Transcript of Sam Houston

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture and education.

In 1861, as the Civil War loomed, Texas Governor Sam Houston watched his constituents vote to secede from the Union. Houston could not believe that two decades of his work was about to unravel. His loyalty to the Union was genuine, and he was not willing to switch his allegiance to the Confederacy. Houston was forced out of office, but not before saying, “I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her.”

Houston had never refused a fight in his life. But he understood how disastrous the Civil War would ultimately be.

Sam Houston had arrived in Texas, almost thirty years prior, in 1832. The former congressman and governor of Tennessee’s new cause was Texas independence. He led the army that defeated Mexican General Santa Anna at San Jacinto—an achievement that secured his place in Texas history.

Sam Houston’s next challenge was convincing Texans to join the United States. It took almost a decade, but annexation occurred in 1845.

Just fifteen years later, the Civil War was about to tear his country apart. At sixty-seven, Sam Houston’s fighting days were behind him and he retired to a quiet life in Huntsville. Two years later in 1863, as the Civil War was raging, Sam Houston died.

His final home still stands on the grounds of Sam Houston State University and is visited annually by thousands who pay tribute to this iconic Texan.

More information about Sam Houston and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.