Teaching Guide: Exploring the Texas Revolution

This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Texas Revolution, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.

Discussion questions

  1. Using the land grant map, the letter to Stephen Austin, and the Galveston Land Company deed, what can you infer about the reasons that Americans sought out a colony in Mexico? What kinds of American settlers do you think would be attracted to the opportunity to move to a new colony outside the United States?
  2. Compare the announcement about supporting Texians in revolution and The War in Texas. How does each source frame the motivations of the Texian settlers?
  3. In the letter to the Mexican people, how did the Texians perceive Mexico’s centralist government? What do they define as their cause, or the purpose for their revolution? How do they see themselves in relation to Native Americans? Why do you think they invited “patriotic Mexicans” to join them in the revolution?
  4. Using the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, the letter to the Mexican people, and the recruitment announcement, explain some ways in which the Texas Revolution reflected central questions of American history.

Classroom activities

Conduct a class debate. Using the primary sources provided, assign one half of the class to argue for and the other half against the following statement: The American colonists who moved to Texas settled with the intention of eventually forming their own political entity. Students assigned to each argument should work together to identify evidence from the primary sources to support their claim, craft convincing arguments, and anticipate counterarguments from the other team. In the debate, invite each side to make an opening statement of no more than two minutes, to be followed by a round of rebuttals. Following the debate, lead a class discussion evaluating the implications of each team’s historical argument. How did the ideology and beliefs of the settlers influence the Revolution? Why did the Mexican government allow so many Americans to move in, settle, and acquire huge swaths of land? What were the main events contributing to the outbreak of Revolution?

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