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Carole E. Christian

NATIONAL VINDICATOR. The National Vindicator was a weekly newspaper published at Washington-on-the-Brazos between June 1843 and late 1844. It grew out of two earlier publications, the Austin Weekly Texian and the Brazos Farmer. The Austin Weekly Texian, a four-page newspaper published in Austin between November or December 1841 and March 1842, was the weekly edition of Greenberry H. Harrison's Daily Texian and was intended for country subscribers. When the Republic of Texas transferred its government offices from Austin to Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrison brought his press to the new capital and began publishing the Brazos Farmer. He may also have obtained the press of the paper previously published at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Tarantula. Harrison published the Texian and Brazos Farmer, formed by the merger of the Weekly Texian and the Brazos Farmer, as a weekly, beginning in June 1842. By December 1842 Thomas (Ramrod) Johnson had purchased the paper, which continued publication until around May 1843. Johnson, a noted supporter of Sam Houston, introduced the motto of the paper: "He that by the plough would thrive-himself must either hold or drive." During Houston's second administration, Johnson defended the administration against press attacks. Johnson was noted for his attacks on James Webb, owner of the Austin Western Advocate, and on Francis Moore, Jr. Johnson started a feud with Webb and charged that Moore's opposition to Houston's policies toward Mexico had selfish personal motives. Houston and his private secretary, Washington D. Miller, secretly assisted Johnson, whose editing had a "folksy touch" that attracted readers.

In June 1843 Johnson changed the name of the Texian and Brazos Farmer to the National Vindicator and introduced a new motto: "Our country-our whole country-and nothing but our country." The National Vindicator continued its predecessor's policy of publicizing Houston's opinions and defended his administration's Indian trade policies against charges made by the Telegraph and Texas Register. The National Vindicator supported Anson Jones in his successful run for president of the Republic. The paper's circulation had risen to about 900 by the summer of 1843. Because of bad health, editor Johnson quit later that year, and the National Vindicator did not appear from September to November 1843. Washington D. Miller and William H. Cushney resumed printing the paper on November 25, 1843, and under their guidance its circulation grew from 300 to 700. In 1844 the Washington county government and the Washington Circuit Methodist Conference used the Vindicator to publicize important events and economic developments. Late in 1844, after the presidential election, the National Vindicator ceased publication, and Miller and Cushney started another newspaper, the Texas National Register.


Joe B. Frantz, Newspapers of the Republic of Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Mary Glasscock Frazier, Texas Newspapers during the Republic (March 2, 1836-February 19, 1846) (M. Journ. thesis, University of Texas, 1931). Marilyn M. Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes: Texas Newspapers before the Civil War (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Carole E. Christian, "NATIONAL VINDICATOR," accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/een04.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on February 22, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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