People: Age of Jackson
Houston soon moved to Texas, supporting its independence from Mexico. As Commander in Chief, he led the Texas Army in the defeat of Mexican General Santa Ana, and served as the first President of the Republic of Texas. The state joined the Union in 1845, and Houston served three terms in the U.S. Senate. There, he often clashed with John C. Calhoun. He expressed support for the Union and favored the Compromise of 1850. He opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act because he believed it would contribute to increased sectionalism and lead to war. Though Houston owned slaves and opposed abolition, his desire to preserve the Union prevailed.
Houston left the Senate and was elected governor of Texas in 1859. When President Abraham Lincoln was elected, Texas seceded from the Union. In what many saw as a sign of integrity, Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, and was removed as governor. He died two years later.
General Jackson also oversaw the military removal of many Indian Tribes in Georgia, Alabama, and Spanish Florida, and negotiated several treaties securing Indian land for the U.S. He was elected President in 1828 and two years later proposed the Indian Removal Act. As a result of the legislation, 46,000 American Indians were removed from their homes. Many died on the Trail of Tears heading west, and 25 million acres of land were opened to settlement by the U.S.
Jackson saw himself as a populist—having been elected with a greater portion of the popular vote than any previous candidate—and proposed eliminating the Electoral College in his first address to Congress. Jackson frequently exercised his veto power over Congress’ legislation, which resulted in a split within Jackson’s political party. Those who opposed his policies included John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, who ran against him for president in 1832. Jackson was reelected in 1832 with five times more electoral votes than Clay.