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Frontier Issues in the
Presidential Election of 1841

THE EXCITEMENT IN THE SPRING and summer of 1841 was neither all caused by nor all limited to the frontier. Toward the end of the year Lamar's term as President would expire, and since he would be ineligible to succeed himself, his supporters turned their eyes toward David G. Burnet, the Vice President, and Lamar endeavored to promote his election. His opponent was Houston, who sought a second term and represented the anti-Lamar-Burnet faction. There was no such thing as political parties, and the presidential campaign of 1841 turned as much upon personalities as upon issues, if not more so. Houston had represented San Augustine County in the House of Representatives in the Fourth and Fifth Congresses and had been anything but cooperative with the Lamar administration. Recorded Anson Jones in 1840 in his diary,[1]

I had hoped something from Gen. Houston but he appears only intent upon making Lamar's administration as odious as possible in order that the contrast with his own may be favorable to him. He is willing the government should be a failure in order that he may have it to say there is no one but "Old Sam" that the people can depend upon, and that he is the only man that can successfully administer the Govt. of Texas. Lamar is certainly no statesman and he and his friends are ruining the country and going to the Devil as fast as Gen. Houston can possibly wish. This he sees and chuckles at -- hence nothing can be expected from him, more than to save appearances. He is skillful to destroy his enemy; but will do nothing to stay the impending ruin.

The campaign was bitter and full of vituperation. Among the issues were the claims to the eleven-league land grants, both Burnet and Houston being accused of securing such grants; the removal of the

1. Anson Jones, Memorandum Book No. 2, Jan. 1, 1840, ms.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963