||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Breaking up Texas
Ramsdell devotes most of chapter IX, 200f, to the Convention of 1868... which dragged into 1869. It was mainly a Republican convention, but the Republicans found ways to bicker amongst themselves.
A main problem is that, back then, Texas had regional issues. Texas is still in the same shape it was then, and it is still regional. The difference is that north of the Nueces or so, Texans today are proud to belong to what is essentially a sub-America. Back then... not so much. Germans were liberal and clustered in the centre. West Texas wanted Reconstruction to fall upon the East (p. 245); and in far west Texas, they just didn't care.
Texas had an agreement in 1845 with the US that it legally could split, into five states. Many delegates figured three would suffice (Ramsdell 212). Whether the US Congress would have agreed to this, never got tested.
Texas was also short of cash. El Paso's delegate, WW Mills, had the notion that rather than join any of these new states, the Pecos should just get sold to the US (Ramsdell 203, 213) - to join up with Territorial New Mexico. The US probably would have agreed to that - it would have sped along New Mexico's application to statehood - but it wasn't tested either.
Texans couldn't agree on any of that. Much of the push to break up Texas devolved more into who got to carve up the turkey. The breakup proposals mostly served to waste time (p. 226) and to remind all the delegates of how little they shared in common.
Eventually the breakup idea became the hobbyhorse of EJ Davis and his Radicals. Everyone else gave up on it. And when Davis himself became governor, he didn't do anything to reduce the extent of his writ.
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