In 1836 Houston was elected the first president of the new Republic of Texas. The independence of Texas was recognized by the United States and other countries. Replaced (1838) by Mirabeau Lamar, Houston served as president again from 1841 to 1844, but during these years his government was perplexed by financial problems and by border troubles.
Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845, and Houston was one of the first to represent his state in the U.S. Senate. After serving 14 years in the Senate, he was defeated because of his uncompromising Unionism. Challenging his opponents and drawing upon his popularity, Houston was elected (1859) governor of Texas. The aged statesman preached preservation of the U.S. Constitution in the face of secession, but the tide was against him. After the people of Texas voted (Feb., 1861) to secede from the Union, Houston refused to join the Confederacy and was removed (Mar., 1861) from the governorship. He accepted the verdict, refused help from the North to defend his prerogative, and retired.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.