John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Ten random things: June 19

Ten things about Texas that sort of make me wish it had remained an independent republic:

  1. Bogus drug convictions in Tulia
  2. Most expensive state for home owner's insurance
  3. Ranks first in percentage of uninsured children
  4. Highest percentage of adults over 25 without a high school education
  5. Enron
  6. The murder and mutilation of James Byrd, Jr.
  7. Emits more greenhouse gases than the combined emissions of the states with the second- and third-highest CO2 levels
  8. Prohibits homosexuals and bisexuals from becoming foster parents
  9. Chairman of the state Board of Education is a Creationist
  10. This guy

History lesson! In 1844, the United States Senate rejected the Republic of Texas annexation treaty. President John Tyler, a canny politician and a fervent supporter of annexation, sent a letter to the leaders of the House of Representatives suggesting that if Congress "deem[ed] it proper" to annex Texas by "any other expedient compatible with the constitution," they would have his full support. A few months later, following the election of James K. Polk, another strong supporter of annexation, Tyler suggested in his annual message to Congress that Polk's election demonstrated that a "controlling majority of the people and a large majority of the States" were "in favor of immediate annexation," and that since both the Tyler administration and the Republic of Texas had agreed to the terms of the treaty, the Congress could pass a joint resolution calling for the annexation of and the admission as a State of Texas, and authorizing the President to finalize the Treaty. After a lot of debate over the constitutionality of Tyler's proposal, the House passed just such a resolution; the Senate amended the resolution to allow the president to decide whether to reopen treaty negotiations or accept the House plan for immediate annexation; and on February 28, 1845, the House passed the amended version of the joint resolution. Most people assumed that Polk would take up the issue after his inauguration on March 4, but Tyler surprised everyone -- except Polk, who had been briefed in advance -- by signing it into law on March 1 and extending a formal offer of annexation and admission to the Republic of Texas two days later, one day before leaving office. Smooooth.

As someone who is very interested in the Jacksonian era of American politics, I was already familiar with the tumultuous Texas annexation process, but I didn't know much about President Tyler's role in it until I read Edward P. Crapol's John Tyler: The Accidental President earlier this month. Toward the end of the chapter about Texas, I ran across an interesting quote by former Secretary of State and annexation opponent Daniel Webster about the events described above: "Mr. Calhoun and myself may live to regret this dispensing with the conservative ⅔ vote of the Senate." Well said, Mr, Webster.

Edited on May 28, 2010, to update the link, which originally pointed here. As the person currently featured at that page is not from Texas (not to mention not a terrible President), I changed the link to a more suitable one.

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