The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Texas Revolution:A fight for slavery or independence?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2011 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,362 times Debate No: 16835
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




We have all been educated about the Texas Revolution:That it was a fight for independence against a oppressive government. And we all know its most famous battles:The Alamo and San Jacinto. But what if Texians gave their lives not for liberty or an idea, but for slavery?. There are many facts to support this. For one, most of the Texians were slaveowners, such as William Travis and Jim Bowie. And the fact that in the 1830s, slavery was the "Hot topic" of America. Not to mention that Mexico outlawed slavery. So i leave my question open to anyone who accepts the challenge


176 years ago people from all over the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas gathered in the city of Gonzales where the first on land shots of the Texan Revolution began. The reason these brave souls came to fight was purely different from person to person making one thing a sure fact, that the Texan Revolution was one fought for the premise of individual rights and thus independence from oppression.

The Case: This is where the debate is over before it began; through simple and refined logic. My opponent poses the idea that the Texas Revolution was fought in the name of slavery but does not however address the idea that the personal beliefs of many involved in a revolution may include, but are not limited to the idea of slavery. Thus from a big picture of the revolution we can see that just because a person who fights in the revolution for the desire of a right to own slaves does not subsume the entire revolution for being just for slavery.

The Evidence: I want to commend my opponent on doing his homework about the leaders of the revolution but he hasn't had the fortune I have had in experiencing years of required Texas History in my home state of Texas. In our learnings about the revolution we are fortunate to get an accurate historical backdrop leading up to the revolution that proves that there are numerous alternate possibilities that could have caused the revolution. I hop I can provide y'all with the same image bellow.

First, I would like to bring forth the logic argument described above. Here is how I will define its use for this debate. Yes, while some of the people involved in the revolution (including its leaders) were slave owners, this does not mean that the entire revolution was fought under the premise that they should have slavery. The revolution was fought for multiple reasons but the banner issue was independence, specifically independence to run government differently from the Mexicans. If this meant slavery was to be allowed, then bravo for the Texans but it does not constitute the entire and in fact SOLE reason for going to war.

Second, In order to back up my claim I have some evidence and explanation of why exactly the battle cry of the revolution wasn't "I want my slaves!". Here is a wonderful piece by The State of Texas Historical Association (The link to my evidence: that explains that when the Texans settled in Mexican Texas they had to accept the Catholic faith. seeing as many of them were Anglos (mainly protestant) who had come from America (where they could openly practice any religion) it is safe to assume for the sake of argumentation that maybe it rubbed the Texians the wrong way. If you don't believe me then of course read into my evidence that proves that there was a time of great "religious apathy" because the newly immigrated protestants were not allowed to practice. Hence if I can prove this or any other instance where people might have joined the revolution then I will win that the revolution was not fought solely for the purpose of slavery. Another insightful factoid that proves my opponent wrong is that not all those involved in the revolution were slave owners. In fact a lot were ranchers or farmers who had joined because of the insensate taxation that Mexico had levied to pay off their recent revolutionary war debt.

Lastly, as a counter argument to my opponent's claims, I would like to point out that the Texians had no intention of joining the US directly following the revolution and thus didn't care so much that slavery was the "hot-button" issue in America but that there were MANY DIFFERENT rights and privileges (Not to defend that slavery is a right) being absconded by the Mexican government and the Texians, after all other diplomatic efforts failed, had to engage with violence to fight for their individual ideals.

Don't Mess With Texas and Enjoy!
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

Slavery in Texas hasn't had as much a history as the other Southern states. Why? Because of the revolution. Like i said in my opening argument, Mexico tried to abolish slavery in Texas, each time provoking a violent response by Texians. By 1835,When Santa Anna extended the slavery ban to Texas, Texians felt that a new Republic of Texas was the only way for them to practice slavery without question. Many of the Texians were slave owners including Sam Houston. So they had a revolution to oust the Mexican government which was anti-slavery and established a republic that allowed it.
So again, The Texas revolution was fought over slavery.


And we are off,

Look, before I go into great detail, let me explain to y'all why you have to vote con right now. The fact is that my opponent has not proven the logical claim I stated above to be wrong in any sense. I tasked my opponent with proving that the sole reason that the Texians went to war was for slavery. However, he has failed to prove so by simply reiterating his claim from above, he concedes most of my evidence and logical argument it follows. The logic goes as such, a revolution is fought by many people and in the case of the Texians some people owned slaves. However, just becasue the goal of some was to gain the right to own slaves, it does not mean that every gun toting soldier of the Texian army was fighting for slavery. As I will prove bellow, there were amny OTHER grievences and thus reasons to go to war thus proving that LOGICALLY they were fighting for liberty ad independence of many ideals not just one. Likewise, his evidence provided is flawed or concedes con. Look at the first link, it is from a blog with no semblance of credibility and his second link CONCEDES MULTIPLE REASONS WHY THE TEXIANS WERE MAD. Case in point here are several quotes

"The Hispanic culture also accepted a very active role by the military, far more active than anything Anglos had ever seen or were willing to accept. The military in Mexican Texas, for instance, was used on occasion to collect both taxes and the tithe to the church. This was foreign to Anglos from the United States. Remember that the American revolution of independence had begun when British military forces attempted to collect and force the payment of tariff duties and taxes."

"Perhaps no other factor surpassed these cultural conflicts in straining relations day in and day out between these two very different peoples which would culminate in the revolution."

"The most immediate cause of the Texas Revolution was the refusal of many Texas, both Anglo and Mexican, to accept the governmental changes mandated by "Siete Leyes" which placed almost total power in the hands of the Mexican national government and Santa Anna."

This last quote above is quite damning becasue it concedes the statement that the immediate cause of the war was in fact the lose of liberty by the hands of the Mexican government when they placed power of governance in the hands of Santa Anna. Similarly this porves my other evidenciary claim that NOT ALL Texians owned slaves and that in fact many were poor farmers who could not handle the taxes imposed on them by the Mexicans (Reference quote #1).

Next I would like to extend my dropped argument about religon. While my opponent provides a few pieces of evidence to back a very weak claim that slavery was the main cause of the Texian revolution, he concedes the one, very qualified pieice of evidence I cited above. The evidence, from the Texas Historical Associtation, references the political and cultural backdrop of Texas before and during the revoltion. It references, among other grievences by the Mexicans, that the forcing of the Catholic religion onto the mostly protestant Anglo settlers was most likely the cause for why many joined the Texian army.

To further my claim I would like to point y'all to another Texas Historical Association article that cites the narrative of free blacks who willingly shose to fight in the revolution. This evidence alone proves that there were blacks who shared in this ideal of freedom from Mexico and were surely not fighting for the right to own slaves making it even an insult to clima that such people as Samuel McCulloch Jr., one of the first free blacks to fire a shot in the Texian revolution, was fighting for more slavery. I implore the readers here to consider that my opponents claim borders on generalizing a cause just becasue some of its leaders owned slaves.

All in all this sums up my argument pretty when I reiterate to you that this debate is over where the Texians fought soley for the idea of slavery or for liberty from their Mexican oppresors. Because the Con has proven that because not all the revolutionaries owned slaves and that many had DIFFERENT grievences against the Mexican government then this debte has to be erred on the side that has proven the cause of the Texian revolution was, with no doubt, for the idea of liberty.

I cannot say this enough. If you find evidence that there were other reasons Texians went to war then you MUST VOTE CON!

Debate Round No. 2


Like my opponent said, we are off.

Texans have a rich history, the revolution being part of it. Well, let me explain the history of slavery in Texas before the revolution and during the Republic. In 1821, after Mexico had gained independence, Stephen Austin was allowed to bring Anglo settlers in to Texas. Most of them came from the South, which had a long history of owning slaves. Austin had a development scheme which allowed each settler to purchase 50 acres of land for each slave brought into the territory, while Mexico allowed free citizenship to free blacks, including the right to own land. This attracted many freed and escaped slaves into the territory. In 1823, Mexico forbade the purchase of slaves, and required that all children of slaves become free at the age of 14. In 1825, the census taken by Austin's colony was 1,000 settlers 500 slaves/free blacks. In 1829 Mexico abolished slavery, but it granted an exception until 1830 to Texas. That year Mexico made the importation of slaves illegal. Anglo-American immigration to the province slowed at this point, with settlers angry about the changing rules. To circumvent the law, numerous Anglo-American colonists converted their slaves to indentured servants, but with life terms. Others simply called their slaves indentured servants without legally changing their status.Slaveholders trying to enter Mexico would force their slaves to sign contracts claiming that the slaves owed money and would work to pay the debt. The low wages the slave would receive made repayment impossible, and the debt would be inherited, even though no slave would receive wages until age eighteen. In 1832 the state passed legislation prohibiting worker contracts from lasting more than ten years.As the Texas Revolution began in 1835, some slaves sided with Mexico, which provided for freedom. In the fall of 1835, a group of almost 100 slaves staged an uprising along the Brazos River after they heard rumors of approaching Mexican troops. Whites in the area defeated and severely punished them. Several slaves ran away to serve with Mexican forces. Texan forces executed one runaway slave taken prisoner and resold another into slavery. Other slaves joined the Texan forces, with some killed while fighting Mexican soldiers. Three slaves were known to be at the Battle of the Alamo; a boy named John was killed, while William B. Travis's slave Joe and James Bowie's slave Sam survived to be freed by the Mexican Army.
After the Republic of Texas was created in 1836, Anglo-American views on slavery and race began to predominate and free blacks lost their rights as citizens. The 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas required free blacks to petition the Texas Congress for permission to continue living in the country. The following year all those who had been living in Texas at the time of independence were allowed to remain. On the other hand, the legislature created political segregation; it classified free residents with at least 1/8 African heritage (the equivalent to one great-grandparent) as a separate category, and abrogated their citizens' rights, prohibiting them from voting, owning property, testifying against whites in court, or intermarrying with whites. As planters increased cotton production, they rapidly increased the purchase and transport of slaves. By 1840 there were 11,323 slaves in Texas.

So vote Pro


I want to thank my opponent for that insightful history of slavery in Texas and a wonderful debate. However, he does not answer the question at hand; whether the Texas revolution was fought under grounds of liberty or simply slavery. The answer is quite simple, as my opponent has conceded many times above in my past arguments I give the challenge to him to prove that the Texas revolution was fought solely for the purpose of owning slaves. While he may have some evidence that there was in fact a desire to own slaves in Texas, he does not refute a number of damning arguments that prove there were other motives and thus an alterior motive to fighting a revolution.

Here are some of the examples that my opponent has yet to answer and are thus reasons to vote con.

#1 - Religion:

I trust that any of you judging this debate have read my evidence posted in earlier arguments about the nature of the Anglo settlers and religion. In this evidence I will reiterate my main argument that the Anglo white settlers of Texas were forced into accepting the Catholic faith and thus could not practice in protestant churches. My argument and evidence prove this was one of the MAIN reasons that the Texians took up arms because they were sick of the oppressive rule of a Mexican government that would not let them be the part of the religious denomination they so desired to be a part of. Thus it is safe to say that some Texians felt the revolution as one to be about the right to practice a religion and thus a guaranteed liberty they were fighting for.

#2 - Taxes:

This argument stems actually from evidence provided by my opponent that I quoted in my last speech. Here is the quote again before I argue:
"The Hispanic culture also accepted a very active role by the military, far more active than anything Anglos had ever seen or were willing to accept. The military in Mexican Texas, for instance, was used on occasion to collect both taxes and the tithe to the church. This was foreign to Anglos from the United States. Remember that the American revolution of independence had begun when British military forces attempted to collect and force the payment of tariff duties and taxes."
In this evidence we can see that the idea of the Mexican Military collecting tithe for the church and taxes for the government was a very foreign concept to the Texians. This caused great animosity, especially to those like the poorer farmers (who did not own slaves) who could not pay the high taxes. Thus we have another conceded example of a reason that a revolutionary would join the cause of the Texian army and fight for independence from what they thought were oppressive taxes AND NOT simply for the right to own slaves.

#3 - Authoritarian Rule of The Mexicans:

Coming from one of my opponents earlier pieces of evidence we can see from one o the paragraphs that the article concludes con. Here is the quote I refer to;
"The most immediate cause of the Texas Revolution was the refusal of many Texas, both Anglo and Mexican, to accept the governmental changes mandated by "Siete Leyes" which placed almost total power in the hands of the Mexican national government and Santa Anna."
Not only does it conclude that the "immediate" cause of the revolution was not slavery but also proves my argument that there are other reasons as to why the Texians would fight in the revolution. Obviously the power of the Mexican government stirred the pot for some Texian and that urged them to fight. Because then I have proved that the Texians were angered by the Mexican government I win my obligation as con to prove that the Texian were fighting for liberty. Likewise I will win the other claim I have advocated which is that if I win there were alternate reasons to joining the fight for liberty then it is obvious then that there were multiple ideals at stake in the yes of the Texians meaning then that they were fighting for liberty.

#4 - Free Blacks That Served In the Texian Army:

This example comes from my last speech and is predicated off evidence from the Texas Historical Association. The evidence sites the narrative of freed black slaves who felt it was their duty to fight the Mexicans. While some slaves might have tried to flee to the Mexican side, I believe that it is evidence enough that if blacks fought for the Texans then obviously the revolution was for the greater idea of independence and liberty. Obviously these brave black soldiers would not take up arms to make sure that Sam Houston could own slaves in the future. Think about it a moment and remember that this is one of numerous alternate scenarios as to why the Texians would fight the Mexicans and thus start a revolution that was not solely based on slavery.

Please note that none of the reasons to vote con above were refuted and thus are dropped claims by the pro. They are to be treated as true because there is no evidence against them.

Any one of these could be your justification for voting and I urge you to read my numerous earlier posts in detail as they clearly state the intent of the debate and how, even if this evidence isn't compelling enough for you to vote, that my opponent has not met his obligation as the pro team to prove to y'all, without a doubt, that the SOLE reason the Texans went to war was slavery.

I cannot say this enough. If you find evidence that there were other reasons Texians went to war then you MUST VOTE CON!
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by floridarebel 3 years ago
I would sure like to see more primary source documentation. "The Instigator" offered none. "The Contender" had facts that could be checked.
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
A question not a debate!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: Big copy paste Pro at then end, little more than assertion otherwise, novel topic though. 4:1 Con.