March 2, 1836: The Republic of Texas is Declared!

Texas Independence Day

March 2, 1836

th_el_zpsf7513b28    By Elvis Chupacabra

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Lorenzo de Zavala

When I was a mere lad, Texas Independence Day was celebrated in schools with patriotic songs, readings of the Declaration by schoolkids and grave lectures on our role as Texans by our teachers. Even the Mexican kids participated, because anyone who’d read the  hallowed rolls of the Alamo and Goliad dead knew that there were plenty of martyrs with Spanish surnames. We also knew of Lorenzo de Zavala and Juan Seguin, both Texian heroes of the Revolution.

Juan Seguin

It was understood by the youngest of us that Texas went from being just the mostly empty northern part of the Mexican state of Cohuila-Texas to the independent Republic of Texas with the signing of this document. Like the beloved United States, from whence the spirit -and some would say impetus – of revolution had come, we won our right to be free through the force of arms, wielded by brave and bold men. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the despot which our Texas Forefathers overthrew was ever bit as evil and prone to predations as Britain’s George III. His one saving grace, that he invented that most American of oral fixations, chewing gum, was more than off-set by his cruelty and duplicitous nature. The self-proclaimed Napoleon of the North, he boasted an army well-officered and well-equipped that had spent the past couple of years putting down rebellions in Mexico. It wasn’t just the Texians who longed for the return to a government who respected the liberal Constitution of 1824. 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

However, Santa Anna was particularly piqued that it was the damned Nortiamericanos who had risen against him. After all, he and many native-born Mexicans reasoned, the gringos had petitioned the then-Spanish government to settle the open spaces of Tejas. They’d even renounced their American citizenship and converted to the state religion, Catholicism. Now, they dared to rebel against the authority of the State and assert rights which simply did not exist in Mexico. Tejas had been in rebellion since October 1835.

Another irony was that many of the rebels were from the ranks of illegal settlers drawn to Texas by the rich land and wide-open spaces. Since the outbreak of hostilities, there were even Yanqui freebooters and adventurers coming to fight against the lawful government of Mexico, all the while spouting ideas of American expansion and defending of “American lives” in Tejas!

Sam Houston and his mentor and friend, Andrew Jackson

One of the late-comers to Tejas was Sam Houston. And in one of history’s great mysteries, while on his way to Tejas, ol’ Sam stopped off and visited his mentor and friend, Andrew Jackson, at the Hermitage in Tennessee. There is no record of what they discussed, but many think that the two old men hatched a conspiracy to pluck the prized lands of Tejas – or Texas – as they were known east of the Sabine River from Mexico.

Travis and his men behind the walls of the Alamo.

As Travis and his men crouched behind the pounded and crumbling walls of the old Alamo mission in San Antonio de Bexar waiting for relief or death, serious and determined men were coming together in a convention to decide the question of independence or redress of grievances. In other words, they were deciding whether to split with Mexico or force a return to the earlier, freer Mexico, established by the 1824 Constitution. To settle the issue, a convention was called for March 1836, and it convened on March 1st in Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Independence is Declared!

This convention was different from earlier such convocations in that many of the men who met were relative newcomers to Texas, having never sworn allegiance to Mexico. Many who had, considered that oath to be nullified by the actions of the present government. Most of the delegates were members of the War Party and were insisted that Texas declare its independence from Mexico. Forty-one delegates arrived in Washington-on-the-Brazos on February 28.

“Independence Hall” – Washington-on-the-Brazos

Richard Ellis was voted president of the convention. The delegates selected a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence. It was lead by George Childress and also included Edward Conrad, James Gaines, Bailey Hardeman, and Collin McKinney. In just 24 hours, the committee submitted its draft, leading historians to speculate that Childress had pre-written much of it before his arrival.

The Declaration of Independence from Mexico was approved on March 2 without debate and formally signed the following day after errors were noted in the text. The document was based primarily on the writings of John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. It 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 of “arbitrary acts of oppression and tyranny”. The document duly established the Republic of Texas, “among the nations of the world”.

Texas Declaration of Independence

Also mentioned as reasons of separation:

  • The 1824 Constitution of Mexico, which established a Federal Republic had been usurped and replaced by a centralist military dictatorship by Genalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
  • The Mexican government invited settlers to Texas, assuring them constitutional liberty and a republican government, but reneged on these guarantees.
  • Texas was in union with the Mexican state of Coahuila as Coahuila y Tejas, with the capital in distant Saltillo, and thus the affairs of Texas were decided at a great distance and in Spanish.
  • Political rights to which the settlers had previously been accustomed, such as the right to keep and bear arms and the right to trial by jury, were denied.
  • No system of public education was established.
  • The settlers were not allowed freedom of religion.

Based upon the United States Declaration of Independence, the Texas Declaration also contains many memorable expressions of American political principles:

  • “the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.”
  • “our arms … are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.”

The Republic of Texas!

Like the U.S. Declaration of Independence, it was just a worthless document until backed up by the force of arms. The prospect of that independence becoming a reality dimmed almost to the point of being extinguished with the fall of the Alamo on March 6th. Subsequently, Texians fled the Mexican Army in a scorched earth panic, known as the Runaway Scrape. A number of the faithful – many of them the bellicose freebooters and adventurers – fled back into the United States, convinced that Texas was a lost cause. Many of the men who marched with Sam Houston as his army marched, or as some alleged, retreated, towards the Sabine River grumbled, deserted and groused. Meanwhile, Santa Anna, against the advice of Sun Tzu, divided his forces, determined to run down the nascent Texian Army with one of his powerful columns.

However, all that came to a head, when on April 21st, Sam Houston camped on the lower San Jacinto River, near the Lynchburg Ferry. Santa Anna, convinced that the gringos were at last trapped, took a siesta, because everyone knew that it was too late in the day to fight. But someone forget to tell General Sam and his Texians. In 18 minutes of battle, followed by another hour of retribuitive slaughter, Santa Anna’s army was broken and the Generalissimo was captured.

But that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

Happy Texas Independence Day!!

About WeeWeed

Sarcastic cat herder extraordinaire. And an angel.
This entry was posted in 2nd Amendment, A New America, Celebrations, Guest Post, Heros, Mexico, States, These United States, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to March 2, 1836: The Republic of Texas is Declared!

  1. ZurichMike says:

    The six happiest years of my life were 1982-1988 when I went to school and worked in Austin. And this joke is my absolute favorite summation of what is means to be a Texan:

    Foreigner’s Travel Guide to Texas

    1) Don’t expect to find filet mignon or pasta primavera at the local
    restaurant. It’s a cafe — They serve hamburgers and chicken fried
    steak. Let them cook something they know. If you confuse them, they’ll
    kick your ass.

    2) Don’t laugh at the names (Merleen, Bodie, Bubba, Bobby Ray,
    Curley,Tammy Lynn, Billy Joe, Sissy, Clovis, etc.). Or we will HAVE to
    kick your ass.

    3) Don’t order a bottle of pop or a can of soda. In Texas it’s called a
    coke. Nobody gives a damn whether it’s Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up or
    whatever — it’s still a coke. Accept it. Doing otherwise can lead to an
    ass kicking.

    4) We know our heritage. Most of us are more literate than you (read
    some J. Frank Dobie). We are also better educated and generally a lot
    nicer than you. Don’t refer to us as a bunch of cowboy hicks, or we’ll
    kick your ass.

    5) We have plenty of business sense (e.g., Howard Hughes, H. Ross
    Perot, Southwest Airlines, Dell computers) .Naturally, sometimes we have
    small lapses in judgment (e.g., Ann Richards). However, we are not dumb
    enough to let someone move to our state just so they can run for the US
    Senate. If anyone tried to do that they would get a serious ass kickin’.

    6) Don’t laugh at our Civil War monuments. If Lee had listened to Gen.
    Hood you’d be paying taxes to Richmond instead of Washington. If you
    visit the Alamo, take your hat off and be properly humble, or we’ll kick
    your ass.

    7) We are fully aware of how hot it gets and high the humidity is, so
    shut up about it. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen, or
    we’ll kick your ass.

    8) Do not attempt to eat tamales without first removing their corn husk
    casing. Everyone will instantly know that you’re a Yankee. DO NOT,under
    any circumstances, complain that the chili is TOO hot or contains no
    kidney beans, this will get your ass kicked into next week.

    9) Don’t talk about how much better things are at home because we know
    they are not. Many of us have visited Northern hell-holes like Detroit,
    Chicago, and DC, and we have the scars to prove it. If you don’t like it
    here, Delta is ready when you are. Move your ass on home — before we
    kick it.

    10) Yes, we know how to speak proper English. We talk this way because
    we don’t want to sound like you. We don’t care if you don’t understand
    what we are saying. All other Texans understand what we are saying and
    that’s all that matters. Now, go away,or we’ll kick your ass.

    11) Don’t complain that certain areas of this state “smell” of oil.If
    your livelihood depended on those wells you’d soon learn to love the
    aroma. Besides, none of OUR lakes or rivers have caught fire recently.If
    you whine about OUR scenic beauty, we’ll kick your ass all the way back
    to Pittsburgh, PA.

    12) Don’t ridicule our Texas manners. We say sir and ma’am. We hold
    doors open for others. We offer our seats to old folks. Such things are
    expected of civilized people. Behave yourselves around our sweet little
    gray-haired grandmothers, or they’ll kick your ass-just like they did
    ours.

    13) Don’t think we’re quaint or losers because most of us live in small
    towns. We do this because we have enough sense to not live in
    crime-infested cesspools like Baltimore. Make fun of our small towns and
    we’ll kick your ass.

    14) DO NOT DARE to tell us how to cook barbecue. This will get your ass
    shot (right after it is kicked). Criticize the barbecue and you may go
    home in a pine box–minus your ass.

    15) Remember, the only reason you are lucky enough to be here in the
    first place is because we have not pulled the Border Patrol off the Rio
    Grande and put them on the Red River (where they really belong) to keep
    your ass out.

    16) Enjoy your visit.

    Like

    • WeeWeed says:

      Or we’ll kick your ass!! :lol: :lol: :lol: You’ve made my morning, ZM!! :D

      Like

    • ottawa925 says:

      That WAS good !!! I’ve been to Texas but never lived there. Some long time Illinois residents have moved to Texas and say it is great. Housing is affordable and they say the taxes are affordable. Home of the Texas Rangers.

      Like

    • jordan2222 says:

      That’s funny. A lot of this could be said about the people of South Carolina.

      Like

  2. debfrmhell says:

    15) Remember, the only reason you are lucky enough to be here in the
    first place is because we have not pulled the Border Patrol off the Rio
    Grande and put them on the Red River (where they really belong) to keep
    your ass out.

    ^^This. A few placed along the Sabine River would be nice, too.

    Thank you for the March 2 reminder. I am embarrassed to say, I forgot.

    I still haven’t made it to the Alamo to see The Letter. The lines are incredible. Wait times approaching three hours. Too much to handle before work, impossible during breaks, and closed by the time I get off. 8-(

    Like

  3. no2liberals says:

    Attending David Crockett Elementary in my small home town in East Texas, we also celebrated Texas Independence Day. We also celebrated our heroes from the brief conflict with Mexico, along with celebrating San Jacinto Day.
    As a life long Texian, with several stops along the way in other states and countries, I have visited the Alamo and Washington On The Brazos many times.
    We have it pretty danged good here, but we ain’t perfect, though you might not want to say that out loud…we would kick your ass. :lol:

    Like

  4. Tuduri says:

    There is an Italian restaurant in Willis, Texas just west of Conroe and about 45 north of Houston, It is maybe 10 miles from the US Gymnastics training center, Karolyi’s place. It serves the best bread pudding I’ve ever had.It has a melted sugar glaze on it that makes you salivate just thinking about it. I know Texas is known for for better things, but…Just northwest of Willis, you turn off the main road to get to Karolyi’s. Just after crossing the RR tracks, there is an old general store that takes you back one hundred years. There is a country style coffee shop with a bunch of new and old pickups up front. It had the best fried chicken and grits I’ve ever tasted. I’m not sure if this is even a town.You continue down a winding road past occasional houses. Lots of horses and green grass. After 8 miles or so a pine forest arises out of nowhere. You follow a gravel road and finally reach Karolyi’s ranch. Just thinking of this makes me want to move and retire there. Californians are moving to Texas for jobs. I’d move there for the fond memories.

    Like

  5. elvischupacabra says:

    Never forget that one of the “repressive measures” used against the restive Texians was today what we’d call gun control. In place of freely held weapons, the Mexican government offered the protection of their constables and military garrisons, backed up by ‘flying columns’, the first-responders of the day. Sound familiar?

    If Will Travis were alive today, he’d advise me, you and our fellow Texians and Americans to Buy Black Rifles!

    Like

  6. TXMom says:

    Happy Texas Independence Day…the most important non-religious holiday of the year!!! :-D

    Like

  7. ottawa925 says:

    Thank you, Elvis !!! Once again, a nice piece by you.

    Like

  8. jordan2222 says:

    Thanks for a great lesson in history.. It’s shameful how little respect is shown for our roots in today’s schools.

    Like

  9. 22tula says:

    Thank You elvischupacabra for this. I can tell this is a labor of Love for You. I had a childhood friend who had Texas on the brain. That is all he would talk about with the exception of baseball. He left NY to attended college in Texas and he never ever looked back.

    Like

    • WeeWeed says:

      My personal favorite map. :lol:

      Like

    • Sharon says:

      Looks like a plan to me….but is there any way we can work a piece of Oregon in there? Yeah, I know….shoot, even if we were still in MN we’d be caught there. :( Oh, well. I’ll be a contact behind the lines.

      Like

  10. stellap says:

    Thank you, Elvis, for this beautiful post. The love for Texas is something I appreciate, even though I’m not and have never been a Texan. I love Texans; does that count?

    Like

  11. Have I mentioned I was born in Texas. I was always proud of that. Sorry I never lived there.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Roger Michelson: History For Today (3/2/13) | Sandia Tea Party

  13. Pingback: Remember the Alamo | Flyover-Press.com

  14. Pingback: Road Trip – Burton, Tx to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Park | the pic i took yesterday

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