Texas Declaration of Independence

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Texas Declaration of Independence
Declaration Broadside from transparency 1909 1 344.jpg
1836 facsimile of the Texas Declaration of Independence
CreatedMarch 2, 1836
LocationEngrossed copy: Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Signatories60 delegates to the Consultation
PurposeTo 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.

Republic of Texas independent sovereign nation in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846

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 Country in the southern portion of North America

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.

Texas Revolution military conflict

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.

Contents

Background

In October 1835, settlers in Mexican Texas launched the Texas Revolution.

Mexican Texas

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). [1] 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. [2] Most of the delegates were members of the War Party and were adamant that Texas must declare its independence from Mexico. [3] Forty-one delegates arrived in Washington-on-the-Brazos on February 28. [3]

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.

Development

The convention was convened on March 1 with Richard Ellis as president. [4] 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. [5]

Richard Ellis (politician) American judge

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 Childress American revolutionary

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" [6] and complained about "arbitrary acts of oppression and tyranny". [7] 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 English philosopher and physician

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 3rd president of the United States

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:

Signatories

Replica of the building at Washington-on-the-Brazos where the Texas Declaration was signed. An inscription reads: "Here a Nation was born". Washington on the Brazos Monument.jpg
Replica of the building at Washington-on-the-Brazos where the Texas Declaration was signed. An inscription reads: "Here a Nation was born".
The New Republic Wpdms republic of texas.svg
The New Republic

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. [9] 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. [8] 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.

See also

Notes

  1. Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 98.
  2. BERNICE, STRONG, (15 June 2010). "RUIZ, JOSE FRANCISCO". tshaonline.org. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  3. 1 2 Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 142.
  4. Davis (1982), p. 38.
  5. Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 144.
  6. Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 145.
  7. Roberts and Olson (2001), p. 146.
  8. 1 2 Scott (2000), p. 122.
  9. "Texas Declaration of Independence". sonofthesouth.net. Retrieved 15 May 2015.

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