The American Southwest to this day conjures images of burly pioneers and freedom beyond the bounds of established civilization, a unique spirit that harkens back to the era of the Lone Star Republic of Texas. Not only was the state once its own sovereign nation, it gained independence from Mexico through raising a true civilian army compromised overwhelmingly of the classic frontiersmen, live-off-the-land Texan that made up the new nation’s population. While depictions of the quintessential Texan against the promotion of its vast lands ripe with unhindered opportunity drew masses of Americans to Texas, the propaganda hid a web of political maneuverings and agendas within Texas politics and between the budding nation and the United States. Behind the changing leadership laid vastly different visions for the future of Texas as a potential U.S. state and the possibility of Texas remaining independent became a grave possibility given the turbulent sectionalism in the states over slavery. It wasn’t until the failed expedition along the Santa Fe Trail, which represented an attempt at growing as an independent nation, exposed the true political climate of the Texas government and caused Texas to move beyond being merely a question of slavery expansion in the U.S. While the explosion of American sectionalism and slavery debates halted annexation plans for Texas, the Santa Fe Expedition ultimately reaffirmed the U.S.’s need for Texas statehood in the interest of protecting westward expansion.
Celano, Daniele. "The Santa Fe Expedition’s Impact on Texas Annexation." The Purdue Historian 8, 1 (2017). https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/puhistorian/vol8/iss1/1