Sam Houston: A Biography of the Father of Texas

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Simon & Schuster, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 448 pages
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Sam Houston was one of the most colorful and legendary figures of American history. During his life he held an astonishing range of high positions: governor of two states (Tennessee and Texas), congressman (Tennessee), senator (Texas), and president of the Republic of Texas for most of its period of independence. He was an ardent expansionist who helped to make "manifest destiny" a reality, and more than any other individual, he was responsible for Texas's entry into the United States. But Houston was a complex man whose life was marked by failures and despair. He had a lifelong alcohol problem, which probably caused the rapid dissolution of his first marriage, a scandal that forced him to resign the governorship of Tennessee. Following that disgrace, Houston fled into Indian Territory and oblivion. After years of wandering in the wilderness, he came to Texas and political rebirth. Houston's military fame, forged in the War of 1812, brought him to the attention of his commanding general, Andrew Jackson, who made Houston his protege and nurtured Houston's military and political career. In Texas, Houston's fellow settlers, determined to break free from Mexico, chose him to command the Texas Army. After a series of tactical retreats, Houston won a decisive victory at San Jacinto, crushing the army of Mexican General Santa Anna and guaranteeing Texas's independence. But even Houston's own officers quarreled over his victory and how much credit Houston deserved for it. As governor of Texas in 1861, Houston, fiercely pro-Union, refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy when Texas joined the new Southern nation, and he was forced from office. He died in 1863, a bloody war raging as he hadpredicted it would following secession. This is a vivid and exciting biography of one of the giants of nineteenth-century America.

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Sam Houston: a biography of the father of Texas

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Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sam Houston, long romanticized as a hero who loomed larger than life over Texas history. Williams (history, Indiana State Univ.) presents a ... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

John Hoyt Williams, a professor of history at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, is the author of Sam Houston.

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