Sam Houston Life
In 1832, Houston moved again, this time to the Mexican territory of Texas, where he was soon a prominent voice in pushing for secession. As tensions mounted, Houston accepted an appointment to command a ragtag Texan army against Mexican forces.
Still known for his excessive drinking, Houston nonetheless showed himself to be a brilliant military leader. Outnumbered and underpowered by Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna, Houston and his men were given a reprieve on April 21, 1836, when Anna split his forces. Seeing his chance, Houston ordered the attack at San Jacinto. Victory proved decisive and secured Texas its independence.
In this newly formed country, Sam Houston became its George Washington. The city of Houston was named in his honor in 1836, and that same year, the newly christened Lone Star Republic elected him as its president. After Texas joined the United States in 1846, Houston served as a U.S. Senator until 1860.
If Houston had his eye on the White House, he was no doubt compromised by his personal transgressions with women and alcohol. In addition, his views on slavery put him in conflict with the country's southern states. Although he was a slave owner himself, Houston was opposed to the expansion of slavery in the new territories.
Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Houston, who'd been elected governor of Texas, refused to pledge his allegiance to the Confederate States of America. An infuriated Texas legislature discharged him of his duties.
Houston, who had married for a third time in 1840, to Margaret Lea, with whom he had eight children, retired from politics. He died at his home in Huntsville, Texas, on July 26, 1863.