James P. Newcomb and the Divisions Within the Republican Party

Within The History of San Antonio

By Patrick Murphey


Connection to Curriculum:  TEKS (7.5A) (7.5B) (7.21A) (7.21B) (7.21C) 7.21D)

(7.21E) (7.21F) (7.21G) (7.22B) (7.23A) (7.23B) (8.9A) (8.9C) (8.30B) (8.30C) (8.30D) (8.21E) (8.30F) (8.30G) (8.31B) (8.32A) (8.32B)


The following is a Webquest designed for either individual student review or as a project for teachers to use within a classroom.  Those involved in the Quest will follow the clues of information to reach a conclusion.  The exercise is designed as three segments within a single overall project.  Each exercise is related to a specific timeframe that addresses the issues of the overall project.  With each section, there are questions that are handed out that are clues to evaluating the information of the Quest.

  This exercise is designed to provide students with a better understanding of the divisions that existed within the Republican Party after the Civil War.  Some of these divisions included those between the Radical Republicans, Conservative Republicans, and the African Americans (whose votes that both of the other two groups desired).  There are three periods that this project will focus upon:  the period of the Civil War (to help us understand what happened), the period of Reconstruction (when the divisions occur), and the latter part of the 19th Century.  Because this is a complex and extensive project, we will simplify it by looking at the problems and the timeframes through the life of James Pearson Newcomb.

What we will be trying to uncover in our search for information are some of the issues about the Republican Party during this period, some of the various group s involved, what was being said and by whom, what were the motives of those involved, what were the individuals or groups trying to achieve.

The objective is to follow the information clues provided below.  Print the handouts before you begin.  Click on each of the highlighted sources.  Use the handouts that go with the information to determine the answers to important questions of the Quest.  As you read and/or look through various sections, click on any highlighted words or phrases for additional information.

The first step is the Handouts:  print these out (click here for Handouts).  As you go through each section, try to complete each of these.  The Handouts and the questions and information they provide are clues that can help you complete the Quest.

With the handouts in hand, the Charts are a good place to start (these are also good handouts).


- Comparison of Slaves Versus Non-Slave in U.S. 1860[1]

                        - Comparison of Slaves Versus Non-Slaves in Texas 1860[2]

- Vote on Secession[3]

                        - Vote for Governor 1869[4]

                        - Vote For Governor 1873[5]


Early Years Before Reconstruction (1855-1865)

-         Newcomb in San Antonio before the war.

o       Additional biographical Information On Newcomb

-         What was being said?

o        Newcomb Editorials

o       1855 Editorial

- African Americans:  End of Slavery



            - A Timeline of Reconstruction

            - What was being said?  

- James Newcomb Letters

                        - Newcomb’s Editorials on Divisions and Ex-Secessionists

            - A Washington Newspaper on Texas Reconstruction

            - The Rise of Radical Republicans and Division

            - Issues of Reconstruction and Divisions

                        - Divisions Between African Americans and White Republicans

            - African American Issues

                        - Adjustments They Had to Cope With

                        - A Dialog Between An African American and A White Man

                        - Advice to and a Response From an African American – 1868

                        - An African American Perspective

                        - The Union League


After 1873 (Radical’s Lost the Governor’s Election)

            What was being said? 

James Newcomb Letter 1896

                        Editorials on Newcomb and Race

                        Discussions on Newcomb and With Newcomb on the “Negro Problem”


Go To Final Exercise



Bibliography:  Refer to sources.




[1] The Alamo Express, “The Census of 1860,” Friday, March 15, 1861.

[2] The Alamo Express, “The Census of 1860,” Friday, March 15, 1861.

[3] Carl H. Moneyhon, Republicanism in Reconstructioin Texas, (Austin, TX:  University of Texas Press, 1980), 202-206.

[4] Carl H. Moneyhon, Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas, 207-211.

[5] Carl H. Moneyhon, Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas, 219-223.