A Guide to the José Antonio Navarro Papers, 1830-1853
Born in San Antonio to an aristocratic mother and a successful merchant as well as alcalde of the city, José Antonio Navarro (1795-1871) became the most influential Tejano of his generation. As a young man Navarro supported the Gutierrez-Magee expedition, which aimed to seize Texas from Spanish rule. However, the attempt failed and Navarro fled to the United States to avoid execution. He returned to Texas in 1816, believing the brightest future for Texas lay with Anglo-American colonization. Navarro began his political career, first winning a seat in the state legislature of Coahuila y Tejas and later to the national congress. As a politician, Navarro advocated pro-colonization policies and Texas statehood in Mexico. During the Texas Revolution Navarro broke with Mexico and was elected to represent San Antonio at the Convention for Texas Independence. Additionally, he was one of three Mexicans to sign the Declaration of Independence and helping draft the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.
After independence, Navarro continued his political career, representing Bexar in the Texas Congress, where he worked to protect Tejano land claims and other rights. Navarro also took part in the failed Sante Fe expedition and was captured by Mexican forces and convicted of treason, though he was able to escape and return to Texas under threat of execution. A supporter of Texas annexation, Navarro was the only Tejano delegate at the Convention of 1845, where he helped write the first state constitution while successfully protecting Tejano citizenship rights, such as voting. Following annexation, Navarro served two terms in the Texas Senate. After retirement, he continued to advocate for Tejano rights, condemning Sam Houston for associating with the Know-Nothing Party and writing articles and a book about the contributions made by Tejanos to Texas independence. Navarro supported the Confederacy and his four sons served in the army before his death in 1871.
"José Antonio Navarro." Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Accessed July 21, 2011.
Composed of Photostats and photocopies of original letters, notices, a report, and a biography, the José Antonio Navarro Papers, 1830-1853, chronicle his political career. Letters concern land grants and other administrative issues, appointments to legislative bodies, and solicitations for land.
This collection is open for research use.
José Antonio Navarro Papers, 1830-1853, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers