On October 13, 1845, Texans went to the polls to vote on the U.S. Congress' offer of statehood. The vote in Bexar County was overwhelmingly in favor of statehood: 138 for, 17 against. U.S. President James K. Polk signed the annexation bill into law on December 29, 1845. On february 19, 1846, Texas President Anson Jones ordered the U.S. flag raised in Austin, announcing "The Republic of Texas is no more." Texas had become the 28th state of the Union.
Many Texans had desired statehood since the formation of the Republic in 1836. In October, Texas voters had voted overwhelmingly to pursue annexation to the United States. Two issues, however, prevented an immediate offer of statehood to Texas. The first was the fact that Texas had become linked to the antislavery issue in the United States. Slavery's opponents could count among their numbers former President John Quincy Adams as well as many New England intellectuals with ties to the publishing world. Although small in number, the group had a powerful voice nonetheless. Abolitionists claimed that the Texas Revolution was part of a conspiracy by the "slave power" to steal Texas away from Mexico and add it to the United States. They further contended that once that was accomplished, Texas would be broken up into several smaller states, an act that would give slave states a majority in Congress and therefore control of the nation. Opponents to annexation also predicted that statehood for Texas would result in a war between the United States and Mexico since that country still claimed Texas as part of its own national territory. Facing stiff opposition, Texans had to wait nearly ten years for their desire to be realized.
the Congress of the United States of America has passed resolutions providing for the annexation of Texas to that union, which resolutions were offered by the President of the United States on the first day of March, 1845; and
the President of the United States has submitted to Texas the first and second sections of said resolutions, as the basis upon which Texas may be admitted as one of the States of the said Union; and
the existing government of the Republic of Texas, has assented to the proposals thus made, --the terms and conditions of which are as follows:
"Joint Resolutions for annexing Texas to the United States
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress doth consent that the territory properly included within and rightfully belonging to the Republic of Texas, may be erected into a new State to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of government adopted by the people of said Republic, by deputies in convention asembled, with the consent of the existing Government in order that the same may be admitted as one of the States of this Union.
2nd. And be it further resolved, That the foregoing consent of Congress is given upon the following conditions, to wit:
First, said state to be formed, subject to the adjustment of this government of all questions of boundary that may arise with other government, --and the Constitution thereof, with the proper evidence of its adoption by the people of said Republic of Texas, shall be transmitted to the President of the United States, to be laid before Congress for its final action on, or before the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and forty-six.
Second, said state when admitted into the Union, after ceding to the United States all public edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbors, navy and navy yards, docks, magazines and armaments, and all other means pertaining to the public defense, belonging to the said Republic of Texas, shall retain funds, debts, taxes and dues of every kind which may belong to, or be due and owing to the said Republic; and shall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its limits, to be applied to the payment of the debts and liabilities of said republic of Texas, and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct; but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become a charge upon the Government of the United States.
Third -- 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 admited 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."
Now in order to manifest the assent of the people of this Republic, as required in the above recited portions of said resolutions, we the deputies of the people of Texas, in convention assembled, in their name and by their authority, do ordain and declare, that we assent to and accept the proposals, conditions and guarantees, contained in the first and secoond sections of the Resolution of the Congress of the United States aforesaid.
In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names
Thomas J. Rusk
President [Annexation Convention]