Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Andrew Jackson Had His Eyes On Texas

Andrew Jackson was portrayed as a driving force behind the United States' expansion west in "Magnificent Destiny," by Paul I. Wellman.

Perhaps one of Andrew Jackson's greatest disappointments may have been the initial failure to bring Texas into the United States. "...that victory had not been won. The Senate was divided, seeking small ends and petty triumphs, true. But in some manner he should have been able to unite the country. He had been unable to do so. The burden of failure had lived with him all these years." On the flip side, "of all his acts he (President Jackson) looked back with deepest pride to the payment of the national debt." (See today's debt here at the U.S. National Debt Clock).

Andrew Jackson's adopted son, Jack Donelson, was appointed Charge d'Affaires to the Texas Republic by President Tyler. As such, he approached Sam Houston inquiring as to Houston's attitude about the Texas annexation question. Houston was always in favor of it, but General Santa Anna of Mexico was encroaching upon Texas territory, perhaps forcing Houston's hand.

Not only was Santa Anna making forays into Texas, he conducted his infamous "bean lottery" on captured Texans. One in 10 beans in the pot was black, the others white. When a prisoner drew the black bean, he was executed. As Houston explained to Donelson, "Confronted by such a foe, you can understand that our situation is critical."

Houston intimated that Texas was vulnerable to foreign overtures if the United States continued to rebuff Texas over slavery issues, knowing that it would reach Andrew Jackson's ears. Jackson believed that "Britain--or France--with a foothold in Texas...would be a sword poised and pointed at the heart of his country."

Andrew Jackson hand-picked James K. Polk to run for President. He was loyal to Jackson and favored the annexation of Texas. Democratic delegates nominating a candidate for the election of 1844 were divided between Martin Van Buren and Lewis Cass. "The divisions were forgotten when he (Jack Donelson) gave them the message he carried from the old chief (Andrew Jackson). After an all-night adjournment, the convention by acclamation nominated the man Andrew Jackson asked it to name. James Knox Polk [was] now hailed as "Young Hickory"...".

Andrew Jackson advised future President James K. Polk, "Mexico has already notified our government that if we annex Texas, a state of war will exist. Do not strike the first blow: but once that blow is struck against you, make the enemy repent--and protect Texas." By 1846, The United States and Mexico were at war.

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