To prevent theft and Native American attacks, Mexico encouraged Americans to settle in Texas. In order to do this, they offered land grants to empresarios. One famous land agent was Stephen Austin, who gave large, cheap plots of land to arriving families.
The incoming settlers spoke English instead of Spanish, were mainly Protestant, not Roman Catholic, and they practiced slavery, even though it had already been abolished in Mexico. These differences became clear, and the Mexicans started to regret their decision to open their borders to American settlers.
When he could bear it no longer, General Santa Anna imprisoned Stephen Austin, revoked the Texans' rights, and marched north to the Alamo.
At the Alamo, a bloody battle ensued. Many notable people, including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, were killed. Only a few women and children were spared, and although the Texans did not win, they fought with bravery and courage.
At the Battle of San Jacinto, Sam Houston led the Texans in another fight against the Mexicans. Throughout it they cried, "Remeber the Alamo!" They defeated Santa Anna in 18 minutes and had him sign the Treaty of Velasco, which granted Texas its independence.
Although fighting had ceased, for the time being, the annexation of Texas became a major issue, as the opinions divided along sectional lines. Northern abolitionists did not want the balance of slave and free states to be disrupted, but Southerners wanted it to expand. When it was annexed, not only were Northerners upset, but Mexico recalled its ambassador, and events escalated towards war.