Texas Declaration of Independence
Washington-on-the-Brazos
March 2, 1836












When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the
people from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of
whose happiness it was instituted; and so far from being a guarantee for the
enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the
hands of evil rulers for their oppression; when the Federal Republican Constitution of
their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial
existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed
without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign
states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is
disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood – both the eternal enemies of
civil liberty, and the ever-ready minions of power, and the usual instruments of
tyrants; When long after the spirit of the Constitution has departed, moderation is at
length, so far lost, by those in power that even the semblance of freedom is
removed, and the forms, themselves, of the constitution discontinued; and so far
from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them
are thrown into dungeons; and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new
government upon them at the point of the bayonet. When in consequence of such
acts of malfeasance and abdication, on the part of the government, anarchy prevails,
and civil society is dissolved into its original elements: In such a crisis, the first law of
nature, the right of self-preservation – the inherent and inalienable right of the
people to appeal to first principles and take their political affairs into their own hands
in extreme cases – enjoins it as a right towards themselves and a sacred obligation
to their posterity, to abolish such government and create another in its stead,
calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future
welfare and happiness. Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to
the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is, therefore,
submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step
now taken of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and
assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-
American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a
written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and
republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth,
the United States of America. In this expectation they have been cruelly
disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes
made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who, having
overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative either to
abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most
intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have
been continually depressed, through a jealous and partial course of legislation
carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown
tongue; and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms, for
the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the
provisions of the national constitution, presented the general Congress, a republican
constitution which was without just cause contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause
but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution and the
establishment of a state government.

It has failed and refused to secure on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury; that
palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of
the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of
almost boundless resources (the public domain) and, although, it is an axiom, in
political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened it is idle to
expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self-government.

It has suffered the military commandants stationed among us to exercise arbitrary
acts of oppression and tyranny; thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the
citizen and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and
obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government; thus
depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military
detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial; in contempt of the civil
authorities, and in defiance of the laws and constitution.

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce; by commissioning foreign
desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of
our citizens to far distant ports of confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own
consciences, by the support of a national religion calculated to promote the temporal
interests 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 defense, the
rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

It has invaded our country, both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our
territory and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army
advancing to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and
scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport
and victim of successive military revolutions and hath continually exhibited every
characteristic of a weak, corrupt and tyrannical government.

These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas until they
reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms
in defense of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for
assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no
sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore,
forced to the melancholy conclusion that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the
destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therefor of a military government –
that they are unfit to be free and incapable of self-government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political
separation.

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, and are fully invested with all the rights
and attributes which properly belong to the independent nations; and, conscious of
the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the
decision of the Supreme Arbiter of the destinies of nations.
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