Mirabeau B. Lamar
Overview
 
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (1798–1859) was a Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, diplomat and soldier who was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was the second President of the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

, after David G. Burnet
David G. Burnet
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas , second Vice President of the Republic of Texas , and Secretary of State for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.Burnet was born in Newark,...

 (1836 as ad-interim president) and Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

.
Lamar grew up at Fairfield, his father's plantation near Milledgeville, Georgia
Milledgeville, Georgia
Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon, located just before Eatonton on the way to Athens along U.S. Highway 441, and it is located on the Oconee River. The relatively rapid current of the Oconee here made this an...

. As a child, he loved to read and educated himself through books.
Encyclopedia
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (1798–1859) was a Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, diplomat and soldier who was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was the second President of the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

, after David G. Burnet
David G. Burnet
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas , second Vice President of the Republic of Texas , and Secretary of State for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.Burnet was born in Newark,...

 (1836 as ad-interim president) and Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

.

Early years

Lamar grew up at Fairfield, his father's plantation near Milledgeville, Georgia
Milledgeville, Georgia
Milledgeville is a city in and the county seat of Baldwin County in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is northeast of Macon, located just before Eatonton on the way to Athens along U.S. Highway 441, and it is located on the Oconee River. The relatively rapid current of the Oconee here made this an...

. As a child, he loved to read and educated himself through books. Although he was accepted to Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, Lamar chose not to attend. Instead, he worked as a merchant and then ran a newspaper, but both of those enterprises failed.

In 1823, Lamar's family connections helped him to gain a position as the private secretary to Georgia Governor George M. Troup. In this position, Lamar issued press releases and toured the country giving speeches on behalf of the governor. On one of his trips, he met Tabatha Jordan, whom he married in 1826.

When Troup lost his reelection bid in 1828 Lamar established a newspaper in Columbus, Georgia
Columbus, Georgia
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795...

, the Columbus Enquirer
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
The Ledger-Enquirer is a McClatchy newspaper headquartered in Downtown Columbus, Georgia, in the United States. It was founded in 1828 as the Columbus Enquirer by Mirabeau B. Lamar, who later played a pivotal role in the founding of the Republic of Texas and served as its third President...

.
This venture was much more successful than his previous business attempts. The year after its establishment Lamar's wife died, and he withdrew his name from consideration for reelection to the Georgia Senate
Georgia Senate
The Georgia State Senate is the upper house of the Georgia General Assembly .-Composition:According to the state constitution of 1983, this body is to be composed of no more than 56 members elected for two-year terms. Current state law provides for 56 members...

, in which he had served one term, and began to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1833 and ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

He was also a Master Mason, and a member of Harmony Lodge No. 6 in Galveston, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

.

Texas revolution

Lamar's brother Lucius
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (I)
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar was a native Georgian, a jurist who was the father of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice by the same name, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar...

 committed suicide in 1834, and a grief-stricken Lamar began traveling to escape his memories. In the summer of 1835 he ended up in Texas
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

 and decided to stay. He joined Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

's army in spring 1836 and distinguished himself with bravery at the Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen...

. On the eve of the battle, Lamar made a courageous rescue of two surrounded Texans in a move that drew a salute from the Mexican lines. He was promoted to colonel and was the commander of the cavalry during the battle the following day.

His actions led to an appointment as the Secretary of War in the interim Texian
Texian
Texian is an archaic, mostly defunct 19th century demonym which defined a settler of current-day Texas, one of the southern states of the United States of America which borders the country of Mexico...

 government. In 1836, he was elected vice-president of the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 under Houston.

President of Texas

Lamar was the unanimous choice to replace Houston as president in 1838, and was inaugurated on December 1, 1838. It was said that when Houston was giving his farewell speech, Houston was dressed like George Washington. When he went on the stage he noticed that Lamar was eager to give his speech. Houston lengthened his farewell address to 3 hours, "which so unnerved Lamar that he was unable to read his inaugural speech." Instead, it was given by his aide, Algernon P. Thompson.
In his first formal address to the Texas Congress several weeks later, Lamar urged that the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 and Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

 tribes be driven from their lands in Texas, even if the tribes must be destroyed. He also proposed to create a national bank and to secure a loan from either the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 or Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Finally, he opposed annexation to the United States and wished to entice European countries to recognize the Republic of Texas.

His first actions were against the Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes. In 1839 his troops drove the Cherokee tribes from Texas. The battle resulted in the death of Houston's friend Chief Bowles, leaving Houston angry at Lamar. A similar campaign was fought against the Comanche. Although many lives were lost, the Comanches could not be forced from the area. Lamar believed that it was necessary to bring about the “total extinction" of the Indian tribes.

Lamar appointed a commission to select a permanent site for the capital of the Republic. After two months of debate, they recommended the small town of Waterloo along the Colorado River
Colorado River (Texas)
The Colorado River is a river that runs through the U.S. state of Texas; it should not be confused with the much longer Colorado River which flows from Colorado into the Gulf of California....

. The town was renamed Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, and by October 1839 all of the records and employees were transferred from Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 to Austin. That same year, he founded the Texas State Library (presently known as the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission refers to the agency in the state of Texas that is charged with overseeing and assisting with state-wide library programs, meeting the reading-related needs of Texans with disabilities, and finally preserving and providing access to significant Texas...

).

During his administration, Lamar sent three separate agents to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 to enact a peace settlement. All failed. Nonetheless, Lamar succeeded in gaining official recognition for his country from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. Despite several attempts to secure a loan from these and other countries, Lamar was unsuccessful. To fill the treasury, he authorized issuance of a large amount of Republic of Texas paper money, known as Redbacks. The paper money was virtually worthless. Spending doubled during Lamar's term, and combined with the worthless currency, caused financial difficulties for the government.

Lamar believed that the Rio Grande River was the western boundary of Texas, and wanted to send an expedition
Texas Santa Fe Expedition
The Texas Santa Fe Expedition was a commercial and military expedition to secure the Republic of Texas's claims to parts of Northern New Mexico for Texas in 1841. The expedition was unofficially initiated by the then President of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, in an attempt to gain control over the...

 to New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 to establish trade, and convince the residents to join the Republic. The Texas Congress refused to fund the expedition in 1839 and 1840. In June 1841, Lamar took $89,000 from the treasury and sent an expedition on his own. The members were arrested when they reached Santa Fe, and told they would soon be released. Instead, they were marched to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, and many died during their enforced march.

Lamar has been called "the Father of Texas Education." During his administration, he convinced the legislature to set aside 3 leagues of land for each county to equip schools. He also allotted 50 leagues of land for the support of two universities, later Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...

 and the University of Texas. Although nothing was implemented during his term, these actions led to the foundation for a statewide public school system.

One of his quotes sums up his views "Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy and, while guided and controlled by virtue, the noblest attribute of man. It is the only dictator that freemen acknowledge and the only security that freemen desire."
Heey ' onMouseout='HidePop("55536")' href="/topics/Battle_of_Monterrey">Battle of Monterrey
Battle of Monterrey
In the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War, General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North was defeated by U.S...

 during the Mexican-American War. In late 1847, he became a post commander at Laredo
Laredo, Texas
Laredo is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 236,091 making it the 3rd largest on the United States-Mexican border,...

, but disliked the job as he wished to see more action. While in Laredo, he married again.

He represented Eagle Pass in the Texas State Legislature for several years after Texas was annexed to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In 1857, President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
James Buchanan, Jr. was the 15th President of the United States . He is the only president from Pennsylvania, the only president who remained a lifelong bachelor and the last to be born in the 18th century....

 appointed Lamar to be the Minister to Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. Lamar served in Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

 for twenty months before returning to Texas in October 1859 because of poor health. He died of a heart attack at his Richmond
Richmond, Texas
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 11,081 people, 3,413 households, and 2,628 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,975.4 people per square mile . There were 3,595 housing units at an average density of 965.3 per square mile...

 plantation on December 19, 1859.

Legacy

Lamar County, in northeast Texas, and Lamar
Lamar, Texas
Lamar is a small, unincorporated community in Aransas County, Texas , ten miles north of Rockport and forty miles north of Corpus Christi. The community was named for Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas....

, a small unincorporated community in Aransas County
Aransas County, Texas
Aransas County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. It is part of the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2000, the population was 22,499. Its county seat is Rockport. Aransas County was formed in 1871 from Refugio County.-Geography:According to the U.S...

 on the Texas Gulf Coast, are both named for Mirabeau Lamar. Lamar Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in Austin, also carries his name, as do many streets around Texas.

Lamar University
Lamar University
Lamar University, often referred to as Lamar or LU, is a comprehensive coeducational public research university located in Beaumont, Texas, United States. Lamar confers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees and is classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Commission on Higher...

 in Beaumont
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

 was named after Mirabeau B. Lamar in 1932. It is currently the largest educational facility to be named after the former Texas President with an enrollment of over 14,000 students. The Campus features a statue to commemorate Mirabeau B. Lamar's life. The defunct Lamar University System
Lamar University System
The Lamar University System was a University system based in Beaumont, Texas. It comprised four institutions: the flagship, Lamar University, and the member institutions Lamar State College Port Arthur, Lamar State College Orange, and Lamar Institute of Technology. The system and it's member...

 named all of its member institutions after Mirabeau B. Lamar these include: Lamar State College - Port Arthur in Port Arthur
Port Arthur, Texas
-Demographics:As of the 2000 census, there were 57,755 people, 21,839 households, and 14,675 families residing in the city. The population density was 696.5 people per square mile . There were 24,713 housing units at an average density of 298.0 per square mile...

, Lamar State College in Orange
Orange, Texas
Orange is a city in Orange County, Texas, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 18,643. It is the county seat of Orange County, and is the easternmost city in Texas. Located on the Sabine River at the border with Louisiana, it is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur...

, and Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont
Beaumont, Texas
Beaumont is a city in and county seat of Jefferson County, Texas, United States, within the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's population was 118,296 at the 2010 census. With Port Arthur and Orange, it forms the Golden Triangle, a major industrial area on the...

. Lamar High School
Lamar High School (Houston)
Mirabeau B. Lamar Senior High School is a secondary school located at 3325 Westheimer Road in Houston, Texas, United States, with a zip code of 77098...

 in Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

, Lamar High School
Lamar High School (Arlington, Texas)
Mirabeau B. Lamar High School is a secondary school in Arlington, Texas. It is named for Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas, and located at 1400 West Lamar Boulevard....

 in Arlington
Arlington, Texas
Arlington is a city in Tarrant County, Texas within the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area. According to the 2010 census results, the city had a population of 365,438, making it the third largest municipality in the Metroplex...

, Lamar Consolidated High School
Lamar Consolidated High School
Lamar Consolidated High School is a grades 9–12 school located in Rosenberg, Texas, United States.The school, which serves serves the City of Richmond, parts of Rosenberg, the City of Kendleton, a minuscule part of Sugar Land, and unincorporated sections of Fort Bend County, is a part of the Lamar...

 in Rosenberg
Rosenberg, Texas
Rosenberg is a city located in the U.S. state of Texas within Fort Bend County and is part of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. The population was 31,676 at the 2010 census...

; also Lamar Middle School
Lamar Middle School (Austin, Texas)
Lamar Middle School is a middle school in north central Austin, Texas. Lamar is one of Austin Independent School District's seventeen middle schools.-History:...

 in Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, Lamar Middle School in Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, Lamar Middle School in Irving
Irving, Texas
Irving is a city located in the U.S. state of Texas within Dallas County. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city population was 216,290. Irving is within the Dallas–Plano–Irving metropolitan division of the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, designated...

; elementary schools in Amarillo
Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo is the 14th-largest city, by population, in the state of Texas, the largest in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The population was 190,695 at the 2010 census...

, Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio counties. The MSA population in 2008 was 416,376. The population was 305,215 at the 2010 census making it the...

, El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

 and San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, and The Woodlands
The Woodlands, Texas
The Woodlands is a master-planned community and a Census-designated place in the U.S. state of Texas within the metropolitan area. The population of the CDP was 55,649 at the 2000 census—a 90 percent increase over its 1990 population. According to the 2010 census, The Woodlands' population rose...

; as well as numerous other K-12 schools throughout Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

.

Other Media

His name is used as the honorary of the military academy in Preston Jones' play The Oldest Living Graduate, which is part of A Texas Trilogy
A Texas Trilogy
A Texas Trilogy is an award-winning set of three plays written by Preston Jones. The three plays are set in a mythical West Texas town and employ idiosyncratic language and characters that present an evocative depiction of small town Texas life...


External links



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