This Declaration of Independence was not that of the United States of America that was in 1776, but the Republic of Texas which, like the colonist defeated a much larger, stronger, and superior military force in the victory culminated at the Battle of San Jacinto. That small gathering of delegates on March 2, 1836, at Washington-on-the-Brazos adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence, and the Republic of Texas was born. I offer this a a brief reflection on my home state Texas. It is not a complete or detailed history but a brief view of our journey.
In the picture shown above this article, you can quickly see how large a new nation was formed in the Texas victory. There was a landmass that included about half of New Mexico, a portion of Oklahoma, a tad in Kansas, a strip through Colorado, and fingers into Wyoming. That is a massive piece of real estate. The Republic lived from 1836-1845 when Texas was annexed by the United States as a state. The U.S. insisted on the relinquishing of claims on all but what is now recognized as the Lone Star State.
I have often wondered if Texas could have survived as a Republic and being biased to my state and fully cognizant of the ‘can do attitude’ of Texans I believe that somehow the Republic of Texas would have survived. There are many reasons for that including the vastness of the territory and the discovery of oil as well as the agricultural powers and longhorn cattle the state possessed. Resilience and determination were comparable to that of the colonist during the American Revolution. There have been many times, I have wished that instead of petitioning to become a state of the United States, my Texas had remained a Free Republic.
By 1835 Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had established himself as a dictator in Mexico. His tyranny and the desire to be independent caused the call for independence to sweep through Texas like a West Texas sandstorm. After the declaration of independence, as expected, Santa Anna mustered an army to crush the rebellion. A rebellion he thought would be easy to crush and believed that a victory or two would send the Texicans into the shadows and restore subservience to his rule. He was wrong!
The seeds of rebellion were sown by Mexico in 1830 when they ordered a halt to immigration to Texas. They were fearful of the rising number of gringos which by 1836 had grown to 5 to 1 over Mexican inhabitants of the territory. In 1833 Santa Anna gained control of the Mexican government and abolished their Constitution. He sought to abolish local legislatures and impose a strict central control. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Texans.
On October 2, 1835, the first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired in Gonzales, Texas, and the phrase, “come and take it” would be forever etched into the hearts of Texans. After the fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna, minimizing his losses, said “It was but a small affair.” He ordered the bodies of the Texans burned. One of his officers commented, “Another such victory and we are ruined.”
The battle cries of “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” became a galvanizing force in the hearts of the Texans fighting for survival. They knew the brutality and inhumane mindset of Santa Anna and were determined to fight to the death or victory.
The event known as the Runaway Scrape occurred as many fled their homes and traveled eastward ahead of Santa Anna’s army. The Alamo fell on March 6, and over 300 unarmed Texan prisoners were massacred at Goliad on March 27th. Sam Houston’s army retreated eastwards as Santa Anna’s much superior force pursued and pressed toward capturing the Texas seaports. On April 21st, the Texan army took its stand in the bayou country near present-day Houston at San Jacinto. The Mexican force was about 1,500 and Houston’s force was about 800-900 men. Almost two to one underdog. But their surprise attack on the sleeping and unconcerned Mexican army lasted only 18 minutes resulting in the defeat of Santa Anna’s army and his eventual capture as he posed as a peasant or common soldier.
There was much sentiment in Texas for immediate annexation by the United States, but the U.S.A. was largely disinterested in taking on this massive area and the problems it presented. Mexico refused to recognize Texas’s independence and continued to raid the Texas border. That and the problem of no money, credit, or governmental structure in place was a problem for Texas. However, they overcame all those obstacles and survived and thrived.
Texas fought the Mexicans on one front and the Indians on another. The new Republic, with visions of land, and prosperity attracted thousands of setters each year. That is still happening as people flee tyrannical governance in other states and come to Texas hoping for a better life. Sadly, too many of them ran from the Leftism that strangled their dream and vote for the same thing now that they are here. That is beyond belief, but it happens.
Texas became a state on December 29, 1845, after nine years, eleven months, and seventeen days as a Free Republic. Texas was included as the 28th State under President James K. Polk. I love my state and no matter how many jokes are told about Texans and how we may be viewed by outsiders, we are a proud people, willing to work, and will fight for Freedom.
Texas has survived many hard times and one of many things that has boosted the quality of life came on January 10, 1901, when a small Texan location broke into history at Spindletop, an oil field near Beaumont. Black gold erupted from a derrick and rocketed Texas towards a prosperous future. Today, Texas has the oil and gas to thrive and survive were it an independent nation. We have industry, agriculture, ranching, and manufacturing as well as technology to become a power on the world’s stage.
If you are a Texan, as I am, be proud of your heritage and walk tall keeping your spirits high and anchored in God! For those of you from other states and nations, I am not attempting to diminish your importance, you are important. I am simply addressing some of our history in my beloved state of Texas.
God bless you, God bless America, and God bless Texas! Forever Strong and Forever Free!