A Sam Cooke Remedial

1836: Texas arguably extended all the way through parts of current New Mexico, and other present states, fingering its way north to the current State of Wyoming.

Do you remember the old Sam Cooke song-lyrical lament that “(I) Don’t know much about history?” Well, today I just wanted to share the news and send you a link to a neat little site that Gary Richardson of The Floppy Wizard computer store in Houston sent me the other day. In something like two minutes of the clock, the people at this site could have helped old Sam quite a bit on his knowledge dilemma, at least, delivering him safely to the “do know something about history” level.

I make no claims for academic historical expertise, but I would place myself in the “do know some things” category as the subject relates to Texas and American history, anyway, and I found this little linear film (with graphic illustration) a fun way to review the surface growth of the USA from the various chronological comings of the fifty states by the years they each came into the Union a really fascinating way to review how we’ve gotten where we are now.
How many of you recall that the USA once possessed Cuba and The Philippines – and could have made a case for annexing the latter as a state, had we been able to figure out a practical way in those lower tech travel and weapons days of defending a state that was located in Asia.
I had the arguable part of Texas history brought home to me on a trip we made to Santa Fe, New Mexico back in 1998 – and I happened to have an old Rand-McNally Atlas book with me that contained a Texas sketch similar to the one shown here. I had the book with me when we later went on a downtown Santa Fe walking tour and heard nothing about the 1836-1845 period in which Texas (apparently) controlled large parts of the territory that contained large parts of eastern New Mexico and all of Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe walking tour people said they had never seen such a map or read or heard anything about Texas controlling their land at a time that their records showed New Mexico as being still under Mexico’s control until the USA took things away in the Mexican War of 1845. I was aware of why this condition existed. I had just never had the fact of its existence brought home to me so clearly until that moment in Santa Fe.
In fact, the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 may have won Texas its independence, but it certainly didn’t settle the size of Texas’s new land acquisition as far as Mexico was concerned. Santa Anna just conceded defeat there because he had no choice and saw the need to find a way to get home before the Texans started talking seriously about his need for execution.
Mexico just saw the Texas Revolution as an American land grab and that’s why things didn’t get “settled” until their war with the United States in 1845,  the conflict that resulted in the much larger Mexican concession of western lands to the United States, and the Gadsden purchase settlement.
These 19th century battles would settle things until the late 20th century, when Mexico figured out that it would be possible for them to reclaim all of their lost lands, and large parts of the US treasury, if they simply sent their army back over the “border” one-by-one, and family-by-family.
What an absolutely brilliant strategy! How can any nation stop an invasion that comes so slowly, albeit steadily, that those who warn against it must do so at the risk of finding themselves branded with the indictments of political correctness?
At any rate, what a great refresher course this one is.

Probably the best capsule of the history of our country ever put together. It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of growth from the 13 colonies up to the present, with dates, wars, purchases, etc. included. As much as you may know about American history, I guarantee you’ll learn something from this short video clip.

This “moving” map of the country, shows it from the beginning of the 13 states through the present. It includes the acquisitions from England and Spain, the Slave states, the Free states, a segment on the Civil war, it includes some mentions of Central andSouth America, etc.

It also shows the Indian Nations as they were during the Indian Wars: Modac, Miwok, Mujave, Nez Perce, Flat Head, Crow,Cheyenne, Arapaho, Navajo, Apache, Dakota, Sioux, Kiowa, Wichita and Comanche.
A great site, especially if you enjoy American history, but have forgotten a lot of what we learned in school. Turn on your sound, as the narration is a significant portion of the presentation.
Click on the next line. (When it opens, don’t click on Go at the bottom …. click on Play at the top.)



3 Responses to “A Sam Cooke Remedial”

  1. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Excellent little synopsis. Forwarded it on to my daughters.

  2. Mark Wernick Says:


  3. Mark Wernick Says:

    I didn’t realize that Texas’ size-reduction didn’t occur until 1850. I always thought it occurred when Texas became a state, in 1845.
    But today, thanks to you, Bill, I learned about the Compromise of 1850 and the James Pearce Plan that became law on September 9th, 1850, the day Texas lost one-third of its land – land which was in contentious dispute anyway.



    In 1836 the Republic of Texas had legalized slavery. By 1842 Texans wanted to be annexed into the United States but abolitionist blocked Texas admission because they were a slave state. On December 29, 1845 Texas was finally admitted to the Union but there was a dispute concerning the borders. The Texas territory was about fifty percent larger than it is today. It included parts of present states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. Other groups contested the land so much that by 1850 it reached a point of hostility. The U.S. Congress began plans for settling the dispute. There were four plans that were under consideration:

    Thomas Benton Plan (January 16) – would divest Texas of its northern and western territory and later split Texas into two states.

    John Bell Plan (February 28) – similar to Benton’s Plan, but would split Texas into three states.

    Henry Clay Plan, representing a committee of thirteen (April 17) – reduced the size of Texas by about the same amount, but with no provision for further subdivision.

    James Pearce Plan (August 5) – similar to Clay’s Plan, but set the boundaries known today.

    On September 9, 1850, the Pearce Plan was adopted and Texas lost almost one-third of its territory. The settlement also included compensation of $10,000,000, which provided much needed funding for Texas to pay its pre-statehood debts.

    The Compromise of 1850 came from the Senate but much of the debating was by less prominent people, including:

    Read more: http://civilwarstories.blogspot.com/2009/07/compromise-of-1850.html#ixzz1fgEMpc8H
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

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