Texas Annexation
Overview
 
In 1845, United States of America annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

, during which the U.S. captured additional territory (known as the Mexican Cession
Mexican Cession
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

 of 1848), extending the nation's borders all the way to the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

.
Encyclopedia
In 1845, United States of America annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

, during which the U.S. captured additional territory (known as the Mexican Cession
Mexican Cession
The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

 of 1848), extending the nation's borders all the way to the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. Texas claimed the eastern part of this new territory, comprising parts of present-day Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. The resulting dispute between Texas, the federal government, and New Mexico Territory
U.S. provisional government of New Mexico
Under the provisions of the Kearny Code, the first legislature of New Mexico commenced its session on December 6, 1847. The Council consisted of seven members, with Antonio Sandoval, of Bernalillo County, as president, and the House of twenty-one members, with W.Z...

 was resolved in the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

, when much of these lands became parts of other territories of the United States in exchange for the U.S. federal government assuming the Texas Republic's $10 million in debt.

Background

Anglo-American
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 immigrants, primarily from the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, began emigrating to Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas
Mexican Texas is the name given by Texas history scholars to the period between 1821 and 1836, when Texas was an integral part of Mexico. The period began with Mexico's victory over Spain in its war of independence in 1821. For the first several years of its existence, Mexican Texas operated very...

 in the early 1820s at the request of the Mexican government, which sought to populate the sparsely inhabited lands of its northern frontier. Anglo-Americans soon became a majority in Texas and eventually became disillusioned with Mexican rule. Coahuila y Texas, a Mexican state of which Texas was a constituent part after 1824, endorsed a plan for the gradual emancipation of the state's slaves in 1827, which angered many slaveholding settlers who had moved to Texas from the South. For this and other reasons, Texas declared independence
Texas Declaration of Independence
The Texas Declaration of Independence was the formal declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in the Texas Revolution. It was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and formally signed the following day after errors were noted in the...

 from Mexico, resulting in war with Mexico
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

. In 1836, the fighting ended and Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

 became the first president of the Republic of Texas, elected on a platform that favored annexation to the United States.

Initial Texan proposal

In August 1837, Memucan Hunt, Jr.
Memucan Hunt, Jr.
Memucan Hunt was the first Minister of Texas to the United States, Secretary of the Texas Navy, and an unsuccessful candidate for Vice-President of the Republic of Texas.-Early life:Hunt was born on August 7, 1806...

, the Texan minister to the United States, submitted an annexation proposal to the Van Buren administration
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States . Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson ....

. Believing that annexation would lead to war with Mexico, the administration declined Texas’ proposal. After the election of Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau B. Lamar
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was a Texas politician, diplomat and soldier who was a leading Texas political figure during the Texas Republic era. He was the second President of the Republic of Texas, after David G. Burnet and Sam Houston.-Early years:Lamar grew up at Fairfield, his father's...

, an opponent of annexation, as president of Texas in 1838 and the United States’ apprehension regarding annexation, Texas withdrew its offer.

Failed treaty

In 1843, President John Tyler
John Tyler
John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States . A native of Virginia, Tyler served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator before being elected Vice President . He was the first to succeed to the office of President following the death of a predecessor...

 came out in support of annexation, entering negotiations with the Republic of Texas for an annexation treaty, which he submitted to the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. On June 8, 1844, the treaty was defeated 16 to 35, well below the two-thirds majority necessary for ratification. Of the 29 Whig
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

 senators, 28 voted against the treaty with only one Whig, a southerner, supporting it. The Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 senators were more divided on the issue with six northern Democrats and one southern Democrat opposing the treaty and five northern Democrats and ten southern Democrats supporting it.

Annexation by joint resolution

James K. Polk
James K. Polk
James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States . Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives and the 12th Governor of Tennessee...

, a Democrat and a strong supporter of territorial expansion, was elected
United States presidential election, 1844
In the United States presidential election of 1844, Democrat James K. Polk defeated Whig Henry Clay in a close contest that turned on foreign policy, with Polk favoring the annexation of Texas and Clay opposed....

 president in November 1844 with a mandate to acquire both the Republic of Texas and Oregon Country
Oregon Country
The Oregon Country was a predominantly American term referring to a disputed ownership region of the Pacific Northwest of North America. The region was occupied by British and French Canadian fur traders from before 1810, and American settlers from the mid-1830s, with its coastal areas north from...

. After the election, the Tyler administration realized that public opinion was in favor of annexation, consulted with President-elect Polk, and set out to accomplish annexation by means of a joint resolution
Joint resolution
In the United States Congress, a joint resolution is a legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his/her approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill....

. The resolution declared that Texas would be admitted as a state as long as it approved annexation by January 1, 1846, that it could split itself up into four additional states, and that possession of the Republic’s public land would shift to the state of Texas upon its admission. On February 26, 1845, six days before Polk took office, Congress passed the joint resolution.
Not long afterward, Andrew Jackson Donelson
Andrew Jackson Donelson
Andrew Jackson Donelson was an American diplomat and a candidate for Vice President of the United States.-Biography:...

, the American chargé d'affaires in Texas and the nephew of former president Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

, presented the American resolution to President Anson Jones
Anson Jones
Anson Jones was a doctor, businessman, congressman, the fourth and last President of the Republic of Texas, sometimes called the "Architect of Annexation."- Early life :...

 of Texas. On July 4, 1845, the Texan Congress endorsed the American annexation offer with only one dissenting vote and began writing a state constitution. The citizens of Texas approved the new constitution and the annexation ordinance on October 13, 1845, and Polk signed the documents formally integrating Texas into the United States on December 29, 1845.

Options for the formation of new states

The joint resolution and ordinance of annexation contain language permitting the formation of up to four additional states out of the former territories of the Republic of Texas:

The joint resolution required that if any new states were formed out of Texas’ lands, those north of the Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

 line would become free states and those south of the line could choose whether or not to permit slavery. Article Four
Article Four of the United States Constitution
Article Four of the United States Constitution relates to the states. The article outlines the duties states have to each other, as well as those the federal government has to the states...

 of the Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 prohibits the creation of new states out of existing ones without the consent of both the legislature of that state and of Congress, but the division of Texas into multiple states has never been attempted.

Border disputes

The joint resolution and ordinance of annexation have no language specifying the boundaries of Texas, but only refer in general terms to "the territory properly included within, and rightfully belonging to the Republic of Texas", and state that the new State of Texas is to be formed "subject to the adjustment by this [U.S.] government of all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments."

According to George Lockhart Rives, "That treaty had been expressly so framed as to leave the boundaries of Texas undefined, and the joint resolution of the following winter was drawn in the same manner. It was hoped that this might open the way to a negotiation, in the course of which the whole subject of the boundaries of Mexico, from the Gulf to the Pacific, might be reconsidered, but these hopes came to nothing."

There was an ongoing border dispute between the Republic of Texas and Mexico prior to annexation. Texas claimed the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 as its border, while Mexico maintained that it was the Nueces River and did not recognize Texan independence. President James K. Polk
James K. Polk
James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States . Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He later lived in and represented Tennessee. A Democrat, Polk served as the 17th Speaker of the House of Representatives and the 12th Governor of Tennessee...

 ordered General Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 to garrison the southern border of Texas, as defined by the former Republic. Taylor moved into Texas, ignoring Mexican demands to withdraw, and marched as far south as the Rio Grande, where he began to build a fort
Fort Brown
Fort Brown was a military post of the United States Army in Texas during the later half of 19th century and the early part of the 20th century.-Early years:...

 near the river's mouth on the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. The Mexican government regarded this action as a violation of its sovereignty.

The Republic of Texas never controlled what is now New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. The failed Texas Santa Fe Expedition
Texas Santa Fe Expedition
The Texas Santa Fe Expedition was a commercial and military expedition to secure the Republic of Texas's claims to parts of Northern New Mexico for Texas in 1841. The expedition was unofficially initiated by the then President of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, in an attempt to gain control over the...

 of 1841 was its only attempt to take that territory. El Paso
El Paso
El Paso, a city in the U.S. state of Texas, on the border with Mexico.El Paso may also refer to:-Geography:Colombia:* El Paso, CesarSpain:*El Paso, Santa Cruz de TenerifeUnited States:...

 was only taken under Texas governance by Robert Neighbors
Robert Neighbors
Robert Simpson Neighbors was an Indian agent and Texas state legislator. Known as a fair and determined protector of Indian interests as guaranteed by treaty, he was murdered for his beliefs by a Texan who disagreed with giving any rights to the Comanches.-Early life:Robert Simpson Neighbors was...

 in 1850, over four years after annexation; he was not welcomed in New Mexico.
Texas continued to claim New Mexico as far as the Rio Grande, supported by the rest of the South, and opposed by the North and by New Mexico itself, until agreeing to today's boundary in the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

.

Legality controversy

The formal 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 instead of annexing the land by Treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

, as was done with Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 lands. After the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and The Republic of Texas were unable to reach a Treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 agreement, Congress passed a Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States. The Republic of Texas's Annexation Convention then submitted the Ordinance of Annexation to popular vote in October 1845 and the public approved the measure. This Ordinance of Annexation was submitted and approved by the House and Senate of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and signed by the President on December 29, 1845. While this was an awkward, if not unusual, treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 process it was fully accepted by all parties involved, and more importantly all parties performed on those agreements making them legally binding (see Contract Law). In addition, the United States Supreme Court decided in the case of DeLima v. Bidwell
DeLima v. Bidwell
DeLima v. Bidwell, , was one of a group of the first Insular Cases decided by the United States Supreme Court.The case was argued on January 8-11, 1901 and was decided on May 27, 1901....

, 182 U.S. 1 (1901), that annexation by a joint resolution of Congress is legal.

See also

  • Adams-Onís Treaty
    Adams-Onís Treaty
    The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

  • History of Texas
    History of Texas
    European conquistadors first arrived in the region now known as Texas in 1519, finding the region populated by various Native American tribes...

  • Mexican-American War
  • Republic of Texas
    Republic of Texas
    The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

  • Texas Revolution
    Texas Revolution
    The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...


Primary Sources



Secondary Sources

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