“An area twice as large and rapidly becoming as populous as New England should have at least ten Senators,” Garner told The New York Times in April 1921, “and the only way we can get them is to make five States, not five small States, mind you, but five great States.” Thanks to the terms of Texas’ 1845 admission to the Union, he argued, the state could split anytime, without any action from Congress—a power no other state has. Texas, which had become a state in 1845, was right in the middle of the heated slavery controversy. The United States House and Senate, in turn, accepted the Texas state constitution in a Joint Resolution to Admit Texas as a State which was signed by the president on December 29, 1845. In 2009, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight drew up a fantasy five-way split that created three Republican mini-Texases, a blue state along the Rio Grande, and a swing state around Austin. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. “We’re the only state that can divide ourselves without anybody’s permission,” says Donald W. Whisenhunt, a Texas native and author of the 1987 book The Five States of Texas: An Immodest Proposal. The planters exported their cotton against imported goods; the balance of trade was yet adverse. Who was president when Texas become a state? Bridgewater, NJ: Replica Books, 1996. They called their new country the Republic of Texas, which was an independent country for nine years. In December of 1845, Texas became the 28th state of the United States of America. “Which State would yield the emblem of a single star?” asked the Texas State Gazette. A response from Ralph H. Brock, a former State Bar of Texas director, argued that the new-states clause would violate the Supreme Court’s equal-footing doctrine. Erick Trickey is a writer in Boston, covering politics, history, cities, arts, and science. Pro-division delegates were a majority at the convention, but they couldn’t agree on a map—a recurring hurdle for Texas divisionism in the early years. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Were Panic Buttons Removed From Democratic Lawmaker’s Office Prior to Insurrection? ISBN 0-735-10167-1   (pp. Give a Gift. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won it's independence, becoming a independent republic. Some of that debate came from Texan nationalists. Keep up-to-date on: © 2021 Smithsonian Magazine. Their stated aim was to create a Union-friendly West Texas that might rejoin the U.S. earlier than the rest of the state; critics argued they were really trying to create more state offices for themselves. How to divide Texas’ oil wealth, which funds its major state universities? The annexation of Texas to the United States was a matter of not only national, but international concern. Ann Richards in 1990. Texas was officially admitted to the Union when President James K. Polk signed the Joint Resolution to Admit Texas as a State on 29 December 1845. 5- Questionable Convention adjourned Aug. 28th, 1845 with attested approval of the new so called constitution of The State of Texas on Aug 27th, 1845. Did Marine Corps Tell Pelosi, ‘We Don’t Work For You’? As early as 1836, Texan voters had chosen overwhelmingly to support annexation. It’s so named for the canines heard howling in the winter months. The issue of the 36°30’N slavery demarcation line soon became moot when the Missouri Compromise was effectively repealed by the 1854 passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and explicitly ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision. But that quarrel lost out to Texans’ pride in their shared history. Image: President Anson Jones lowering the flag of the Republic of Texas following annexation by the United States. In 1845, Texas joined the Annexation was approved by the Texas and U.S. congresses in 1845, and the transfer of authority from the republic to the state of Texas took place in 1846. The only concession to the North: Slavery would be prohibited in any states formed north of the Missouri Compromise line. Texas never came close to dividing after that, though West Texas’ coyotes howled about leaving when they felt neglected. Nonetheless, although the U.S. Senate rejected an annexation treaty with Texas in 1844, it passed an annexation bill on 26 February 1845. But the main opposition was found in the US. Texas was officially admitted to the Union when President James K. Polk signed the Joint Resolution to Admit Texas as a State on 29 December 1845. … Serving Texas for more than 30 years in the state House and Senate, Democrat Carl Parker says, even though Texas was blue, it was never a liberal state. Texas, constituent state of the United States of America. Smithsonian Institution, (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas), A flock of flamingos flying over Lake Magadi. Future land sales were earmarked to fund Texas education. Advertising Notice He didn’t. After the war was lost, the slaves in Texas did not find out until a month later on June 19, 1865. But that same sense of self will prevent Texans from ever actually trying it. Over this sprawling community the government was only loosely organized . How did Texas become a state? “That’s just the way it is.”. Creating a … Texas became a state by a Senate vote of 27-25. Until 1836, Texas had been part of Mexico, but in that year a group of settlers from the United States who lived in Mexican Texas declared independence. They threatened to break up the state in April 1921 after Governor Pat M. Neff vetoed a bill to build a college in West Texas. He continued to serve as senator and governor after Texas became part of the United States in 1845. Texas State Historical Association. Moreover, the northern portion of Texas intruded beyond the 36°30’N line of latitude which had been established as the demarcation point between free territory and slave territory by the 1820 Missouri Compromise (although the provisions of that compromise technically applied only to “all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana” and therefore did not encompass Texas). Dividing Texas into many little Texases was seriously considered at the time Texas became a state and for decades afterward. At first, Mexico encouraged Americans to settle Texas. While that statewide opposition did open Texas up to Republicans, it didn’t necessarily solidify Texas as a red state – Texas was one of two states to elect Jimmy Carter in 1976 – and the state elected Democratic Gov. "It … The admission of Texas to the Union posed the potential for upsetting the delicate political balance between free states and slave states. When Texas got its independence from Mexico in 1836, it wanted to join the United States as a state. That northern tip poked above the 1820 Missouri Compromise line, which did not allow slavery north of latitude 36 degrees, 30 minutes. The Monroe Doctrine could not by any stretch of the imagination keep British influence out, if Britain chose to fish in Texas waters. “Let’s Mess With Texas,” a 2004 Texas Law Review paper, argued that wily Texas Republicans could use the 1845 new-states clause to gerrymander their way to eight more U.S. Senate seats and Electoral College votes. Can Texas Divide Itself into Five Separate States. Did Trump Tell Supporters to Storm US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021? Texas occupies the south-central segment of the country and is the largest state in area except for Alaska. “Texas would make 220 States the size of Rhode Island, 54 the size of Connecticut, six the size of New York,” argued Garner, still hoping a divided Texas could outvote the Yankees. After several years of contentious debate, in 1845 the United States’ various political factions finally reached enough of a consensus to agree that the benefits of annexing Texas (nominally an independent republic ever since it had been wrested from Mexico after the decisive 1836 battle at San Jacinto, although neither Texas nor Mexico ever accepted the treaties signed a few weeks later) outweighed the pitfalls. The most likely possibility that Texas might be split into more than one state was headed off in 1850. In 1847, Van Zandt ran for governor of Texas, promising to divide it into as many as four states. But South Carolina didn't have the sort of influx of a lot of suburban growth that Texas did. Texas and the rest of the Deep South was the stronghold for the Democratic Party for most of the 19th & 20th century. California (recently acquired by the U.S in the war with Mexico) had approved a free-state constitution and petitioned Congress for statehood; meanwhile, Texans were engaged in a border dispute, claiming that their territory included half of present-day New Mexico and part of Colorado. Cookie Policy Most of its supporters came from east of the Brazos, another example of the widespread grievances between east and west Texas. A clause in the document annexing Texas to the United States allowed for Texas to be divided up into as many as five different states. This day is still celebrated today as Juneteenth. It became the 28th state of the union in 1845. Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution already specifically provided for the formation of new states through the junction or division of existing states: New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress. The series of congressional bills collectively known as the Compromise of 1850 (temporarily) settled these troublesome issues by admitting California as a free state and giving Texas $10 million to relinquish its territorial claims, while the pro-slavery section supported these proposals in exchange for the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Another contentious issue regarding the annexation of Texas by the United States remained, however: slavery. Mexico became independent from Spain in the 1820s. Their threat may have inspired Garner’s division talk with The New York Times later that month. real government consisted primarily of sheriffs and justices of the peace. The largest towns were frontier outposts with mud streets and at most a few thousand assorted people. Prior to its statehood, Texas was its own country (yes, country) from 1836 to 1845, and was originally part of Mexico. Did Members of Congress Provide ‘Reconnaissance Tours’ Before Capitol Riots? Texas formally declared independence in March of 1836; there were many reasons why they did so. In February 1845, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that allowed for Texas to become part of the union if it voted to do so. “For the next three years west Texans assumed a militant attitude both in and out of the legislature,” wrote Ernest Wallace in his 1979 book The Howling of the Coyotes. But sales proved to be disappointing. "Texas, Origin of Name". The idea survives today as a quirk in American law, a remnant of Texas’ brief history as an independent nation. Was ‘TRUMP’ Carved into a Florida Manatee’s Back? The state flag of Texas  (File Photo) (File Photo) By Briana Lao. The legislature established Texas Technological College, now Texas Tech University, in Lubbock in 1923. The first 13 became states in July 1776 when they agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence.Each of those 13 agreed to the first U.S. constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, which formed the first Union of states between 1777 and 1781. Texas can by law choose to divide itself into five different states. But public opinion stood in opposition to their plan. It joined as a territory in 1844 and became a full state in 1845. This material may not be reproduced without permission. Most state leaders were Democrats prior to the Civil War, and thus supported the pro-slavery Confederacy. Each accused the other of incompetence and neglect. Article IV, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution states that Congress must approve any new states. . American Thinker joined the likes of Newsmax in issuing a correction to various claims it... A photograph of someone carrying a bust of Abraham Lincoln out of the White House... Is the Donald J. Trump State Park in New York Real? Did a Conservative News Site Admit Its Voter-Fraud Claims Were False? The same day as the veto, 5,000 angry West Texans met in the town of Sweetwater and drafted resolutions calling for a breakup unless the legislature redistricted the state and built the college. The issue of slav… Does an Impeached US President Lose Benefits? The primary stumbling block to Texas’ annexation by the U.S. was that the act was almost certain to provoke war with Mexico, an eventuality which came to pass with the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846. In 2012, the federal government ranked Texas as the worst … The idea that Texas could divide and grab eight more Senate seats appeals to Texans’ self-image as a unique, sprawling, powerful state. Terms of Use Another study in 2019 determined Texas's growth rate at 1,000 people per day. Pro-division meetings attracted few people. Dividing the state would give Texas more power in Washington, Van Zandt argued. 4- Archives show only 13 delegates from Texas and the rest are from the United States. Before John Nance Garner became Franklin Roosevelt’s vice president, and before he declared the job “isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit,” the cow-punching, whiskey-drinking, poker-dealing Texas congressman pushed a plan to grab even more clout for his already enormous state. For their part, some southerners wanted to be able to carve additional slave states out of the huge Texas territory in order to counter the admission of free states and thereby maintain the balance of power between free and slave states in the Senate. Fehrenbach noted in his history of Texas, the nascent republic was ill-suited to maintain itself as a sovereign nation, and the presence of such a tenuous political entity in the midst of North America posed a threat to the ambitions and interests of the United States: Sam Houston’s republic was a struggling frontier community of less than forty thousand people; it was a series of plantations and farms carved out of the Southern forests along the river bottoms extending up from the Gulf, with an utterly colonial economy. “It’s impossible to get Texans, cantankerous as they are, to agree on a plan,” Whisenhunt says. The slavery issue (at the time, 90% of Texans were neither slaves nor slaveholders) was addressed in the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States, approved by Congress on 1 March 1845, which included a provision allowing Texas to be sub-divided into up to four more states with slavery being banned in states carved out of Texas territory north of the Missouri Compromise line and left up to popular sovereignty in states formed south of the line: New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution; and such states as may be formed out of the territory lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise Line, shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as the people of each State, asking admission shall desire; and in such State or States as shall be formed out of said territory, north of said Missouri Compromise Line, slavery, or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited. Had the boundary issue been decided in favor of Texas, southerners might have pushed to create a second state out of the larger Texas territory in order to balance California’s admission as a free state. The state extends nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from north to south and about the same distance from east to west. McLaren and his followers believed that when Texas became a state in 1845, that was really a hostile takeover of a separate sovereign nation, which meant that the Republic of Texas … 247-267). Texas’ admission to the Union, with the new-states clause included, passed Congress 120-98. It would eventually have to be ratified by the Texas Congress and voters, but that slim margin of victory in the Senate in late February of 1845, is what led to the annexation of Texas with the transfer of power taking place on February 19, 1846. (Making himself governor of a smaller state didn’t seem to bother Van Zandt, evidently.) Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836 and spent the next nine years as its own nation. It was a change welcomed by many. Sam Houston died in 1863 in Huntsville, Texas, where a 67-foot-tall memorial statue of him now stands. It’s also a peculiar part of Texas’ identity as a state so big, it could split itself up—even though it loves its own bigness too much to do it. “There’s a strong amount of pride in being the biggest, the best, and the first,” he says. “One Texas was amply sufficient to have on hand for the present,” Grant told a reporter. Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans. Vote Now! While the young country's leaders first expressed interest in becoming a state in 1836, … Another Texas-related legend holds that the Texans negotiated an annexation treaty which reserved to them the right to secede from the Union without the consent of the U.S. Congress, but the terms of Texas’ annexation contain no such provision. Texas was originally a part of Mexico, and about 10 years after winning its independence from Mexico, the United States allowed Texas to join the nation. Texas became a major destination for migration during the early 21st century and was named the most popular state to move for three consecutive years. Not only would the annexation of Texas add another slave state to the U.S., but that state would be a vast chunk of territory — nearly four times as large as the then-largest state, Missouri — which would extend the slaveholding portion of the U.S. far beyond its current western boundary. Texas was annexed by the United States in 1845 and became the 28th state. Soon after, Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas. 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