This past Monday, Brad and I visited his doctors in San Antonio and finishing up before noon called Randy, my youngest son, to meet us for lunch in San Marcos at Rogellio’s, a great Mexican restaurant. Brad and I were also going to stop at Cabela’s in Buda and stock up on ammo and reloading supplies. Soon, I’ll post a story about that stop too.
We were loading up on hot sauce and chips, waiting for our lunch and Randy mentioned, “Dad, you should post the Texas Declaration Of Independence on your blog and write a story about it. It rings very true today.” We kicked the idea around and it rang true to me!
As a fifth generation Texan, I love this State and its history. But history has a way of repeating itself and the problems faced by the early Texican colonists are eerily similar to what we face today. Our second Amendment is endangered, government intervention has diluted our educational system and our religious freedoms are threatened! How was this handled in 1836 Tejas?
To say the least, Tejas in 1836 was a mess. Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, was fresh out of prison in Mexico for the ‘crime’ of delivering a proposed constitution for the Mexican State of Tejas. Tejas was part of the Mexican State of Coahuila, Coahuila y Tejas, and its capital was Saltillo, a very long way off from the Texican colonies.
The Mexican Constitution of 1824, had been abrogated by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (Santa Anna) and replaced by a military dictatorship. The Mexican government had invited settlers to the wild, Tejas frontier and promised them a republican government and constitutional liberties. Certain political rights such as trial by jury and the right to keep and bear arms were denied by the Mexican authorities. No system of public education was established and freedom of religion was denied. One point here, the original settlers did agree to become Catholics, but as more folks streamed into Tejas, this became impossible to manage or enforce.
This all came to a head in late 1835 and early 1836. Texicans had invaded and captured San Antonio and fortified the Alamo. A strong Texican force had seized the Mission at Goliad and Sam Houston had been named commander of the army. An armed uprising was well under way!
In early 1836, Santa Anna and his army had crossed the Rio Grande into Tejas to put an end to this ‘rebellion’. As he was besieging the Alamo, representatives from the various Texican groups met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to decide the issue and draft a declaration of independence.
Five men, including George Childress, who probably brought a draft declaration with him to the convention, were chosen to author this important document. In record time it was completed and somewhat parallels that of the United States. The Texican document has statements on the function and responsibility of a government, a list of Texican grievances and finally declares Texas a free, independent republic.
It was accepted by the convention and on March 2, 1836, 59 Texicans signed it, ended the meeting and headed home. These men risked everything, their life, their family’s and their property, because Santa Anna was ‘no quarter’ personified. However, when he was captured after the Battle of San Jacinto, he did beg Gen. Houston for his life!
The Texas Declaration Of Independence follows: