Texas Annexation

Texas Annexation

The Texas Annexation of 1845 was the voluntary annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United States of America as Texas, the 28th state. The new state of Texas included all of present-day Texas, plus portions of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, and Colorado.


In 1837, the Republic of Texas, having just won its independence from Mexico, voted to consent to its annexation by the U.S. Initially, when the Texas minister (ambassador) in Washington, D.C., proposed annexation to the administration of Martin Van Buren in August 1837, the request was refused since the administration anticipated that it would lead to war with Mexico. Texas withdrew the annexation offer in 1838, and chose to exist as an independent nation, recognized by the United States, United Kingdom, France and The Netherlands. In 1843, Britain opposed annexation, but President John Tyler decided to support annexation. Despite the fact that Mexican dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna warned that annexation would be "equivalent to a declaration of war," Tyler signed the treaty of annexation with Texas in April 1844. The Senate overwhelmingly rejected it on June 8: 35 to 16. The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate to confirm a treaty.

James K. Polk, a strong supporter of territorial expansion, won the presidency in November 1844. Tyler, knowing the Senate would not ratify the treaty, changed course and had his allies in Congress submit the annexation bill as a joint resolution in December. With President-elect Polk's quiet support, Congress approved annexation on 28 February 1845. The vote in the Senate was 27 to 25. Tyler approved the Joint Resolution, which called for annexation of Texas to be concluded by the end of December 1845, on March 1. However, as this was done via a Joint Resolution of Congress, some scholars believe it is not legal under international law. [O'Malley, E.S. (2001). Irreconcilable Rights and the Question of Hawaiian Statehood. 89 "Georgetown Law Journal" 501] [Boyle, F.A. (1995). Restoration of the Independent Nation State of Hawaii Under International Law. "St. Thomas Law Review" 723] This has led to questions about the Legal status of Texas.

Consent and ratification

After extensive negotiation by the American chargé d'affaires to Texas, Andrew Jackson Donelson, nephew of former president Andrew Jackson, Republic of Texas President Anson Jones, former Texas president Sam Houston, and the Texas congress consented to the annexation. Texas ratified the Treaty on July 4. On 29 December 1845, President Polk approved Texas's admission to the Union as a state.

A factor in the Texas annexation discussions in the United States was the realization of the northern states that there would be two new slave state Senators when Texas was admitted. Although Mexico had outlawed slavery completely years prior to Texas independence, slavery was allowed to continue in Mexican Texas, and continued to exist in Texas during its years as an independent Republic.

Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1845 over the issue, which eventually led to the Mexican-American war the following year. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war when the U.S. ratified the treaty on March 10, 1848. The treaty allowed the U.S. to purchase California and other areas from Mexico on the condition that Americans would honor Mexican culture and values. The annexation of Texas was highly controversial amongst the states and contributed to widening American sectionalism leading up to the Civil War.

On February 19, 1846, a ceremony was held to mark the official transfer of authority, and Texas President Anson Jones proclaimed: "The final act in this great drama is now performed. The Republic of Texas is no more."

Borders and new states

Both the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas and The Ordinance of Annexation contains this language providing the basis for forming up to four additional states from the present Texas:

New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

Land from the Republic of Texas became major parts of New Mexico and Colorado, and smaller parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming. No additional states have ever been carved from Texas.

The Republic of Texas government had established the border between Mexico and Texas at the Rio Grande. Mexico, however, set the border at the Nueces, giving Mexico more land. This territorial conflict did not matter to the Mexican government since Santa Anna wanted the whole of Texas back as part of Mexico. President James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to garrison the southern border of Texas, as defined by the former Republic: the Rio Grande. Taylor moved into Texas, ignoring Mexican demands that he withdraw, and marched south to the north bank of the Rio Grande, where he began to build the fort that would later be named Fort Brown, near the mouth of the Rio Grande on the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico's government regarded this location as part of Mexico's territory.

Original controversy

The original controversy about the legality of the annexation of Texas stems from the fact that Congress approved the annexation of Texas as a territory with a simple majority vote approval. However, Texas was an independent republic before it was annexed, and Congress would need a two-thirds majority to annex another country. Because the two-thirds majority was virtually impossible, Congress annexed the state as a territory.

Recent controversy

In the second half of the 20th Century, certain small rebellious groups Fact|date=February 2008 in Texas claimed that the Annexation of Texas by the United States was illegal Fact|date=February 2008. However, U.S. Courts have always ruled in favor of the validity of the Annexation, noting the Ordinance of Annexation passed by the Texas congress, and the presence of and the consent of the Texas President at the transfer of authority ceremony of 1846.

External links

* [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/print/AA/mga2.html "ANNEXATION." The Handbook of Texas Online]
* [http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/annexation/ "Narrative History of Texas Annexation" by Jean Carefoot at Texas State Library and Commission]
* [http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/annexation/march1845.html Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States Approved March 1, 1845]
* [http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ref/abouttx/annexation/4july1845.html Ordinance of Annexation approved by the Texas Convention on July 4, 1845]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2361 Address on the annexation of Texas, and the aspect of slavery in the United States, in connection therewith: delivered in Boston November 14 and 18, 1845]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2390 Letters, Relating to the History of Annexation by Anson Jones]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2357 How to Conquer Texas, Before Texas Conquers Us]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2363 Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2387 Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2358 Annexation of Texas. By Junius no. IX]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2355 Texas and the Massachusetts Resolutions]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2356 Anti-Texass Legion: Protest of some free men, states and presses against the Texass rebellion, against the laws of nature and of nations]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2361 Address on the annexation of Texas, and the aspect of slavery in the United States, in connection therewith: delivered in Boston November 14 and 18, 1845]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2359 Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-2360 Appeal to the people of Massachusetts, on the Texas question. 2d edition]
* [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/texmenu.htm The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Texas - From Independence to Annexation]


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