British opposition to the annexation of Texas, 1841-1845

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1965

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Abstract

Purpose: It is the purpose of this study to trace England’s early interest in Texas as a barrier to further expansion of the United States, to investigate the actual reasons for the growth of British opposition to the annexation of Texas, to relate the diplomatic exchanges and maneuvers implemented by the British in exercising their opposition, and to determine the effects of this opposition on the annexation issue itself. Methods: The following sources were used to obtain the information upon which this study is based (1) the published diplomatic correspondence of the Republic of Texas, (2) the published diplomatic correspondence of Great Britain pertaining to Texas, (3) the published journals and letter books of British and American agents in Texas, and (4) the published papers and letters of Presidents Houston, Lamar, and Jones of Texas. Findings: From the evidence presented in this study the following conclusions seem to be in order: 1. From the very beginning of British-Texas diplomatic relations, the representatives of Texas had intentionally cultivated the friendship and interest of the English in Texas for two reasons. First, if the British demonstrated an active interest in the affairs of Texas, the people of the United States would probably recognize this as a threat to the security of their southwestern border. The second pose of the Texas cultivation of British interest was to secure the independence and peaceful stability of the Republic of Texas should annexation fall. 2. The British were obviously won over by the persuasive powers of the Texan government and its representatives into believing that the single goal of the Texans was to obtain peace with Mexico, and prosperity through trade and commerce. With the idea that Texas would remain independent, providing a barrier to further American expansion in North America, and giving them extra sources of raw materials and a new avenue of commerce, the British allowed themselves to be cultivated as friends and potential allies of Texas. 3. Fear of this British interest, just as the Texans expected it would, roused many Americans for apathy toward Texas, and gave rise to a growing annexation movement in the United States. 4. Increased interest by the Americans, together with the possibility that the Texans might seriously consider annexation, prompted the British to initiate measures of opposition to such a union. This opposition, in turn, increased the American desire to annex Texas, and ultimately resulted in the consummation of the measure. 5. Had England never expressed intense concern for the independence of Texas, but simply maintained normal diplomatic and trade relations with the republic, the offer of annexation might never have been made, and Texas might have remained, for a much longer time, an independent country.

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Keywords

Republic of Texas, diplomatic correspondence, Englan's interest in Texas, US annexation of Texas, opposition

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