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Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850

Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850

by Andrew J. Torget


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By the late 1810s, a global revolution in cotton had remade the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing wealth and waves of Americans to the Gulf Coast while also devastating the lives and villages of Mexicans in Texas. In response, Mexico threw open its northern territories to American farmers in hopes that cotton could bring prosperity to the region. Thousands of Anglo-Americans poured into Texas, but their insistence that slavery accompany them sparked pitched battles across Mexico. An extraordinary alliance of Anglos and Mexicans in Texas came together to defend slavery against abolitionists in the Mexican government, beginning a series of fights that culminated in the Texas Revolution. In the aftermath, Anglo-Americans rebuilt the Texas borderlands into the most unlikely creation: the first fully committed slaveholders' republic in North America.

Seeds of Empire tells the remarkable story of how the cotton revolution of the early nineteenth century transformed northeastern Mexico into the western edge of the United States, and how the rise and spectacular collapse of the Republic of Texas as a nation built on cotton and slavery proved to be a blueprint for the Confederacy of the 1860s.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469645568
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 08/01/2018
Series: The David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 402,595
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Andrew J. Torget is assistant professor of history at the University of North Texas.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Seeds of Empire is a masterfully researched, elegantly written, and intellectually sophisticated study of the forces that shaped the U.S.-Mexican borderlands during the first half of the nineteenth century. Andrew Torget has written a fine and important book.—Gregg Cantrell, author of Stephen F. Austin: Empresario of Texas

Andrew Torget's wonderful new book wrenches the history of Texas independence out of the grip of nationalists and exceptionalists. He shows that the Texas Republic was created by—and dissolved by—the massive force of the cotton revolution and slavery expansion that drove the rise of Western economic modernity. And he shows how the same forces tragically disrupted and destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of African Americans forced to move to the Cotton South's first independent slaveholding state.—Edward E. Baptist, author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

In this engrossing book, Andrew J. Torget moves beyond national and state narratives to place cotton at the heart of the breathtaking transformation of the Gulf of Mexico region during the first half of the nineteenth century. His greatest accomplishment is to put in conversation processes and events that are frequently discussed in separate literatures. Seeds of Empire is a major work of reinterpretation.—Andres Resendez, author of Changing National Identities at the Frontier: Texas and New Mexico, 1800-1850

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