Samuel Bell Maxey was an important political figure in
nineteenth-century Texas, but no previous book-length study of his
life and career has been published. Louise Horton has utilized his
private papers as well as numerous other sources in preparing this
biography, which includes many of Maxey's own comments on his
contemporaries. The letters also provide new information on the
development of railroads across the Southwest.
An emigrant from Kentucky, Samuel Bell Maxey practiced law in
North Texas, raised a regiment at the beginning of the Civil War,
returned to Texas to defend the Indian Territory during 1863-1865,
and was elected on his first candidacy to be the first Democratic
senator from Texas after the Civil War. After two years in office
he became Texas's senior senator and held that position until
defeated by John H. Reagan in 1887. Maxey's term of office spanned
the turbulent period immediately following Reconstruction, and a
great deal of his influence derived from his moderation. He was
concerned that the breach caused by the Civil War be healed. He was
influential among Republican congressmen from the North and aided
substanially in Texas's regaining its status in the Union. Louise
Horton's biography of Maxey emphasizes the contribution he made to
the state and the nation and fills a gap in the history of the
post-Civil War period.
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