184 years ago

It’s Texas Independence Day, ya’ll.

On March 2, 1836 Texas declared its independence from Mexico and became, for a brief time, the Republic of Texas (as opposed to a U.S. state.)

Wikipedia describes the two competing proposals:

“Texas seceded from Mexico in 1836, spurred on primarily by American settlers in the former Mexican territory against the government of Santa Anna. After the final engagement at San Jacinto in 1836, there were two different visions of the future of Texas: one as a state of the United States and the other as an independent republic. Sam Houston [ed. note: coincidentally, Houston’s birthday is also on March 2] promoted the first, as he felt that the newly independent country, lacking hard currency and still facing threats from Mexico, could not survive on its own. The other was promoted by second Texas president Mirabeau B. Lamar, who felt that it was Texas’s destiny to be a nation that extended from the Louisiana border to the Pacific Ocean. For this reason, Lamar is considered the father of Texas nationalism. The Republic under Lamar incurred large-scale debt, and suffered from a poor economy and inadequate defenses, which led to the annexation of Texas into the United States in 1845. Since then, the state’s time as an independent nation has been the basis of a lasting sense of national identity.”

Unlike other parts of the country, Texas has been under the rule of multiple nations: Spain, France, Mexico, the aforementioned Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America–leading to the Six Flags Over Texas slogan.

The nine years as a Republic seems to have forged an out-sized sense of Texan-ness in folks. I’ve never seen state flags as big as the Texas flag: at auto dealerships, shopping malls, office buildings. Everywhere. They make those big U.S. flags at Perkins Restaurant look piddly.

You might think with all of this state pride that there would be an official Texas Independence Day holiday. Alas, there is not. But Twitter is full of celebratory tweets and many have posted these words from author John Steinbeck…

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