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Image above: President James Monroe. Image right: Triumph, depicting eventual victory of Union, with reference to the Missouri Compromise. Created by Morris H. Traubel, 1861. Images courtesy Library of Congress.
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December 21, 1826 - Group of Texas settlers make first attempt to secede from Mexico in the Fredonian Republic. Republic of Fredonia lasts one month, causes Mexican government to curb immigration from U.S. to region and increased dissatisfaction that leads to eventual Texas Revolution.
Okay, it was a bit premature when a group of settlers near Nacogdoches attempted to create their own republic, seceding from Mexico ten years prior to the Texas Revolution. But it was bold. And it was predictive. And it caused a reaction from Mexico that would dissatisfy more of Texas than just those in the Fredonian Republic and lead to that real revolution ten years later.
It had only been five years since Mexico had wrested its independence from Spain and created a state in Mexican Texas called Coahuila y Tejas. But a group of settlers around Nacogdoches had had enough. Haden Edwards had been granted the land for the republic in 1825, including already settled land. He would lead the group of settlers, up to eight hundred families if colonized to its fullest, onto twenty-three thousand acres to settle under the Mexican General Colonization Law. It did not take long before Edwards wanted to be independent from Mexican rule and began having municipal officials arrested in November and December 1826. Edwards and thirty new settlers finally invaded the town on December 16 and siezed the Old Stone Fort. The Cherokee, mad that a previous treaty with Mexico was being ignored, sided with the new Republic of Fredonia, which Edwards declared on December 21. A new flag was flown, including two stripes, red and white, representing the two races. There was a motto, "Independence, Liberty, and Justice" on the flag as well.
Established residents were not pleased, and neither was the nearby colony to the south led by Stephen F. Austin. He convinced the Cherokee to reverse course, back to siding with Mexico. And Mexico, ... they would have none of it. One hundred Mexican soldiers and two hundred and fifty colonists from Austin's group marched into Nacogdoches on January 31, 1827 and restored order.
So what happened to Edwards? His land grant was revoked and Edwards and his brother fled to the United States. And what happened to the area of the Fredonian Republic? President Guadalupe Victoria sent increased Mexican patrols and curbed immigration into the area from the United States, fearing a takeover. Those settlers left in the area did not like the new immigration law, and that heavy handed response by Mexican authorities began to spread across Texas, as well as the settler reaction. By 1836, it had spread to real revolution.
Timeline of the Coming Texas Revolution
April 6, 1830 - Immigration law passed severely limiting immigration into Texas from the United States. The law did not succeed, however. By 1834, thirty thousand Anglos lived in Texas versus seven thousand eight hundred Mexicans.
October 1, 1832 - Texas convention convenes and calls for Mexico to annul of parts of immigration law, customs reform, and create a separate state of Texas.
April 1, 1833 - Stephen F. Austin elected by Texas convention as representative to Mexican government.
November 21, 1833 - Some sections, at Austin's urging, of the immigration law repealed and colonists allowed increased representation in state legislature.
1834 - Mexican Constitution from 1824 overturned by Santa Ana.
October 23, 1835 - Basis of Reorganization of the Mexican Nation approved. Mexican Constitution would eventually be replaced by Seven Constitutional Laws.
January 1835 - Austin publishes his paper stating that Texas wanted to be a separate state of Mexico, not a separate nation.
September 8, 1835 - Austin reverses his position, and now calls for armed revolt and a separate nation of Texas.
October 2, 1835 - Battle of Gonzales officially starts the Texas Revolution.
March 2, 1836 - Texas declares itself an independent republic.
Texas Declaration of Independence
The Texas Declaration of Independence: March 2, 1836.
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 with it, 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 therfor 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.
Image above: Old Stone Fort in Nacogdoches, captured by Haden Edwards and settlers in their cause for the Republic of Fredonia. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Image below: Painting by Percy Moran, 1912, reflects the intensity of the battle of the Alamo. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Photographs and Prints. Source Info: Wikipedia Commons; The Avalon Project, Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. Yale Law School; lsjunction.com.
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