Updated on March 2, 2013
On March 1, 1836, 59 delegates met at Washington-on-the-Brazos and decided whether to declare their independence from an increasingly hostile Mexican government. By day 2, March 2nd, they had ratified and signed their declaration. The document listed several charges against Mexico including:
It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.
It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.
We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic…
You can read the complete document here. Its a short, but good read.
By the time the delegates began meeting, there had been several skirmishes with Mexican forces and Texans. The Alamo had been under artillery bombardment for 6 days. Santa Ana had brutally put down rebellions throughout Mexico before marching into Texas. His practice of sparing nobody and executing all prisoners was continued most notably at the Alamo and with the prisoners from the Battle of Coleto at Goliad.
After nearly two months of skirmishes and retreats, the Texan army surprised Santa Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21st and thoroughly defeated them. They used as their battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!”
The next day Santa Ana was captured posing as an enlisted soldier. The Treaties of Velasco ended hostilities, but it would be the middle of June before all Mexican forces would be gone from Texas for good. The Mexican government never recognized these treaties and it would take another war, after the US annexed Texas, to settle the dispute for good.
The Battle of Gonzales is considered as the start of the Texas Revolution on October 2nd. Well, it was really just a skirmish. The Mexican commander had been ordered to avoid conflict if possible. The battle has been named the “Lexington of Texas”.
The Texans created a flag with a black star, a cannon, and the words “Come and Take It.” As an aside, at a meeting with executives from a very large gun rights group, I commented on the replica of this flag that was hanging in their conference room. They didn’t even know the history behind it! I was flabbergasted to say the least. But I guess Texas history is a wee bit more important to me than most folks.
The flag represented exactly what they were fighting against: Government confiscation of weapons designed to protect citizens. The cannon had been provided to the city to protect them from Indian raids. When tensions heated up, the Mexican government took steps to gather all weapons that might be used against them. Their very actions ignited open rebellion.
Happy Texas Independence Day!!