|Breaking up is hard to do.|
It’s pretty well known that as a condition of annexation, Texas was granted the right to carve herself into as many as five states.
What’s not so well known is how often it has been seriously entertained over the years.
While the Compromise of 1850 was being hammered out, during reconstruction, at the Constitutional Conventions of 1866 and 1868, and many times in between, chopping up Texas was often on the agenda.
Here are thirteen maps showing the thirty-one different proposed parcels between 1845 and 1915.
Division into Free and Slave States – 1845
Proposed by Rep. John Hale of New Hampshire as a condition for admission into the Union.
Reduction and Division Proposal – 1850
Proposed by Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri after his change of conscience regarding slavery in 1849. East Texas would be slave holding and West Texas free.
State of Jacinto – 1850
Proposed by Senator Henry Foote of Mississippi in response to Senator Benton’s proposal above. Senator Foote would create two salve holding sates from the Texas.
Flanagan’s Plan – East/West Division – 1852 – Mr. Flanagan represented Rusk County in the State Legislature. His reasoning was that the Eastern and Western portions of Texas had antagonistic interests. You do have to wonder why he split the panhandle.
Proposed State of East Texas – 1866 – Mr. Flanagan is back, with the same reasoning, and perhaps a more sensible map.
Reduction Plan of 1866 – The legislature thought it might be a good idea to sell West Texas to the United States government and put the proceeds in a perpetual school fund.
Proposed Reduction of 1868 – The 1866 plan expanded. Legislators intended to sell the US Government on a bigger, better Oklahoma (or Indian Territory as it was known then.)
Congressional Plan of 1868 – This one is all about regional interests and attempts to consolidate political power during Reconstruction.
Hamilton Plan – 1868 – A. J. Hamilton of Travis County was actually opposed to dividing Texas. He proposed this plan in order to divide the supporters of the Congressional plan above. It worked.
Newcomb Plan – 1868 – James Newcomb of San Antonio tries to unite the divisionists, but is defeated by parliamentary procedure.
Proposed State of Lincoln – 1869 – Another Congressional plan. It died in committee.
Four Part Division of 1871 – Members of the Legislature thought Texas was just too big to be governed effectively. This was their remedy.
Proposed State of Jefferson – 1915 – Because the Legislature had failed to redistrict Texas to account for population growth in the West, folks living there weren’t feeling appreciated. So Senator Johnson of Lubbock proposed forming the State of Jefferson. It never gained traction, though West Texas newspapers editorialized in favor of the plan.