Artigos

Stephen Austin

Stephen Austin


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Stephen Austin, filho de Moses Austin, nasceu em Wythe County, Virginia, em 3 de novembro de 1793. Quando Austin era criança, sua família mudou-se para o Missouri.

Depois de se formar na Transylvania University, Austin se juntou ao negócio da família. Mais tarde, ele estudou direito em New Orleans.

Em 1820, Moses Austin recebeu permissão das autoridades espanholas para estabelecer uma colônia na província mexicana do Texas. No ano seguinte, Moses Austin morreu e Stephen Austin viajou para San Antonio para completar a tarefa de seu pai. Em 1822, Austin estabeleceu a primeira colônia legal anglo-americana no Texas.

O México, preocupado com o crescimento da colônia, tentou impedir que imigrantes americanos chegassem ao Texas. Em 1834, Austin foi preso pelos mexicanos, mas foi libertado um ano depois. Durante a Guerra da Independência do Texas, Austin foi o comandante do exército de voluntários da região.

Em junho de 1836, Austin foi derrotado para a presidência da República do Texas por Samuel Houston. No entanto, ele concordou em servir como Secretário de Estado de Houston.

Stephen Austin morreu em 27 de dezembro de 1836.

1. Ninguém será admitido como colono que não produza prova satisfatória de ter sustentado o caráter de cidadão moral, sóbrio e trabalhador.

2. Cada colono deve, quando convocado pelo Governador da dita Província, fazer o juramento de fidelidade ao Governo que exerce a soberania do país.

3. Seiscentos e quarenta acres de terra serão concedidos ao chefe de cada família e, além disso, trezentos e vinte acres para a esposa de um homem, cento e sessenta acres para cada filho e oitenta acres para cada escravo ; cujo terreno será distribuído em dois trechos iguais, um no rio em um retângulo, o outro deve ser localizado de forma a não interferir com os terrenos do rio; um dos referidos tratos deve ser efetivamente habitado e cultivado pela pessoa e família que tem permissão para resolvê-lo, no prazo de um ano a partir de primeiro de janeiro de 1822. Doze centavos e meio por acre, devem ser pagos a mim pela dita terra, metade no recebimento do título, o outro pára um ano depois, que será integralmente para taxas de levantamento e todas as outras cobranças - cada colono escolherá seus próprios terrenos dentro dos limites designados pelo referido Austin.

4. Mecânicos e homens de capital receberão privilégios adicionais na proporção de sua capacidade de ser útil.

5. Cada colono deve se apresentar a mim, ou ao oficial encarregado da Colônia, imediatamente após sua chegada, e fornecer uma lista do número de sua família, informando o nome de seus filhos e sua idade, o número de negros, designando os menores de doze anos, os maiores de doze e os menores de vinte e um, os maiores de vinte e um, e se algum da família é mecânico, diga de que tipo.

O respeito pelas opiniões e a última vontade de meu pai me levaram a explorar o Texas em 1821. Fiquei encantado e surpreso ao descobrir que era a região mais favorecida que já tinha visto. Sua fertilidade e seus recursos naturais, excedendo em muito qualquer coisa que eu havia imaginado, determinaram-me a devotar minha vida ao grande objetivo de redimi-lo do deserto.

Foi uma tarefa difícil para um homem jovem, inexperiente e muito pobre. Meu primeiro passo foi estudar o caráter dos mexicanos e verificar suas idéias e pontos de vista sobre o Texas. Descobri que eles nada sabiam sobre isso e eram profundamente ignorantes de seu valor real, e também que consideravam quase impraticável formar um assentamento em seu deserto sem a ajuda de uma força militar muito forte para guarnições para manter os índios sob controle . Também descobri que existiam fortes preconceitos contra os norte-americanos devido à conduta de alguns que estavam envolvidos nas expedições revolucionárias que haviam entrado no Texas em vários momentos desde 1811. Vi que todos os esforços para se firmar aqui por meio de tais expedições tinham fracassou e terminou em derrota e ruína, e eu acreditava que eles sempre fracassariam. Essas observações me convenceram de que o único meio de redimir este país do deserto era por meio da perseverança e da diligência pacífica, silenciosa e silenciosa, e que o machado, o arado e a enxada fariam mais do que o rifle ou a espada. Sob essas impressões, comecei e persegui o objetivo principal com um grau de paciência e perseverança que nada, exceto sua vasta importância para o mundo civilizado, poderia ter me dado força para continuar por tantos anos de adversidades e em meio a tantos obstáculos desanimadores. O pior já passou e as poucas nuvens que parecem pairar sobre nós são meras sombras quando comparadas com as que já passaram. Eu lancei uma base suficiente para outros construírem, e um curso prudente tornará este país um dos melhores do mundo (pois o meu é o único que está estabelecido) e sob ele poderei manter abra a porta por mais algum tempo, e talvez até que uma nova ordem de coisas aconteça.

Tive duas tarefas difíceis para desempenhar aqui, uma de gerir o Governo e outra de gerir os colonos, destas, esta última foi de longe a mais difícil. Eu digo que os norte-americanos são as pessoas mais obstinadas e difíceis de administrar que vivem na terra, embora eu tenha tido muitos "homens do sertão" e "camaradas rudes" para lidar. Os emigrantes da Europa não são proibidos, e às vezes penso que suíços e alemães promoverão a prosperidade deste país muito mais do que os norte-americanos. Eles vão introduzir a cultura da videira, da azeitona etc. eles são trabalhadores e morais, eles não têm em geral, aquela horrível Mania pela especulação que é um traço tão proeminente no caráter inglês e norte-americano, e acima de tudo se oporão à escravidão . A ideia de ver um país como este invadido por uma população escrava quase me faz chorar.

No início deste acordo, fui compelido a sustentar a ideia de que a escravidão seria tolerada e consegui que fosse tolerada por um tempo pelo governo. Fiz isso para começar, caso contrário, teria sido quase impossível comecei de todo, pois eu tive que recorrer a Louisiana e Mississippi, Estados Slave, para os primeiros emigrantes. A escravidão está agora positivamente proibida por nossa Constituição e por uma série de leis, e espero que sempre seja assim.

Eu passei uma vida verdadeiramente servil aqui por nove anos, minha constituição está muito quebrada, minha saúde ruim e meus dias provavelmente estão chegando ao fim, mas posso reclamar algum crédito pelo que foi feito para lançar as bases para a formação de uma comunidade rica e espero uma feliz. O Texas não pertence mais ao deserto - se no fim das contas permanecerá ligado ao México, ou se unirá ao norte, ou formará uma nação independente, tudo isso é mera questão de conjectura. Se a escravidão for excluída, acho que a última é a mais provável - mas se for admitida, o Texas se tornará o que todos os países escravos são e, necessariamente, deve ser destituído de força física e dependente de algum outro poder até mesmo para a preservação de sua tranquilidade interna - em suma, deve ter um suporte em que se apoiar, pois nenhum país escravista pode ficar sozinho.


Stephen F. Austin State University

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) é uma universidade pública em Nacogdoches, Texas, Estados Unidos. Fundada como uma faculdade de professores em 1923 como resultado de uma legislação de autoria do senador estadual Wilfred Roy Cousins ​​Sr., [6] a universidade foi posteriormente renomeada em homenagem a um dos fundadores do Texas, Stephen F. Austin. Seu campus reside em parte da herdade de Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Stephen F. Austin é uma das quatro universidades públicas independentes no Texas (ou seja, aquelas não afiliadas a um dos seis sistemas universitários do Texas).

Stephen F. Austin State University é credenciada pela Associação Sul de Faculdades e Escolas para conceder diplomas de bacharelado, mestrado e doutorado. [7] Embora a universidade esteja localizada na cidade rural de Nacogdoches, no leste do Texas, a grande maioria dos alunos da SFA vem da Grande Houston, da região metropolitana de Dallas – Fort Worth e de outras cidades do Texas. A SFA também atendeu alunos de 46 estados fora do Texas e 42 países fora dos Estados Unidos. [8]

Os Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks são membros da Southland Conference e competem na Divisão I em todos os esportes universitários. A equipe de futebol americano Lumberjacks compete na divisão do campeonato de futebol da NCAA Division I. O time de basquete Lumberjacks fez cinco aparições no Torneio da Divisão I da NCAA, com duas vitórias no primeiro turno em 2014 e 2016. [9]


Conteúdo

A evidência de habitação na região da Escarpa Balcones do Texas pode ser rastreada até pelo menos 11.000 anos atrás. Dois dos mais antigos sítios arqueológicos paleolíticos no Texas, o Levi Rock Shelter e o Smith Rock Shelter, estão localizados a sudoeste e sudeste da atual Austin, respectivamente. [4] Várias centenas de anos antes da chegada dos colonos europeus, a área era habitada por uma variedade de tribos nômades nativas americanas. Esses povos indígenas pescavam e caçavam ao longo dos riachos, incluindo os atuais Barton Springs, [5] que provou ser um local de acampamento confiável. [6] Na época do primeiro assentamento permanente da área, a tribo Tonkawa era a mais comum, com os Comanches e Lipan Apaches também freqüentando a área. [7]

Os primeiros colonos europeus na atual Austin foram um grupo de frades espanhóis que chegaram do leste do Texas em julho de 1730. Eles estabeleceram três missões temporárias, La Purísima Concepción, San Francisco de los Neches e San José de los Nazonis, em um local pelo rio Colorado, perto de Barton Springs. Os frades acharam as condições indesejáveis ​​e se mudaram para o rio San Antonio um ano após sua chegada. [8] Após a independência do México da Espanha, os colonos anglo-americanos começaram a povoar o Texas e chegaram à atual região central do Texas na década de 1830. O primeiro assentamento permanente documentado na área data de 1837, quando a vila de Waterloo foi fundada perto da confluência do Rio Colorado e Shoal Creek. [9]

Capital de uma nova república Editar

Em 1836, a Revolução do Texas acabou e a República do Texas era independente. Esse ano também foi caracterizado pela desordem política no Texas. Em 1836, nada menos que cinco locais no Texas serviram como capitais temporárias da nova república (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco e Columbia), antes de o presidente Sam Houston mudar a capital para Houston em 1837. [10]

Pouco depois da eleição do presidente Mirabeau B. Lamar, o Congresso do Texas nomeou uma comissão de seleção de local para localizar um local ideal para uma nova capital permanente. Eles escolheram um local na fronteira oeste, após visualizá-lo por instrução do Presidente Lamar, que visitou a área pouco povoada em 1838. Lamar era um defensor da expansão para o oeste. Impressionada com sua beleza, abundantes recursos naturais, um centro econômico promissor e localização central no território do Texas, a comissão comprou 7.735 acres (3.130 ha) ao longo do rio Colorado, compreendendo o vilarejo de Waterloo e terras adjacentes. [11]

Como o afastamento da área dos centros populacionais e sua vulnerabilidade a ataques de tropas mexicanas e nativos americanos desagradou a muitos texanos, entre eles Sam Houston, a oposição política tornou os primeiros anos de Austin precários. No entanto, Lamar prevaleceu em sua nomeação, que ele sentiu que seria uma localização privilegiada que cruzava as estradas para San Antonio e Santa Fe. [12]

Oficialmente licenciado em 1839, o Congresso do Texas designou o nome de Austin para a nova cidade. De acordo com o folclore local, Stephen F. Austin, o "pai do Texas" que deu o nome à nova capital, negociou um tratado de fronteira com os nativos americanos locais no local do atual Carvalho do Tratado depois que alguns colonos foram mortos em ataques. [13] Depois que a república comprou várias centenas de acres para estabelecer a cidade, Lamar a renomeou em homenagem a Stephen F. Austin em março de 1839. O nome original da cidade é homenageado por empresas locais, como Waterloo Ice House e Waterloo Records, bem como Waterloo Park, no centro. [14]

Lamar chamou o juiz Edwin Waller para dirigir o planejamento e a construção da nova cidade. Waller escolheu um local de 640 acres (260 ha) em um penhasco acima do rio Colorado, situado entre Shoal Creek a oeste e Waller Creek (que recebeu o nome dele) a leste. Waller e uma equipe de agrimensores desenvolveram o primeiro plano de cidade de Austin, comumente conhecido como Plano Waller, dividindo o terreno de um único quilômetro quadrado em um plano de grade de 14 quarteirões em ambas as direções. Uma grande avenida, que Lamar chamou de "Congresso", cortava o centro da cidade desde a Praça do Capitólio até o Rio Colorado. As ruas que correm ao norte e ao sul (paralelas ao Congresso) foram nomeadas para os rios do Texas, com sua ordem de colocação correspondendo à ordem dos rios no mapa do estado do Texas. As ruas leste e oeste receberam o nome de árvores nativas da região, apesar de Waller ter recomendado o uso de números. (Eles foram eventualmente alterados para números em 1884.) Os perímetros da cidade se estendiam de norte a sul do rio na 1st Street à 15th Street, e da East Avenue (agora Interstate 35) à West Avenue. [15] Muito do projeto original do Waller Plan ainda está intacto no centro de Austin hoje.

Em outubro de 1839, todo o governo da República do Texas chegou de carro de boi de Houston. Em janeiro seguinte, a população da cidade era de 839. Durante a era da República do Texas, a França enviou Alphonse Dubois de Saligny para Austin como seu encarregado de negócios. Dubois comprou 22 acres (8,9 ha) de terra em 1840 em uma colina alta a leste do centro da cidade para construir uma legação, ou posto avançado diplomático. A Legação Francesa se destaca como a estrutura estrutural mais antiga documentada em Austin. [16] Também em 1839, o Congresso do Texas reservou 40 acres (16 ha) de terra ao norte da capital e no centro da cidade para uma "universidade de primeira classe". Este terreno se tornou o campus central da Universidade do Texas em Austin em 1883. [17]

Turbulência política e a edição da anexação do Texas

Austin floresceu inicialmente, mas em 1842 entrou no período mais negro de sua história. O sucessor de Lamar como Presidente da República do Texas, Sam Houston, ordenou que os arquivos nacionais fossem transferidos para Houston para custódia depois que as tropas mexicanas capturaram San Antonio em 5 de março de 1842. Convencido de que a remoção do serviço diplomático, financeiro, terrestre e militar da república Os registros eram o mesmo que escolher uma nova capital, os habitantes de Austin recusavam-se a ceder os arquivos. Houston transferiu o governo de qualquer maneira, primeiro para Houston e depois para Washington-on-the-Brazos, que permaneceu como sede do governo até 1845. Os arquivos permaneceram em Austin. Quando Houston enviou um contingente de homens armados para confiscar os registros do General Land Office em dezembro de 1842, eles foram frustrados pelos cidadãos de Austin e Travis County em um incidente conhecido como Texas Archive War. [18] Privado de sua função política, Austin definhou. Entre 1842 e 1845, sua população caiu para menos de 200 habitantes e seus edifícios se deterioraram.

Durante o verão de 1845, Anson Jones, o sucessor de Houston como presidente, convocou uma reunião de convenção constitucional em Austin, aprovou a anexação do Texas aos Estados Unidos e nomeou Austin a capital do estado até 1850, quando os eleitores do Texas se manifestariam sua preferência em uma eleição geral. Depois de retomar seu papel como sede do governo em 1845, Austin tornou-se oficialmente a capital do estado em 19 de fevereiro de 1846, data da transferência formal de autoridade da república para o estado. [19]

O status de Austin como capital do novo estado americano do Texas permaneceu em dúvida até 1872, quando a cidade prevaleceu em uma eleição estadual para escolher de uma vez por todas a capital do estado, rejeitando os desafios de Houston e Waco. [20]

Estado e a edição da Guerra Civil dos Estados Unidos

Austin se recuperou gradualmente, a população chegando a 854 em 1850, 225 dos quais eram escravos e um negro livre. Quarenta e oito por cento dos chefes de família de Austin possuíam escravos. A cidade entrou em um período de crescimento acelerado após seu triunfo decisivo na eleição de 1850 para determinar a sede da capital do estado pelos próximos vinte anos. Pela primeira vez, o governo construiu edifícios permanentes, entre eles um novo capitólio no topo da Congress Avenue, concluído em 1853, e a Mansão do Governador, concluída em 1856. Asilos administrados pelo estado para surdos, cegos e texanos com problemas mentais foram erguidos nas periferias da cidade. Congregações de batistas, episcopais, metodistas, presbiterianos e católicos ergueram igrejas permanentes, e a elite da cidade construiu elegantes mansões do renascimento grego. Em 1860, a população subiu para 3.546, incluindo 1.019 escravos e doze negros livres. Naquele ano, trinta e cinco por cento dos chefes de família de Austin possuíam escravos.

Enquanto o Texas votou esmagadoramente para se separar da União e ingressar na Confederação em 1861, o Condado de Travis foi um dos poucos condados no estado a votar contra o decreto de secessão (704 a 450). No entanto, o sentimento sindical diminuiu quando a guerra começou. Em abril de 1862, cerca de 600 homens do condado de Austin e Travis haviam se juntado a cerca de doze empresas voluntárias que serviam à Confederação. Austinites seguiram com particular preocupação as notícias das sucessivas investidas da União em direção ao Texas, mas a cidade nunca foi ameaçada diretamente. Como outras comunidades, Austin experimentou grave escassez de produtos, inflação em espiral e a dizimação de seus combatentes. [21] O fim da Guerra Civil trouxe as tropas de ocupação da União para a cidade e um período de crescimento explosivo da população afro-americana, que aumentou 57 por cento durante a década de 1860. Durante o final da década de 1860 e início da de 1870, os negros recém-emancipados da cidade estabeleceram as comunidades residenciais de Masontown, Wheatville, Pleasant Hill e Clarksville. Em 1870, os 1.615 residentes negros de Austin compreendiam cerca de 36% dos 4.428 habitantes da cidade. [22]

Surgimento de um centro político e educacional Editar

O boom da reconstrução da década de 1870 trouxe mudanças dramáticas para Austin. No centro da cidade, os pátios e salões de madeira das décadas de 1850 e 1860 começaram a ser substituídos por estruturas de alvenaria mais sólidas que ainda existem hoje. Em 25 de dezembro de 1871, uma nova era se abriu com a chegada da Houston and Texas Central Railway, a primeira conexão ferroviária de Austin. Ao se tornar o terminal ferroviário mais a oeste do Texas e a única cidade ferroviária em dezenas de quilômetros na maioria das direções, Austin foi transformado em um centro comercial para uma vasta área. A construção cresceu e a população mais que dobrou em cinco anos, para 10.363. Os muitos recém-chegados estrangeiros deram aos cidadãos de Austin um caráter mais heterogêneo. Em 1875, havia 757 habitantes da Alemanha, 297 do México, 215 da Irlanda e 138 da Suécia. Pela primeira vez, uma comunidade mexicano-americana criou raízes em Austin, em um bairro próximo à foz de Shoal Creek. Acompanhando essas mudanças dramáticas estavam as melhorias cívicas, entre elas lâmpadas de rua a gás em 1874, a primeira linha de bonde em 1875 e a primeira ponte elevada sobre o Rio Colorado por volta de 1876. Embora uma segunda ferrovia, a International e Great Northern, chegou a Austin em 1876 , a sorte da cidade piorou após 1875, quando novas ferrovias cruzaram a região comercial de Austin e desviaram grande parte de seu comércio para outras cidades. De 1875 a 1880, a população da cidade aumentou em apenas 650 habitantes para 11.013. [23] As expectativas de Austin de rivalizar com outras cidades do Texas pela liderança econômica diminuíram.

No entanto, Austin solidificou sua posição como um centro político durante a década de 1870, depois que a cidade prevaleceu nas eleições estaduais de 1872 para resolver a questão da capital do estado de uma vez por todas. Três anos depois, o Texas deu os primeiros passos para a construção de um novo Capitólio do Estado do Texas, que culminou em 1888 na inauguração de um magnífico edifício de granito que se elevava sobre a cidade. Depois que um incêndio destruiu seu antecessor em 1881, um concurso de design em todo o país foi realizado para determinar quem construiria o atual edifício do Capitólio. O arquiteto Elijah E. Myers, que construiu os Capitólios de Michigan e Colorado, venceu com um estilo Renascentista Revival. No entanto, a construção foi suspensa por dois anos devido ao debate sobre se o exterior deveria ser construído em granito ou calcário. Eventualmente, foi decidido que seria construído de granito "vermelho do pôr do sol" de Marble Falls. Financiado pelo famoso XIT Ranch, o edifício continua fazendo parte do horizonte de Austin. O Capitólio do estado é menor do que o Capitólio dos Estados Unidos em metragem quadrada bruta total, mas é na verdade 15 pés (4,6 m) mais alto do que sua contraparte de Washington, D.C. [24]

Outra eleição estadual em 1881 preparou o cenário para que Austin se tornasse também um centro educacional e cultural, quando foi escolhida como local para uma nova universidade estadual em uma eleição bastante disputada. Uma constituição estadual adotada em 1876 determinava que o Texas estabelecesse uma "universidade de primeira classe" a ser localizada pelo voto do povo e denominada Universidade do Texas. Em 6 de setembro de 1881, Austin foi escolhido para a sede da universidade principal e Galveston para a localização do departamento médico. Em 1882, a construção do campus de Austin começou com a colocação da pedra fundamental do Edifício Principal. A universidade deu aulas pela primeira vez em 1883. [25] Tillotson Collegiate and Normal Institute, o precursor da Huston – Tillotson University, fundada pela American Missionary Association para fornecer oportunidades educacionais para afro-americanos, abriu suas portas em East Austin por 1881. O Distrito Escolar Independente de Austin foi estabelecido no mesmo ano.

Antes de UT ou Huston-Tillotson abrirem suas portas, no entanto, a St. Edward's Academy (a precursora da atual St. Edward's University) foi estabelecida pelo Rev. Edward Sorin em 1878 em terras agrícolas no atual sul de Austin. Em 1885, o presidente, Rev. P. J. Franciscus, fortaleceu o prestígio da academia garantindo uma carta patente, mudando seu nome para St. Edward's College, reunindo um corpo docente e aumentando o número de matrículas. Posteriormente, o St. Edward's começou a crescer, e o primeiro jornal da escola, a organização de times de beisebol e futebol americano e a aprovação para erigir um prédio administrativo se seguiram. O conhecido arquiteto Nicholas J. Clayton de Galveston foi contratado para projetar o edifício principal da faculdade, de quatro andares e construído com calcário branco local no Renascimento Gótico, que foi concluído em 1888. [26]

Digno de nota durante este período foram os assassinatos em série cometidos em 1884 e 1885 por um perpetrador não identificado conhecido como a "Serva Aniquiladora". Segundo algumas fontes, foram oito assassinatos, sete mulheres e um homem, atribuídos ao assassino em série, além de oito feridos graves. Isso ocorreu em uma cidade que tinha apenas cerca de 23.000 cidadãos no total. Os assassinatos chegaram às manchetes nacionais, mas apenas três anos depois Londres foi atormentada por Jack, o Estripador, ofuscando a tragédia de Austin nos livros de história. [27]

Aprendendo a conviver com o Rio Colorado Editar

A sorte de Austin esteve amarrada ao rio Colorado durante grande parte de sua história, não mais do que na década de 1890. A pedido do líder cívico local Alexander P. Wooldridge, os cidadãos de Austin votaram esmagadoramente em endividar-se para construir uma barragem ao longo do rio para atrair manufaturas. A esperança era que a hidroeletricidade barata atraísse industriais que alinhariam as margens do rio com fábricas de algodão. Austin se tornaria "o Lowell do Sul" e o sonolento centro do governo e da educação seria transformado em uma agitada cidade industrial. A cidade havia atingido seus limites como sede da política e da educação, argumentou Wooldridge, mas sua economia não conseguia sustentar seu tamanho atual. Fortalecidos por um novo regulamento da cidade em 1891 que mais do que triplicou a área corporativa de Austin de 4 ½ para 16 ½ milhas quadradas, os pais da cidade implementaram um plano para construir um sistema municipal de água e eletricidade, construir uma barragem para energia e arrendar a maior parte do energia hidrelétrica para fabricantes. Em 1893, a Represa Austin de 18 metros de altura foi concluída logo a noroeste da cidade. Em 1895, a eletricidade gerada pela barragem começou a alimentar a linha do bonde elétrico de quatro anos e os novos sistemas de água e luz da cidade. O rio represado formou um lago que ficou conhecido como "Lago McDonald", por John McDonald, o prefeito que havia conseguido apoio para o projeto - atraiu novos residentes e incorporadores, enquanto as águas do próprio lago atraíram aqueles que buscavam refúgio no Texas aquecer. Austin prosperou em meados da década de 1890, impulsionado em grande parte pela especulação imobiliária. Monroe Shipe estabeleceu o Hyde Park, um clássico subúrbio de bonde ao norte do centro da cidade, e empreendimentos menores surgiram ao redor da cidade. Trinta e uma novas torres de luar de 50 metros de altura iluminavam Austin à noite. O orgulho cívico foi forte durante aqueles anos, que também viram a cidade abençoada com os talentos da escultora Elisabet Ney e do escritor O. Henry.

Pelos padrões de hoje, a barragem era normal - uma parede de granito e calcário, com 20 metros de altura e 350 metros de comprimento, sem passarela ou comportas. Mas a revista Scientific American ficou suficientemente impressionada para apresentar a barragem em sua capa. No entanto, estruturalmente a barragem estava provavelmente condenada desde o início, uma vez que foi construída no local onde a falha de Balcones passa sob o rio. O lodo havia enchido quase metade do lago em fevereiro de 1900, e o projeto da represa não conseguiu acomodar a força que poderia ser criada por um grande volume de água. No entanto, o fluxo do Colorado provou ser muito mais variável do que os promotores do projeto afirmavam, e a barragem nunca foi capaz de produzir o tipo de energia estável necessária para movimentar um banco de moinhos. Os fabricantes nunca apareceram, quedas periódicas de energia interromperam os serviços da cidade, o lago McDonald se assorou e, em 7 de abril de 1900, a barragem de Austin sofreu seu golpe final após uma tempestade de primavera. Às 11h20, a enchente atingiu o pico a 11 pés no topo da barragem antes de se desintegrar, com duas seções de 250 pés - quase metade da barragem - rompendo-se. Ao todo, a enchente afogou 18 pessoas e destruiu 100 casas em Austin, com uma perda total estimada de $ 1,4 milhão, em 1900 dólares. [28]

Depois de 1900, o povo de Austin fez o que pôde para se recuperar do desastre. Tendo experimentado o gostinho da energia elétrica de propriedade da cidade, eles se recusaram a voltar, compraram a companhia de energia privada local, que usava geradores a vapor, e a atual concessionária municipal de Austin Energy é, de certa forma, um legado da velha represa de Austin. A cidade também tentou reconstruir a própria barragem, mas uma disputa com o empreiteiro deixou os reparos inacabados em 1912, e outra enchente em 1915 a danificou ainda mais. A barragem destruída ficou abandonada, "uma lápide no rio", até que a Autoridade do Baixo Colorado entrou em ação e, com dinheiro federal, a reconstruiu como Barragem Tom Miller, concluída em 1940. As partes restantes das barragens de 1893 e 1912 foram incorporadas na nova estrutura, mas agora estão escondidos sob novas camadas de concreto. [29] No momento em que foi concluído, no entanto, Tom Miller Dam já estava ofuscado pelas barragens LCRA muito maiores construídas rio acima que formaram os Lagos Texas Highland. Nos últimos setenta anos, o Lago Travis (barragem Mansfield) e o lago Buchanan (barragem Buchanan) forneceram água, energia hidrelétrica e controle de inundações para o centro do Texas.

Entre 1880 e 1920, a população de Austin triplicou para 34.876, mas a cidade caiu da quarta maior do estado para a décima maior. O crescente desenvolvimento industrial do estado, impulsionado pelo florescente negócio do petróleo, passou por Austin. A capital começou a se destacar como uma cidade residencial, mas o grande endividamento municipal incorrido na construção da barragem resultou na negligência dos serviços da cidade. Em 20 de dezembro de 1886, o Driskill Hotel foi inaugurado na 6th com Brazos, dando a Austin seu primeiro hotel de primeira linha. O hotel fecharia e reabriria várias vezes nos anos subsequentes. Em 1905, Austin tinha poucos esgotos sanitários, praticamente nenhum parque público ou playground e apenas uma rua pavimentada. Três anos depois, os eleitores de Austin derrubaram a forma de governo do vereador, pela qual a cidade era governada desde 1839, e substituíram-na por um governo de comissão. Wooldridge chefiou o grupo de reforma votado para o cargo em 1909 e serviu como prefeito por uma década, durante a qual a cidade fez um progresso constante, embora modesto, para melhorar a vida residencial. Os edifícios Littefield e Scarborough no 6th and Congress downtown também foram inaugurados naquele ano, representando os primeiros arranha-céus da cidade. [30] Em 1910, a cidade abriu a ponte de concreto da Congress Avenue através do rio Colorado e, no ano seguinte, estendeu a linha do bonde para South Austin ao longo da South Congress Avenue. O desenvolvimento promovido ao sul do rio pela primeira vez, permitindo o desenvolvimento de Travis Heights em 1913.

Em 1918, a cidade adquiriu Barton Springs, uma piscina alimentada por nascentes que se tornou o símbolo da cidade residencial. Após a aposentadoria de Wooldridge em 1919, as falhas do governo da comissão, escondidas por sua liderança, tornaram-se aparentes à medida que os serviços municipais novamente se deterioravam. A pedido da Câmara de Comércio, Austinites votou em 1924 para adotar o governo do administrador do conselho, que entrou em vigor em 1926 e permanece em vigor até hoje. Ideias progressivas como planejamento e embelezamento da cidade tornaram-se a política oficial da cidade. Um plano de cidade de 1928, o primeiro desde 1839, convocou Austin para desenvolver seus pontos fortes como um centro residencial, cultural e educacional. Uma emissão de títulos de $ 4.250.000, a maior de Austin até o momento, forneceu fundos para ruas, esgotos, parques, hospital da cidade, o primeiro prédio de biblioteca pública permanente e o primeiro aeroporto municipal, inaugurado em 1930. Um departamento de recreação foi estabelecido, e dentro de um década, ofereceu aos Austinites uma profusão de programas recreativos, parques e piscinas. [31]

Race and the 1928 City Plan Edit

Nos primeiros anos do século 20, os afro-americanos ocuparam assentamentos em várias partes da cidade de Austin. Em geral, essas comunidades residenciais tinham igrejas em seu núcleo. Alguns tinham empresas e escolas administradas por negros para jovens afro-americanos. Embora cercados por bairros Anglo, esses enclaves insulares funcionavam como bairros residenciais bastante autônomos, muitas vezes organizados em torno de laços familiares, práticas religiosas comuns e conexão com relações pré-emancipação do status de escravo com proprietários de escravos / proprietários de terras comuns. Embora algumas datem da escravidão, na década de 1920 essas comunidades estavam localizadas em toda a cidade e incluem Kincheonville (1865), Wheatville (1867), Clarksville (1871), Masonville, St. Johns, Pleasant Hill e outros assentamentos. [32]

Embora as residências de negros estivessem amplamente espalhadas por toda a cidade em 1880, em 1930 elas estavam fortemente concentradas em East Austin, um processo encorajado pelo plano da cidade de Austin de 1928, que recomendava que East Austin fosse designado "distrito negro". City officials implemented the plan successfully, and most blacks who had been living in the western half of the city were "relocated" back to the former plantation lands, on the other side of East Avenue (now Interstate 35). Municipal services like schools, sewers, and parks were made available to blacks in East Austin only. At mid-century Austin was still segregated in most respects—housing, restaurants, hotels, parks, hospitals, schools, public transportation—but African Americans had long fostered their own institutions, which included by the late 1940s some 150 small businesses, more than thirty churches, and two colleges, Tillotson College and Samuel Huston College. Between 1880 and 1940 the number of black residents grew from 3,587 to 14,861, but their proportion of the overall population declined from 33% to 17%. [33]

Austin's Hispanic residents, who in 1900 numbered about 335 and composed just 1.5% of the population, rose to 11% by 1940, when they numbered 9,693. By the 1940s most Mexican-Americans lived in the rapidly expanding East Austin barrio south of East Eleventh Street, where increasing numbers owned homes. Hispanic-owned business were dominated by a thriving food industry. Though Mexican Americans encountered widespread discrimination—in employment, housing, education, city services, and other areas—it was by no means practiced as rigidly as it was toward African-Americans.

Between the 1950s and 1980s ethnic relations in Austin were transformed. First came a sustained attack on segregation. Local black leaders and political-action groups waged campaigns to desegregate city schools and services. In 1956 the University of Texas became the first major university in the South to admit blacks as undergraduates. In the early 1960s students staged demonstrations against segregated lunch counters, restaurants, and movie theaters. Gradually the barriers receded, a process accelerated when the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations. Nevertheless, discrimination persisted in areas like employment and housing. Shut out of the town's political leadership since the 1880s, when two blacks had served on the city council, African-Americans regained a foothold by winning a school-board seat in 1968 and a city-council seat in 1971. This political breakthrough was matched by Hispanics, whose numbers had reached 39,399 by 1970, or 16 percent of the population. Mexican-Americans won their first seats on the Austin school board in 1972 and the city council in 1975.

Growth during the Great Depression Edit

During the early and mid-1930s, Austin experienced the harsh effects of the Great Depression. Nevertheless, the town fared comparatively well, sustained by its twin foundations of government and education and by the political skills of Mayor Tom Miller, who took office in 1933, and United States Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson, who won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1937. Its population grew at a faster pace during the 1930s than in any other decade during the 20th century, increasing 66 percent from 53,120 to 87,930. By 1936 the Public Works Administration had provided Austin with more funding for municipal construction projects than any other Texas city during the same period. UT nearly doubled its enrollment during the decade and undertook a massive construction program. In addition, the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport opened its doors for commercial air traffic in 1930.

Over three decades after the original Austin Dam collapsed, Governor Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson signed the bill that created the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). Modeled after the Tennessee Valley Authority, the LCRA is a nonprofit public utility involved in managing the resources along the Highland Lakes and Colorado River. The old Austin Dam, partially rebuilt under Mayor Wooldridge but never finished due to damage from flooding in 1915, was finally completed in 1940 and renamed Tom Miller Dam. Lake Austin stretched twenty-one miles behind it. Just upriver the much larger Mansfield Dam was completed in 1941 to impound Lake Travis. The two dams, in conjunction with other dams in the Lower Colorado River Authority system, brought great benefits to Austin: cheap hydroelectric power, the end of flooding that in 1935 and on earlier occasions had ravaged the town, and a plentiful supply of water without which the city's later growth would have been unlikely. [34] In 1942 Austin gained the economic benefit of Del Valle Army Air Base, later Bergstrom Air Force Base, which remained in operation until 1993.

Post-War growth and its consequences Edit

From 1940 to 1990 Austin's population grew at an average rate of 40 percent per decade, from 87,930 to 472,020. By 2000 the population was 656,562. The city's corporate area, which between 1891 and 1940 had about doubled to 30.85 square miles, grew more than sevenfold to 225.40 square miles by 1990. During the 1950s and 1960s much of Austin's growth reflected the rapid expansion of its traditional strengths—education and government. During the 1960s alone the number of students attending the University of Texas at Austin doubled, reaching 39,000 by 1970. Government employees in Travis County tripled between 1950 and 1970 to 47,300. University of Texas buildings multiplied, with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library opening in 1971. A complex of state office buildings was constructed north of the Capitol. Propelling Austin's growth by the 1970s was its emergence as a center for high technology. This development, fostered by the Chamber of Commerce since the 1950s as a way to expand the city's narrow economic base and fueled by proliferating research programs at the University of Texas, accelerated when IBM located in Austin in 1967, followed by Texas Instruments in 1969 and Motorola in 1974. Two major research consortia of high-technology companies followed during the 1980s, Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation and Sematech. By the early 1990s, the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos Metropolitan Statistical Area had about 400 high-technology manufacturers. While high-technology industries located on Austin's periphery, its central area sprouted multi-storied office buildings and hotels during the 1970s and 1980s, venues for the burgeoning music industry, and, in 1992, a new convention center.

On August 1, 1966, UT student and former Marine Charles Whitman killed both his wife and his mother before ascending the UT Tower and opening fire with a high-powered sniper rifle and several other firearms. Whitman killed or fatally wounded 14 more people over the next 90 minutes before being shot dead by police.

1970 to 1989 Edit

During the 1970s and 1980s, the city experienced a tremendous boom in development that temporarily halted with the Savings and Loan crisis in the late 1980s. The growth led to an ongoing series of fierce political battles that pitted preservationists against developers. In particular the preservation of Barton Springs, and by extension the Edwards Aquifer, became an issue that defined the themes of the larger battles.

Austin's rapid growth generated strong resistance by the 1970s. Angered by proliferating apartment complexes and traffic flow, neighborhood groups mobilized to protect the integrity of their residential areas. By 1983 there were more than 150 such groups. Environmentalists organized a powerful movement to protect streams, lakes, watersheds, and wooded hills from environmental degradation, resulting in the passage of a series of environmental-protection ordinances during the 1970s and 1980s. A program was inaugurated in 1971 to beautify the shores of Town Lake (now named Lady Bird Lake), a downtown lake impounded in 1960 behind Longhorn Crossing Dam. Historic preservationists fought the destruction of Austin's architectural heritage by rescuing and restoring historic buildings. City election campaigns during the 1970s and 1980s frequently featured struggles over the management of growth, with neighborhood groups and environmentalists on one side and business and development interests on the other. As Austin became known as a location for creative individuals, corporate retail branches also moved into town and displaced many "home-grown" businesses. To many longtime Austinites, this loss of landmark retail establishments left a void in the city's culture. In the 1970s, Austin became a refuge for a group of country and western musicians and songwriters seeking to escape the music industry's corporate domination of Nashville. The best-known artist in this group was Willie Nelson, who became an icon for what became the city's "alternate music industry" another was Stevie Ray Vaughan. In 1975, Austin City Limits premiered on PBS, showcasing Austin's burgeoning music scene to the country.

The Armadillo World Headquarters gained a national reputation during the 1970s as a venue for these anti-establishment musicians as well as mainstream acts. In the following years, Austin gained a reputation as a place where struggling musicians could launch their careers in informal live venues in front of receptive audiences. This ultimately led to the city's official motto, "The Live Music Capital of the World".

1990 to present Edit

In the 1990s, the boom resumed with the influx and growth of a large technology industry. Initially, the technology industry was centered around larger, established companies such as IBM, but in the late 1990s, Austin gained the additional reputation of being a center of the dot-com boom and subsequent dot-com bust. Austin is also known for game development, filmmaking, and popular music. On May 23, 1999, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport served its first passengers, replacing Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. [35] In 2000, Austin became the center of an intense media focus as the headquarters of presidential candidate and Texas Governor George W. Bush. The headquarters of his main opponent, Al Gore, were in Nashville, thus re-creating the old country music rivalry between the two cities.

Also in the 2000 election, Austinites narrowly rejected a light rail proposal put forward by Capital Metro. In 2004, however, they approved a commuter rail service from Leander to downtown along existing rail lines. Capital MetroRail service finally began service in 2010. [36]

In 2004, the Frost Bank Tower opened in the downtown business district along Congress Avenue. At 515 feet (157 m), it was the tallest building in Austin by a wide margin, and was also the first high rise to be built after September 11, 2001. Several other high-rise downtown projects, most residential or mixed-use, were underway in the downtown area at the time, dramatically changing the appearance of downtown Austin, and placing a new emphasis on downtown living and development. [37]

In 2006, the first sections of Austin's first toll road network opened. The toll roads were extolled as a solution to underfunded highway projects, but also decried by opposition groups who felt the tolls amounted in some cases to a double tax.

In March 2018, a series of four explosions centered in Austin, killed two civilians and injuring another five. [38]

Presently, Austin continues to rise in popularity and experience rapid growth. Young people in particular have flooded the city, drawn in part by its relatively strong economy, its reputation of liberal politics [39] and alternative culture in Middle America, and its relatively low housing costs compared to the coastal regions of the country. The sudden growth has brought up several issues for the city, including urban sprawl, as well as balancing the need for new infrastructure with environmental protection. Most recently, the city has pushed for smart growth, mostly in downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods, spurring the development of new condominiums in the area and altering the city's skyline. While Smart Growth has been successful in revitalizing downtown and the surrounding central city neighborhoods housing development has not kept pace with demand driven by rapid and sustained employment growth which has resulted in higher housing costs.


The History of Stephen F. Austin State University

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) is a public university located in Nacogdoches, Texas. It was founded as a teachers’ college in 1923 and named after one of Texas’ founding fathers, Stephen F. Austin. Its campus resides on part of the homestead of another Texas founding father, Thomas Jefferson Rusk. Stephen F. Austin is one of four independent public universities in Texas (i.e., those not affiliated with one of Texas’ six university systems).

In 1917, the Texas Legislature authorized two colleges and named the governor, the state superintendent of public instruction, and the regents of the normal colleges to serve as the locating board.

The city of Nacogdoches offered the state a 200-acre site, and the board, after extensive investigation, selected Nacogdoches as the college site. Much of the campus is on the homestead of Thomas J. Rusk, and the president’s home is on the Sam Houston tract. Alton W. Birdwell was elected president when the site was chosen, but with the entrance of the United States into World War I, the legislature, in October 1917, repealed the appropriation for the school.

After the war ended, the legislature in 1921 again made appropriations for the college, and Birdwell was re-elected president. However, Governor Pat M. Neff vetoed all appropriations except those for the building. The school opened on September 18, 1923, with 158 students and used facilities of the Nacogdoches public schools until May 1924.

In 1927 a Wesley Bible Chair was installed just off the campus, and a Baptist School of Bible was inaugurated in 1948. The graduate division was established in 1937. In 1945 the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture established the East Texas Branch of the Forest Experiment Station at the college, the only case in which an act of Congress named an institution to cooperate in a forestry research program. Birdwell served until September 1942, when he was succeeded by Paul L. Boynton. Enrollment for the session of 1946-47 was 1,000.

In 1949, by legislative act, the name of the school was changed from Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College to Stephen F. Austin State College. It was one of the fastest growing state-supported colleges in Texas during the 1960s. Funds for new classroom buildings were obtained through statewide referendums on constitutional amendments, and the Housing and Home Finance Agency of the federal government made dormitory financing available.

Between 1961 and 1966 eight dormitories and twelve apartment buildings were constructed. The school became Stephen F. Austin State University in 1969.

By 1972 the university’s physical plant was greatly enlarged. During the 1974-75 term the faculty consisted of approximately 400 members, and the enrollment was 10,881. Ralph W. Steen served as president.


Moving to Texas

During this time his father Moses traveled to San Antonio and gained a grant of land in the Spanish territory of Texas, with the intention of settling U.S. families in Mexico. Austin was reluctant to join the Texas venture, but he obtained a loan from Hawkins to help support his father's venture. He was at Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1821 when he learned of his father's death. He traveled to San Antonio with the intent of reauthorizing his father's grant, arriving in August 1821. The grant was reauthorized by Governor Antonio Mar a Mart nez, who allowed Austin to explore the Gulf Coast between San Antonio and the Brazos River in order to find a suitable location for a colony. Stephen Austin advertised the opportunity in New Orleans, Louisiana, stating that the land was available along the Brazos and Colorado rivers. In December 1821 the first U.S. colonists crossed into the granted territory by land and sea, on the Brazos River, in present day Fort Bend County, Texas.


Stephen Austin's Maps of Texas

Stephen F. Austin created his first map of Texas in 1830 to promote American immigration to his colony. The second map, from 1840, reflected changes that had taken place since Texas became a Republic. The two maps served as the cartographical foundation of the region for almost two decades.

Stephen F. Austin (1793&ndash1836) was Texas's first empresario, having been granted permission to settle 300 families in Mexican Texas in 1823. He created the map to give Mexico a precise depiction of its territory. To do so, Austin hired surveyors, charted the coast, and acquired boundary surveys from General Mier y Terán on behalf of the Mexican government. The result was a highly detailed, accurate map that was the first of the region to be commercially produced in the United States, where it was used to promote American immigration to Austin's colony.

Austin's map was updated and reissued in 1840, on the 10th anniversary of the original map's publication, adding more information as new counties were established. The 1840 edition overlays the new counties with the old empresario colonies. The map was included in Francis Moore, Jr.'s, 1840 book, Map and Description of Texas.


Time Periods:

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Christopher Long, &ldquoOld Three Hundred,&rdquo Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/old-three-hundred.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and &ldquoFair Use&rdquo for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Austin, Stephen Fuller (1793&ndash1836)

Stephen Fuller Austin, founder of Anglo-American Texas, son of Moses and Maria (Brown) Austin, was born at the lead mines in southwestern Virginia on November 3, 1793. In 1798 Moses Austin moved his family to other lead mines in southeastern Missouri and established the town of Potosi in what is now Washington County. There Stephen grew to the age of eleven, when his father sent him to a school in Connecticut, from which he returned westward and spent two years at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. At Potosi, Moses Austin was engaged in the mining, smelting, and manufacturing of lead and, in addition, conducted a general store. After his return from Transylvania in the spring of 1810, Stephen Austin was employed in the store and subsequently took over the management of most of the lead business. He served the public as adjutant of a militia battalion and for several years was a member of the Missouri territorial legislature, in which he was influential in obtaining the charter for the Bank of St. Louis. After failure of the Austin business in Missouri, he investigated opportunities for a new start in Arkansas and engaged in land speculation and mercantile activities. While he was there the territorial governor appointed him circuit judge of the first judicial district of Arkansas. He took the oath of office and qualified in July 1820, but he only briefly held court, for at the end of August he was in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and in December in New Orleans, where he had made arrangements to live in the home of Joseph H. Hawkins and study law. At this time Moses Austin was on his way to San Antonio to apply for a grant of land and permission to settle 300 families in Texas.

Though not enthusiastic about the Texas venture, Austin decided to cooperate with his father. He arranged to obtain a loan from his friend Hawkins to float the enterprise and was at Natchitoches expecting to accompany his father to San Antonio when he learned of Moses Austin's death. He proceeded to San Antonio, where he arrived in August 1821. Authorized by Governor Antonio María Martínez to carry on the colonization enterprise under his father's grant, Austin came to an understanding about certain administrative procedures and was permitted by the governor to explore the coastal plain between the San Antonio and Brazos rivers for the purpose of selecting a site for the proposed colony. Among other details, he arranged with Martínez to offer land to settlers in quantities of 640 acres to the head of a family, 320 acres for his wife, 160 acres for each child, and 80 acres for each slave. For such quantity as a colonist desired, Austin might collect 12½ cents an acre in compensation for his services. Martínez warned Austin that the government was unprepared to extend administration over the colonists and that Austin must be responsible for their good conduct.

Austin returned to New Orleans, published these terms, and invited colonists, saying that settlements would be located on the Brazos and Colorado rivers. The long depression, followed by the panic of 1819 and changes in the land system of the United States, made settlers eager to take advantage of the offer, and the first colonists began to arrive in Texas by land and sea in December 1821. To his great disappointment, Austin was informed by Governor Martínez that the provisional government set up after Mexican independence refused to approve the Spanish grant to Moses Austin, preferring to regulate colonization by a general immigration law.

Austin hastened to Mexico City and, by unremitting attention, succeeded in getting Agustín de Iturbide's rump congress, the junta instituyente, to complete a law that the emperor signed on January 3, 1823. It offered heads of families a league and a labor of land (4,605 acres) and other inducements and provided for the employment of agents, called empresarios, to promote immigration. For his services, an empresario was to receive some 67,000 acres of land for each 200 families he introduced. Immigrants were not required to pay fees to the government, a fact that shortly led some of them to deny Austin's right to charge them for services performed at the rate of 12½ cents an acre. The law was annulled when Iturbide abdicated, but in April 1823 Austin induced congress to grant him a contract to introduce 300 families in accordance with its terms. In August 1824 a new congress passed an immigration law that vested the administration of public land in the states, with certain restrictions, and authorized them to make laws for settlement. In March 1825 the legislature of Coahuila and Texas passed a law conforming in general to the previous act approved by Iturbide. It continued the empresario system contemplated by that law and offered to each married man a league of land (4,428 acres), for which he was obligated to pay the state thirty dollars within six years. In the meantime, Austin had substantially fulfilled his contract to settle the first 300 families. Under this state law, he obtained three contracts (in 1825, 1827, and 1828) to settle a total of 900 additional families in the area of his first colony, besides a contract in partnership with his secretary, Samuel M. Williams, for the settlement of 800 families in western Texas. Unfortunately, this partnership contract led to a disagreeable controversy with Sterling C. Robertson.

Austin had complete civil and military authority over his colonists until 1828, subject to rather nominal supervision by the officials at San Antonio and Monterrey. He wisely allowed them to elect militia officers and local alcaldes, corresponding to justices of the peace in the United States and, to assure uniformity of court procedure, he drew up forms and a simple civil and criminal code. As lieutenant colonel of militia, he planned and sometimes led campaigns against American Indians.

When population increased and appeals from decisions of individual alcaldes promised to become a burden, Austin instituted an appellate court composed of all the alcaldes&mdashultimately seven in number. The Constitution of Coahuila and Texas went into effect in November 1827, and Austin seized the opportunity to relieve himself of responsibility for the details of local government by hastening the organization of the ayuntamiento, over which by virtue of experience he continued to exercise strong influence in relations with the superior government of the state. Aside from the primary business of inducing immigrants to come to his colonies, Austin's most absorbing labor was devoted to the establishment and maintenance of the land system. This involved surveying and allocating land to applicants, with care to avoid overlapping and to keep conflicts at a minimum. The Mexican practice of issuing titles on loose sheets without a permanent record invited confusion, and Austin asked and obtained permission to record titles in a bound volume having the validity of the original. Both copies and originals had to be attested by the land commissioner, who represented the government, but Austin and his secretary had to prepare them.

The labor of directing surveyors, checking their field notes, allocating grants, preparing titles and records, entertaining prospective colonists, corresponding with state and federal officials, punishing hostile American Indians, and finding food and presents for friendly visitors to keep them from marauding was heavy and expensive. To meet current costs, Austin's only resource was to assess fees against the colonists. Though his original plan to collect 12½ cents an acre for services rendered was originally welcomed by the first settlers, some of them refused to pay after the imperial colonization law proposed to compensate empresarios by grants of land. Ignoring the facts that the empresario could not claim the grant until he had settled at least 200 families and that he could hardly sell land when every married man could obtain 4,600 acres free, the settlers appealed to the political chief at San Antonio for an opinion, and he ruled that Austin could not collect. At the same time, however, he proclaimed a fee bill, which among other details allowed the land commissioner (the Baron de Bastrop in the first colony) to charge $127 a league for signing titles, and Austin made a private arrangement with Bastrop to split this fee. A rather veiled provision of the state law of 1825 allowed empresarios to reimburse themselves for costs and services, and under this law Austin required colonists to pay, or promise to pay, first sixty dollars and later fifty dollars a league. Nearly all such collections as he was able to make were consumed in necessary public expenses, which fell upon him because nobody else would pay them. This statement applies, in fact, to all his colonizing experience. Though his personal circumstances became somewhat easier with the growth of the colonies, he wrote shortly before his death that his wealth was prospective, consisting of the uncertain value of land acquired as compensation for his services as empresario.

Besides bringing the colonists to Texas, Austin strove to produce and maintain conditions conducive to their prosperous development. This aim coincided, in general, with that of the government. For example, by an act of September 1823, the federal government relieved the colonists of the payment of tariff duties for seven years and the state legislature was nearly always reasonably cooperative. Mexican sentiment sometimes clashed, however, with practical needs of the colonists, and Austin had to evolve or accept a compromise. The status of slavery was always a difficult problem, and Austin's attitude from time to time seems inconsistent. With almost no free labor to be hired and expecting most of the colonists to come from the slave states, Austin prevailed on the junta instituyente to legalize slavery in the imperial colonization law, under which the first colony was established. Contrary to his strenuous efforts, the Constitution of Coahuila and Texas prohibited further introduction of slaves by immigration, but the legislature passed a law at his suggestion that evaded the intent of the constitution by legalizing labor contracts with nominally emancipated slaves. He appeared to concur, however, when congress prohibited immigration in 1830, and tried to convince the colonists that the long-time interest of Texas would be served by the prohibition. He vividly pictured the potential evils of slavery and was apparently sincere, but he failed to reconcile the colonists to the law and after 1833 declared consistently that Texas must be a slave state. Whatever his private convictions may have been, it is evident that they yielded to what may have seemed to be the current need of Texas. It is inferable, moreover, that his acceptance of federal and state regulations against the extension of slavery contemplated continuation of the evasive state labor law.

Another subject in which the interests of the colonists were deeply involved was their protection from efforts of creditors to collect debts incurred by debtors before they moved to Texas. In view of conditions in the United States during the 1820s, it was inevitable that many should have left debts and unpaid judgments behind them. Working through the local ayuntamiento, the political chief at San Antonio, and representatives in the congress, or legislature, Austin secured a state law that closed the courts for twelve years to plaintiffs seeking collection of such debts and permanently exempted land, tools, and implements of industry from execution if a suit was finally won. The law provided further that unsuccessful defendants could not be required to pay produce or money in a way to "affect their attention to their families, to their husbandry, or art they profess." In effect, it was a sweeping homestead exemption law. For a while, in 1832, Austin toyed with the idea of abolishing collateral security for loans and basing "the credit system upon moral character alone. avoiding unjust retroactive effects."

Aware of the importance of external trade, Austin consistently urged the establishment of ports and the temporary legalization of coasting trade in foreign ships. In lengthy arguments to various officials, he declared that the coasting trade would establish ties of mutual interest between the colonists and Mexico and enable Mexico to balance imports from England by exporting Texas cotton. Congress legalized the port of Galveston after a survey of the pass by Austin in 1825, and the government winked at the use of the Brazos and other landing places, but the coasting trade in foreign vessels was not established. As a result, external trade was confined to the United States. As early as 1829 and as late as 1835 Austin was giving thought to diversion of the Missouri&ndashSanta Fe trade to Texas, but this was another far-sighted plan that could not be realized.

Harmony with state and federal authorities was indispensable to the success of the colonies. Austin clearly realized this fact and never allowed the settlers to forget the solid benefits that they received through the liberal colonization policy or their obligation to obey the laws and become loyal Mexican citizens. He anticipated and disarmed criticism of inconvenient laws and clumsy administration and then used the patience of the colonists as evidence of good faith in begging the government for concessions. He thwarted the efforts of Haden Edwards to drag his colonists into the Fredonian Rebellion and led the militia from the Brazos and Colorado to assist Mexican troops in putting it down. His settled policy before 1832 was to take no part in Mexican party convulsions. "Play the turtle," he urged, "head and feet within our own shells." Two factors finally defeated the policy of aloofness. By 1832 Austin's various colonies comprised 8,000 persons, and other empresarios, though less successful, had brought in a great many more. Naturally, it became more and more difficult for Austin to reconcile them to his cautious leadership. On the other hand, the rapid growth of the colonies, in addition to persistent efforts of the United States to buy Texas, increased the anxiety of Mexican leaders. Their consequent attempt to safeguard the territory by stopping immigration&mdashwith other irritations&mdashcaused an insurrection, and continued friction led to revolution and independence.

The Law of April 6, 1830, embodied the Mexican policy of stopping the further colonization of Texas by settlers from the United States. The law proposed to annul general empresario contracts uncompleted or not begun and prohibited settlement of immigrants in territory adjacent to their native countries. In effect, it applied only to Texas and the United States. By ingenious and somewhat tortuous interpretation, Austin secured the exemption of his own colonies and the colony of Green DeWitt from the prohibition. He thereby gained a loophole for continued immigration from the United States and then turned industriously to the task of getting the law repealed. He succeeded in this in December 1833.

In the meantime, however, military measures to enforce the Law of April 6, 1830, and imprudent administration of the tariff laws, to which the Texans became subject in September 1830, produced the Anahuac Disturbances. Austin had been away from Texas for several months at Saltillo attending a session of the legislature, of which he was a member. It is probable that he could have averted the uprising, had he been at home. In fact the local authorities, including Ramón Músquiz, the political chief, had quieted and repudiated it, when irresistible circumstances compelled Austin to abandon his well-tried policy of aloofness from national political struggles and adopt the cause of Antonio López de Santa Anna against the incumbent administration of President Anastasio Bustamante. Texas could no longer stand aside. Fortuitously Santa Anna won, and the colonists could not be diverted from claiming the reward of their valorous support.

The Convention of 1832 met in October of that year to inform the government of the needs of the Texans. They wanted repeal of the prohibition against immigration from the United States, extension of tariff exemption, separation from Coahuila, and authority to establish state government in Texas. For reasons not entirely clear these petitions were not presented to the government. Though Austin was president of the convention, he doubted the expediency of the meeting, fearing that it would stimulate suspicion of the loyalty of the colonists&mdashall the more because the old Mexican inhabitants of San Antonio had sent no delegates to the convention. It is easy to conclude that Austin held out hope that he might persuade these local Mexicans to take the lead in asking for reforms in a later convention at any rate, he was in San Antonio engaged on this mission when the ground was cut from under his feet by publication of a call for a second convention to meet at San Felipe on April 1, 1833. Again Austin acquiesced and served in the convention, hoping in some measure to moderate its action. This Convention of 1833 repeated the more important petitions of the previous meeting and went further in framing a constitution to accompany the request for state government. Though it was well known that Austin thought the movement ill-timed, the convention elected him to deliver the petitions and argue for their approval. Even men who distrusted him acknowledged his great influence with state and federal authorities. He left San Felipe in April, arrived in Mexico City in July, and, after unavoidable delays, persuaded the government to repeal the Law of April 6, 1830, and to promise important reforms in Texas local government. He started home in December, reasonably satisfied with his work and convinced at least that he had left nothing undone President Santa Anna simply would not approve state government for Texas. Austin was arrested at Saltillo in January, under suspicion of trying to incite insurrection in Texas, and taken back to Mexico City. No charges were made against him, no court would accept jurisdiction of his case, and he remained a prisoner, shifting from prison to prison, until December 1834, when he was released on bond and limited to the area of the Federal District. He was freed by a general amnesty law in July 1835 and at the end of August returned to Texas by way of New Orleans.

Austin was thus absent from Texas for twenty-eight months. Upon his return, he learned that an unofficial call had been issued for a convention, or consultation, to meet in October. Probably he could have quashed this call, but in a notable speech at Brazoria on September 8 he gave it his sanction, and election of delegates proceeded. The Consultation organized on November 3. In the meantime, during September and early October, Austin had been in effect civil head of Anglo-American Texas, as chairman of a central committee at San Felipe. War began at Gonzales on October 1. Austin was elected to command the volunteers gathered there and led them against the Mexican army at San Antonio. In November the provisional government elected him to serve, with William H. Wharton and Branch T. Archer, as commissioner to the United States. He arrived in New Orleans in January 1836 and returned again to Texas in June. The business of the commissioners was to solicit loans and volunteers, arrange credits for munitions and equipment, fit out warships, and do whatever they could to commit the government of the United States to recognition and eventual annexation if Texas should declare independence. They were fairly successful in accomplishing this program, except in the effort to obtain assurances from President Andrew Jackson and Congress. Austin was convinced, however, that Congress would have voted for recognition in May, after the battle of San Jacinto, if the acting president, David G. Burnet, had cooperated with the commissioners by sending them official reports of conditions in Texas. Somewhat hesitantly, Austin consented to offer himself for the presidency after his return to Texas. He was defeated in the election of September 1836, but accepted the office of secretary of state from the successful candidate. He died in service on December 27, 1836, at the untimely age of forty-three.

Judged by historical standards, Austin did a great work. He began the Anglo-American colonization of Texas under conditions more difficult in some respects than those that confronted founders of the English colonies on the Atlantic coast. He saw the wilderness transformed into a relatively advanced and populous state, and fundamentally it was his unremitting labor, perseverance, foresight, and tactful management that brought that miracle to pass. Contemporaries who disagreed with his cautious policy of conciliating Mexican officials accused him of weakness and instability, but criticism did not cause him to abandon it. Casually discussing this subject in a letter of April 9, 1832, to his secretary, he wrote, "Some men in the world hold the doctrine that it is degrading and corrupt to use policy in anything. There is no degradation in prudence and a well tempered and well timed moderation." Until the passage of the Law of April 6, 1830, attempting to shut out emigrants from the United States, he believed that Texas could develop into a free and prosperous Mexican state, a goal that he sincerely desired. Passage of that law and continued political turmoil in Mexico certainly shook his confidence, but prudence forbade abandonment of the policy of outward patience and conciliation before Texas seemed strong enough to demand reforms and back the demand by force. Premature action might be fatal, or so he thought. He would have prevented the conventions of 1832 and 1833 if he could have had his way, but, since he could not, he went along and tried to moderate their demands. The same considerations caused him to oppose the Texas Declaration of Independence by the provisional government in 1835, while there was hope of winning the support of the liberal party in Mexico. In short, his methods varied with circumstances, but from the abiding aim to promote and safeguard the welfare of Texas he never wavered. As he wrote in July 1836, "The prosperity of Texas has been the object of my labors, the idol of my existence&mdashit has assumed the character of a religion, for the guidance of my thoughts and actions, for fifteen years." Consciousness of heavy responsibility dictated his policy of caution and moderation and compelled him to shape his methods to shifting circumstances. Veja também OLD THREE HUNDRED, MEXICAN COLONIZATION LAWS.


Moses and Stephen F. Austin Papers

Stephen F. Austin, known as the "Father of Texas," brought 300 families into Texas from the United States, facilitating the first successful Anglo-American colonization of the land that would one day become the state it is today. He cooperated with the Mexican government to facilitate the settlements and was ultimately granted Mexican nationality. Much of Austin's work was inspired by his father, Moses Austin, a businessman who dreamed of establishing an Anglo-American colony in Spanish Texas. On his deathbed, he pleaded with his son Stephen to continue his work.

About the Collection

The Moses and Stephen F. Austin Papers consist primarily of the personal and official records of Moses Austin (1761-1821), and his son Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836) who carried out his father's plan for the Anglo colonization of Mexican Texas. Included is material related to the history and early peregrinations of the Austin family, especially their years in Missouri their business activities, including the lead mines, store and banking investments the pursuit of both men for permission to colonize and Stephen F. Austin's management of the resulting colony the events leading up to the Texas Revolution and then the Revolution itself and the first few months of the Republic of Texas. There is also a small cache of later family correspondence on historical topics.


Stephen F. Austin’s Legacy

Stephen F. Austin began colonizing Anglo-Americans in Texas in difficult con­ditions.

Due to his work, about 5,000 people obtained around 1,540 land grant titles. Austin’s original colony was the first, most famous, and most successful of the em­pre­sario grants from Mexico.

Austin worked tirelessly to make his colony a success. When Texans grew dissatisfied with Mexican rule, he used his talents to fight for independence.

Stephen F. Austin wrote in July 1836: “The prosperity of Texas has been the object of my labors, the idol of my existence, it has assumed the character of a religion, for the guidance of my thoughts and actions, for fifteen years.”


Mirabeau B. Lamar

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (1798 - 1859) was the Republic of Texas's second president. When Lamar became president, the young Republic was beset by problems. On top of financial difficulties, another problem was the lack of global recognition and attacks by Native American tribes. During his time in office, he began to build the framework for a capital city, public schools, and public universities. However, his idea of an empire that stretched to the Pacific Ocean was disastrous.


Anson Jones and the Annexation of Texas

Anson Jones was born in 1798 and died in 1858. He began his career as a country doctor. He worked as Secretary of State for the new Texas Republic under Sam Houston. He focused on issues of allowing the United States to annex Texas, and earned the nickname "Architect of Annexation."


Early African-American Senators

It was not easy for African-Americans in Texas to win the right to vote or be involved in civic discourse. However, three African-American men were elected to the state senate. They were William Burton, Matt Gaines, and George Ruby. George Ruby was elected to the Senate in 1869. During his tenure, he worked to enact legislation aimed at railroad and insurance companies. He also worked to have an agricultural and geological survey of the state completed. He moved back to Louisiana after Reconstruction ended.

Matt Gaines escaped slavery twice before Emancipation. After he gained his freedom, he became a minister. He was also elected to the Senate in 1869. During his three terms in office, he worked on issues of tenant-farm reform, prison reform, education, and African-Americans. He returned to the ministry after holding public office.

Walter Burton moved to Texas as a slave in 1850 with his then-slave owner, Thomas Burton, who taught him to read. Due to a land deal, Walter Burton became one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the state after Emancipation. He was elected sheriff of Fort Bend County in 1869 and to the Senate in 1873. He left the Senate in 1882.


James Hogg, John H. Reagan, and the Railroad Commission

Governor James Hogg worked to establish the Texas Railroad Commission in 1891 to regulate the railroad industry. John H. Reagan was appointed to be its first chair that same year. Today, one of its responsibilities is to regulate the supply and price of Texas oil and natural gas. This power means it is one of the most powerful regulatory agencies in the United States.