David Spangler Kaufman (December 13, 1813 - January 31, 1851), was the first Jewish United States Congressman from Texas. No other Jewish Texan served in Congress until Martin Frost in 1979.
He was born in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. After graduating with high honors from Princeton College in 1830, he studied law under John A. Quitman in Natchez, Mississippi, and was admitted to the bar. He began his legal career in Natchitoches, Louisiana, five years later.
In 1837 Kaufman settled in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he practiced law and participated in military campaigns against the Cherokee Indians. He was wounded in an encounter in 1839.
Between 1838 and 1845 he was a member of the Republic of Texas's congress. He served in the Republic's House of Representatives fom 1838 to 1842, and was Speaker of the House in the last two years. He was a member of the Texas Senate from 1843 to 1845, when president of Texas Anson Jones named him chargĂ© d'affaires to the United States in February 1845.
After the Texas Annexation Kaufman represented the Eastern District (District 1 of Texas in the United States House of Representatives from 1845 to 1851. While in Congress, Kaufman argued unsuccessfully that Texas owned lands that are now parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. He encouraged Governor of Texas Peter Hansborough Bell to have Texas troops seize Santa Fe, New Mexico, which never occurred. He also played a role in the Compromise of 1850, as one result of which the national government assumed the debts of the former republic.
Kaufman was a Freemason and a charter member of the Philosophical Society of Texas. He died in Washington, D.C. while attending the Congress, and was originally buried in the Congressional Cemetery there. In 1932 his remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
Kaufman County, Texas and the city of Kaufman, Texas are named for him.
Preceded by: no predecessor U.S. Representative from the 1st District of Texas 1845 - 1851 Succeeded by: Richard A. Scurry