Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History & Political Thought, History Concentration (MA)

Committee Chair

Thompson, Jerry D.


This thesis compares and contrasts the political careers of Sam Houston and James W. Throckmorton during the Secession Crisis of 1860-1861. Despite their individual efforts to combat secession, Unionists Sam Houston and James Webb Throckmorton, betrayed the Union in favor of their loyalty to Texas. Not all Texan Unionists were created equal. Beloved Unionist heroes Sam Houston and James Webb Throckmorton were not infallible, they made mistakes and had vices like any man, and above all else, they were career politicians who had self-serving ulterior motives, aspirations, and political ambitions that did not follow hard line Unionism. Houston was a constitutional unionist, whose commitment to the Union was tested when he chose to wait out the war rather than betray either side. Throckmorton’s commitment to the Union was proven to be conditional due to the financial and security benefits the Union represented for the development of northern Texas. Although Houston and Throckmorton failed to keep Texas in the Union it was not from lack of effort or wavering convictions.