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

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.

Available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | UNC Press

This Corner of Canaan: Essays on Texas in Honor of Randolph B. Campbell

Randolph B. “Mike” Campbell has spent the better part of the last five decades helping Texans rediscover their history, producing a stream of definitive works on the social, political, and economic structures of the Texas past. Through meticulous research and terrific prose, Campbell’s collective work has fundamentally remade how historians understand Texan identity and the state’s southern heritage, as well as our understanding of such contentious issues as slavery, westward expansion, and Reconstruction. Campbell’s pioneering work in local and county records has defined the model for grassroots research and community studies in the field. More than any other scholar, Campbell has shaped our modern understanding of Texas.

In this collection of seventeen original essays, Campbell’s colleagues, friends, and students offer a capacious examination of Texas’s history—ranging from the Spanish era through the 1960s War on Poverty—to honor Campbell’s deep influence on the field. The first section addresses questions of Texas identity and the ongoing struggle of historians to define the southern and western heritage of the region. The second section focuses on defining influences and people—Spaniards, Mexicans, Indians, Anglo Americans, African Americans—who continually remade Texas throughout the early nineteenth century. The third section focuses on one of the defining moments in Southern and Texas history, the Civil War and its legacies through the Reconstruction era. The fourth section addresses Texas in the late nineteenth century, as the region became a crucible of the economic, political, and social upheavals that overtook the United States during those years. The final section examines an urbanizing Texas that struggled to find a balance between the heritage of the nineteenth century and the challenges of the twentieth century.

Featuring some of the most well-known names in the field—as well as rising stars—This Corner of Canaan offers the latest scholarship on major issues in Texas history, and the enduring influence of the most eminent Texas historian of the last half century.

Available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | UNT Press

Two Communities in the Civil War: A Norton Casebook in History

This selection of documents offers an insightful look at one Northern and one Southern community only 200 miles apart in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.

The casebook focuses on the deep connections between homefront and battlefront and on the centrality of slavery to the conflict, emphasizing the profound uncertainty and confusion that prevailed during the war.

Available at Amazon | Barnes & NobleW. W. Norton

Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration

Crucible of the Civil War offers an illuminating portrait of the state’s wartime economic, political, and social institutions. Weighing in on contentious issues within established scholarship while also breaking ground in areas long neglected by scholars, the contributors examine such concerns as the war’s effect on slavery in the state, the wartime intersection of race and religion, and the development of Confederate social networks. They also shed light on topics long disputed by historians, such as Virginia’s decision to secede from the Union, the development of Confederate nationalism, and how Virginians chose to remember the war after its close.

Available at Amazon | Barnes & NobleThe University Of Virginia Press