Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Overlooked Bit Of Texas History

I've known for a long time that while Texas was still part of Mexico, Americans such as Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, to name two famous examples, migrated into Texas.  Later on, Texas succeeded from Mexico and existed as a separate country before joining the United States as a state.  There were many reasons for the Texan succession from Mexico, but only from this post by my blogging friend Smokie of Somewhere In Texas did I learn about one reason in particular.

According to Smokie:
In 1824 the Mexicans enacted the Constitution of 1824. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with Catholicism as the official and unique religion. This constitution was much like the Constitution of the United States.
So far, so good.  But then, things changed.
In 1835 under President Santa Anna there was a drastic shift in the government. While Santa Anna was out of office, Interim President Miguel Barragán approved the ”Basis of Reorganization of the Mexican Nation.”  This ended the federal system and established a provisional centralist system. Therefore states, which till that time had been free states became provinces. This created conflicts with many of the former states and rebellions occurred at various locations.

This is what I had not known about, an attempt to strip the Mexican states of their sovereignity and place them under control of the national government had contributed to Texas's desire to succeed from Mexico.  Another thing I did not know is that Texas was not alone.

Because of this and many other things the Texans declared their independence from Mexico. Unknown to many is that Texas wasn’t the only state to make such a decision. Yucatan, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and Coahuila, all asserted their indepence from the centralized government. They each would return to Mexico at a later date but Texians (I prefer this to Texans) gathered in San Felipe de Austin and declared the people of Texas to be at war against Mexico’s central government, ignoring therefore the authorities and laws. Thus arose the Republic of Texas.
The Americans who settled in Texas called themselves "Texians", which term would later lose the "i" to become "Texans".  Mexicans who had migrated into Texas from what was then other parts of Mexico were called "Tejanos".  (According to the link, the term was used by historians "perhaps anachronistically".)  Some of the above-mentioned Mexican states tried to form a new federation called the Republic of the Rio Grande, according to the Texas State Historical Association and a restaurant named after that republic.

Smokie appears afraid that the United States could be headed for a repeat of history, and I don't blame him.  There is already at least one proposal out there to reorganize our nation, or as candidate Obama once said, to "fundamentally transform" her.  Those who would transform the United States seem to forget or ignore that the federal government was created by the states, specifically those present at the Convention of 1787, not the other way around.  Or worse yet, maybe the self-appointed transformers are well aware of this, but have decided that in their mind, it no longer matters.  But whether they like it or not, the structure of the United States, including the states themselves, is very important to those of us who believe that the state and federal governments should all stick to their designated spheres of power.

1 comment:

  1. It is a lot similar to today. I have had this thought for months now. I waited till now to finally post it. I've wanted to do a BTR show about it also but I am not sure I can fill a couple hours on it.