State Sens. Judith Zaffirini, Leticia Van de Putte, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and Mario Gallegos view the original Texas Declaration of Independence, in the Senate Chamber on the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of the signing of the document on March 2.
AUSTIN Ã¯Â¿Â½ Tuesday was the 175th Anniversary of Texas' independence from Mexico, and the Senate marked the occasion with a reading of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The original document itself was brought into the chamber under an honor guard from the Texian Legacy Association dressed in the period garb of the 1836 revolution, and Senators split the reading duties amongst themselves.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst asked all to remember the courage of the signatories, who at great personal danger, but "with a fervent desire for freedom from tyranny, shaped the destiny of Texas forever."
The story is familiar to most Texans: the Alamo was under siege, and 59 men at Washington-on-the-Brazos signed a document that declared Texas independent of Mexico. The authors cited a tyrannical military dictatorship, one that falsely imprisoned Texans and ignored their pleas for self-governance. They blamed the Mexican government for repressing the right of freedom of religion and for failing to establish a system of public education. The Texas founding fathers even feared for their lives.
"[The Government of Mexico] has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste to our territory and drive us from our homes, and has now a large mercenary army to carry on against us a war of extermination," read Austin Senator Kirk Watson.
Two days later, Sam Houston took command of the Texas army and it was only seven weeks later that he led the revolutionaries to victory over Santa Anna at San Jacinto. In honor of the 175th Anniversary, the original Texas Declaration of Independence will be on public display in the de Zavala State Archives Building through April 21, San Jacinto Day.