Transcript of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar

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

Poet, politician, and historian, Mirabeau B. Lamar is claimed by Texas, although he was a Georgia native and lived there for three decades.

Lamar served in the Georgia state senate and made two unsuccessful bids for Congress. In 1835, he followed his friend James Fannin to the Mexican province of Texas, where he fought in the war for independence from Mexico.

In 1838, Lamar became the second President of the Republic of Texas, inheriting a nation beset by problems that included a bankrupt treasury. Undaunted, Lamar promoted his vision of Texas as a prosperous, sprawling empire. Less admirably, his vision included the practice of slavery and excluded the presence of Native Americans. Lamar forced the Cherokees out of Texas and waged a costly war against the Comanche.

Many of Lamar's grandest projects failed and he vastly overspent public funds, but he is celebrated for having persuaded Congress to set aside public lands to fund Texas schools and universities—earning him the title "Father of Texas Education." Lamar famously wrote, "The cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy," a pronouncement that inspired the motto of The University of Texas.

In later years, Lamar served in the Second Texas Legislature and was an ambassador to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. He died in 1859 and is buried near his home in Richmond, Texas.

More information about Mirabeau B. Lamar 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.