A Saddletrip Across Texas

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Texas was then already a multiethnic and multiracial state, where Americans, Germans, Mexicans, Africans, and Indians of numerous tribes mixed uneasily. Olmsted interviewed planters, scouts, innkeepers, bartenders, housewives, drovers, loafers, Indian chiefs, priests, runaway slaves, and emigrants and refugees from every part of the known world—most of whom had "gone to Texas" looking for a fresh start. His books include the J.

A Journey through Texas

The late A. In the rest of America, he notes, democracy has engendered yeoman industry, popular literacy, even yummy food. But Texas?

There, bad grammar, bad housing, bad pigs, and bad dairy come straight from a stain on democracy. From slavery, which has reduced Texans to unlettered, poorly housed—and butterless—slobs.


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Because of slavery, you can hardly find a Texan—black or white—who gives a damn about working. He did not fancy taking care of a plantation.


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  • It was too much trouble. He was a regular Texan, he boasted… Any man who had been brought up in Texas, he said, could live as well as he wanted to, without working more than one month in a year. For that month, he drove his cattle into a pen and branded them.

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    Instead of spending money to fix their houses, say slave owners like this man, they would rather invest it in human property. But the slaves are also loath to work. What do they care? At the same time, they stew obsessively about bondage and discipline. Olmsted hears one owner remark that if he caught a runaway, he would pull out his toenails one by one. So much anger and yelling, so much work still not done. Elsewhere in the South, he observes, slavery had seemed to be accepted generally, as a natural, hereditary, established state of things, and the right and wrong of it, or the how of it, never to be discussed or thought of… But in Texas, the state of war in which slavery arises, seems to continue in undertone.

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    Meanwhile, the pigs run wild because no one wants to do the work to catch them. Only fatback from those damned, free-range pigs.

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    It drives Olmsted to distraction. Then, almost by chance, he discovers the Germans in their little burgs near San Antonio.

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    These are the European revolutionaries of , the democrats who read books, oppose slavery, and—miracle of miracles! Added Title: Texas journey. Texas -- Description and travel.

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