The Texas Revolution: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Philip McMurry

Philip has taught college history, English, and political science, and he has a doctorate in American history.

Explore the reasons that the Mexican government allowed Americans to settle in Tejas in the 1820s, as well as why the Americans living there decided to revolt and create the Republic of Texas in the 1830s.

Not What You Expected

Have you ever gone to a birthday party, and it wasn't quite as fun as you had expected? Maybe you went to see a movie and it wasn't as good as you had hoped. Well, if you have experienced something like that, you have a basic understanding of what caused the Texas Revolution.

Texas in the 1830s

American Settlement in Tejas

In the 1820s, the region that we know today as Texas was claimed by the nation of Mexico. They called it Tejas. The Mexicans had recently won their independence from Spain, but they were really struggling. Plains Indians often raided Mexican settlements in Tejas, and the new nation often did not have the ability to protect itself. When a group of Americans asked for permission to settle in Tejas, the Mexican government agreed, hoping that the Americans would help to defend the area from Indian attacks. The first American colonists arrived in Tejas in 1821, led by Stephen Austin.

The Problems Begin

There was trouble between the Mexican government and the American colonists early on. Things just did not turn out the way that either the Mexicans or Americans had hoped.

  • First, Americans were used to doing things in an American way which was very different from how Mexicans did things. For example, Mexicans spoke Spanish and were mainly of the Catholic religion, but the American colonists spoke English and wanted freedom of religion.
  • Second, the Mexican government wanted the American colonists to pay taxes, but many of the American colonists did not believe that they should have to give money to the Mexican government. As more Americans moved into Tejas, the Mexican government grew concerned and in 1830, they outlawed any further American settlement in Tejas.
  • Third, many of the Americans were southerners who wanted to grow cotton so they had brought slaves with them. However, the Mexican government outlawed slavery in their new constitution.

Antonio Santa Anna, president of Mexico

The Texas Revolution

Things in Texas escalated in the early 1830s, when the president of Mexico, Antonio Santa Anna declared himself life-long emperor. Stephen Austin was arrested and put in jail for speaking out against Santa Anna's actions. Fighting broke out between Mexican soldiers and groups of Americans who were now referring to themselves as ''Texians'' or ''Texans.'' Santa Anna was angry that these Texans were revolting against his rule so he formed an army and in 1835, they marched north to stop the rebellion.

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