Rebellion 1836 - 1861     
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President James K. Polk
Detail of President James Knox Polk (1795-1849). Daguerreotype created by Matthew Brady in 1849. Library of Congress.
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Texan efforts to gain extradition of fugitive slaves in Mexico

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Duval’s efforts played successfully off Texans’ long-standing concerns about their slaves escaping to Mexico. Even before Texas gained independence from Mexico in 1836, slaves running south had been a concern among planters. Mexico abolished slavery in 1829. As early as 1831, her statesmen were contemplating the benefits of encouraging fugitive slaves to colonize the sparsely populated northern region. Large-scale colonization never took place, but by the 1850s reports in the U.S. claimed there were between three and four thousand fugitive American slaves in Mexico, including the former property of prominent statesmen like Sam Houston.

In 1847, Houston’s secretary petitioned President James K. Polk to initiate a treaty of extradition* with Mexico whereby Texans could reclaim fugitive slaves and Mexicans could seek the return of indentured laborers who had absconded to Texas. Efforts at obtaining such a treaty persisted into the U.S. Civil War, but Mexico never agreed to surrender fugitive slaves.

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Sources: Tyler 2-12, Montgomery 116-118. ©
Part 4, Freedom: Outline  l Images
*An extradition treaty with Mexico was a political cause celebre for many Texans of the period, also for southern expansionists and proponents of manifest destiny. See, for example, the call for an extradition treaty in Cora Montgomery’s memoir of her time in Eagle Pass in the 1850s, Eagle Pass, or, Life on the Border, where she lambastes Daniel Webster and members of the U.S. Senate for failing to advance such a treaty. Montgomery 116-118.
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 - Freedom: 1850-1882
+ Cost of Freedom
spacer spacer Arrival
Second Exodus
Border Etiquette
Duval's Desserts
Indian Killers
End of an Era
+ Liberty Foretold
+ Liberty Found
 + Legacy & Conclusion

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