The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 5
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Texas v. White
In the light afforded by the definition, the court examined the
history of Texas since her secession in order to ascertain whether
or not she had lost, during that period, the attributes therein
ascribed to a State in the American Union. The definition was
sufficiently broad and flexible to prevent allusions to a specific act
on the part of Texas or to the loss of a particular privilege,-
such as that of representation in Congress,-as affecting the dis-
establishment or destruction of the State. Such questions as:
Had Texas by the acts of those who directed the state government
ceased to be a State? if not, had the State ceased to be a mem-
ber of the Union ? or, had not the acts of Congress, in denying
her representation and in denouncing her government as illegal,
destroyed the State? could not be answered by reference to this
definition." These matters were still before the court for adjudi-
Of the practical results of secession, the court said,
In all respects, so far as the objects could be accomplished by the
ordinances of the convention, by acts of the Legislature, and by
votes of the citizens, the relations of Texas to the Union were
broken up, and new relations to a new government were estab-
lished for them.
These acts were undeniably real and positive in fact; were they
so in law? Not, said the court, to the extent of breaking the
union between the State and the United States. This union, the
court, in harmony with previous opinions, held to be indestructi-
ble, and, thus, it was not dissoluble by any act of the State, the
government, or the people. Of this union, the court said,
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbi-
trary relation. It began among the colonies, and grew out of
common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar in-
terests, and geographic relations. It was confirmed and strength-
ened by the necessities of war, and received form, and character,
and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these the
Union was solemnly declared to "be perpetual." And when these
articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the coun-
try, the Constitution was ordained to "form a more perfect
"This interesting bit of constitutional lexicography is important as a
contribution to political science and to clarity of thought with respect to
a, term of doubtful meaning, but what influence, if any, it had upon the
result of the case is not clear.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/13/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.