March 2, 1836 – The Anniversary of the Document Solidifying Texas Independence; The Difference Between Signers and Witnesses


[Note: I meant for this post to be up on March 2 for the actual anniversary, but unfortunately, as is obvious, I am late in posting this. Fortunately, the principles and courageous examples of these patriots are timeless, and are powerfully heroic, regardless of the date of this post, and in fact, regardless of whether or not there even is/was a post]

March 2, 1836 is the Anniversary of the Texas Declaration of Independence; the document of secession formalizing the separation of the Republic of Texas from Mexico.

Amazingly, this document was literally written overnight, and approved the next day due to the ferocity of the war simultaneously being waged. This, for me, not only indicates an aspect of inspiration, but also illustrates the seeming unity behind these basic principles outlined therein with the people fighting for independence.

This event, this document, and most importantly the principles behind them, should inspire patriots everywhere to consider how they successfully rectified many political ills that they were experiencing in their day. This certainly should apply to us in our day. You can read the full text of the Texas Declaration of Independence  here.

The Document, which is extremely relevant to the modern condition amongst the United States and around the world, is worthy of quotation, and states in part that:

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, the everready 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 rights 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.”

A BRIEF ANALYSIS

This document reads almost as if it was a speech of warning that went unheeded, and as a result we have the current political condition as a consequence. Here is a quick list of some points to consider:

We do, in fact, live in a time when governments have so often become the means of the very type of activity that we intended for them to help prevent. They often become the means of the very coercive and criminal activity with which it was intended for the government itself to punish and hinder.

– Do we live in a system originally designed to be a federal republic, but now acts as a centralized, militaristic, and national system with all roads leading to The District of Columbia? The States themselves today, instead of acting like the sovereign nations that they are, are often acting as if they are counties that answer to D.C. There is a huge difference between a national, and a federal government, and this difference is often lost in modern political discourse.

– Who doubts that the US Constitution today – to say nothing of the State Constitutions – is, in a large degree, “without substantial existence”? And, in fact the governmental system itself is, almost always without the people’s consent, “forcibly changed”.

– In fact, does anyone doubt that we live in a time when “the spirit of the Constitution has departed“, and now the situation is becoming worse as even “the semblance of freedom” is being removed, and the forms themselves of the Constitution are being altered drastically? For a quick example, just look at Fourth Amendment Case Law to see how blatantly destructive the Federal Courts have so often been in terms of actually practicing and limiting the government to the plain meaning and intent of the Fourth Amendment itself.

When will the time come when we, as a freedom-loving people, will actually follow this path and appeal to a higher source for Just and Moral Law than the pretended statutory codes of perversion that have become the standard in our day? When will we call upon “the Supreme Judge”, or “the Supreme Arbiter of the Destinies of Nations” to support us in OUR cause for freedom. The answer to these questions, unfortunately, is not for me to say.

FUNCTIONS OF A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

This document, like the Declaration of Independence for the 13 united States, serves three functions:

1) A Formal, Written Declaration of Secession; a legal document formalizing political separation

2) A Statement of Why this Separation is, and should be, Desired – this includes a succinct thesis on the proper role of good government to be compared against the rejection of those principles by the political body from which they are separating. The rejection aspect is found in the list of grievances, which grievances are listed publicly so that they can be considered by anyone paying attention to the event (including future generations)

3) A Written Pledge, or perhaps even a Covenant, between the Signers themselves to do all in their power to enforce the Declaration for the people, including themselves, and posterity. A pledge to do all they can to bring about the Separation, in reality, that was so declared in the document itself.

When the differences between these three functions are realized, this knowledge can bring about, or heighten, a thorough understanding pertaining to lawful authority; as well as a depth of realization pertaining to the courage and greatness of the actions of these men who so drafted and signed such a document.

SIGNERS AND WITNESSES

How many signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence were there? The answer is 60.
To further supplement this point, how many signers of the Declaration of Independence for the 13 united States were there? The answer is 56.

Ok. Now…

How many signers of the Texas Constitution were there? And How many signers of the US Constitution were there?

The answer to both of these questions is zero.

I can already hear many disagreeing in their head, perhaps even vocally, and perhaps this is supplemented with many of you opening up separate tabs, or grabbing your pocket constitutions and looking at the list of names of people who did, in fact, attach their signatures to the respective Constitutions.

Yet, regardless of the number of people who attached their signatures to the Constitutions that they helped to write – once political separation was realized, of course – they were not, in fact, signers, but were actually witnesses.

Let’s use the Declaration of Independence of the 13 states, and the US Constitution as an example for illustrating this point.

Let’s start with the Declaration.

Notice that in the last paragraph of the Declaration they not only state that they, unanimously declare political separation, but they then pledge to “each other” their “Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” – this is further attested by their signing of the document. These are two very different aspects of what the document represents. Remember the three different functions of these two declarations of Independence.

So what’s the difference? And why the difference?

First, please keep in mind the difference between authority and power.

Authority is the Right to Act; while Power is the Ability to Act. There is a difference, and that difference is profound. A bully may have the power to steal from someone weaker than themselves, but that does, in no way, mean that they have the right to do so.

Now, as the representatives of the people, the delegates had the authority – which authority was derived from the individual sovereignty of those whom they represented – to politically separate from the “mother country” (in this example, England, in the example of Texas, Mexico). Thus, the document states that “we, the representatives of the united States” before so often declaring political independence.

Yet, they did not have the authority to force the people themselves to bring about the enforcement of this document. They did not have the authority to obligate all of the people whom they represented to fight in the war to enforce the Declaration, which war would be the obvious result of the document itself.

Therefore, they voluntarily signed and pledged to each other to give and do all in their power that they possibly could to enforce this document. This included the probable sacrifice of their lives and their fortunes.

Now, lets look at the Constitution of the United States.

The Constitutions, – both of the US and Texas – in contrast, both start with reference to “We, the People“. In fact, the United States Constitution does not even end with any statement indicating that this was about the people who took part in the Constitutional Convention at all. In terms of the Constitutions, It couldn’t be about those respective delegates themselves and retain validity as a governing document of or for a nation – or in the case of the United States Constitution, a group of nations.

The governing body and system as it relates to every individual – which individual is the true sovereign entity when it comes to our relationship to each other on this Earth – is not for a select group, or faction, of mankind to decide at all (except as it may relate to themselves, of course). It is up to the people themselves, who will be so represented, given their actual consent. The meaning behind this concept is truly the axiom so many use (unfortunately often divorced from it’s true meaning) which refers in some way to the “consent of the governed“.

The Constitution wasn’t a governing document for a private association of those present and directly consenting in the Constitutional Convention, but was  intended to be a formal charter of how the government so created through it would be governed in relation to all the people within such government’s jurisdiction.

Therefore, the Founders, in the US Constitution, state at the end that In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names ; at which point, the people themselves then, often via representatives, were to accept the document as their own, or reject the document and render it inapplicable. The Founders stated that their signatures had the function of identifying them as witnesses for the Constitution, and not as signers in the full sense of the term.

Therefore, in sum, the signing of the Declarations, in terms of enforcement, was about them, while the drafting and witnessing of the Constitutions were about everybody that was relevant to the subject. That is the essence behind the difference between Signers, and Witnesses and it is profound when realizing the concept of sovereignty when it relates to a nation, or even the potential to organize and function as a nation (or group of nations, whatever the case may be).

CONCLUDING STATEMENT

I would hope that everyone, especially this month, will take the time to read and study the Texas Declaration of Independence and find within the meaning behind those words, the true principles of good government which are ever relevant and applicable to the condition of mankind.

I hope we can learn from the example of these 60 signers and work to find a way to bring about a more free society for ourselves, each other, and for future generations.

Man was, is, and forever will be, born to be free, and any form of tyranny over that natural entitlement and endowment which is even sustained by the Heavens themselves should be avoided like the plague that it truly is.

But, ultimately, it is entirely up to us.

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