GHF’s Harbor City Ambition program continues Sunday, November 13 at 2 p.m. at Menard Hall with a lecture by author Andrew Torget on his book Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850. Admission is free with advance RSVP.


By the late 1810s, a global revolution in cotton had remade the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing wealth and waves of Americans to the Gulf Coast while also devastating the lives and villages of Mexicans in Texas. In response, Mexico threw open its northern territories to American farmers in hopes that cotton could bring prosperity to the region. Thousands of Anglo-Americans poured into Texas, but their insistence that slavery accompany them sparked pitched battles across Mexico. An extraordinary alliance of Anglos and Mexicans in Texas came together to defend slavery against abolitionists in the Mexican government, beginning a series of fights that culminated in the Texas Revolution. In the aftermath, Anglo-Americans rebuilt the Texas borderlands into the most unlikely creation: the first fully committed slaveholders’ republic in North America.


Andrew Torget is a histoindexrian of nineteenth-century North America at the University of North Texas, where he also runs the digital humanities lab. He began work in both areas while a graduate student at the University of Virginia where he served as the co-editor and manager for the “Valley of the Shadow” project and worked as a project manager in the Virginia Center for Digital History. While a graduate student, he also developed the “Texas Slavery Project” as an experiment in how new visualization methods might provide new insights into research on the westward expansion of the American South.

Following that, Andrew became the founding director for the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond, where he developed projects like “Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008” and the “History Engine: Tools for Collaborative Education and Research.” In 2009, Torget joined the history department at the University of North Texas, where he teaches courses on the U. S.-Mexico borderlands, American expansion, slavery, and the intersections of the American South and West. In 2011 he was named the inaugural David J. Weber Research Fellow at the Clements Center for the Study of the Southwest at Southern Methodist University.


hca_homeAmbition drove people of all occupations to the barren island of Galveston in the 1800s. Starting businesses, schools and churches, early Galveston settlers staked their futures on the uncertain success of the port. For the next eight months, Galveston Historical Foundation will examine the founding of Galveston by the Galveston City Company and the first two decades of the city’s existence with “Harbor City Ambition; Life in Galveston from 1838-1859”.

Using personal stories of individuals who lived and visited the city during those formative years, this new program will feature numerous GHF properties and events while showcasing the cities incredible early history. Tickets and more information can be found here.

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