Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas

Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas

by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr
     
 

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In 1838 Texas vice president Mirabeau B. Lamar, flush from the excitement of a successful buffalo hunt, gazed from a hilltop toward the paradise at his feet and saw the future. His poetic eye admired the stunning vista before him, with its wavering prairie grasses gradually yielding to clusters of trees, then whole forests bordering the glistening Colorado River in

Overview

In 1838 Texas vice president Mirabeau B. Lamar, flush from the excitement of a successful buffalo hunt, gazed from a hilltop toward the paradise at his feet and saw the future. His poetic eye admired the stunning vista before him, with its wavering prairie grasses gradually yielding to clusters of trees, then whole forests bordering the glistening Colorado River in the distance. Lamar’s equally awestruck companions, no strangers to beautiful landscapes, shuffled speechlessly nearby. But where these men saw only nature’s handiwork, Lamar visualized a glorious manmade transformation--trees into buildings, prairie into streets, and the river itself into a bustling waterway. And he knew that with the presidency of the Republic of Texas in his grasp, he would soon be in position to achieve this vision.
     The founding of Austin sparked one of the Republic’s first great political battles, pitting against each other two Texas titans: Lamar, who in less than a year had risen to vice president from army private, and Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto and a man both loved and hated throughout the Republic.

     The shy, soft-spoken, self-righteous Lamar dreamed of a great imperial capital in the wilderness, but to achieve it faced the hardships of the frontier, the mighty Comanche nation, the Mexican army, and the formidable Houston’s political might.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
In his lively depiction of the founding of Austin as the capital of Texas, Jeffrey Kerr offers colorful accounts of the scenic setting, early settlers, and contentious times. Against the broader controversy of how to maintain and develop the Republic, he guides us through the ongoing struggle waged between Mirabeau Lamar and Sam Houston, the first two presidents, over the desirability of a new frontier capital.-Alwyn Barr, author of Texans in Revolt: The Battle for San Antonio, 1835

Seat of Empire is the best relatively succinct account I know of the events, places, and people so central in the city's and state's history. General readers, state and local lawmakers, college students, and historians will find pleasure and profit in its pages. Kerr provides illuminating contexts for the passionately contested and inevitably politicized question of location and sketches adroitly the picturesque (and often picaresque) pistol-packing politicos caught up in the jousts. -Harold Hyman, William P. Hobby Professor of History Emeritus, Rice University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780896727830
Publisher:
Texas Tech University Press
Publication date:
07/03/2013
Series:
Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
751,224
File size:
6 MB

Meet the Author

Jeffrey S. Kerr is the author of two other books on Texas history, Austin, Texas: Then and Now (a 2005 nonfiction finalist for the Writers’ League of Texas Violet Crown Award) and The Republic of Austin (now in its third printing). He also writes a regular history column for the online periodical Austin Post. He and his wife, Sharon, live in Austin.

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