Indigenous groups Spanish and
Mexican Americans
Anglo Americans African Americans Germans and
Anglo Americans

Anglo-Americans, primarily from the steadily advancing frontier of the United States, made a major impact on the political and cultural development of Texas. Though Anglos and Anglo Americans had explored parts of the territory during Spanish colonial times (before 1821), they only began arriving and staying in much larger numbers, after the Spanish were thrown out and the territory came under the rule of an independent Mexico (1821-1836). The primary attraction for the Anglo Americans was the Mexican government's empresario policy which awarded land grants to settlers. It is uncertain how many Anglo Americans lived in the major settlements by the time Texas won its independence, but estimates in 1836 put the number at about 30,000, plus some 3,500 Tejanos, 14,200 Native Americans, and 5,000 slaves and a few free blacks. [4]

In less than a decade after Mexico's independence from Spain, the Anglo American presence had come to dominate the political and cultural development of the territory. An independence movement led primarily by Anglo Americans and subsequent ascension to U.S. statehood solidified the Anglo American traditions as the foundation for Texas political and cultural development. This meant that Texas culture would comprise a unique mix of liberal and conservative orientations. On the one hand, the republican and democratic principles upon which the United States government was founded were adopted almost reflexively. (Of course, these principles were a requirement for statehood; see the Texas Politics feature "How the U.S. Constitution Imposes Requirements on the States" ).

And, of course, the frontier attitude toward minimum government and freedom to pursue the accumulation of wealth and property infused this culture (as it seems to have in other cultures like those of the Spanish, French, and the indigenous groups that called Texas home). But, the unique form of Anglo American culture that took root in Texas also had a considerable conservative streak that emphasized social-class stability and order (this was a prominent characteristic of Spanish culture as well). After all, many of the settlers came to the state with slaves, and they preserved the institution of slavery right up until the Confederacy's defeat in the Civil War. For decades after the war, the law and Anglo American social norms still sought to maintain a rigid race-based class system that effectively disenfranchised African Americans, Mexican Americans, and other non-European groups.

4 Handbook of Texas Online, link: "REPUBLIC OF TEXAS," (accessed Feb 15, 2006).

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