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Throughout Texas history, many men and women have stepped up to be leaders, not only in politics, but in self confidence, work ethic, teachers, and generals. Sam Houston is someone who lead in all of those categories, he took risks, lead by example, and showed the world what it meant to be a true leader. He not only encouraged men to have confidence, but he was bold enough to have his own opinions and to stand by them even when the world told him he was wrong.
In many ways he is the person who I strive to be. Sam Houston is not just a leader, but he is a symbol of integrity, courage, and intelligence.
When Sam Houston was just a boy, he lost his father and moved to Tennessee. Shortly after he ran away from his home to live with a tribe of Cherokees, which was the first sign of his rebellious spirit. The Cherokees grew to like Houston, and soon he was known to the tribe as Colonneh, which means the Raven, otherwise seen as a symbol of good luck.
When Houston left the tribe at age eighteen, he began a school to earn money, but ended up enlisting into the army, which he rose ranks quickly and became friends with General Andrew Jackson. Eventually, Houston left the army and began practicing law, allowing him to become a member of Congress. When he married Eliza in 1829, Houston was in the midst of campaigning for governor, but sadly the marriage ended abruptly, which made him pull out of the race and move to Oklahoma with the Cherokees.
In 1832 Houston moved to Texas, and slowly became more involved in Texas affairs, beginning by becoming a delegate in the Nacogdoches Convention of 1833. When he first joined the revolution, Houston established a treaty with a nearby Indian tribe and became a delegate in the convention that adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence, which led to his establishment of Major General for the Republic of Texas. With this position, Sam Houston was able to defeat Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto and became the first President of the Republic of Texas, and was planning on being annexed into the United States. Throughout his presidency, he tried to ease the tensions between whites and Native’s, without much success. Similarly, when Houston was a Senator he tried to convince the people of Texas not to secede from the United States after all of their hard work to enter it, as well as noting that it would destroy the South, but ultimately failed to convince them and was removed from office.
Sam Houston’s life is a reflection of his values and beliefs. Starting at a young age, he was already deviant and stubborn leading him towards a life of rebellion. He influenced people to keep fighting throughout the revolution, to recognize the Natives and respect their property, and to stick to your beliefs no matter what anyone else says. In many ways he is the leader that I want to be, strong, confident, and in some ways a little mischievous. He shows people how to be courageous and strong, even when hope seems to be lost, and he pulls people together, not by race or religion, but as people, unified for the good of all. And out of all of these qualities the most impactful is when Houston acknowledged his problems and allowed himself to go back to his childhood home with the Cherokees, not only for comfort, but for guidance. This trait is one of the most important you could have, because when you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t be true to the men and women who you have to lead.
One way that his leadership really stood out to me was the way he enabled other people to give ideas and form plans, so that he knew that it would be the best thing to do. To be a good leader, you have to respect the people who you are working with, and he was able to show his respect by allowing others to share their opinions and beliefs. Another reason he influences me to be a leader is the way he sticks to his word, this is shown by how Houston always followed through when he was needed, no matter how injured or distraught he was. This is not only seen in battle, but it is extremely evident when he stands up to Texas and declares that the state should not succeed from the Union, not only because of the efforts put towards uniting it with the United States, but also because he believed it would inevitably be disastrous for the Confederacy.
I know that Houston is a successful leader, because he continues to inspire and lead people today. He inspires me to be true to myself, to respect the people around me and to stick up for what I believe in. Any one of those traits can make someone a good leader, but to put them all together, it just confirms that Sam Houston was, and still is, a great leader. Now while I paint Sam Houston as the greatest person in the world, I know that he had struggles through his life. What I take from his leadership is not just respect and good people skills, but instead I try to apply the fact that it’s okay to need help to my life. I feel like in today’s society you hear about depression and anxiety way to often, and we do, but what we don’t hear is encouragement from others to get better. To know that he took a bit of time just to get his life together encourages me, because I know that everyone has to figure something out in their lives, even the greatest leaders in Texas. Considering all of this, I know that Houston is a great leader, and I believe he will continue to lead people, including me, to do great things for many years to come.
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