April 16, 2009

Those Who Recall History Are Condemned To Blog About It

While tossing out rhetorical chunks of red meat to the double-digit IQ teabagger mob on Wednesday, Governor Knucklehead asserted

Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,

Perry is, of course WRONG. The Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States (which I invite you to read) contains nothing about a right to withdraw from the Union. What it did include was that the Republic of Texas would be admitted as a State (skipping the territorial phase) and that

said state when admitted into the Union, after ceding to the United States all public edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbors, navy and navy yards, docks, magazines and armaments, and all other means pertaining to the public defense, belonging to the said Republic of Texas, shall retain funds, debts, taxes and dues of every kind which may belong to, or be due and owing to the said Republic; and shall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its limits, to be applied to the payment of the debts and liabilities of said Republic of Texas, and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct; but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become a charge upon the Government of the United States.

So Texas, unlike other states retained possession of its public lands, but also was still on the hook for all the debts of the Republic (which were considerable.) Further

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.

So we see that there actually is truth to the tale that Texas can divide into five states (unlike the pro-secession easy in/easy out myth). But this does need to be put into some context. Recall that Article IV Section 3 of the Federal Constitution already provides that, with the consent of Congress and a state's legislature, a new state can be carved out of an already-existing state. And prior to the Texas annexation, Kentucky had been formed out of the western reaches of Virginia and Maine had been a district of Massachusetts. So why the mention in the Joint Resolution?

Well, the boundaries claimed by the Lone Star Republic were considerably greater than those of the Lone Star State we know today. map The land Congress was annexing included present-day New Mexico east of the Rio Grande as well as chunks of what are now Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming. I assert that the language on forming new states is there to clarify that any new state formed north of the Missouri Compromise Line would be a free state, while the question of slavery south of that line would be left to popular sovereignty.

Slavery. The discussion of secession inevitably comes round to the only issue which has actually led to an experiment in destroying the Union. But I fear that this has already gone on at too great a length so I will end now and return to the discussion later.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at April 16, 2009 11:55 AM

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