Texas Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of November 7, 1835, passed by the Consultation announced that the Texan war against Mexico principally intended to restore the Mexican Constitution of 1824, abrogated by the actions of President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and to achieve separate Mexican statehood for Texas. The members of the Consultation had hoped to attract popular support for the Texan cause from the other Mexican states.
By the time the Convention of 1836 met at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836, such temporizing was no longer acceptable. On the first day, Convention President Richard Ellis appointed George C. Childress, James Gaines, Edward Conrad, Collin McKinney, and Bailey Hardeman a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence.
George Childress, the committee chairman, is generally accepted as the author of the Texas Declaration of Independence, with little help from the other committee members. Since the six-page document was submitted for a vote of the whole convention on the following day, Childress probably already had a draft version of the document with him when he arrived. As the delegates worked, they received regular reports on the ongoing siege on the Alamo by the forces of Santa Anna's troops.
A free and independent Republic of Texas was officially declared March 2, 1836, when the 54 delegates -- each representing one of the settlements in Texas -- approved the Texas Declaration of Independence. After the delegates signed the original declaration, 5 copies were made and dispatched to the designated Texas towns of Bexar, Goliad, Nacogdoches, Brazoria, and San Felipe. 1,000 copies were ordered printed in handbill form.
According to the endorsement on the Declaration of Independence, this original copy was deposited by Commissioner to the United States William H. Wharton with the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C. It was not returned to Texas until some time after June 1896.