Less than two months after the siege of the Alamo, the Texas War for Independence took a turn towards triumph; on April 21, 1836, Sam Houston overwhelmed the unvigilant army of Mexican General, Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston and his volunteers flogged the Mexican army and imprisoned their leader.
Houston agreed to release Santa Anna—a former Mexican president eleven times–only if he endorsed a treaty that acknowledged their independence and ended Mexico’s aggressive machinations.
In the meantime, the Republic of Texas was formed in 1836, and Houston was elected president–twice.
On December 29, 1845, Texas became America’s 28th state, but maneuvers with Mexico persisted another two year; according to History.com, it “helped to fulfill America’s ‘manifest destiny’ to expand its territory across the entire North American continent.”
For more information about Sam Houston, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends The Mexican American War by John DiConsiglio.
In 1847, Vermont Congressman, George Perkins Marsh, gave a speech that positioned the nation into thinking about the necessity “to conserve America’s natural resources,” according to the Library of Congress.
Seventeen years later, President Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act; it declared that California’s Valley and Mariposa Big Tree Grove “shall be held for public use, resort and recreation.” Eight years later, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law and set up the first national park in the world.
Throughout the industrial revolution– in the end days of the 19th century and most of the 20th—the environmentalists’ lobby to restore water and air pollution to reasonable ratios, has lagged—in most cases.
Then, in 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson inaugurated a crusade to enlighten America about why the earth’s resources needed to be saved.
The first “Earth Day” was celebrated April 22, 1970. According to the website, the event “inspired 20 million Americans—at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States—to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human impacts.”
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington was “humbled” when he was elected America’s first president, according to the Library of Congress. Washington “delivered the speech in a deep, low voice that betrayed what one observer called ‘manifest embarrassment’.”
He conveyed his Federal Hall remarks in the nation’s New York City capital. They were somewhat brief and fixated on the passage of the Bill of Rights. He had no obligation to deliver a message, other than to take his oath of office, but with that gesture, he set a precedent to address the nation — a tradition observed by every president since.
Washington was the Chief Executive two consecutive, four-year terms.
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends George Washington and the Founding of a Nation by Albert Marrin.
History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.
Published on April 13, 2021