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John R. Baylor

John R. Baylor, born in 1822, was a politician and colonel in the army of the Confederate States who declared himself governor of Confederate Arizona. Following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, Baylor was elected as a delegate to the Texas State Convention that strongly advocated withdrawal from the Union.

When the Civil War began, he gathered an army of Texas riflemen that were sent to occupy federal forts in far West Texas, including Ft. Bliss in 1861. From there, Baylor traveled north to confront the Union troops at Fort Fillmore in the village of Mesilla (just South of todayís Las Cruces). Baylorís troops seized the fort and declared himself governor of the Confederate Territory of Arizona and established Mesilla as its capitol. Dogged by Native American attacks and Union troop build-ups, Baylor and his troops left in 1862. Without their presence, the Confederate Territory of Arizona ceased to exist. After the war, Baylor settled in West Texas, where he continued a turbulent political career until his death in 1894.

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critical thinking
Is it possible for a military leader to declare themselves head of state in todayís political climate? Why?

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Thompson, Jerry Don. 1971. Colonel John Robert Baylor. Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press Hall, Martin Hardwick.

1978. The Confederate Army of New Mexico. Austin: Presidial Press.