Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dallas, Texas Named for a Scot

The Dallas family has a long distinguished record in Scotland and America.  For several hundred years this family has been active in Scottish public life.  The first Dallas arrived in Britain in 1066 with William the Conqueror.  The name evolved from De Dolyas to Dolas and then to Dallas about the early 17th century.

Alexander Dallas was the patriarch of the American family and exerted a profound influence on early America.  He arrived in Philadelphia in 1783 where he planned to practice law.  He might well have been president but, tired of politics, he declined to run.  Though foreign-born, he wold have qualified to be president, because he arrived n America before the constitution was adopted barring foreigners from the presidency.

The middle son, George Mifflin Dallas, for whom Dallas, Texas, was named, served as a member of the Delegation negotiating the end of the War of 1812.  He was 21 years of age.  He was later elected to the U. S. Senate and served as ambassador to both the United Kingdom and Russia.

George Dallas was Vice President in the James Polk administration when the issue of "Manifest Destiny" surfaced.  He along with the President believed that America was destined to expand its borders across the frontier of the Pacific.  This meant the annexation of Texas, the purchase of California from Mexico, and the settlement of boundary disputes with Britain over the Oregon Territory.  These things were all accomplished in a span of four years during the term of President James Knox Polk and George Mifflin Dallas.  Two Great Scots!

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