In September 1836, the people of the Republic of Texas voted to seek annexation by the United States. After a formal presentation of the subject by Minister Plenipotentiary Memucan Hunt to the U.S. on August 4, 1837, the proposal was hotly debated in the U.S. Congress and opposed primarily by those against the expansion of slavery. The Republic of Texas Senate approved of the withdrawal of the annexation offer on January 23, 1839. When Sam Houston was elected President for his second term (in December 1841), he began to urge annexation once more. The U.S. Senate ratified a treaty of amity (peace), commerce, and navigation in January 1843, but refused to ratify a treaty of annexation in June 1844. That December, outgoing U.S. President John Tyler proposed that Texas be annexed by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress. The resolution passed in February 1845 and in November, Texas voters approved annexation by a landslide. On February 19, 1846, Anson Jones, now President of the Republic, hauled down the Texas flag and watched as the Stars and Stripes were raised for the first time on Texas soil, concluding, “The final act in this great drama is now performed. The Republic of Texas is no more.”
Diorama of Annexation Ceremony in Austin, Texas, including portraits of Anson Jones and James P. Henderson, February 19, 1846. Places Collection, 1/103-3. Prints and Photographs. TSLAC.
Annexation vote tally, November 10, 1845. Texas Department of State election returns, 2016/132-7. TSLAC. Statement of the number of votes polled in the several Counties of the Republic on 13th Oct. 1845 for the adoption or rejection of annexation, the state Constitution, and ordinance concerning colony contracts, the returns of which were not received at the Department of State until after the 10th day of Nov. 1845. Click or tap thumbnail image to view larger version.
Texas Constitution 1876. Texas Constitutional Convention of 1875 Records. TSLAC. Since Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836, there have been six constitutions established as the law of the land. It was developed in the period after Reconstruction, and the majority of the framers were Democrats reasserting control of state government. A defining feature of the document is the extensive detail and description usually found in state legal codes rather than constitutions. There are 17 articles covering such topics as suffrage, education, railroads, and taxes. The first page includes a short preamble and 14 sections from Article I, the Bill of Rights. The Texas Constitution of 1876 stands as the current constitution for the state.
Constitutional Convention of 1875 delegates in composite photo by H.B. Hillyer, Austin, Texas. Groups, 1/104-113. Prints and Photographs. TSLAC. Three delegates from 30 senatorial districts were elected in August of 1875 and convened in September to draft what would become the current state constitution. The image includes six African American legislators who would not serve again after this session. This is a rare copy of the photograph, as the original housed in the Texas Capitol was lost when the building burned in 1881.
Rules and Order of Proceeding Adopted by the Constitutional Convention, September 8, 1875. Austin, Daily State Gazette, 1875. TxDocs C3044.4 R861 1875. TSLAC. Parliamentary procedures for the Constitutional Convention of 1875. View information about Rules and Order of Proceeding Adopted by the Constitutional Convention, September 8, 1875. Austin, Daily State Gazette, 1875 in our TSLAC library catalog.
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