This Is Why December 29 Has a Very Special Meaning to Texans
As any self-respecting Texan knows, March 2 is Texas Independence Day. Along with July 4, it's a day with a wagon load of special significance for citizens of the Lone Star State, but there's a date in late December that's worth celebrating too.
The Republic of Texas and the Push for Statehood
As you no doubt know, Texas was its own republic from 1836 until 1845, and while some folks were happy to keep it that way, there was a popular movement to have Texas admitted into the United States from the get-go.
Sam Houston, Texas' first president and later one of her Her first U.S. senators, had a long (though often contentious) history with the U.S. government, and like many Anglo settlers in Texas was keen on seeing what had been Mexican territory admitted into the United States.
Speaking of Mexico...
When Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836, there was an in immediate push to get Her admitted into the Union, but two big problems loomed over the prospect: slavery and tensions with Mexico.
The U.S. was already bitterly divided over the expansion of the so-called "peculiar institution", so admitting Texas as a slave state was going to be controversial no matter what.
To further complicate things, Texas and Mexico were still at odds over whether Texas was actually victorious in its war for independence, and where exactly Texas' borders should lie.
According to the Handbook of Texas, the British government was even scheming to keep Texas out of the Union by influencing Mexican leadership in favor of fully accepting Texas independence on the condition that the new republic agree not to pursue statehood.
Happy Texas Annexation Day
Obviously all the scheming and politics didn't scare the Lone Star away from the Stars and Stripes, because on July 4, 1845, Anson Jones - the final President of the Republic of Texas - called on the Texas Congress and a convention of delegates to vote on whether to accept Mexico's offer or annexation into the Union.
We all know how that turned out.
On December 29, 1845, Texas was officially annexed by the Union, becoming the 28th state. We spent a few more weeks as our own republic before the formal transfer of authority on February 19, 1846.
We've Come a Long Way
It was anything but smooth sailing from there. The annexation of Texas was one of the major reasons for the Mexican-American War, and the issue of slavery finally came to a head with the American Civil War.
Today, Texas is still a state with a fierce spirit of independence, but one full of people who are proud to be citizens of these great United States.