The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 22
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22 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
American system, the citizen had no voice whatever in shaping the
political policies of the country, even in the smallest details of local
polity. In Florida, California, and other States where beginnings
were Spanish, as well as in Texas, whatever local civil government
existed, existed under the form of the municipality. When Florida
passed under the sovereignty of the United States, the municipality
lost its identity. Mexico adopted a constitution in 1824, and made
a subdivision intended to be political, and called it the Depart-
ment, but, except in Texas, colonial development was not sufficient-
ly advanced to afford a test of its merits as a part of the machinery
of republican government.
Texas began her existence as a separate province of Spain in
1727, and in the long interval that elapsed between that date and
1824 only two additional municipalities came into permanent ex-
istence-La Bahia and Nacogdoches.
Under the Constitution of 1824, the municipality was retained,
with no radical changes of function, and, colonial development in
Texas being rapid, the number of municipalities was increased, so
that, at the meeting of the Consultation in 1835, the number was
eighteen, and, to meet the needs of the settlements, five new ones
were created, so that, at the date of the formation of the Constitu-
tion of the Republic, there were twenty-three.
Texas was annexed to Coahuila, and jointly they became the'
State of Coahuila and Texas, and the latter was constituted the
Department of Bexar. Each department was to have an executive
officer, called Political Chief. While he was doubtless intended to
be an .executive officer simply, the Constitution of Coahuila and
Texas clothed him with many judicial powers. Each department
was also entitled to a representative in the State Congress of Coa-
huila and Texas. This representative was chosen by a depart-
mental electoral college, which had been previously elected by a col-
lege of ayuntamientos, elected by the direct votes of such suffragans
as, under the rigid suffrage laws of the State, were entitled to the
elective franchise. The ratio of representation in the Federal Con-
gress was one to every 40,000 of population; and in the State Con-
gress, one to every 7500. The inhabited area of Texas at that time
extended from San Antonio in the west to Nacogdoches in the east,
and to Red river in the northeast, and inland from the Gulf as far
as the falls of the Brazos. The great diversity of interests implied
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898, periodical, 1897/1898; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/m1/32/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.