Has Texas Changed? New Documentary on Sam Houston Examines the Character of Early Texas
Sam Houston was the first president of Texas and its seventh governor when it became a state. He was instrumental in bringing Texas into the United States. There’s a new documentary on the man on public television, including Basin PBS. In it, we learn that some of the earliest debates in Texas are still active.
The documentary is called Sam Houston: American Statesman, Soldier, and Pioneer. Filmmaker Denton Florian drew much of his material from a 2002 biography by James Haley who asked the question “what made Houston tick?”
Houston died in 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, after being the only Southern governor to oppose secession. But years before, after fighting so hard to make Texas a state, he saw how fragile the country truly was.
Houston’s position as a Southern man for the Union grew unpopular with the rise of sectionalism and states rights. The late Ann Richards, governor of Texas in the early 1990s, also appears in the film. She describes how politics in the state really haven’t changed.
There are many parts of present-day Texas named after Sam Houston. The state’s most populous city, a university, and his descendants. Sam Houston IV appears in the documentary. With his family linked so strongly to Texas annexation, we asked him what he thinks of present-day efforts for Texas to secede?
The Sam Houston documentary will be broadcast on public television for three consecutive Thursdays, beginning today, October 2.