Tag Archives: voting power

Texas and the Senate count

Ok, guys  we are going to explore a little bit of history that most of you don’t know anything about but which some day could have a real impact on the makeup of the US Senate.  Knowing a little history comes in handy now and again and can have real practical effects on the world of today.

When Texas came into the Union in the 1840’s, its admission as a state was completely different than all the states before it or after.   Originally there was the 13 colonies which formed the first states of the US after the adoption of the Constitution in 1787.  After that all the new states were part of the territories of the US and then were admitted per the Contstitutional provisions for territories.   That practice was followed for all the states down to Hawaii and Alaska in the late ’50’s with the notable exception of Texas.   The territories would apply to Congress and then be approved there and a local vote for admission would usually follow. 

Texas was never a territory of the US so it did not follow that procedure at all.   When Mexico broke away from Spain it was more or less simultaneous with Stephen Austin bringing the first settlers to Texas in 1821.  Mexico was a newbie as an independent nation.  After several years of turmoil between the new settlers and Mexico Texas won its independence in 1836–Remember the Alamo! and all that.   For the next 10 years Texas was a nation, a republic with its own government, navy and army, coinage and ambassodors  around the world.  Texas had ambassadors in all the major European countries and that promoted and encouraged the migration of many from old Europe from Germany, Czechaslovakia and elswhere to migrate to Texas.   When Texas and the US both thought it would be mutually beneficial to have Texas join the US negotiations were begun.  It is true that many including Sam Houston believed from the beginning that Texas should join the US, but that belief was not universal in Texas or in the US. 

After negotiations between envoys there was a treaty and compact entered into between the two independent nations that resulted in Texas joining the Union.  Some in the US were opposed to it and there was even a saying that Texas was really “Taxes” and that the admission would only be a burden on the US.  But obviously that sentiment did not prevail.   So Texas became a state in the union by treaty and not under the normal Constitutional provisions.  That treat provided that Texas resserved the right to partition itself into 5 states any time it wanted.  Each of those five states would automatically be states of the US.  There was no admission process.  The partition is totally under the control of Texas.   Texas gets to make the decision to divide itself and the geographical configuration of the five states.   Those matters are not under the purview or control or subject to the approval of the US government or Congress.  The belief at the time of admission was that Texas was so large that it might make more sense some day to subdivide if you will.

Texas has 2 senators at the moment.   If Texas became 5 states they would have 10 senators, a net gain of 8.  It wouldn’t take much gerrymandering to assure that 7 or 8 of those new states of the union would have Republican senators.   Over 40 years ago when there was one of those perrennial pushes to have D.C. made into a state with it own senators there was a bit of talk about the partition right of Texas.   Neither effort every got off the launching pad.   But the right of Texas to subdivide itself still exist and will always be there.    In politics you better learn to never say never about what will or will not happen.   And remember the old military adage when assessing an enemy–what they are capable of doing you should plan that they will do some day.  There are some who maintain that Texas lost its right when it joined the Confederacy and then was readmitted to the Union.  But that argument makes no legal sense since the position of the US all during the War was that secession itself was illegal and that there never was a legitimate government in Texas during the War.  The argument of the US was that Texas was a state all along but under domination of renegade groups–the Johnny Rebs.   In fact a solid legal argument could be made that the US Supreme court would not even have jurisdiction  over any dispute in this matter because it is a matter of treaty, not US law.  The Court could decide only the matters pertaining to the US side of the equation but not the other.   I assume the US would not want the treaty revoked and then have Texas revert to an independent nation status again.   Hmm,,,,,interesting thought.   Texas and California are probably the only two states that actually could make it as completely independent nations.   So, ponder these thoughts and check your history if you think this is a fairy tale.   You’ll find the facts are there.

Vaya con dios.


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