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Excerpts from the America's Imperial Power, from Tamaulipas to Oklahoma.
Excerpt from The Lone Star Flies High, a biography of Richard Coke, governor of Texas 1872-1874, by Ross Townsend, (C) 1993.
'...no transcripts were made of Coke's meeting on the 18th of November with President Benjamin, but later accounts by both men indicates that the meeting was by no means civil. Certainly the unproductive nature of the meeting led to a rapid decline of federal-state relations.
Throughout 1873, relations had remained relatively stable; this can perhaps be attributed to the fact that Coke and Benjamin were relatively alike; both were former lawyers with a reputation for intellectualism (Coke at this time picked up the nickname of 'Old Brains', which was to stay with him for life). Additionally, both had only been elected to their respective offices the previous year, and as such lacked the acrimonious relationship that President Lee and Governor Roberts had developed. However, this was quickly to change, and the meeting began a trend which ended with a personal hatred between the two men, which was to prove disastrous.
The meeting's inconclusive nature did nothing to deal with the rapidly developing crisis over Texan immigration. Refugees from across the CSA continued flooding into Texas, and the Confederate government's indecision only deepened feelings of resentment within Texas. Texan infrastructure became stretched to its limits. Inevitably, many of the refugees from the Veteran's Fever outbreak carried the disease themselves; the first cases were recorded in early September, and by late November the disease had reached epidemic proportions in the cramped camps of the Confederate refugees. Faced with the prospect of the impending spread of the disease across Texas, Coke acted unilaterally. On the 25th of December, the Texan Protection Act was passed by the Texas Legislature, closing Texan borders to the outside world. It was, in effect, a declaration of unofficial secession. On the 25th of December, Coke delivered the Christmas Oration to crowds in Austin; the speech, noted for both its jingoism and for the origin of the phrase 'We decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come', which has been frequently repeated by many Texan politicians since.
The response from within the Confederacy was swift and decisive. On 31st of December, the Ku Klux Klan firebombed the State House. No one was hurt, but the action could not have been a greater insult to Texan pride and patriotism. As 1874 began, Texas and the CSA were effectively at war...'
Extracts from the Christmas Day Oration by Richard Coke, 25th of December, 1873, given in Austin, Texas
'Men and women of Texas.
I speak before you now at a time of grave peril for our great state. You need merely look out the window to see the horrors that have been wrought upon us this past year. Refugees starve in our streets. Roads are clogged and buildings creak as wave after wave of human casualties descend upon our fair state, interested in saving their own skin with no concern for anything or anyone but themselves. And all the while, Death stalks our city's hospitals and clinics, striking those down who have been unfortunate enough to contract the foreigner's plague.
I trust I do not need to elaborate further. We are facing a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. A Black Death is sweeping through our state, striking down all those in its path with no regard for man or woman, child or adult, even black or white. But there is a greater crisis before us: a human plague, a plague of spoilt minds and misplaced pity.
They say we should care for them. They say we should give them the shirts off their backs. They say that our tax dollars, the sweat off our brows, should go towards sating their every need! Well, I say this: we decide who comes to our state, and the circumstances in which they come!
Last night, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Protection Act. This morning, Texas became closed to the world. We have said, 'No more!'
I am proud to be a citizen of the Confederate States. But I am first and foremost a Texan, and the needs of my great state and its people must come first.
We do not want war. We do not want secession. But we were an independent state for nine years, and yet we did not perish, but indeed prospered. We want only peace, but if it comes to it, we will fight to defend ourselves from the infectious rabble who even now threaten the very existence of Texas.
So go forth, men and women of Texas, and be proud. For your state has stood up to the world, and has declared itself not a mere vassal of a greedy central government, but a proud state ready to fight for its freedom to remain forever pure. We fought a war for our independence a mere decade ago; if history repeats itself, then we shall fight again, and we shall win!
Have a merry Christmas, and long live Texas!'
Excerpt from The Lone Star Flies High, a biography of Richard Coke, governor of Texas 1872-1874, by Ross Townsend, (C) 1993.
'Most of the members of the KKK in Texas were recent refugees, often living in desperate poverty. The Texan government's refusal to provide facilities for the refugees had led to the creation of vast shanty towns surrounding urban areas in Texas. Conditions within the towns often put third-world countries to shame; running water was unheard of, and cliques and factions effectively controlled access to resources. Of these, the KKK gained popularity amongst the refugees, not necessarily for its ideology but for the resources it wielded within the camps...
The KKK's ideology deserves a mention. Coke's ideology was in many ways compatible with the KKK; indeed, his insistance upon 'purity' was admired by many followers of the KKK, who often advocated the formation of camps to intern sufferers of the Veteran's Plague, so as not to infect the population. However, Coke's defiance of the CSA led to considerable ire amongst Klansmen, many of whom were former soldiers; he was seen as a 'race traitor' for not blindly serving the CSA, who the KKK believed to be the only hope of the survival of the white race...
Of the Texas Klansmen, the most famous is undoubtedly Ben Wilkerson. Wilkerson was a poor farmer from Georgia, who fled the state with his wife and two daughters after the outbreak of Veteran's Fever in that state. After arriving in Texas, he was unable to find lodgings or accommodations, and settled into the vast Houston Camp, where he became a major figure in the local KKK. Wilkerson has been largely cast as a villain, but in truth he resembles a more pathetic figure; he was of limited intellect and cunning, and seems to have been manipulated by those more intelligent than himself. He seems to have honestly believed that in working for the KKK, he was working to provide for his family...
On April 13, 1874, Coke was speaking to enthusiastic crowds in front of the Houston Town Hall. He was given limited security, and was only flanked by two bodyguards, with limited visibility. Wilkerson pushed his way through the crowds and shot Coke twice with a .22 revolver. Wilkerson's aim was bad; Coke was hit once in the shoulder and once in the torso. Wilkerson was immediately shot dead by guards. Unfortunately, Coke was shot in the back by one of his guards during the confusion; ironically, this one bullet may have caused more damage than Wilkerson's incompetent assassination attempt. It has long been questioned whether the unlucky security guard, John Randall, was in fact a KKK agent; although he denied it whenever questioned for the rest of his life, papers found in his house after his death indicate Confederate sympathies, and his wife related in a 1897 interview that he expressed a strong hatred towards Long before his death. However, this issue is likely to remain a mystery
Coke was rushed to hospital; there, his condition might not have proved fatal but for the incompetence of his doctors, who performed surgery with unsanitary equipment. Infection spread rapidly through Coke's body, and his damaged immune system led to pneumonial infection. In increasing pain, he spent his last few days with his family. He died on April 19, 1874. His last known words were, 'Oh my'.
With one shot, Wilkerson effectively declared Texan independence. The furious Texan people rioted in the streets over the shooting, and newly appointed governor Richard Hubbard was in no mood to argue, having been a close friend of Coke. On April 23, 1874, the Texan government issued the Texan Declaration of Independence. The Republic of Texas was reborn.
In retrospect, Coke may seem a simple nativist populist; something of a cross between Emperor Long of Lousiana and Prime Minister John Howard of Australia. Yet, at the time, and even to this day, Coke's legacy in Texas remains almost mythical. He has become a martyr for Texas nationalism; from the moment he died, it became inevitable that Texas was fight for its freedom no matter the cost. No matter his flaws, Coke's role as the father of modern Texas remains inescapable, and a legacy to be proud of.'
Excerpts from The Lamar Party: The Knights of Liberty by George Bush, 1999 (C)
'After Texas won its independence in the Texan War for Liberty, the nation became divided over the future for the fledgling nation. Some, of whom President Hubbard was a major supporter, favoured the expansion of Texan territory through annexation of parts of the Confederate States of America and Mexico; this, they argued, was the only way to ensure Texan sovereignty in the face of enemies on all sides. Others, including many former Ku Klux Klan members, favoured peaceful relations with neighbouring nations; their most prominent activist, Elisha M. Pease, favoured reintegration with the United States. Pease ran for President in 1876 against Hubbard, but lost heavily, gaining only 27% of the vote due to Hubbard's large-scale popularity. Taking this as validation of his hawkish foreign policy, Hubbard sent a geographic expedition into New Mexico to assert Texan territorial claims to the land, causing an increase in tensions between the CSA and Teaxs.
In a speech to the Texan legislature about the growing war clouds, Hubbard declared, 'Texan sovereignty will not be guaranteed through talk and diplomacy, but by the bayonet and by force of arms. This government will not back down on measures needed to ensure the safety of the Texan people. If that required New Mexico, if that requires Arizona, if that requires the entire continent fly under the Lone Star, then rest assured that we will fight for the protection and preservation of our country'. This speech was later included as part of the Lamar Party charter.
The final straw came on May 19, 1876. A Texan scouting party encountered a Confederate border patrol; after a tense standoff, the Confederates took the Texan party into custody in Santa Fe. The next day, Texan forces crossed the border into New Mexico, ostensibly to rescue the scouting party but in reality to annex the territory.
The war was, in retrospect, somewhat misguided; the Confederacy was undergoing a period of rapid industrialisation under Judah P. Benjamin, whereas Texas suffered in diplomatic and economic isolation. The Texan invasion force were routed in the Battle of Santa Fe, while Confederate troops took Dallas on July 2 and Houston on July 24. Austin was left defenceless; the Texan government was moved to San Antonio in anticipation of the rapid collapse of the capital. However, it was not to be; a rapid program of conscription raised a militia to defend Austin, while the United States, anxious to prevent Confederate expansion, supplied Texas with arms and logistics. The unprepared Texan army met the Confederates on September 3 at Waco.
Little more needs be said about the battle than has been said already; dubbed 'Texas' baptism of fire', the underequipped, untrained militia managed to halt the advance of the superior Confederate force. At the same time, attacks by new recruits managed to cut Confederate supply lines to Dallas and Houston, forcing a hasty withdrawal. The Treaty of Austin was signed on the 8th of November, ending the war; Texas was forced to pay a heavy indemnity to the CSA, but compared to the impending collapse of the nation just a few months earlier, this seemed a small price to pay.
While the war ended in the return of the status quo in geographic terms, politically it was devastating. The Texan Legislature split over the issue of the war; those in favour called themselves Lamarites, those against called themselves Houstonists, echoing the names of famous Texan leaders of times past. In the 1880 election, Hubbard, running on the Lamarite ticket, was roundly defeated by the more moderate John Ireland. Yet even in defeat he secured a lasting legacy for his successors. The Lamar Party was born.'
Campaign advertisement for the 1884 Texan election, mailed to homes around the Greater Houston Area.
'Men and women of Texas! Your country needs you!
For too long, we have been humilated by our enemies, who surround us on every front. For too long, we have allowed our past defeats to go unpunished, and for other nations to push us around? 'Who do they think they are?', they think? Well, it's time we tell them!
Texas has a proud history, and a great destiny. Don't let Confederate lies fool you; during the First Texan Republic, we controlled an empire stretching across North America, including Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Wyoming. We had a proud future ahead of us, as a power to make the world tremble!
But this was taken from us! The traitor Sam Houston, who even now his namesake party honours (when in truth he should be burnt in effigy in front of every house in the country!), sold us to the United States. Like we were Rhode Island or Wyoming! Well, it's time to tell them they're wrong. We're Texas, and we kneel to no one!
A vote for John Ireland is a vote for servitude! A vote for Lawrence Ross is a vote for Texas!
Lawrence Ross: Rebuilding Texas
Campaign advertisement for the 1884 Texan election, mailed in response to the previous advertisement anonymously around the Greater Houston area.
September 3, 1876. A great day in our nation's history. Waco Day, instituted last year by the Ireland administration, ensures that Texas shall forever remember the sacrifice of the 3rd Texan Militia.
But just think, gentle citizen. What if that battle never happened at all? What if 7 000 Texan soldiers hadn't been forced to spill their blood that day? What if 7 000 husbands, fathers, brothers and sons were still with us?
It's not so farfetched. It only requires a single leap of thought; that the corrupt, bloodthirsty Hubbard government of the Lamar Party was thrust into the dustbin of history. Without the mad doctrine of endless war and bloodshed that they thrust on this country, the 15 000 Texans who died in the mad War of 1876 would still be with us today.
You may have received some mail from an anonymous source for the Lamar Party, who we have strong evidence to suggest is linked with the United States government. Needless to say, its claims are utterly false. There never was a Texas greater or more prosperous than it is today under John Ireland, and any attempt to create a so-called Texan Empire would only cause untold human suffering. The lies of the Lamar Party would only plunge us into a war which would destroy our great nation, and cause untold human suffering. Look at your father, your son, your brother, your friend. The Lamar Party would erase them from your life through pointless war and bloodshed, as thoroughly as if they had never existed.
The Houston Party cares for Texas. We wish to prevent this immense tragedy, and to protect Texas from a war which it could never win. But there's only one way to do that: throw the Lamar Party back in the dustbin of history, where it belongs.
A vote for Ross is a vote for bloodshed. A vote for Ireland is a vote for salvation.
John Ireland: Believing In Texas
Excerpt from fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texan_presidential_election, 1884
The Texan presidential election, 1884 pitted incumbent John Ireland of the Houston Party against Lawrence Ross of the Lamar Party. The campaign was marked by attempts by the Lamar Party to propagate the belief in a 'Texan Empire', based on historical claims. Although the claim was widely ridiculed at the time, it later gained greater credence in Texas.
The Ireland administration had suffered a series of scandals relating to their close relations with the United States. Although their most prominent reintegration activist, Elisha M. Pease, had died in 1883, his influence was still felt strongly within the party. Capitalising on this discontent, the Lamar Party won the election with 52% of the vote, with the Houston Party on 44%, with prominent re-integration activist Albert Jennings Fountain gaining 4% of the vote as an independent. He would later run for the Houston Party in 1888.
Excerpts from an editorial by the Houston Post, 27 July, 1888
'For the safety of Texas, it is imperative that Albert Fountain not gain the nomination of the Houston Party. The ideal of integrationism is an idle fantasy, discredited by history; Texas is an independent nation and Texas will remain an independent nation. A Fountain presidency would lead to the death of our republic in its infancy. Recent economic troubles are no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater'
Excerpts from an article by the San Antonio Express, 4 August
'The Houston Party presidential primary has become a tight race between prominent integrationist activist Albert Jennings Fountain and Attorney-General Jim Hogg. At present, the 37-year-old Hogg appears to command the support of more than half the delegates, largely thanks to the support of former President John Ireland; however, his controversial views on race relations and his extreme youth may count against him. If he gains the nomination and wins the election, he will be the youngest President in the history of the nations of North America. Albert Jennings Fountain enjoys support from amongst the more radical wings of the Houston Party, but is still a controversial figure; it remains to be seen whether his views on reintegration into the United States will prove platable to moderates disillusioned with Jim Hogg's views on race. Voting will be held tomorrow, and the result is expected to be close.'
Excerpts from a speech by Albert Jennings Fountain to the Houston Party National Convention, 6 August
'Members of the Houston Party and fellow Texans, I am proud to accept this party's nomination to President.
There has been much controversy of late about my views on the independence issue; to resolve any confusion on the matter, let me speak frankly. I am not in favour of subjugation. I am not in favour of isolation. I am in favour of Texas, whatever that means or implies. If independence is more profitable to our state, then so be it. But if reintegration will bring greater happiness and benefits to the people of Texas, then as their representative I would be sworn to pursue that option.
Many have accused me of hypocricy, running for an office in a nation they claim I do not believe in. I did not support secession 14 years ago, and the independence of our nation is still a serious issue now. But whether our nation be a republic or a state or an empire, I would still wish to serve the people of Texas to the best of my ability. If that means that I would run for President to better serve their needs, then the name of the office hardly matters.
Once again, thank you for your support, fellow delegates. Now let's kick out Hubbard, and restore Texas!
Excerpts from the Purity Manifesto, mailed by Texan Unity to letterboxes around Texas, 12 August
'The dirty traitor Albert Fountain wants to sell our nation to the nigger-loving USA. He wants to drag down Texas, God's chosen nation, to be down there with the Satan-worshiping [sic] Yankees when Tribulation sends them all to hell! Well, we're going to stand up for Texas. We fought off the USA and we fought off the CSA. And we're going to fight off AJF.
Tomorrow, when Fountain appears in Houston to preach to his addled Yankee supporters, we call on all true Texans to take the fight for our nation to the streets. We will fight in every city and every street to wipe out the Houstonites and keep Texas pure!
We don't want war. But if they insist, they'll get one!!! [sic]'
Excerpts from a police interview with Lachlan Parker, security guard, from 14 August, 1888
Interviewer: What time did Fountain arrive?
Parker: About 9:30.
Interviewer: OK. And when did the crowds start gathering?
Parker: When he started giving his speech, at 10.
Interviewer: And what was their response?
Parker: Oh, they were crazy for him. They were his guys, at first. We had to get more guys for the barricades to hold them back, they were that mad for him.
Interviewer: When did people negative to Fountain start appearing?
Interviewer: People who didn't like him.
Parker: Oh. They started marching up at about quarter past.
Interviewer: Quarter past ten, that is?
Interviewer: And by marching, do you mean in a military formation?
Parker: Yeah. They had banners and uniforms and everything. Real organised. They started pushing into Fountain's people, knocking people around.
Interviewer: And did your men do anything to stop it?
Parker: [Laughter] What, and get beaten to death? We just kept to the line.
Interviewer: How did Fountain react?
Parker: He just kept giving his speech. Didn't react much at all.
Interviewer: When did the shooting start?
Parker: About five minutes after they arrived, but I can't give you an exact figure. I wasn't exactly watching the clock.
Interviewer: 'They' being the group identifying themselves as Texan Unity?
Interviewer: The men opposed to Fountain.
Parker: Ah. Yeah, them.
Interviewer: And who shot first?
Parker: No idea. People started screaming, fighting each other.
Interviewer: What happened next?
Parker: Well, this Texan Unity group, as you say, started to push through the crowd. They were better organised, so they beat the Jennings guys into a pulp. We managed to hold the line against them, but there was hundreds of them and only a few dozen of us.
Interviewer: How did Fountain react?
Parker: He tried to get out. Started shouting at me to get him out of there. He practically (inaudible)
Interviewer: I'm sorry, could you repeat that?
Parker: Never mind. He was damn scared.
Interviewer: And what did you do?
Parker: Well, we started trying to push through the mob. I was at the front of the line, trying to push away some of the nutty ones, when we heard a shot. I turned around and Fountain was dead.
Interviewer: How do you know he was dead?
Parker: Well, it's damned hard to live without half your face, isn't it?
Excerpts from an article by the Houston Post, 14 August, 1888
'Fountain Killed In Riot
Controversial Houston Party candidate for the presidency, Howard Jennings Fountain, was assassinated in a riot in the streets of Houston yesterday. Houston was addressing a crowd of his supporters when a group identifying themselves as Texan Unity attacked the rally, which escalated into the use of firearms. Fountain was killed by an unidentified assailant as he attempted to escape the besieged podium. In addition, 7 people were killed and scores wounded in the fighting.
The Houston Party immediately released a statement accusing the Lamar Party of complicity in the assassination. President Ross strongly denied this; while expressing his condolences for Fountain' family, he stated that the Lamar Party had no links with the assassination or with Texan Unity.
In a prepared statement given anonymously to the police, Texan Unity identified themselves as the perpetrators of the assassination, and warned of 'cleansing still to come'.'
Excerpts from a speech by Jim Hogg, Houston Party vice-presidential candidate, upon receiving the Houston Party nomination to the presidency.
'In 133 BC, a great man, Tiberius Gracchus, attempted to help the poor of the Roman Republic. This noble cause was selfishly put to an end by the interests of a corrupt and entrenched autocratic oligarchy, and he was slaughtered. His death marked the beginning of a deluge of civil wars, which eventually plunged the Republic into dictatorship. Delegates, Texas has found its Tiberius Gracchus in Albert Jennings Fountain; now, the only question is how to deal with the extreme danger his death raises for our nation.
Because what kind of nation is this when the primary instrument of politics is not the vote, but militias? Where it is not left up to the people to decide government, but up to those who can afford for armies to enforce their will?
I have no doubt the Lamar Party administration were behind this henious act. For the safety of Texan democracy, we must demand that President Ross be removed from office immediately, for murdering a great man. We will not rest until Albert Fountain is avenged.'
Excerpt from an article by the Houston Post, 21 August, 1888
'On the streets of Houston, the overwhelming consensus is that Albert Jennings Fountain's death was a positive step for Texas. Lance Morgan, 63, applauded the slaying, saying 'It's people like Fountain who have kept our nation from achieving the glory it deserves. Yankee-lovers like him have no place in Texas.
There is generally little support for the idea, proposed by Jim Hogg, that the death of Fountain was a premediated act; Theresa Moore spoke for many when she said, 'President Ross wouldn't do a thing like that. He's a great man, and he keeps our country safe'.
Overall, support for the Lamar Party remains high. Ross is expected to win the next election, despite economic turbulence due to sanctions from the CSA over his stance on New Mexico.
Excerpts from The Scoop, autobiography of Reinzi Johnston, former political correspondant for the Houston Post, published posthumously
'I first met Yankee Doodle in circumstances so hackneyed they sounded like they came straight from a dimestore novel. It was the 3rd of September; Hogg wasn't making any traction with the voters, who'd hated Fountain, anyway, and Ross was well on his way to winning the election. I returned to my office after a long lunch only to find a telegram, waiting for me. It was blunt; he said he had information implicating Ross in a major scandal, but he'd only tell me if I met him that night in his house in Houston. For reasons of confidentiality, I still can't say where. Well, no one could refuse a scoop like that, so I headed out there.
Once I got there, he met me at the front door. I'd brought a bodyguard with me; from the darkness he shoved a gun in my face and told me that if I didn't get the bodyguard to clear off there was no deal. That pretty much settled it; you can't write much without much of a head, although some journalists I've met would differ.
Anyway, once we got inside, he told me his story. He was a former Lamar Party highup, who'd gotten wind of a plan to kill Fountain. The whole idea seemed stupid, seeing as not even his own party could stand Fountain, but apparently Ross was worried Fountain was getting CSA support, and Ross had spent the last 4 years irritating them. Of course, this was all a story I'd heard before in pubs and the like, but without proof, it was just a story. Yankee Doodle had something different: a telegram, indisputably from Ross, implicating him in setting up Texas Unity.
Well, once I saw THAT, I knew Ross was dead. Literally.
Excerpt from an article by the Houston Post, from the 4th of September
Ross Implicated In Fountain Assassination
Evidence has come to light that President Lawrence Ross may have been involved in the assassination of Albert Fountain Jennings on the 13th of August. A source from within the Lamar Party, identifying himself only as 'Yankee Doodle', has given exclusive telegram transcripts to the Houston Post identifying Ross as the founder and chief mover of Texan Unity, the organisation which has claimed responsibility for the murder of Fountain'
Excerpt from an article by the San Antonio Express, 12th of October
Lawrence Ross was today impeached and removed from office by the Texan Congress on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. The motion passed with the support of nearly half the Lamar Party, which has been shattered and divided by the allegations, published in the Houston Post, that Ross was responsible for the murder of Houston Party candidate Albert Fountain Jennings. Ross was taken into custoday shortly after leaving Congress.
Vice-president Barnett Gibbs was today sworn in as President, but pledged not to run for re-election; the Lamar Party has not yet announced who their candidate for the upcoming election will be. Gibbs talked up the chances of a Lamar Party victory, despite the scandal, saying, 'We are sure that Texas will know that the Lamar Party looks out for their interests, and will re-elect us in a landslide over the discredited Houston Party opposition.'
Excerpt from an article by the Houston Post, 6th of November, 1888
It's A Landslide
Excerpts from The Scoop, autobiography of Reinzi Johnston, former political correspondant for the Houston Post, published posthumously
'Of course, until now you haven't known who Yankee Doodle REALLY was. Well, here's the scoop: he was a Confederate. A spy in Ross' office, who faked the telegram and everything associated. Because it wasn't Fountain who was the agent, it was Hogg. I don't know if the CSA were behind Texan Unity, but I wouldn't bet against it.
So now you know the real truth, or at least what very reputable sources tell me to be the real truth. The story of the century, which got Ross imprisoned for life, the Lamar Party kicked out of office for 16 years, and Texan politics turned upside down, was all a plot by the CSA. And I went along with it. I guess it wasn't such a great scoop after all.'