Seeds of Empire

Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850

By Andrew J. Torget

368 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, 3 maps, 3 graphs, 2 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4556-8
    Published: August 2018
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4809-3
    Published: August 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2425-9
    Published: August 2015

David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit

Awards & distinctions

David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America, Western Historical Association

William M. LeoGrande Prize for Best Book on U.S.-Latin American relations, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, American University

Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book, Texas Institute of Letters

Honorable Mention, Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians

Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History, Texas State Historical Association

Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research, Texas State Historical Association

Ottis G. Lock Prize for Best Book of the Year, East Texas Historical Association

Summerfield G. Roberts Award, Sons of the Republic of Texas

Honorable Mention, Deep South Book Prize, Summersell Center for the Study of the South, University of Alabama

Catherine Munson Foster Memorial Award for Literature, Brazoria County Historical Museum

Publication Award, San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation

2018 Texas Old Missions and Forts Restoration Association Book Award

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.

Seeds of Empire tells the remarkable story of how the cotton revolution of the early nineteenth century transformed northeastern Mexico into the western edge of the United States, and how the rise and spectacular collapse of the Republic of Texas as a nation built on cotton and slavery proved to be a blueprint for the Confederacy of the 1860s.

Published with support provided by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

About the Author

Andrew J. Torget is assistant professor of history at the University of North Texas.
For more information about Andrew J. Torget, visit the Author Page.


"Deeply researched and artfully written . . . Seeds of Empire brings new insight and nuance to the story of early Texas. . . . This is a fine and valuable addition to the library of Southwestern history, and it's a pleasure to read, as well.--Dallas Morning News

"The most nuanced and authoritative rewriting of Texas’s origin myth to date."--Texas Monthly

“Incisive and accessible . . . bridges borderlands history with that of the Atlantic World, crafting a multifaceted view of the rise of ‘King Cotton’ across borders and oceans.”--Choice

“Written in a clear, engaging style, and supported by prodigious research in both Mexican and U.S. archives, Seeds of Empire offers a complete reconfiguration of this period of Texas history.  It will undoubtedly serve as the standard work on the topic.”--American Historical Review

“Torget ultimately has crafted a work to which scholars of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands should aspire--one that effectively balances U.S. and Mexican sources and addresses vital historical issues resonating from shifting national and imperial spaces.”--Journal of American History

“Well written, expertly researched, and interpretatively ambitious, Seeds of Empire immediately moves to the front ranks of monographs examining the long Civil War era on both sides of the Rio Grande.”--Journal of the Civil War Era

Multimedia & Links

Visit the author's website at

Follow the author on Twitter @andrewtorget.