The laws that governed the institution of slavery in early Texas were enacted over a fifty-year period in which Texas moved through incarnations as a Spanish colony, a Mexican state, an independent republic, a part of the United States, and a Confederate state. This unusual legal heritage sets Texas apart from the other slave-holding states and provides a unique opportunity to examine how slave laws were enacted and upheld as political and legal structures changed. The Laws of Slavery in Texas makes that examination possible by combining seminal historical essays with excerpts from key legal documents from the slave period and tying them together with interpretive commentary by the foremost scholar on the subject, Randolph B. Campbell. Campbell's commentary focuses on an aspect of slave law that was particularly evident in the evolving legal system of early Texas: the dilemma that arose when human beings were treated as property. As Campbell points out, defining slaves as moveable property, or chattel, presented a serious difficulty to those who wrote and interpreted the law because, unlike any other form of property, slaves were sentient beings. They were held responsible for their crimes, and in numerous other ways statute and case law dealing with slavery recognized the humanness of the enslaved. Attempts to protect the property rights of slave owners led to increasingly restrictive laws--including laws concerning free blacks--that were difficult to uphold. The documents in this collection reveal both the roots of the dilemma and its inevitable outcome.
This collection of essays is intended to serve as supplementary reading in survey courses on the history of the United States to 1865.
In this biography, Randolph B. Campbell explores the life of Sam Houston and his important role in the development of the Southwest. Governor of two states, president of an independent republic, and for thirteen years a United States senator, Sam Houston forged a life of great adventure, frequent controversy, and lasting achievement. Within the historical context of the emerging West, Houston's story is not only one of courage and fortitude, but also aids in understanding of the possibilities and limitations of leadership in a Democratic society. The titles in the Library of American Biography Series make ideal supplements for American History Survey courses or other courses in American history where figures in history are explored. Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each interpretive biography in this series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. In addition, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.