Sam Houston and the American Southwest

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The first half of the nineteenth century was a time of emergence, change, and uncertainty in the American Southwest. Randolph B. Campbell celebrates this historical time period in his novel, Sam Houston and the American Southwest, as well as the life and times of the southwest’s hero himself, Sam Houston.

Sam Houston provided guidance to southwestern expansion in the United States, more than any other individual. Within his novel, Campbell describes Houston as a man who possessed courage, wisdom, and ambition that was practically unsurpassed amongst any other political or military leader in the south. Because of these attributes, Sam Houston was able to play a monumental role in sparking the revolution, winning independence, and the establishment of Texas.

Even very early in his life, Sam Houston demonstrated a taste for adventure. At the age of sixteen, Houston ran away from his job as a clerk in Tennessee to live with the Cherokee Indians. In this novel, some emphasis is made on Houston’s relationship with Indians. He did not live with them long at first and after some time came back to make a career. Later he came to the Indian Territory once more and even had an Indian wife. Campbell expresses an idea of sympathy towards Indians and their culture. Still it is a question whether Houston lived among the Indians only because of friendship or pursuing some goals. Following his return, Houston tried his hand at teaching, became a lieutenant under Andrew Jackson, and eventually an Indian Agent. Also, from 1818 to 1827, Sam Houston rose from Nashville’s attorney general to become the governor to Tennessee. Due to controversy surrounding his office, as well as a drinking problem, Houston only served one term as governor. A few years after his resignation from Tennessee politics, Houston moved to Texas and quickly became an important figure in Texas affairs and was elected as commander-in-chief in the war for independence from Mexico. Due to his popularity...
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