On June 23, 1845, a joint resolution of the Congress of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States. The leaders of the republic first voted for annexation in 1836, soon after gaining independence from Mexico, but the U.S. Congress was unwilling to admit another state that permitted slavery. Sam Houston, commander of the Texas army during the fight for independence from Mexico and the first president of the Republic of Texas, was a strong advocate of annexation.
In 1845, the political climate proved more favorable to the request for statehood. On December 29, 1845, Texas officially became the twenty-eighth state in the Union although the formal transfer of government did not take place until February 19, 1846. A unique provision in its agreement with the United States permitted Texas to retain title to its public lands. Further, Texas was annexed as a slave state.
Texas is divided into various regions characterized by distinct cultures and climates. East Texas includes the forested area known as the “Big Thicket” and some of the wet, coastal marsh area. The region produces cotton, rice, and sugar cane, and its economy is centered on the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical and shipping industries. The eastern part of Texas continues to be culturally tied to the Deep South. West Texas includes the Davis Mountains, the northern High Plains of the Panhandle, and some of the Hill Country. Cattle and sheep ranching continue to thrive in the legendary land of the cowboy. Near the national border, Mexican culture remains particularly influential.
Our roundup was the hardest of all work we had to do, but the most interesting, at least it was to most of us, because we then had roping and bul-dogging to do.
“Dave Hoffman.” Sheldon F. Gauthier, interviewer; Fort Worth, Texas, ca. 1936-39. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division
One of the more than 400 Texans interviewed in American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940, early settler Mrs. Emma Falconer, described the state’s natural beauty:
…let me tell you my impression when I came to Texas and saw the sunrise, the Texas Bluebonnets and the wild flowers, the Indian head, the “Yellow Rose of Texas”, the wild verbena, and all the many beautiful Texas flowers. The traveller may be oblivious to the wonders of his own land and feel that distance lends enchantment, he may grow rapturous over other sunny clines, but if there is a sunnier or more beautiful country than Texas, I have not seen it.
“Mrs. Emma Falconer.” Miss Effie Cowan, interviewer; Marlin, Texas, ca. 1936-1939. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division
- Read other Texans’ stories. Search on bluebonnets, rangers, cowboys, Indians, or Texas in American Life Histories, 1936 to 1940.
- The work of commercial photographer Robert Runyon (1881-1969) comprises the collection The South Texas Border, 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection External. This collection, with more than 8,000 items, documents the history and development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and includes images of the Mexican Revolution and the U.S. military presence along the border prior to and during World War I.
- For more images, search the collections of Photos & Prints on Texas. The following collections are particularly rich in material concerning Texas.
- Search on Texas in Today in History to learn more about the events in Texas history such as the fall of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, and the hurricane that decimated Galveston Island on September 8, 1900.
- Browse Railroad Maps, 1828 to 1900 by geographic location, selecting the state of Texas or, under Regions, the southwest, to see images illustrating the growth of travel, settlement, industry and agriculture in the state. See Panoramic Maps for bird’s-eye-view maps of Texas towns at the turn of the twentieth century.