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Chapter 32: the annexation of Texas.—the Mexican War.—Winthrop and Sumner.—1845-1847.

The annexation of Texas, plotted during Jackson's Administration, obstructed by Van Buren's, and consummated by Tyler's, was in its origin and at every step a conspiracy of the aggressive and fanatical partisans of slavery to consolidate their power in the national government, and to strengthen and perpetuate their institution. It was one of the three great victories in our history won by the slaveholders over a feeble-spirited and submissive North. Texas was, indeed, a territory which might well be coveted by a people and race distinguished by a passion for empire, already fed by acquisitions from France and Spain. It was imperial in extent, fortunate in position, rejoicing in marvellous fertility, commanding the Gulf of mexico, and assuring military and commercial advantages;1 but far different thoughts from such as appealed to a far-sighted patriotism filled the minds of Tyler and Calhoun and their fellow-plotters. Their purpose, boldly avowed not only in Southern journals and conventions, but in Congress and state papers, was to add immediately two members to the pro-slavery party in the Senate, with more in prospect by a division of the new State, to fortify the interests of their caste on our southwestern frontier, and to open a market for the redundant slave population of the old slave States. The plot was carried through in defiance of the Constitution, in disregard of the rights of Mexico, and in contempt of Northern sentiment. When the treaty of annexation, negotiated by Calhoun, Secretary of State, had been rejected by the Senate in 1844, President Tyler promptly resorted to a joint resolution, easily carried through the House, but passing the Senate by a majority of only two votes, and taking effect

1 Sumner, in a letter to his brother George, Sept. 30, 1845, admitted that the material interests of the country might be forwarded by the acquisition, but insisted that sound morals were against it.

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