Compromise of 6 September 1850

During its early years of statehood, Texas claimed territory about fifty percent larger than its present boundary, including parts of the present states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming (see graphic below). Much of this land was contested by other groups, with the result that emotions on both sides of the issue reached the point of hostility by 1850.
BREAKUP OF TEXAS: Of the land claimed by Texas after annexation (left), about 1/3 was ceded to the U. S. in exchange for $10 million in the Compromise of 1850. Four different plans for the breakup (right) were proposed in the boundary dispute.


Plans for settling the dispute were discussed in the U. S. Congress beginning in early 1850. At least four of these plans gained serious attention (identified by their congressional sponsors):

The Pearce Plan was adopted on September 9, 1850. Although Texas lost almost one-third of its territory under this plan, the settlement also included compensation of $10,000,000, which provided much needed funding for Texas to pay its pre-statehood debts. The plan defined the familiar boundaries known by all Texans today.

The resolution of this boundary dispute, along with other national legislation related to sectional and slavery issues, became known collectively as the Compromise of 1850.

The following is from an 1845 book A New Guide to TEXAS  by Richard F. Hunt and Jesse F. Randel. [CLICK TO READ THE COMPLETE BOOK AS A PDF]


A contract between two Republics.

Annexation to the United States usually requires a two-thirds majority of both houses of congress for approval. However, because Texas was a Republic and considered of equal standing to the Republic of the United States, Texas became part of the United States by a contract approved by a simple majority in both republics in 1845 graranteeing certain powers extrodanary to the State of Texas. The concluding act in the drama took place in Austin, February 19th, 1846, when Anson Jones, president of the Republic of Texas, handed over the reins of authority  to J. Pickney Henderson, govenor of the State of Texas.


1. All public lands within Texas Boundaries are to be held by the state as a Public Domain.

2. Texas has the right to divide into as many as five states, such division to be actuated from within the commonwealth amd not without consent of the commonwealth as a whole. Each state so formed to be received into the Union on presentation of a constitution acceptable to the United States.

3. Texas would continue responsibility for its sizable public debt.

In its first state constitution, at the insistance of Don Antonio Navarro, the one native-born member of the constitutional convention [who spoke through an interpreter], the franchise was bestowed on all males 21 years of age except Indians not taxed, Africans and descendents of Africans. Thus women were lumped, indirectly, with Black folk and nomadic or tribal Indians, the latter being, at the same time distinguished from Indians "baptized and settled on the land."

Then Texas saddled on the United States for "unsettled" Indians--namely Apaches and Comanches, while retaining under the governors control its own frontier and border defensive units of the Texas Rangers. To accommodate its Indian responsibility the United States established a series of military posts rainbowing above the settlements from northeast corner of the state to the Rio Grande--meanwhile taking over the government or Santa Fe, Texas, [Now New Mexico] claiming the Public Domain extended to the headwaters of the Rio Grand. Texas was ready to declare the Annexation contract violated  and was threatening sucessision when Washington D. C. sent down cash to the amount of $10,000,000 --more than enough to cover the public debt. Texas accepted the peace offering and the boundaries were agreed upon as approximately what they are now.

The Lone Star flag remains--no dead emblem of past glory but the symbol of vestigial reminants of a nationhood still extant in the psychology of a folk element whose legislative fiat sets it alongside the stars and Stripes on a flag pole of equal height, requiring that it be made as nearly as possible  the same size. The Texas flag can never be exactly the same size  as the flag of the United States because it is a tricolor--the red, white and blue bars are of identical deminsion with the five pointed star as the center of the blue bar which is vertical to the white and red bar, the white bar at the top. The flag cannot be printed on any advertising material or displayed for any commercial purpose. It is always to the left of the United States flag. It can be reversed on the staff with the red bar on the top as a distress signal. The Same distress signal as with the United States flag.




By federal law,
Texas is the only state in the U...S That can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. Flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland , California , or Maine , and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Klein Oak High or anyplace else in Texas at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why? 
Because it is the only state that was a Republic before it became a state .

Our capitol is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in
Washington , D.C. And our San Jacinto Monument is taller than the National Monument.

We can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to! We can become a republic again at any time the voters of  Texas choose, and we included these things as part of the deal when we came on.

The Joint Resolution annexing Texas to the United States provided that Texas could divide itself into five separate states. Would they have been slave states or free states?


Thd  Joint Resolution provided that any new state lying South of the Missouri Compromise Line could be slave or free, depending on the will of the people. New states lying North of that line would be free. The Compromise of 1850 made the line irrelevant to the issue, as Texas gave up all her lands North of it in exchange for $10 million.

[This occured in 1850 before the civil war.]


The clause in the Joint Resolution providing for the division reads:


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.


 The Shape of the Republic of Texas as it would appear on a modern map of the United States, [Compliments of Bruce Grethen, member of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission in the year 2015] [PDF]


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