Many books have been written about Texas; most seem to embellish events or characters to entertain the readers. It is time for a fully authenticated, foot-noted, consistent history of Texas to be made available to Texans, Americans and the rest of the world. It is now possible to study newspapers published contemporary with the events all during the 180 years of Texas’ existence due to electronic scanning and posting on the internet. Official journals written by the presidents of Texas, and books written by scholarly visitors in the 1800s are readily available online. Hundreds of hours of such research and compiling accurate records stand behind this production, and we gladly offer it to those who love Texas and to those who may feel a bit jealous of Texas and its many advantages. Possibly the best famous comment was written by John Steinbeck who wrote The Grapes of Wrath:
“Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word…. A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner.” ―John Steinbeck
What is a People?
The identification and recognition of “a people” is a primary issue in International Law. A people recognized as a nation (in the natural, organic sense) is a driving force in customary relations between nations (as political entities).
In Texas today, there is a confusion concerning this simple concept. During the historical course of events that we have documented herein, the nationality of “Texian” has become essentially extinct. For example, Estonia was extinguished for 50 years, but then was restored to nationhood through the international community.
But, by the grace of God, there are some “Texians” who will not go quietly to extinction. We will continue working to secure the international recognition of the people of the independent Republic of Texas.
We begin this book by revealing the nationality of the Texian people. We will show who we are as “Texians” by looking to primary sources, original records, early historians, and by learning applicable laws both domestic and international.
Identity and Character of the Texian People
History shows many attempts during the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s to start settlements in the huge, wild land called Texas1. But they all failed, from many causes. Attacks by indigenous tribes, drought or famine, freezing, cholera, military-political abuse, and other setbacks caused all prior settlements to fail and disappear2.
When the new United States of Mexico formally invited Americans from the north to move and settle in Texas, offering them free leagues of land, the hardiest, self-sufficient, brave, skilled and freedom-loving Americans took great risks at their own expense and made their way down to Texas on their own or in small caravans or steamboats.3 Three “people groups” began to associate on the land of Texas, finding their common love of the land, desire for liberty, pursuit of opportunity and Christian faith compatible and cohesive. People from southern Mexico came up to “El Norte” (Tejas), as well as people from the Deep South states and the Greater Appalachian region of the U.S.A.; all came to Texas seeking liberty and opportunity. These three “people groups”, for mutual survival and benefit, together became Texians.4
Once they arrived they had to apply to an Empresario (a for-profit contractor of the Mexican government) for the title to their land. They soon discovered that their Empresario was hard to find, busy living the high life from his privileged position, and the title took months or longer to be produced. So some just had to settle on an unclaimed tract of land and build a log cabin by hand to protect their family. The single men were required by contract to marry a Mexican woman; all had to become Roman Catholic and Mexican citizens, and learn Spanish, which they did. Today they would be called expatriates from the U.S.A.5
But it got much harder. If a tangible injustice was done to them, they sometimes had to travel up to 1,000 miles to a court in Mexico City in order to present their case. Travel was on foot or horseback, with robbers and savages along the trail. Military protection was not provided by Mexico in this land north of the Rio Grande.6
Coahuila was a northern State in the confederation of Mexican States. It was expanded to include Texas in 1824, and became the State of “Coahuila y Tejas”. Written provisions in their constitution allowed Texas to separate and become a State on its own, when it attained enough population and self-governing structure.7
Mexico as a nation was not known for insisting on rule-of-law governing as practiced by the early American colonies that became the sovereign States of America. This hampered and frustrated the new settlers from the north. Equal justice was hard to find, because some influential Mexicans resented the increasing presence and boldness of the new settlers. Eventually with all the delays and injustice severely hampering their civilizing of the new Land, the Texians began meeting to work out ways to solve the intractable problems. Many wanted to secede lawfully from Coahuila (but not from Mexico), as allowed in their constitution, because Coahuila’s bureaucracy was too far away and too self-interested to deal with Texas’ problems.8
But all was not well in Mexico City either, for the Texian homesteaders. General Santa Ana was a national hero and head of the Army with political ambitions, who was elected President of Mexico.9
In 1836 Santa Ana led his large army across the Rio Bravo (today’s Rio Grande) and attacked the settlers in Texas. As they heard about his murderous attacks they packed up and fled, leaving all the work they had put into their homesteads. Writers of the day called it the Runaway Scrape. They fled toward Louisiana, the closest safe refuge outside Mexican jurisdiction.10 The delegates of the people of Texas in general convention unanimously passed and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836.11
A hastily assembled provisional defense force led by Colonel Travis was sent to a tiny Spanish mission on the main trail from Mexico into Texas, to delay Santa Ana’s army at the Alamo, where San Antonio, Texas is today. Although outnumbered one hundred to one, these defenders withstood many attacks but were finally overrun and all were slaughtered.12
On Palm Sunday March 27, 1836 at the town of Goliad, all 342 Texians being protected by Col. James W. Fannin, Jr. were massacred by Santa Ana’s command, even though they had formally surrendered.13
General Sam Houston was named head of a provisional Texas army, and he had the army retreat across each of several rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico and encamped on the safe side, buying time for the refugees on foot to stay ahead of Santa Ana’s armies. Eventually his army crossed a bayou leading into the San Jacinto River, and set up their defenses. Santa Ana’s armies arrived and encamped on the opposite side of that bayou, and waited for reinforcements to arrive, which they did.14
Before dusk, Santa Ana had his soldiers eat and take a siesta. But General Houston had his mounted cavalry quietly go out and cross the bayou on the flanks of the Mexican army. His soldiers quietly waded across the bayou pushing log rafts with two small cannons on them. On Houston’s signal, the cannons fired grapeshot in a crossfire and the cavalry and soldiers charged the Mexican armies. In 18 minutes the Mexican armies were defeated and fleeing for their lives.15
One of Houston’s scouts found General Santa Ana fleeing in a private’s uniform, and brought him back to General Houston. The next day Santa Ana signed a Treaty at Velasco16 agreeing to cede all Texas lands to the inhabitants of those lands perpetually, and to never invade Texas again. That treaty was also signed by the leader of the provisional government of the new nation, the Republic of Texas. The Texas government quickly surveyed and marked the boundaries of this huge new nation.17
In the ensuing years Texas formed treaties and set up embassies in several other nations, and was an active part of the growing community of nations.18,19 But in 1845 the United States congress passed a resolution to “annex Texas.” Even back then, nations were annexing “territories” that had no government. But one nation did not “annex” another nation; they either merged by treaty or were taken by conquest.20 There were serious irregularities in the subsequent process, but in January 1846 the United States flag was hoisted and Texas became one of the sovereign states of the federation21 called the United States of America.22
The Republic of Texas was annexed into the Union as having the same sovereign prerogatives as the original 13 States23 — Texas specifically retained its sovereignty and all its lands and its debts. The U.S.A. obligated itself to protect the borders of Texas, negotiate any contention about the boundaries of Texas, and guaranteed that Texas would always have a “republic” form of government (as contrasted to a democracy, oligarchy or dictatorship)24.
The United States of America began violating the terms and obligations of the annexation agreement soon after January 1846, and contention grew between Texas and the over-reaching U.S.A. federal government. Then the U.S.A. used Texas as a land bridge for the Mexican-American War. Understand that Texas was frontier country, and communication was slow and uncertain. Few lived in cities; most Texian people worked their section of rural land and did not get much news. So they knew little of the violations by the U.S.A. The Annexation Agreement25 clearly stated that Texas could choose to “sell some of its lands in order to form up to four new states.” But in 1849 the U.S.A. Congress proposed a Compromise that would tear away huge parts of the lands belonging to Texas and form five new states planned by U.S.A. congressmen. The Texas Governor objected strongly to this overt violation of the Annexation Agreement, but was ignored by the U.S.A. Later a U.S.A. court awarded ten million dollars to Texas as reparations for that huge violation of the Annexation Treaty obligations.26
The original Constitution of the United States of America was a Treaty between the thirteen original sovereign American States, delegating only a limited, defined set of powers to a tiny Federal government, to handle defense and mediate issues between any of the several States. Through the 1850s the northern industrial States instituted “a system of revenue and disbursements, by which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed upon the South, and an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the North”.27
This imbalance was driving the south into deeper poverty, and the southern senators and representatives tried repeatedly to balance the revenues, but were rebuffed in Congress. The Union would not even negotiate with the South.28 As a last resort, the southern congressmen got up and walked out of the U.S.A. Congress in a form of boycott. The whole issue escalated until the southern States formed a new Confederation and seceded from the north-controlled Union.29
(1.) Christopher Long, Corpus Christi, TX, Handbook of Texas Online, (accessed July 25, 2016), http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hdc03
(2.) William Kennedy, Texas: The Rise, Progress and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, (1841). https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2389/ “On the 24th of July, 1684, La Salle sailed from La Rochelle, with four vessels and two hundred and eighty persons (of whom one hundred were soldiers), and everything requisite for founding a settlement. Deceived in the reckoning by the currents of the gulf, the expedition failed in reaching its destination — the mouths of the Mississippi, where it was intended to establish a colony. Having sailed unconsciously to the southward, one hundred and twenty leagues beyond the entrance of that river, La Salle landed, on the 18th of February, 1685, at what is Matagorda of the present day. Here he took formal possession of the country in the name of his sovereign, after the fashion of the times, built and garrisoned a small fort on the Guadalupe, and acquired some importance for the post of St. Louis.”
(3). Margaret Swett Henson, “Anglo-American Colonization”, Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 25, 2016, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uma01
(4). Collin Woodward, American Nations: A history of the eleven rival regional cultures of North America, 31 (2011).
(5) Wallace L. McKeehan, Empresario Contracts in the Colonization of Texas 1825-1834, Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas, accessed July 25, 2016, http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/empresarios.htm
(6) Earnest Wallace, David M. Vigness & George B. Ward, Documents of Texas History, 76 – 80 (2nd ed., 1994). https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296840/m1/89/ “Our ‘supreme tribunal of justice’ holds its sessions upward of seven hundred miles distant from our central population; and that distance is greatly enlarged, and sometimes made impassable, by the casualties incident to a ‘mail’ conducted by a single horseman through a wilderness, often infested by vagrant and murderous Indians.”
(7) Ibid., pg.61-62. https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296840/m1/74/
(8) Ibid., pg. 76 – 80 https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296840/m1/89/
(9) Wilfred H. Callcott, “Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez De,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 25, 2016 https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsa29
(10) Carolyn Callaway Covington, “Runaway Scrape,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 25, 2016, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pfr01
(11) Earnest Wallace, David M. Vigness & George B. Ward, Documents of Texas History, 98 – 99 (2nd ed., 1994) https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296840/m1/111/
(12) Stephen L. Hardin, “Alamo, Battle of The,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 25, 2016, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qea02
(13) Harbert Davenport and Craig H. Roell, “Goliad Massacre,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 24, 2016, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qeg02
(14) Travis Tubbs, The Texas Army, accessed July 25, 2016, http://www.texasarmy.org/army
(15) Wallace L. McKeehan, THE BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO, SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS 1997-2013, accessed July 25, 2016, https://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/batsanjacinto.htm
(16) The Treaty of Velasco, TSLAC, page last modified March 28, 2016 https://www.tsl.texas.gov/treasures/republic/velasco-01.html : See The Treaty of Velasco (Private), May 14, 1836 at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/treasures/republic/velasco-private-1.html
(17) William Kennedy, Texas: The Rise, Progress and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, Vol.1, 10 (1841). https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2389/
(18) Negotiating Peace with Mexico, TSLAC, page last modified March 28, 2016, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/treasures/republic/peace.html “General James Hamilton’s career as diplomat under Lamar was a successful one. He negotiated a treaty of commerce with the Netherlands on September 15, 1840, and three treaties with Great Britain: one of commerce and navigation, one providing for British mediation in the Texas-Mexico peace negotiations, and one calling for the suppression of slave trade.”
(19) Joseph W. Schmitz, “Diplomatic Relations of the Republic of Texas,” Handbook of Texas Online. “Henderson, secretary of state, was sent to London early in October 1837 to open negotiations with Lord Palmerston. The British were fearful that recognition would jeopardize their friendly standing with Mexico and declined to enter into formal relations; they did consent, however, to admit Texas commerce to British ports on their own terms. In France Henderson fared better. Dealing first with Count Mole, and later with his successor Marshal Soult, the Texas agent arranged a treaty by which France recognized the independence of Texas and admitted her commerce on a most favored nation basis. The treaty was signed on September 25, 1839, and Dubois de Saligny was appointed chargé d’affaires to the republic.
(20) C. T. Neu, “Annexation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 25, 2016 https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mga02
(21) Bernard Janin Sage, P.C. Centz, The Republic of Republics, 274, (4th Ed. 1881). “Unquestionably, then, our general constitution of government is a league, or the result of a league, ‘between the states ratifying the same’ and the government provided for is necessarily an agency of the said states, and subordinate to them, for they were the sole and exclusive actors and sources of authority. Such was, as I have heretofore conclusively shown, the theory of the federalists at the making of the constitution.”
(22) Earnest Wallace, David M. Vigness & George B. Ward, Documents of Texas History 146, 148 (2nd ed., 1994) https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296840/m1/161/?q=Texas%20became%20a%20state%20of%20the%20union%20Jan.%201846
(23) Luther Martin, Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Federal Convention, 19 – 20 (1839) https://archive.org/details/secretproceeding01unit “like individuals, each State is considered equally free and equally independent, the one having no right to exercise authority over the other, though more strong, more wealthy, or abounding with more inhabitants. That, when a number of States unite themselves under a federal government, the same principles apply to them, as when a number of individual men unite themselves under a State government. That every argument which shows one man ought not to have more votes than another, because he is wiser, stronger, or wealthier, proves that one State ought not to have more votes than another, because it is stronger, richer, or more populous.”
(24) Earnest Wallace, David M. Vigness & George B. Ward, Documents of Texas History 146, 148 (2nd ed., 1994) https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth296840/m1/159/
(25) Hunter Miller, The Treaty of Annexation – Texas, April 12, 1844, The Avalon Project, accessed July 27, 2016, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/texan05.asp
(26) “An act proposing to the State of Texas…” The 1850 Compromise. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875 Statutes at Large, 31st Congress, 1st Session, https://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=009/llsl009.db&recNum=473
(27) Calhoun’s Speech on the Compromise of 1850, Congressional Globe, 31st Congress, 1st Session. Volume 22, part 1 (1850). 451-455. http://college.cengage.com/history/ayers_primary_sources/calhoun_speech_compromise_1850.htm “The legislation by which it has been effected may be classed under three heads. The first is, that series of acts by which the South has been excluded from the common territory belonging to all of the States, as the members of the Federal Union, and which have had the effect of extending vastly the portion allotted to the Northern section, and restricting within narrow limits the portion left the South; the next consists in adopting a system of revenue and disbursements, by which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed upon the South, and an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the North; and the last is a system of political measures by which the original character of the Government has been radically changed.”
(28) The Kansas-Nebraska Act, U.S. History.org, accessed July 27, 2016 http://www.ushistory.org/us/31a.asp “The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 may have been the single most significant event leading to the Civil War. By the early 1850s settlers and entrepreneurs wanted to move into the area now known as Nebraska. However, until the area was organized as a territory, settlers would not move there because they could not legally hold a claim on the land. The southern states’ representatives in Congress were in no hurry to permit a Nebraska territory because the land lay north of the 36°30′ parallel— where slavery had been outlawed by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Just when things between the north and south were in an uneasy balance, Kansas and Nebraska opened fresh wounds.” The person behind the Kansas-Nebraska Act was Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. He said he wanted to see Nebraska made into a territory and, to win southern support, proposed a southern state inclined to support slavery. It was Kansas. Underlying it all was his desire to build a transcontinental railroad to go through Chicago. The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed each territory to decide the issue of slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty. Kansas with slavery would violate the Missouri Compromise, which had kept the Union from falling apart for the last thirty-four years. The long-standing compromise would have to be repealed. Opposition was intense, but ultimately the bill passed in May of 1854. Territory north of the sacred 36°30′ line was now open to popular sovereignty. The North was outraged. The political effects of Douglas’ bill were enormous. Passage of the bill irrevocably split the Whig Party, one of the two major political parties in the country at the time. Every northern Whig had opposed the bill; almost every southern Whig voted for it. With the emotional issue of slavery involved, there was no way a common ground could be found. Most of the southern Whigs soon were swept into the Democratic Party. Northern Whigs reorganized themselves with other non-slavery interests to become the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln. This left the Democratic Party as the sole remaining institution that crossed sectional lines. Animosity between the North and South was again on the rise. The North felt that if the Compromise of 1820 was ignored, the Compromise of 1850 could be ignored as well. Violations of the hated Fugitive Slave Law increased.”
(29) American Secession and States Rights, 318, Law Magazine and Law Review, vol. XV, 1863. “Secession is the withdrawal of a State from the Federation, and if that State be a sovereign power, the act of secession is a sovereign act incapable, as hereafter shown, of legal limitation, and may be exercised by the sovereign power at its option. A federal compact to which sovereigns are parties may be terminated by any one of them at pleasure, and any question arising therefrom, being a question between sovereign powers, must be settled by international law, and not by the jus civile, or law of a state.”