A clause in the document annexing Texas to the United States allowed for Texas to be divided into five different states.
After several years of contentious debate, in 1845 the United States’ various political factions finally reached enough of a consensus to agree that the benefits of annexing Texas (nominally an independent republic ever since it had been wrested from Mexico after the decisive 1836 battle at
Sam Houston’s republic was a struggling frontier community of less than forty thousand people; it was a series of plantations and farms carved out of the Southern forests along the river bottoms extending up from the Gulf, with an utterly colonial economy. Most Texans were subsistence farmers, with a little barter on the side. The planters exported their cotton against imported goods; the balance of trade was yet adverse. The largest towns were frontier outposts with mud streets and at most a few thousand assorted people. There was no money economy, nor any money. There were no banks or improved roads or organized schools. There was no industry — everything from pins to powder had to be imported from the United States. Over this sprawling community the government was only loosely
organized . . .real government consisted primarily of sheriffs and justices of the peace. Texas barely approached the basic requirements for statehood.
Texas blocked American expansion to the Pacific, and a weak, unstable nation on American borders invited penetration by still-ambitious European powers. The Monroe Doctrine could not by any stretch of the imagination keep British influence out, if Britain chose to fish in Texas waters.
The primary stumbling block to Texas’ annexation by the U.S. was that the act was almost certain to provoke war with Mexico, an eventuality which came to pass with the outbreak of the
The admission of Texas to the Union posed the potential for upsetting the delicate political balance between free states and slave states. Not only would the annexation of Texas add another slave state to the
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; and such states as may be formed out of the territory lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise Line, shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as the people of each State, asking admission shall desire; and in such State or States as shall be formed out of said territory, north of said Missouri Compromise Line, slavery, or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited.
Texas was officially admitted to the Union when President
The most likely possibility that Texas might be split into more than one state was headed off in 1850. California (recently acquired by the U.S in the war with Mexico) had approved a free-state constitution and petitioned Congress for statehood; meanwhile, Texans were engaged in a border dispute, claiming that their territory included half of present-day New Mexico and part of Colorado. Had the boundary issue been decided in favor of Texas, southerners might have pushed to create a second state out of the larger Texas territory in order to balance California’s admission as a free state. The series of congressional bills collectively known as the
The issue of the
Although the provisions of the Texas Annexation document allowing for the creation of four additional states are popularly regarded as a unique curiosity today, they were largely superfluous.
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
Another Texas-related legend holds that the Texans negotiated an annexation treaty which reserved to them the right to secede from the Union without the consent of the
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