The Annexation of Texas to the Union, painting by Donald M. Yena. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 1986/68-2.
At the time of the Texas Revolution, most Texans and Americans assumed that the Republic of Texas would swiftly be annexed to the United States. Tied together by blood and business, closer to busy New Orleans than weak and disorganized Mexico, it seemed only natural that Texas would become the latest territorial expansion to a United States that had already bounded from the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains in less than the span of one human lifetime.
Instead, the process of annexation took nine long and bruising years. As this exhibit will show, from the beginning Texas became part of the growing sectional debate over slavery in America. Blocked from joining the Union, Texas developed its own unique national pride and culture that persists even today. But even while coming to prize independence, Texas found itself weak and bankrupt, newly menaced by a Mexico that never recognized her right to exist. With historical repercussions that can only be guessed at today, the country’s leaders seriously considered taking Texas into the British Empire.
In hindsight, Texas annexation seems inevitable. But it all could have been so different. Annexation almost never happened.