Could Texas have lasted as a buffer state between the U.S. and Mexico?

Besides the political and economic advantages of joining the U.S., the country was also settled primarily by Anglos from America. So it seems unlikely they could have ever have developed a distinct identity to resist the temptations of annexation. Could anything have prevented it? What if Texas became a major destination early on from those who were less aligned with Washington?

I suppose you’d have to do something drastic on the order or an Acadian-type resettlement (but of whom?) or abolish slavery early on so all the disaffected southerners trek to the west with their chattel.
 
The Texans wanted to be annexed from the get-go, and it was blocked because it would upset the balance of pro-slavery and anti-slavery states. A Clay victory in 1844 probably would have blocked it.
 
I thought the majority of them like Sam Houston wanted annexation, but there was at least a token Texian nationalist faction exemplified by Mirabeau B. Lamar.
 
People like independent Texas, but maybe it's inevitably going to get annexed.
I'd say nothing is inevitable. Sure, for the most part, Texans wanted it to be annexed, and the Americans - for the most part - wanted to annex it as well. But if you prolong or worsen the same forces that kept it independent for 9 years, sooner or later the idea of Texas remaining independent might be taken for granted. Some of these have been pointed out, but lets quickly analyze each:
  • Its annexation would upset the balance of pro-slavery and anti-slavery states. The slave states wanted annexation because sooner or later the balance would be against them anyway. As TJ points out above, a Clay victory in 1844 with a working follow-up to the Missouri compromise would likely delay the issue a few years. Annexation will once again pop-up in 1848, especially if another northwestern free state gets admitted in between. Expect a slaveholding Kansas and possibly Colorado here.
  • A token nationalist faction in Texas saw some benefit in keeping Texas independent "they get to be kings of their own ranchos" so to speak. Keep Lamar and company in power in the 1844 - 1848 period and you might get the bucket kicked further down the line. In 1846 Texas has a big "ten-year independence anniversary" bolstering its growing nationalism.
  • The threat of war with Mexico was another big issue. Even in the US was wholly capable of stomping Mexico - and it did - the prospect of war wasn't popular. A Clay victory in 1844 already kicked the issue down the line, which might just give Mexico enough time to re-organize down post-Pastry-War. Without the threat of war, Herrera manages to finish his term, it is likely Mexico will find itself in a better financial and political state in 1848. Let's say Herrera, or his successor manages to assert Mexico's claim over the Nueces Strip and garrisons the border, and finishes paying off debts to European powers (primarily Britain) who might not want the US to meddle further south. War just became a little bit more unsavory to the US.
  • Texas also had very high debts, primarily to Britain and the US, that it needed to pay. If the bucket gets kicked Texas might actually manage to get its finances in order and begin paying with interest. It might just be more attractive to the US to keep a friendly debtor next door than annexed outright.
Have these four, aligned, just right and you might get the issue kicked down the line once again in 1848. Without the war with Mexico, the California Gold Rush is also delayed a bit more. The US gets a Pacific port by asserting the 54-40 claim in Oregon delaying some of the interest in California. Americans are still trickling into California but at a slower pace, with some migrants opting for Texas instead.

The 1852 election brings the slavery issue to a boil, and you get an early Civil War, once again kicking the Texas issue down the line. Despite the early war the Union still wins. And in 1856 during its twenty-year anniversary of independence, Texas gets a lot of independence-minded Southerners who want nothing to do with the US migrate into its borders. Texas will welcome the migrants to garrison the western borders from Mexican, Mormon, and Native incursions. By now you also have the first "Texan born" generation coming of age - they will likely be a minority, but a very wealthy and influential minority, who might prefer to remain the big-fish in Texas rather than become another fish in the USA.

Texas will likely hold on to slavery longer and its economy will be dominated by big-cotton, big-cattle, and later on big-oil. It will likely have to settle border disputes with Mexico and the US for a while (Deseret and California as well, depending on what happens there). But it might just stay independent despite the odds.
 
Would you happen to know anything about a nationalist or at least proto-nationalist Texian faction at the time, aside from Lamar?

Would be interesting if Texas gets an influx of European exiles after the revolutions of 1848, as they did historically, but perhaps in greater numbers given its status as its own country. Maybe couple the Know-Nothings/American Party gaining ground in the U.S. leading the German emigrants opting for Texas in greater amounts rather than the U.S.?

I think Deseret might get butterflied. For all we know the LDS end up settling in Texas.

Finally, it'd be interesting if Texas outright tries to conquer California after gold is discovered. Or perhaps closer to home, the Utah territory for Comstock Lode silver.
 
If Texas accepts the 1841 UK offer and Mexico still falls into chaos then yes it may survive and even expand. Louisiana, Arkansas, and the Oklahoma Territory may decide it is better to join Texas than be crushed by the Union or dominated by planters from Richmond, meanwhile the Republic of Sonora and Republic of the Rio Grande might seek Texan aid to stay afloat as Deseret is settled and California looks to be free of Mexican shackles, British encumberments, and American ambitions. Oregon may get settled by Texans eventually though it is up for grabs. Hawaii may also decide better Austin than London or Washington.
 
If Texas accepts the 1841 UK offer and Mexico still falls into chaos then yes it may survive and even expand. Louisiana, Arkansas, and the Oklahoma Territory may decide it is better to join Texas than be crushed by the Union or dominated by planters from Richmond, meanwhile the Republic of Sonora and Republic of the Rio Grande might seek Texan aid to stay afloat as Deseret is settled and California looks to be free of Mexican shackles, British encumberments, and American ambitions. Oregon may get settled by Texans eventually though it is up for grabs. Hawaii may also decide better Austin than London or Washington.
Indian territory is still part of the USA, so if they try to join Texas, it'll be war. And those other states probably wouldn't try to join Texas because that leads to two scenarios; 1) They announce they're joining Texas and Texas denies them annexation to prevent a war with the USA. Instead of being part of a CSA to help defend them, they're stuck on their own, meaning they're even more screwed. 2) Texas, having elected a moron who doesn't think through the fact he just agreed to annex at least one us state, is now in a war with the United States, a war it probably won't win. If the CSA can't defeat the United States, I don't think the republic of Texas can either.

EDIT: Just so you know, I'm not insulting you, calling you a moron or anything.

As for world power, something to remember about Texas is that it's a slave holding republic with a large percentage of slave population. That means it has to deal with prospect of slave revolts in addition to Native American raids. I think Texas will be tied down a bit. Plus, neither America or Britain will allow Texas to snag Oregon. That's a blatant land grab and will bring down the hammer from both.
 
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Texas as the destination for former Confederates, especially in an earlier Civil War, would be a great boon to them. I suspect they'd keep slavery around for a while, but this might also cause them to run afoul of both of their larger neighbors. Not just for slavery, but also getting involved in unstable territories in both the U.S. and Mexico.

On the subject of a much-expanded Texas, funnily enough the old Alternate History Travel Guides has provided one:

The Republic of Texas: The Lone Star Nation​

©1999 Adam Garcia

It has been said that the history of our nation would amaze even the most learned of historians.
Over a hundred and fifty years ago our nation was founded. But unlike our friends in the United States, our freedom was fought for. Many is the times we have had to battle Mexico to keep ourselves free; but each time, we won. But our history is not all war. Many great men and woman have come from this nation. Such as our tenth president Running Cloud, who finally brought peace between Texas and Mexico through the Treaty at Washington. Another great man, General George Bush, who single handly brought an end to the Second World War with an Allied victory.

But our history isn't all modern history. Recently, Texan archeolgist have discovered "Mayan Temples" deep within the Yucatan. There are gigantic pyramids which contain amazing, and beautiful, carvings and paintings which have yet to be deciphered. No one knows what these carvings mean, and maybe you might decipher them your self!

When you visit us, you can go to the Ivory coasts of the Gulfs of Mexico, or swim in the sparkling waters of the Pacific. If your a history buff, you could visit our famous battle sites from the Texas-Mexican War, such as Buena Vista, or Molino del Rey. Or if you are the rustic type, visit our commonwealth, The Cherokee Nation. A rip to one of our capitals is also an exciting idea, watching over the Parliament in action.

Come join us here in the Lone Star Nation. The history of a thousand different people await you.

NOTES: We suggest all travellers use Texan Certified airlines, for protection for ground to air missles from South Mexican Rebels. We also suggest you bring a gun.

I think that map was made using the Microsoft Encarta one as a base. Blessed.
 
Texas as the destination for former Confederates, especially in an earlier Civil War, would be a great boon to them. I suspect they'd keep slavery around for a while, but this might also cause them to run afoul of both of their larger neighbors. Not just for slavery, but also getting involved in unstable territories in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Considering Santiago Vidaurri petitioned to join the CSA, I doubt he'd have any qualms about the same offer to Texas, so any problems with Mexico are going to be by a Mexico wracked with internal strife with a huge portion of the country actively trying to secede and join Texas.
 
I have my doubts that Texas will be able to expand after independence. Certainly Northern Mexico will be able to resist any attempts unless Texas had foreign help.

The United States will likely support Mexico to counter any Texas expansion. They will be keen that no one not even Texas messes with its Manifest Destiny.
 
I have my doubts that Texas will be able to expand after independence. Certainly Northern Mexico will be able to resist any attempts unless Texas had foreign help.

The United States will likely support Mexico to counter any Texas expansion. They will be keen that no one not even Texas messes with its Manifest Destiny.
Northern Mexico may join willingly to escape the centralizing influence of central Mexico.
 
Considering Santiago Vidaurri petitioned to join the CSA, I doubt he'd have any qualms about the same offer to Texas, so any problems with Mexico are going to be by a Mexico wracked with internal strife with a huge portion of the country actively trying to secede and join Texas.
I'm really curious about your sources here... Vidaurri was an interesting hot-headed fellow (to say the least), so I don't doubt it 100%, but I don't quite believe it. If anything he'd be much more inclined to carve his own "kingdom" out of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. Also, by the 1860s the anti-Santa Anna "secessions" in the North were pretty much over.

Northern Mexico may join willingly to escape the centralizing influence of central Mexico

I see several problems with Northern Mexico joining Texas post-1840 - for discussion sake, I'm only referring to keep it to the three states (Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila) that formed the "Rio Grande/Bravo Republic":
First, these states would have to actually win and keep their independence. It would be easiest for this to happen alongside the Texan Revolution and right after, while Mexico is distracted during the Pastry War. However, assuming they manage to do so why would they submit to the Texans after liberating themselves from Mexico City? Especially without some guarantees of autonomy and territorial integrity. From the perspective of the Rio Grande/Bravo states, they are larger (in population), made up of three "equal-ish" partners, and - most importantly - the Nueces Strip belongs to Tamaulipas, not Texas. They even had their capital, Laredo, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande/Bravo to assert this claim.
Meanwhile, for the Texans, why would they join with these three states, which puts them at risk of becoming a junior partner - at least initially - in their own country? If anything Texas would be joining the Rio Grande Republic as a fourth state, not the other way around. Then there is also the issue of religion, language, race, slavery, etc.

Any union between these two is likely to fail spectacularly. Unless they work together from the very beginning. But once again, in this case, Texas would simply be the fourth state in a Rio Grande Federation.
 
Texas was basically bankrupt not long after its founding. It wasn't really capable of existing as a viable state without strong financial support from the United States. Also, Texas prospered by open-range cattle grazing that extended beyond Texas's borders into the Great Plains, and later with oil which was financed by capitalists from the East and Midwest. In other words, deep integration with the US economy made Texas what it is. An independent Texas would be a broke and empty wasteland.
 
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Just noticed this one and wanted to point out that Louisiana had over double Texas' population in 1850, and Texas and Arkansas were roughly even at that time, so the idea of both of them joining Texas is just silly. With the demographics of the time, they'd dominate Texas, not the other way around.
 
I'm really curious about your sources here... Vidaurri was an interesting hot-headed fellow (to say the least), so I don't doubt it 100%, but I don't quite believe it. If anything he'd be much more inclined to carve his own "kingdom" out of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. Also, by the 1860s the anti-Santa Anna "secessions" in the North were pretty much over.



I see several problems with Northern Mexico joining Texas post-1840 - for discussion sake, I'm only referring to keep it to the three states (Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and Coahuila) that formed the "Rio Grande/Bravo Republic":
First, these states would have to actually win and keep their independence. It would be easiest for this to happen alongside the Texan Revolution and right after, while Mexico is distracted during the Pastry War. However, assuming they manage to do so why would they submit to the Texans after liberating themselves from Mexico City? Especially without some guarantees of autonomy and territorial integrity. From the perspective of the Rio Grande/Bravo states, they are larger (in population), made up of three "equal-ish" partners, and - most importantly - the Nueces Strip belongs to Tamaulipas, not Texas. They even had their capital, Laredo, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande/Bravo to assert this claim.
Meanwhile, for the Texans, why would they join with these three states, which puts them at risk of becoming a junior partner - at least initially - in their own country? If anything Texas would be joining the Rio Grande Republic as a fourth state, not the other way around. Then there is also the issue of religion, language, race, slavery, etc.

Any union between these two is likely to fail spectacularly. Unless they work together from the very beginning. But once again, in this case, Texas would simply be the fourth state in a Rio Grande Federation.
It's on his Wikipedia page, but the actual source quoted goes into much greater detail on his overtures.

I do think that if Texas survives past 1848 all the way to 1858 and the War of Reform there would be a massive push to either form an independent nation in northeastern Mexico or join Texas, especially because the added decade of economic growth is going to see Texas pull far ahead of the Mexican states. And those states are going to face the same options as OTL, either being ground down by central Mexico or ally with the Texans. The offer was made to the Confederate States who were literally fighting a war against the Union, so why wouldn't they make the same offer to a Texas at peace?
 
It's on his Wikipedia page, but the actual source quoted goes into much greater detail on his overtures.

I do think that if Texas survives past 1848 all the way to 1858 and the War of Reform there would be a massive push to either form an independent nation in northeastern Mexico or join Texas, especially because the added decade of economic growth is going to see Texas pull far ahead of the Mexican states. And those states are going to face the same options as OTL, either being ground down by central Mexico or ally with the Texans. The offer was made to the Confederate States who were literally fighting a war against the Union, so why wouldn't they make the same offer to a Texas at peace?
I found the Vidaurri link... very interesting.

Nevertheless, I do have to echo stevj713 and TRH thoughts above in that joining an independent Texas might not be as attractive as the CSA. As stevej713 notes, Texas would be financially strained, dependent on the US, and very depopulated.
Even if, by the late 1850s Texas manages to figure its stuff out and independent state, the population difference would still be very hard to overcome. Population-wise the Rio Grande/Bravo states would dominate Texas. In 1850, these states had a population of ~900,000 while Texas had just over 200,000 (plus ~60,000 if we include the New Mexico claims). The largest "city" in Texas was Gavelston with roughly ~5,000 people, and Austin - the capital - was a town with less than 1,000 inhabitants. Meanwhile, Monterrey had roughly ten times the population of Gavelston. No matter how economically sound Texas becomes they won't match the Rio Grande states in size at least until 1870, and that is with a large number of American migrants, who in the case of an independent Texas might settle elsewhere. Considering this, even if Vidaurri - or some other governor - make an overture to join Texas, they'd be holding all the cards, and I highly doubt the Texans would like to suddenly be a minority in their own country.

For this reason, I think the only way we can get a "Greater Texas" is if the Rio Bravo states join Texas from the get-go, and all of them rebel and gain their independence together as a "Greater Rio Bravo Federation" not the other way around. This way Texas becomes one state in a larger confederation and the anglo-Texans become a very influential minority in this country. Down the line, Texas would certainly dominate even if we split it into two or three states, "East Texas" is almost bound to be the richest state as it would include a major port in Houston/Gaveston Bay and the major "border towns" with the US. Although Tamaulipas, will likely pull ahead of NL as the other state with two major port (Tampico and Matamoros) and large oil fields.
 
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In regards to the financing of Texas, I think you can get Britain to float an independent Texas' economy as a means of preventing American expansionism. Also Texas is more likely to exist in a world with a set of independent nations in the west like an independent Rio Bravo, California, Mormon state, etc. rather than just as a buffer between the United States and Mexico.
 
Texas as the destination for former Confederates, especially in an earlier Civil War, would be a great boon to them. I suspect they'd keep slavery around for a while, but this might also cause them to run afoul of both of their larger neighbors. Not just for slavery, but also getting involved in unstable territories in both the U.S. and Mexico.

On the subject of a much-expanded Texas, funnily enough the old Alternate History Travel Guides has provided one:


I think that map was made using the Microsoft Encarta one as a base. Blessed.

Yup that's from the Encarta. I wonder how that cherokee state was supposed to work out.
 
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