In 1961, in a keynote speech marking the hundredth anniversary of the vote of secession, the President of the Republic of the Texas Lyndon Baines Johnson committed his administration to building a new relationship with the Union.
Lone Star CentennialUnlike the original thirteen states who had declared independence from Great Britain and then voluntarily joined the Union, Texas had formed a Republic after gaining its independence from Mexico. Although the Republic had subsequently joined the Union, during the crisis of 1860-1, great tensions arose in the State with Texans equally split on fight ing for either the Unionist or the Confederate cause. Hoping to prevent bloodshed, Governor Sam Houston advocated secession, followed by a reformation of the Republic rather than membership of the Confederacy. This was in small part caused by the strength of his own personal convictions, despite being a slaveowner and opposed to abolition, he was married to a Cherokee. And so on February 23, 1861, Texans voted in favour of secession and independence; to the great disappointment of the South, Texas would not after all become the seventh star in the Confederate flag.
But one hundred years later, the President of the United States John F. Kennedy had more pressing issues to face off the coast of Florida. Due to the nuclear weapons being installed on Cuba, for the first time, continental America was gravely threatened by foreign powers. And so substantive dialogue was delayed until 1963 when the photo opportunity of a diplomatic coup might resonate more strongly with the electorate in the run-up to the Presidential election contest. But history chose to blaze its own path; whilst both heads of state travelled through Dallas in an open-topped motorcade, the anti-Unionist assassin Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from the Texas Book Repository.