10 Percent Bigger

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. - Steinbeck

"If a man's from Texas, he'll tell you. If he's not, why embarrass him by asking?" - John Gunther

On this date, March 2, 1836, 60 Texans signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and officially created the Great Republic of Texas. While this Declaration was being officially made, William Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett were besieged within the Alamo. Four days later (March 6, 1836), the Alamo fell.

While historians will continue to argue about the Alamo, and the military significance of attempting to hold the fort, we do know that the death of the Alamo defenders along with the Massacre at Goliad on March 27th became a rallying cry for the Texas troops at the Battle of San Jacinto, when Texas forces led by Sam Houston captured and defeated General Santa Anna.

Ten years later, the fledgling Republic joined the United States of America. While the Republic of Texas may have had a relatively short run as an Independent Nation, the words written then, still bear repeating.

"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."

"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."

I think Davy Crockett said it best. "You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas. "

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