Proposed Annexation of Texas
- Proposed Annexation of Texas
- Full Title:
- Annexation as Proposed by the House
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Date posted:
- ID Number:
- 16 x 13
- Collector's Notes:
- This map was published on February 11, 1845, in the Newark Daily Advertiser as the U.S. Senate was considering a Joint Resolution for the Annexation of Texas that had been adopted by the House of Representatives. The Advertiser was an influential voice against slavery (see Smith 1911, 305 n.11) and published this "striking view of the relative size of the slave and free districts" in the proposed legislation in the hope of defeating annexation. "No mere verbal description could give the reader so clear a conception of this shameless mockery on the part of the Texas scrip and slave-dealing speculators. The whole scheme is here exposed to the eye, at a glance."
The Congress was proposing to "reannex" Texas, based on a provision of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1803 (which included at least some part of the Texas of 1845). Proceeding in this manner avoided seeking Mexico's concurrence or directly repudiating the 1819 Treaty ceding Texas to Spain. More importantly for present purposes, relying on the Louisiana Purchase invoked the Missouri Compromise prohibiting slavery north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, and language to that effect was included in the proposed joint resolution (Smith 1911, 327-333|Merk 1972, 124, 152-53|Sibley 2005, 82-83).
The House-passed language was widely criticized in the north. The day of its adoption, the New York Tribune said: "We are disgusted by the loathsome iniquity of pretending to compromise the slavery question by stipulating that slavery shall not be legalized above 36-1/2 degrees of North latitude. There is no Texas above this line, and the pretext that any exists is an impudent knavery." Silas Wright, a powerful ex-Senator from New York, wrote to his successor that the Missouri Compromise line "does not touch one inch of the territory which Texas owns, or over which Texas has ever practically exercised jurisdiction and government. It is therefore no compromise in fact, while it is one in form, and almost every man you meet calls it a cheat and a fraud." (Merk 1972, 153-544 n.3).
The Advertiser map, published 17 days after the House passed the joint resolution, reflected precisely these sentiments ("this shameless mockery"). Perhaps in its zeal to make the point, the Advertiser itself used distortion: although the conceptual basis of the map is sound, the same black color used for the "Slave District" was applied to portions of Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, and the United States north of the Missouri Compromise line, thus magnifying the apparent imbalance of "the relative size of the slave and free districts." Whatever the force of the Advertiser map, the joint resolution was adopted by the Senate soon after, and final Congressional action occurred on February 28, bringing Texas to the United States - and slavery to Texas.
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- Newark Daily Advertiser, February 11, 1845.
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- Private Collection of PJ Mode
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