Quote of the Day: The Texas Declaration of Independence

 

Today is San Jacinto Day, the day Texas won its independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. Seven weeks earlier at Washington on Brazos, Texas had declared its independence. At San Jacinto, they secured it.

The battle involved only around 2000 participants – roughly the total attendance of two Five-A high schools with their faculties. The age distribution of the combatants was likely only a few years older. Most of the common soldiers were in their late teens or very early twenties. Yet the result of the battle changed North American history decisively, opening the path for the United States to spread to the Pacific coast along the section that fell outside the Louisiana Purchase.

The declaration of independence signed at Washington-on-Brazos has surprising relevance today. The causes of the Texas Revolution (and five other revolutions within Mexico between 1835 and 1843) were the abrogation of rights within the 1828 Mexican Constitution.

Today we have a President who proclaims no right in the Constitution is absolute, a federal government that is undermining the public education system and the right of trial by jury, enforcing unequal laws, denying people the right to worship as they wish, demanding we give up our arms and setting loose pirates (aka Antifa) among us. Read it and see if you do not agree that it remains relevant.

The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the Town of Washington on the 2nd day of March 1836

When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression. When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants. When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet. When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America. In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

It hath been, during the whole time of our connection withit, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therefor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.

Published in Politics
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 9 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    The Battle of San Jacinto lasted all of about 18 minutes, too.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    The Battle of San Jacinto lasted all of about 18 minutes, too.

    It was a hot 18 minutes, though.

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I haven’t visited San Jacinto by bicycle, but I have visited the site. One of the participants in the battle was from Michigan and I think was awarded a land grant for his service. His name comes up in local Michigan history in connection with the Black Hawk war (though he wasn’t a participant) and the War of 1812. He died near Boerne. The reference people at the public library in Boerne helped me find some of his Texas family connections, but I haven’t learned exactly where he was buried. I’ve identified the most likely cemetery, though, with their help.  

    I’ve also visited Washington on the Brazos (riding from Brenham to Independence to Washington and back to Brenham) but the main Michigan connections are at Independence.

    There were three men in Michigan history who operated segments of the Michigan portion of the stagecoach route on the military road between Detroit and Chicago.  All three of them went to Texas after the Black Hawk war, and at least two of the three were involved in the Texas fight for independence. The third may have been, too, but if so, there is no information about it.  Their stories have provided me with some good bicycling destinations both in Michigan and in Texas, and have led to some memorable encounters with people at some of the destinations. 

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    What if Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna were competent and a principled visionary? A big chunk of the USA owes its inclusion to the mediocrity, arrogance, and incoherent political thinking of that guy.

    What if the French fleet in the Chesapeake in 1781 had not faced the decidedly sub-par Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves but someone like Nelson instead?  Would the Revolution have flamed out?

    Having second-rate opponents is a major key to success.  That is probably why Putin, Xi, and the mullahs are licking their chops about now.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    What if the French fleet in the Chesapeake in 1781 had not faced the decidedly sub-par Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves but someone like Nelson instead?  Would the Revolution have flamed out?

    The immediate worst case would have been Cornwallis pulling a Dunkirk and getting back to New York instead of surrendering to Washington at Yorktown. Avoiding a catastrophe is not the same thing as success.

    • #5
  6. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Percival (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    What if the French fleet in the Chesapeake in 1781 had not faced the decidedly sub-par Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves but someone like Nelson instead? Would the Revolution have flamed out?

    The immediate worst case would have been Cornwallis pulling a Dunkirk and getting back to New York instead of surrendering to Washington at Yorktown. Avoiding a catastrophe is not the same thing as success.

    The shock value of the Yorktown win was the precipitating event.  Militarily, the British had no reason to leave NYC, Boston, or Philadelphia.  Exhaustion on both sides leading to some muddled compromise into a quasi-Canada instead of the USA?

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    What if the French fleet in the Chesapeake in 1781 had not faced the decidedly sub-par Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves but someone like Nelson instead? Would the Revolution have flamed out?

    The immediate worst case would have been Cornwallis pulling a Dunkirk and getting back to New York instead of surrendering to Washington at Yorktown. Avoiding a catastrophe is not the same thing as success.

    The shock value of the Yorktown win was the precipitating event. Militarily, the British had no reason to leave NYC, Boston, or Philadelphia. Exhaustion on both sides leading to some muddled compromise into a quasi-Canada instead of the USA?

    They weren’t in Boston. They weren’t in Philly anymore either. They tried to segregate New England from the other colonies with a three-pronged push into the Hudson Valley. That ended with Gentlemen Johnny Burgoyne having dinner with Horatio Gates. The freshly concluded Southern Campaign had seen the British win five of six battles. Lost the campaign though. Any boob can win a campaign by winning all the battles. Nathaniel Greene lost every one he was at, and yet he had Cornwallis dug in deep and hoping Graves got to him before Washington did. De Grasse broke with 200+ years of tradition and defeated the Royal Navy in a fleet action. The French had never done that before. They never did it again.

    And some folks maintain that there is no God.

    • #7
  8. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    Slight quibble, 2,000 is less than the enrollment at most Five-A high schools in Texas. My sons high school has an enrollment of over 2,300 and is a bit on the small side for the metro area I live in. 

    • #8
  9. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Trivia question: Who were the three Mexicans who signed the the Texas Declaration of Independence and why were they significant?

    Another trivia question: Why was the battle of San Jacinto fought at San Jacinto?

    • #9