Friday, March 02, 2007

Happy Texas Independence Day!

In lieu of writing something new on the subject, since I'm in a bit of a grump this afternoon, let me just link to this past Grits item describing my somewhat mixed feelings about this hallowed Texan holiday.

Want more? Read the Texas Declaration of Independence here. See also Lone Star Times, Coyote Mercury (twice) Texas Politics, Noah Coad's Code, Bit of Smoke, Capitol Annex, El Supremo, The Fat Guy, Big White Hat,, Lubbock Marine Parents, Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, Necessary Roughness, Johnny Diva, Don't mess with Taxes, and Homesick Texan.


Anonymous said...

The documents preceeding our Declaration of Independence begin well before 1835. See Turtle Buyou resolution of 1832, etc. There is NO mention of intent to preserve slavery in the Declaration of 1836. To the contrary, "inherent and inalienable" / natural Rights of the Human Person, are recognized. This is the OPPOSITE of slavery. The "anglos" only aksed that the Constitution of 1824 be honored. See Alamo Flag. This was in the interest of ALL, Anglo or not. It is my understanding that Sam Houston was OPPOSED to slavery and Texas joining the Confederacy.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Houston did oppose joining the Confederacy, 24 years later, but there's little question he re-enacted slavery in Texas and petitioned for our inclusion in the US as a slave state as his first two official acts as Texas President.

On the Texas Declaration, those same inalienable rights were in the US Constitution, but it allowed slavery, too. The fact is, the Texans declared their revolt in direct response to the arrival of news Santa Anna had abolished slavery in Tejas. Many who came from the US to fight (e.g., the famed Tennesseans) did so primarily to help win a potential new slave state to the American pantheon.

I don't say that to besmirch those who revolted, but that's the historical fact of the matter and it does little good to pretend otherwise, IMO. They also fought for other reasons - to establish public schools, for example, and to end what they called the tyranny of the priesthood. But it would be intellectually dishonest and historically inaccurate to deny slavery was a big part of why Texas rebelled against Mexico. It was in fact the immediate trigger.

Anonymous said...

SLAVERY was ILLEGAL – from 7-4-1776 and from 3-2-1836.
I am a history scholar. Like others – I do not know “all” of human history. But I know more than most.

I remain of the belief that slavery (the practice of one human “owning”, as property, another human, was illegal from the time of the founding of our Nation and the founding of our State.

TRUE, the ‘practice’ was tolerated. But the practice was NEVER legal.

Our Organic Law of 7-4-1776 and of 3-2-1836 prohibited it. Every incarnation of our US Constitution and Texas Constitution prohibited it. These are Laws that govern all other ‘laws’.

TRUE – there were in some States statutory laws that were unconstitutional but carried the color or pretense of law. TRUE – there were Judges who wrote opinions that hindered the enforcement of the Organic Law and Constitutional provisions that barred the ILLEGAL practice. Thus the practice continued openly for an embarrassing period of time.

If I am being "intellectually dishonest’ then please provide me with the incarnation of our Texas Constitution that I missed. I believe I have read every one.

Slavery was "allowed" - but NEVER was it "legal". I know of NO evidence that preserving the illegal practice was the primary cause for Texas Independence. It may have been a contributing factor but, I believe, not a significant or major factor. Feel free to point me to documents if I am mistaken.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Your distinction between the "legality" of slavery and its "practice to me sounds like specious hair splitting. Texans supported slavery and fought two wars over it. That's just the truth. Just a quick web search confirms it.

For starters, why don't you check this article which states, "After Texas gained independence, the Texas Constitution specified conditions of slavery, effectively stating that all slaves would remain in servitude."

Or check the citations behind the Wikipedia article on the Republic of Texas, which writes, "On October 13 of the same year, a majority of voters in the Republic approved a proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and the slave trade. This constitution was later accepted by the U.S. Congress, making Texas a U.S. state on the same day annexation took effect, December 29, 1845 (therefore bypassing a territorial phase)[1]."

Also see the entries for 1835 and 1836 in this timeline.

Sorry my anonymous friend, you're simply wrong on this one. Or if you're right, it's just a legalism, not anything that ever had meaning for enslaved blacks in Texas.

Anonymous said...

The Tarlton law school - see link above - provides the exact text of every Texas Constitution, supported by pictures of original documents.

The Site you referred me to is PRO-Mexico and ANTI-Texas. It statements regarding prior Texas Constitutions is a LIE. It is disinformation intent on discrediting and dishonoring our State in the hope of making it, once again, a part of Mexico.

Slavery was NEVER 'legal' in our State. As for "Texans" - the people were divided in their attitudes towards the 'practice'. Visit the town square of New Braunfels and you see TWO statutes. One for Texans that fought for the Confederates, and one for Texans that fought for the Union.

It it NOT "splitting hairs". Governments often allow Unconstitutional, Illegal, practices at the behest of powerful interests. Sometimes for long periods of time. Governments sometimes engage in Unconstitutional, Illegal, activities for long periods of time. Your blog is all about exposing them so they can be stopped. Is it not?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

First off, personally I am Pro-Mexico AND Pro-Texas. They're not mutually exclusive.

Also, I referred you to three different sites, actualy, including Wikipedia which is not anti-Texas, but in any event, please tell me which of these historical facts you disagree with:

Texas declared independence on behalf of the "Anglo" population soon after word reached here that slavery would be abolished.

Upon victory, Sam Houston affirmed slaveholders' 'property' rights and petitioned for Texas' inclusion in the union as a slave state.

Slavery existed in Texas after the revolt and was enforced by lawful authorities.

No Texas court ever held slavery unconstitutional under the state constitution before the Civil War.

To my knowledge all those things are true. If so, to claim slavery was 'illegal' is indeed hair splitting, with all respect. best,

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hansen,

PLEASE provide me with links to documents that prove your assertion. I provided proof that what you allege happened in 1835 was NOT the ‘cause’ of the Texas Revolt. The Mexican government’s failure and refusal to honor the Constitution of 1824 was the cause, and the revolt began long before 1835. SEE ALAMO FLAG.

I have provided you with links that prove my assertion that Slavery was NEVER LEGAL. It is an undisputable Fact that “anglos” fought three major, bloody, conflicts to END the practice; The American Revolution, the Texas Fight for Independence, and the Civil War. Texans fought on the side of the UNION to end the illegal practice. My Anglo ancestors were among those making the sacrifice on the side of abolition.

Feudalism, still practiced today in Mexico and other Latin American countries, is a form of slavery. I do not see Texans learning Spanish and becoming part of the corrupt, two class, society of Mexico as a solution to the illegal, unconstitutional, practices that have recently become common practice in Texas and our United States. Practices promoted by the likes of Alberto Gonzalez and John Yoo who want to end the egalitarian cultural norms of our United States for a culture similar to that of Mexico and China. Unfortunately with the assistance of the likes of George Bush and others that want to roll back the clock and re-establish the European Feudalism of the Middle Ages in our American Culture / Society of today.

I proved the site you referred me too, claiming to represent “cultural history”, presents disinformation in an attempt to discredit the “anglo” / European culture that has been the primary influence in the development of our own. I understand their bitterness. But that is not an excuse for disinformation and promoting reverse discrimination against those of us who are of European Ancestry (“Anglo”).

I greatly admire what you are doing with your blog. I hope you are not offended by our disagreement over our perception of and analysis of history. I will continue to fight for Compliance with the spirit and intent, as well as the letter, of our Texas Constitution by our government. I hope we can do so together.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I have provided four factual assertions that you don't dispute, and I've said that if those are true, the debate over whether slavery was legal is pedantry. That's still my position. No offense, but denying slavery was legal in Texas borders on nuts - like denying the Holocaust. We had slavery here. Our most famous founders supported it. It wasn't pretty. Denying it is wrong. I don't know quite what else to say about it.

I'm not an historian, I've provided links that you claim are suspect (like Wikipedia?!) because thy are Pro-Mexico, though I could just as easily dispute your claims saying you're "Pro-Texas." Obviously I don't have the time or inclination to read every version of the Texas Constitution at the Tarlton law library.

If you don't dispute any of the four declarative statements in my last response, we should just agree to disagree because we're interpreting those facts differently.

And I don't take offense that we disagree. You're certainly not the first! best,