Houston’s “hard to get” strategy works in D.C.

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By Bartee Haile

Concerned over Texas’ increasingly cozy relationship with the British, the U.S. Secretary of State informed the Lone Star minister on Nov. 10, 1843 that Washington was ready to reopen annexation talks. Instead of telling Abel P. Upshur that it was about time, Isaac Van Zandt played it cool by simply saying he would see if his president was interested.

Reading over the diplomat’s report a few days later, Sam Houston smiled at his success in shaking up his complacent former countrymen. How the tables had turned in five years! Led by cantankerous ex-president John Quincy Adams, the abolitionists had poisoned public opinion against the Texas Revolution and made annexation a taboo topic. Infuriated by such shabby treatment, Houston broke off negotiations and swore the next move was up to the Potomac politicians.


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