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Texas Republic

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Texas Republic

"Lone Star Republic" redirects here. For the West Florida Lone Star Republic, see Republic of West Florida.
For the modern secessionist/militia organization, see Republic of Texas (group).
Template:Infobox former country/autocat
Republic of Texas

1836–1846
Flag
(1836 – 1846)
Seal
Map of the Republic of Texas in green. The claimed area is in light green, while administered territory is in dark green.
Capital Washington-on-the-Brazos 1836 (provisional)
Harrisburg 1836 (provisional)
Galveston 1836 (provisional)
Velasco 1836 (provisional)
Columbia 1836–37
Houston 1837–39
Austin 1839–46
Languages English and Spanish (de facto)

French, German and American Indian languages regionally

Government Republic
President1
 -  1836 David G. Burnet
 -  1836–1838 Sam Houston
 -  1838–1841 Mirabeau B. Lamar
 -  1841–1844 Sam Houston
 -  1844–1846 Anson Jones
Vice President1
 -  1836 Lorenzo de Zavala
 -  1836–1838 Mirabeau B. Lamar
 -  1838–1841 David G. Burnet
 -  1841–1844 Edward Burleson
 -  1844–1845 Kenneth L. Anderson
History
 -  Independence from Mexico March 2, 1836
 -  Annexation by the United States of America December 29, 1845
 -  Transfer of power February 19, 1846
Area
 -  1840 1,007,935 km² (389,166 sq mi)
Population
 -  1840 est. 70,000 
     Density 0.1 /km²  (0.2 /sq mi)
Currency Republic of Texas Dollar ($)
1Interim period (March 16 – October 22, 1836): President: David G. Burnet, Vice President Lorenzo de Zavala

Template:Texas History The Republic of Texas (Spanish: República de Texas) was an independent sovereign nation in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It was bordered by the nation of Mexico to the southwest, the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast, the two US states of Louisiana and Arkansas to the east and northeast, and the United States territories encompassing the current US states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico to the north and west. The citizens of the republic were known as Texians.

Formed as a separate nation after gaining independence from Mexico in 1836, the republic claimed borders that included all of the present US state of Texas as well as parts of present-day Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico based upon the Treaties of Velasco between the newly created Texas Republic and Mexico. The eastern boundary with the United States was defined by the Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819. Its southern and western-most boundary with Mexico was under dispute throughout the entire existence of the republic with Texas claiming the boundary as the Rio Grande (known as the Río Bravo del Norte or Río Bravo in Mexico), and Mexico claiming the boundary as the Nueces River. This dispute would later become a trigger for the Mexican–American War from 1846 to 1848 between Mexico and the United States after the annexation of Texas by the United States on December 29, 1845.

History

1836–1845

Politics

The second Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbia (now West Columbia). Stephen F. Austin, known as the Father of Texas, died December 27, 1836, after serving two months as Secretary of State for the new Republic.

In 1836, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco and Columbia), before President Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. The next president, Mirabeau B. Lamar, moved the capital to the new town of Austin in 1839.

The first flag of the republic was the "Burnet Flag" (a gold star on an azure field), followed in 1839 by official adoption of the Lone Star Flag.

Internal politics of the Republic centred on two factions. The nationalist faction, led by Lamar, advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans (Indians), and the expansion of Texas to the Pacific Ocean. Their opponents, led by Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful coexistence with the Indians, when possible. The Texas Congress even passed a resolution over Houston's veto claiming the Californias for Texas.[1] The 1844 presidential election split the electorate dramatically, with the newer western regions of the Republic preferring the nationalist candidate Edward Burleson, while the cotton country, particularly east of the Trinity River, went for Anson Jones.[2]

Armed conflict

The warlike Comanche Indians furnished the main Indian opposition to the Texas Republic, manifested in multiple raids on settlements, capture and rape of women pioneers, torture killings, and trafficking in captive slaves.[3] In the late 1830s Sam Houston negotiated a peace between Texas and the Comanches. Lamar replaced Houston as president in 1838 and reversed the Indian policies. He returned to war with the Comanches and invaded Comancheria itself. In retaliation, the Comanches attacked Texas in a series of raids. After peace talks in 1840 ended with the massacre of 34 Comanche leaders in San Antonio, the Comanches launched a major attack deep into Texas, known as the Great Raid of 1840. Under command of Potsanaquahip (Buffalo Hump), 500 to 700 Comanche cavalry warriors swept down the Guadalupe River valley, killing and plundering all the way to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, where they sacked the towns of Victoria and Linnville. Houston became president again in 1841 and, with both Texians and Comanches exhausted by war, a new peace was established.[4]

Although Texas achieved self-government, Mexico refused to recognize its independence.[5] On March 5, 1842, a Mexican force of over 500 men, led by Ráfael Vásquez, invaded Texas for the first time since the revolution. They soon headed back to the Rio Grande after briefly occupying San Antonio. About 1,400 Mexican troops, led by the French mercenary general Adrián Woll, launched a second attack and captured San Antonio on September 11, 1842. A Texas militia retaliated at the Battle of Salado Creek.[6] A reinforcement militia, however, was defeated by Mexican soldiers and Texas Cherokee Indians on September 18 during the Dawson Massacre.[7] The Mexican army would later retreat from the city of San Antonio.

Mexico's attacks on Texas intensified conflicts between political factions, including an incident known as the Texas Archive War. To "protect" the Texas national archives, President Sam Houston ordered them removed from Austin. The archives were eventually returned to Austin, albeit at gunpoint. The Texas Congress admonished Houston for the incident, and this episode in Texas history would solidify Austin as Texas's seat of government for the Republic and the future state.[8]

There were also domestic disturbances. The Regulator–Moderator War involved a land feud in Harrison and Shelby Counties in East Texas from 1839 to 1844. The feud eventually involved Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and other East Texas counties. Harrison County Sheriff John J. Kennedy and county judge Joseph U. Fields helped end the conflict, siding with the law-and-order party. Sam Houston ordered 500 militia to help end the feud.

Government


After gaining their independence, the Texas voters had elected a Congress of 14 senators and 29 representatives in September 1836. The Constitution allowed the first president to serve for only two years, and set a three-year term for all later presidents.

The first Congress of the Republic of Texas convened in October 1836 at Columbia (now West Columbia). Stephen F. Austin, often referred to as the "Father of Texas," died on December 27, 1836, after serving just two months as the republic's secretary of state. Due mainly to the ongoing war for independence, five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas in 1836: (Washington-on-the-Brazos, Harrisburg, Galveston, Velasco and Columbia). The capital was moved to the new city of Houston in 1837.

In 1839, a small pioneer settlement situated on the Colorado River in central Texas was chosen as the republic's seventh and final capital. Incorporated under the name Waterloo, the town was renamed Austin shortly thereafter in honor of Stephen F. Austin.

The court system inaugurated by Congress included a Supreme Court consisting of a chief justice appointed by the president and four associate justices, elected by a joint ballot of both houses of Congress for four-year terms and eligible for re-election. The associates also presided over four judicial districts. Houston nominated James Collinsworth to be the first chief justice. The county-court system consisted of a chief justice and two associates, chosen by a majority of the justices of the peace in the county. Each county was also to have a sheriff, a coroner, justices of the peace, and constables to serve two-year terms. Congress formed 23 counties, whose boundaries generally coincided with the existing municipalities ...

In 1839, Texas became the first nation in the world to enact a homestead exemption under which a person's primary residence could not be seized by creditors.

Boundaries

The Texan leaders at first intended to extend their national boundaries to the Pacific Ocean, but ultimately decided to claim the Rio Grande as boundary, including much of New Mexico, which the Republic never controlled. They also hoped, after peace was made with Mexico, to run a railroad to the Gulf of California to give "access to the East Indian, Peruvian and Chilean trade."[9] When negotiating for the possibility of annexation to the US in late 1836, the Texan government instructed its minister Wharton in Washington that if the boundary were an issue, Texas was willing to settle for a boundary at the watershed between the Nueces River and Rio Grande, and leave out New Mexico.[10] In 1840 the first and only census of the Republic of Texas was taken, recording a population of about 70,000 people. San Antonio and Houston were recorded as the largest and second largest cities respectively.

Diplomatic relations

Main article: Foreign relations of the Republic of Texas

On March 3, 1837, US President Andrew Jackson appointed Alcée La Branche American chargé d'affaires to the Republic of Texas, thus officially recognizing Texas as an independent republic.[11] France granted official recognition of Texas on September 25, 1839, appointing Alponse Dubois de Saligny to serve as chargé d'affaires. The French Legation was built in 1841, and still stands in Austin as the oldest frame structure in the city.[12] Conversely, the Republic of Texas embassy in Paris was located in what is now the Hotel de Vendome, adjacent to the Place Vendôme in Paris' 2e arrondissement.[13]

The Republic also received diplomatic recognition from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Yucatán. The United Kingdom never granted official recognition of Texas due to its own friendly relations with Mexico, but admitted Texan goods into British ports on their own terms. In London, the original Embassy of the Republic of Texas still stands. Immediately opposite the gates to St. James's Palace, Sam Houston's original Embassy of the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James's is now a hat shop, but is clearly marked with a large plaque and a nearby restaurant is called Texas Embassy.[14] A plaque on the exterior of 3 St. James's Street in London notes the upper floors of the building (which have housed the noted wine merchant Berry Brothers and Rudd since 1698) housed the Texas Legation.

Presidents and vice presidents

Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Republic of Texas with election results
From To President Vice president Presidential
candidates
Pres.
votes
Vice pres.
candidates
V.P.
votes
March 16, 1836 October 22, 1836
(interim)
Lorenzo de Zavala
(interim)
       
October 22, 1836 December 10, 1838 Mirabeau B. Lamar Sam Houston
Henry Smith
Stephen F. Austin
5119
743
587
Mirabeau B. Lamar  
December 10, 1838 December 13, 1841 David G. Burnet Mirabeau B. Lamar
Robert Wilson
6995
252
David G. Burnet  
December 13, 1841 December 9, 1844 Edward Burleson Sam Houston
David G. Burnet
7915
3619
Edward Burleson
Memucan Hunt
6141
4336
December 9, 1844 February 19, 1846
Anderson died in office July 3, 1845
Kenneth L. Anderson Anson Jones
Edward Burleson

Kenneth L. Anderson  

Statehood

Main article: Texas annexation

On February 28, 1845, the US Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas. On March 1, US President John Tyler signed the bill. The legislation set the date for annexation for December 29 of the same year. Faced with imminent American annexation of Texas, Charles Elliot and Alphonse de Saligny, the British and French ministers to Texas, were dispatched to Mexico City by their governments. Meeting with Mexico's foreign secretary, they signed a "Diplomatic Act" in which Mexico offered to recognize an independent Texas with boundaries that would be determined with French and British mediation. Texas President Anson Jones forwarded both offers to a specially elected convention meeting at Austin, and the American proposal was accepted with only one dissenting vote. The Mexican proposal was never put to a vote. Following the previous decree of President Jones, the proposal was then put to a vote throughout the republic.



On October 13, 1845, a large majority of voters in the republic approved both the American offer and the proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and emigrants bringing slaves to Texas.[15] This constitution was later accepted by the US Congress, making Texas a US state on the same day annexation took effect, December 29, 1845 (therefore bypassing a territorial phase).[16] One of the motivations for annexation was the Texas government had incurred huge debts which the United States agreed to assume upon annexation. As part of the Compromise of 1850, in return for this assumption of debt ($10,000,000), Texas dropped claims to territory which included parts of present-day Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

The resolution did include two unique provisions: First, it said up to four additional states could be created from Texas' territory with the consent of the State of Texas (and that new states north of the Missouri Compromise Line would be free states). The resolution did not include any special exceptions to the provisions of the US Constitution regarding statehood. The right to create these possible new states was not "reserved" for Texas, as is sometimes stated.[17] Second, Texas did not have to surrender its public lands to the federal government. While Texas did cede all territory outside of its current area to the federal government in 1850, it did not cede any public lands within its current boundaries. Consequently, the lands in Texas owned by the federal government are those which were subsequently purchased by it. This also means the state government has control over oil reserves which were later used to fund the state's public university system through the Permanent University Fund.[18] In addition, the state's control over offshore oil reserves in Texas runs out to 3 nautical leagues (9 nautical miles, 10.357 statute miles, 16.668 km) rather than three nautical miles (3.45 statue miles, 5.56 km) as with other states.[19]

See also

Texas portal

Notes

References

  • Republic of Texas Historical Resources
  • Handbook of Texas Online
  • Hosted by Portal to Texas History:
    • , by William Kennedy, published 1841
    • , published 1841
    • Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. I.
    • Gammel's Laws of Texas, Vol. II.
  • The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Texas - From Independence to Annexation
  • Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Southwest Texas by Andrew Jackson Sowell 1900

Further reading

External links

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