The Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Texas
44 Men in a Shack Build a Republic
From October through December of 1836, forty-four men convened in a drafty clapboard house in the town of Columbia.
Their task was to craft a body of laws to bind together the fiercely independent citizens of this land into a cohesive, sovereign nation.
This was the first session of the first Congress of the Republic of Texas, and this volume contains the fruit of their democratic labors.
These were laws that:
- Allowed the sale of land scrip by the President
- Defined the duties of the head of state
- Adopted the Republic's official seal
- Organized the militia
- Organized & governed the army, courts martial, etc.
- Organized the Supreme Court
- Organized & regulated the navy
- Regulated roads and ferries
- Established fees assessed by the government
- Formed the President's cabinet
Noble. Straightforward. Just what was needed and just what you would expect.
"Sorry, Preacher...but you still gotta work on the roads."
They also passed some things that might furrow your brow in bewilderment. Some examples:
- No minister or priest could hold office in the national government
- An act granting Deaf Smith, Sam Houston's trusted scout & spy, any house in San Antonio that was to his liking, so long as the government could find some legal reason to confiscate it.
- Officers & men of the Texas Navy could divide booty amongst themselves after capturing an enemy vessel.
- They set the northern border of the Republic at the 42nd parallel, just south of present-day Wheatland, Wyoming.
- "All free males, Indians excepted, between the age of 17 and 45 years" could be conscripted to work on the public roads.
The Texas Declaration of Independence & the Constitution of the Republic of Texas
Also contained in this volume are the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.
Both are interesting for those of us who love the U.S. Declaration and the U.S. Constitution, as the Texas documents are built upon their forebears.
The language is a little different here, though. It will sound clearer and more modern to your ears. For example, Article Fourteen of the Declaration of Rights reads, "Every citizen shall have the right to bear arms in defense of himself and the republic." How's THAT for clarity?
+ The First State Constitution (1845)
To make this volume an even more valuable reference, we have added the State Constitution of 1845, which took effect after the citizens of the Republic voted in favor of annexation to the United States.
The rear panel features the bold and flamboyant signature of Sam Houston who, as first President of the Republic of Texas, signed every one of these acts into law. Some historians believe he was actually signing "I am Houston."
Analyze it and draw your own conclusions about the statesman's signature.
- The Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Texas
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