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment, on April 21, 2012. This year’s event marks the 176th Anniversary of Texas Independence and record attendance is anticipated! More than 20,000 visitors joined us at the San Jacinto Monument for the Festival in 2011. Highlights of the Festival include family entertainment, living history demonstrations, a children’s area and vendors reflecting all things Texas. In the late afternoon, the largest battle reenactment in the state celebrates the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.    
 The Panhandle Plain Historical Museum is proud to present the Wonders of Weather day, January 24, 2014. Students and teachers will participate in weather-related activities and hear speakers. Teachers and students will also have the opportunity to explore their newest temporary exhibit, Wild and Wacky Weather on the Panhandle Plains before it closes on February 1, 2014. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.To make space for the arrival of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac, the Texas State Historical Association is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.To make space for the arrival of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac, the Texas State Historical Association is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.To make space for the arrival of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac, the Texas State Historical Association is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.To make space for the arrival of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac, the Texas State Historical Association is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.To make space for the arrival of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac, the Texas State Historical Association is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.To make space for the arrival of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac, the Texas State Historical Association is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.The Texas State Historical Association is proud to announce the release of the 2014-2015 Texas Almanac. Visit TeachingTexas.org for purchasing information. To make space for the arrival of the new Almanac, the TSHA is offering a special classroom teacher opportunity, while supplies last. Teachers and school librarians can receive a class set, 36 copies, of the 2012-2013 Texas Almanac for only $50.00, the cost of shipping! Supplies are limited, and will be distributed on a first come basis. Visit the TSHA website for additional information.

The Panhandle Plain Historical Museum is proud to present Wonders of Weather Day, January 24, 2014. Students and teachers will participate in weather-related activities and hear speakers. Teachers and students will also have the opportunity to explore their newest temporary exhibit, Wild and Wacky Weather on the Panhandle Plains before it closes on February 1, 2014. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
  Join the San Antonio Living History Association interpreters as they portray the events of the famous Battle of the Alamo, March 8-9, 2014. Visitors will enjoy period music and dancing, flintlock arms and cannon demonstrations, and engage in interactive living history exhibits and skills demonstration. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.
Join Humanities Texas at one of three one-day teacher workshops in South Texas focusing on the Westward Expansion of the United States in the nineteenth century. Topics to be addressed include Manifest Destiny, the Mexican War, Native American resistance, and the revolutions in transportation and industry. Teachers will receive books and other instructional materials and be trained in the examination and interpretation of primary sources. Locations for the event include: Region 1 Education Service Center on February 5, 2014, Region 2 Education Service Center in Corpus Christi on February 6, 2014, and in San Antonio on February 7, 2014, location is to be announced. For additional information visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
  The Texas State Historical Association would like to remind teachers that the deadline to register, your middle school students, for this year’s Texas Quiz Show is January 15, 2014. Schools can registered for one of eight regional competitions taking place in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Brownsville, El Paso, Nacogdoches, and Lubbock. Winners from each regional competition earn a spot in the Texas Quiz Show State Championship, scheduled for May 3, 2014 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Fourth grade students can also participate by submitting questions. Select fourth grade students will have their questions read during the State Championship in our “Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader” round. To register, find the TQS on TeachingTexas.org.
 

    Explore the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in an interactive, self-guided tour through the official National Park Service app. Visit five NPS historic sites – Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and the Espada Aqueduct. Complete with narration, immersive 360 images, maps, 3D laser scans and illustrations, the app is great for planning a trip to the mission or to virtually explore the sites from anywhere. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.Explore the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in an interactive, self-guided tour through the official National Park Service app. Visit five NPS historic sites – Mission Concepcion, Mission Espada, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and the Espada Aqueduct. Complete with narration, images, maps, 3D laser scans and illustrations, this app is great for planning a trip to the mission or to virtually explore the site from anywhere. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.

 

  Join the San Antonio Living History Association interpreters as they portray the events of the famous Battle of the Alamo, March 809, 2014. Visitors will enjoy period music and dancing, flintlock arms and cannon demonstrations, and engage in interactive living history exhibits and skills demonstration.The Department of History at Sam Houston State University is proud to announce the launch of their new website, StudyThePast.com. This interactive website features Texas court cases and precedents of the Texas Supreme Court that have influenced the lives of Texans. Included in the site are summaries of each case, lesson plans, primary source documents, and audio/visual resources for use in the classroom. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.
 

 Join the San Antonio Living History Association interpreters as they portray the events of the famous Battle of the Alamo, March 809, 2014. Visitors will enjoy period music and dancing, flintlock arms and cannon demonstrations, and engage in interactive living history exhibits and skills demonstration.TeachingTexas.org would like to welcome, new partner, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. The Commission was established to ensure that resources are available to students, educators, and the general public regarding the Holocaust and other genocides, offering valuable resources online, such as lesson plans, Oral histories, and posters to be used in the classroom. For more information, visit the partner’s page on TeachingTexas.org.   

 

The Texas Archive of the Moving Image is proud to announce the release of a new collection, Texas Women and the National Women’s Conference. Through the use of a primary source video of the 1977 National Women’s Conference, students will see democratic principles in action and learn about important Texas and National women leaders and the political process. Using the accompanying lesson plans, students will evaluate different political arguments and articulate differing opinions on the Equal Rights Amendment. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.

TeachingTexas.org would like to welcome, new partner, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. HMRC is a part of the Houston Public Library System’s Special Collections Division which also includes the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research and the African American Library at the Gregory School. Visit their website to learn more about the diversity of materials held by the HMRC. Collections include photographs, maps, architectural drawings, and other archival materials. For more information, visit the partner’s page on TeachingTexas.org.
 
  The Texas State Historical Association is proud to announce the release of our newest publication, The Hoggs of Texas: Letters and Memoirs of an Extraordinary Family, 1887-1906. In this book, Editor Virginia Bernhard delves into one of Texas’s most extraordinarily families and tells us their story, in their own words, using their letters, which are published for the first time. Rich in details, the letters follow the family through the hurly-burly of Texas politics and the ups-and-downs of their personal lives. This book will illuminate the little-known private life of one of Texas’s most famous families. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.
 

Texas Insights is a publication of the Texas State Historical Association
in cooperation with the University of North Texas.

Texas State Historical Association
1155 Union Circle #311580
Denton, TX 76203-5017

Stephen Cure - Editor
JoNeita Kelly - Associate Editor

 

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