Texas really is another country...
"Texas: It's like a whole other country!" Is it, really? Or is it really an entirely different country?
Texas, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, was a part of Mexico. The United States was a new nation that had just begun the flow of westward expansion. Southern plantation owners were encouraged to move with the expansion. Cotton was the chief cash crop, and it wore down on the soil, causing soil exhaustion. The soil was also overpopulated by immigrants, especially German farmers coming in through the port of New Orleans. There were also a lot of people who set up shop along the California Trail, more commonly known as the Oregon Trail, to profit on migration trade, making it easier for people to make the long haul to the West coast.
So far, the history is fairly objective and substantial. Most would agree upon these facts, right??
Mexico had just recently gained its independence in 1821 through the Plan of Iguala. The Mexican government, however, had problems getting its own people to immigrate into the north, Tejanos. They began to advertise fertile land to citizens of the United States, and soon many came or invested in farms in Texas. However, the Americans did not want to abide by Mexican laws or pay their taxes. They wanted a society of salutary neglect, not unlike the way the colonies themselves began conflict with Britain. It wasn't that they wanted to form their own country, it was that they wanted to have their cake and eat it too; they wanted to live where they lived and not have to abide by the law of the nation.
The Mexican government urged the Texicans, as they came to call themselves, to abide by the laws. After a couple of years, these 'urgings' became more like threats. In response, instead of obeying the laws and paying taxes, the so-called Texicans armed themselves. They continued to bring slaves from southern United States into Texas, then still Tejas or Tejanos, which was a strict no-no in Mexican culture and legislative practice.
Eventually, a general by the name of Santa Anna gets fed up. He attacks The Alamo in 1836, killing just about everyone at the fort, including former 3-term congressman Davy Crockett. Samuel Houston, a leader in the Texas uproar, then captured Santa Anna and presented him with a hastily written document, written by those delegated (Childress, Conrad, Gaines, Hardeman, McKinney) at the Convention of 1836. The Declaration of Texas Independence was set up almost exactly like that of the United states, containing a resolve or preamble, a list of grievances, and finally a declaration of war/threat to use force. A brief section of the document reads: 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. Santa Anna was made to sign the document (meaning handed a pen when he had a gun to his head), and Texas felt it was legitimatly an independent republic.
This is where history tends to become subjective. There are some Texans that believe that from then on, Texas has been and still is an independent republic. There are some Texans that believe what the history books say, which will be continued below. There are some that more than jokingly want Texas to declare its independence from the United States and a second time become a free-nation. (see The Second Republic of Texas in the biblio for a second constitutional government of Texas.)
So, as written history claims, right away, the Republic of Texas petitioned the United States to annex Texas as three different states. This was beneficial for them because geographically and culturally they were divided, as well as the fact that they'd be allowed 6 senators instead of 2 in Congress. From 1836 until 1844 the United states did not choose to annex Texas for a few simple to understand reasons. First of all, that would be a substantial amount of representation in the government that supported slavery. The nation was already suffering from separatism in that there were divisions among slave and free states and that ratifying states continued to change the numbers, dispite the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Secondly, Mexico did not consider Texas independent. Since the document granting them independence was signed by a Mexican official held captive (and almost 99.99% chance at gun point), Mexico did not recognize Texas as its own republic. The United States did not want to start an unnecessary war with Mexico, as it could pose a formidable adversary.
Finally, Americans decided that the uneven balance of slave to free states would even out with the plains and midwestern states all the way up and west to Oregon would be free states. In 1845 a resolution was passed annexing Texas into the United States government. Mexico and the United States struck a deal with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, in which Texas was "ceded" to the United States by Mexico.
"Texas: It's like a whole other country." Is it like another country, or is it another country? Guess it depends on which side you're on: the side of local history, or the side of United States history. Both speak for themselves.
The Republic of Texas official page (http://www.texasrepublic.org/home.htm)
Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library (http://drtl.org)
The Republic of Texas Provisional Government (http://www.republic-of-texas.net/)
The Texas Declaration of Independence (http://www.lsjunction.com/docs/tdoi.htm)
The Second Republic of Texas (http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/1842/)
Making America, A History of the United States; Brekin, Miller, Cherny, Gormly, Mainwaring. Boston, MA. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.