|Texas Declaration of Independence|
1836 facsimile of the Texas Declaration of Independence
|Created||March 2, 1836|
|Location||Engrossed copy: Texas State Library and Archives Commission|
|Signatories||60 delegates to the Consultation|
|Purpose||To announce and explain separation from Mexico|
The Texas Declaration of Independence was the formal declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in the Texas Revolution. It was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and formally signed the next day after mistakes were noted in the text.
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by Mexico to the west and southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two U.S. states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and United States territories encompassing parts of the current U.S. states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
The Texas Revolution was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag." Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.
In October 1835, settlers in Mexican Texas launched the Texas Revolution.
Mexican Texas is the historiographical name used to refer to the era of Texan history between 1821 and 1836, when it was part of Mexico. Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821 after winning its war. Initially, Mexican Texas operated similarly to Spanish Texas. Ratification of the 1824 Constitution of Mexico created a federal structure, and the province of Tejas was joined with the province of Coahuila to form the state of Coahuila y Tejas.
However, within Austin, many struggled with understanding what the ultimate goal of the Revolution was. Some believed that the goal should be total independence from Mexico, while others sought the reimplementation of the Mexican Constitution of 1824 (which offered greater freedoms than the centralist government declared in Mexico the prior year).To settle the issue, a convention was called for March 1836.
This convention differed from the previous Texas councils of 1832, 1833, and the 1835 Consultation. Many of the delegates to the 1836 convention were young men who had only recently arrived in Texas from the United States, in violation of Mexico's immigration ban of April, 1830, although many of them had participated in one of the battles in 1835. The only two known native Texans to sign are Jose Francisco Ruiz and Jose Antonio Navarro.Most of the delegates were members of the War Party and were adamant that Texas must declare its independence from Mexico. Forty-one delegates arrived in Washington-on-the-Brazos on February 28.
The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico. The convention was the first in a series of unsuccessful attempts at political negotiation that eventually led to the Texas Revolution.
The Convention of 1833, a political gathering of settlers in Mexican Texas, was a successor to the Convention of 1832, whose requests had not been addressed by the Mexican government. Despite the political uncertainty resulting from a recently concluded civil war, 56 delegates met in San Felipe de Austin to draft a series of petitions to the Government of Mexico.
The Consultation served as the provisional government of Mexican Texas from October 1835 to March 1836 during the Texas Revolution. Tensions rose in Texas during early 1835 as throughout Mexico federalists began to oppose the increasingly centralist policies of the government. In the summer, Texians elected delegates to a political convention to be held in Gonzales in mid-October. Weeks before the convention and war began, settlers took up arms against Mexican soldiers at the Battle of Gonzales. The convention was postponed until November 1 after many of the delegates joined the newly organized volunteer Texian Army to initiate a siege of the Mexican garrison at San Antonio de Bexar. On November 3, a quorum was reached in San Antonio. Within days, the delegates passed a resolution to define why Texians were fighting. They expressed allegiance to the deposed Constitution of 1824 and maintained their right to form an independent government while this document was not in effect. Henry Smith was elected governor of the new provisional government and the remaining delegates formed a General Council. In the next weeks, the council authorized the creation of a new regular army to be commanded by Sam Houston. As Houston worked to establish an army independent from the existing volunteer army, the council repeatedly interfered in military matters.
The convention was convened on March 1 with Richard Ellis as president.The delegates selected a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence; the committee was led by George Childress and also included Edward Conrad, James Gaines, Bailey Hardeman, and Collin McKinney. The committee submitted its draft within a mere 24 hours, leading historians to speculate that Childress had written much of it before his arrival at the Convention.
Richard Ellis was an American plantation owner, politician, and judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Alabama. He was president of the Convention of 1836 that declared Texas' independence from Mexico and he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Later, Ellis served in the Republic of Texas legislature.
George Campbell Childress was a lawyer, politician, and a principal author of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Bailey Hardeman (1795–1836) was the first Secretary of the Treasury for the Republic of Texas.
The declaration was approved on March 2 with no debate. Based primarily on the writings of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, the declaration proclaimed that the Mexican government "ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived"and complained about "arbitrary acts of oppression and tyranny". Throughout the declaration are numerous references to the United States laws, rights, and customs. Omitted from the declaration was the fact that the author and many of the signatories were citizens of the United States, occupying Texas illegally, and therefore had no legal rights in the government of Mexico. The declaration makes clear that the men were accustomed to the laws and privileges of the United States, and were unfamiliar with the language, religion, and traditions of the nation that they were rebelling against.
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.
The declaration officially established the Republic of Texas, although it was not officially recognized at that time by any government other than itself. The Mexican Republic still claimed the land and considered the delegates to be invaders.
Among others, the declaration mentions the following reasons for the separation:
Based upon the United States Declaration of Independence, the Texas Declaration also contains many memorable expressions of American political principles:
Sixty men signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Three of them were born in Mexico. Fifty-seven of the sixty moved to Texas from the United States.Ten of them had lived in Texas for more than six years, while one-quarter of them had been in the province for less than a year. This is significant, because it indicates that the majority of signatories had moved to Texas after the Law of April 6, 1830, banning immigration, had taken effect, meaning that the majority were legally citizens of the United States, occupying Texas illegally. Fifty-nine of these men were delegates to the Convention, and one was the Convention Secretary, Herbert S. Kimble, who was not a delegate.
The flag of Texas is the official flag of the U.S. state of Texas. It is well known for its prominent single white star which gives the flag its commonly-used name: "Lone Star Flag". This lone star, in turn, gives rise to the state's nickname: "The Lone Star State." The flag, flown at homes and businesses statewide, is highly popular among Texans and is treated with a great degree of reverence and esteem within Texas.
Edwin Waller was an entrepreneur, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the first mayor of Austin, Texas, and the designer of its downtown grid plan.
The Convention of 1836 was the meeting of elected delegates in Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas in March 1836. The Texas Revolution had begun five months previously, and the interim government, known as the Consultation, had wavered over whether to declare independence from Mexico or pledge to uphold the repudiated Mexican Constitution of 1824. Unlike those of previous Texas councils, delegates to the Convention of 1836 were younger, more recent arrivals to Texas, and more adamant on the question of independence. As delegates prepared to convene, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a large army into Texas to quell the revolt; the vanguard of this army arrived at San Antonio de Bexar on February 23.
Washington-on-the-Brazos is an unincorporated area along the Brazos River in Washington County, Texas, United States. Founded when Texas was still a part of Mexico, the settlement was the site of the Convention of 1836 and the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The name "Washington-on-the-Brazos" was used to distinguish the settlement from "Washington-on-the-Potomac"—i.e., Washington, D.C.
The President of the Republic of Texas was the head of state and head of government while Texas was an independent republic between 1836 and 1845.
Samuel Price Carson was an American political leader and farmer in both North Carolina and Texas. He served as Congressional Representative from North Carolina. He was born in Pleasant Gardens, North Carolina, and studied under private tutors in Pleasant Gardens; engaged in agricultural pursuits; member of the State senate 1822-1824; elected as a Jacksonian to the Nineteenth and to the three succeeding Congresses ; unsuccessful candidate in 1833 for reelection to the Twenty-third Congress; again elected to the State senate in 1834; delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1835.
Texas Independence Day is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. With this document signed by 59 delegates, settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas.
The Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons is the largest of several governing bodies of Freemasonry in the State of Texas, being solely of the Ancients' tradition and descending from the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, founded in 1751. It was founded as "The Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas, A.F. & A.M." on 16 April 1838. The Grand Lodge of Texas is one of the largest in the world, reporting 81,340 members in 2013. The current Grand Lodge of Texas facilities were made possible by the fundraising efforts of Waco Masonic Lodge No. 92. To learn about the building itself and how it got there, click here.
Martin Parmer was an eccentric 19th-century American frontiersman, statesman, politician and soldier.
Henry Smith was the first American-born Governor of the Mexican territory of Texas and briefly presided over the revolution there, serving during the Battle of the Alamo, Battle of Goliad, and Battle of San Jacinto. He is one of 4 governors from Garrard County, Kentucky, a historically Whig and Republican county located in Kentucky's Bluegrass region.
Jesse Grimes (1788–1866) was a Texas pioneer and politician. Before moving to Texas, he fought in the War of 1812. He was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. He served as Senator in the Republic of Texas Congress and in the Texas State Legislature. Grimes County was named in his honor.
The Texian Army, also known as the Army of Texas and the Army of the People, was a military organization consisting of volunteer and regular soldiers who fought against the Mexican army during the Texas Revolution. Approximately 3,700 men joined the army between October 2, 1835, during the Battle of Gonzales through the end of the war on April 21, 1836, at the Battle of San Jacinto. After gaining independence the Texian Army would be officially known as the Army of the Republic of Texas. In 1846, after the annexation of Texas by the United States, the Army of the Republic of Texas merged with the US Army. Sam Houston became the new commander in chief of the new Texas army.
The Star of the Republic Museum, in Washington, Texas, United States, is the only museum in the state of Texas created specifically to collect and interpret the culture and history of the Republic of Texas from 1836-1846. Within the Museum's two floors of exhibits, visitors can learn about the history of the time period through media experiences, as well as informative exhibits. The site of the Star of the Republic Museum was selected at Washington on the Brazos where elected delegates gathered on March 2, 1836 to declare Texas’ independence from Mexico.
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