The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 54
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The United States, he said, had never annexed a foreign inde-
pendent territory, and the President doubted the power of the
government, under the Constitution, to do so. True enough,
the United States had annexed Louisiana and Florida without
the consent of their inhabitants, but President Van Buren did
not consider those acquisitions a precedent for incorporating
the territory of an independent nation with the consent of its
citizens. Nor did the President wish to reserve the question
for future consideration. As to the Mexican aspect of the sub-
ject, the President declared that, since Texas was still nominally
at war with Mexico, annexation would make the United States
a party to the war. Back of this thought was the possibility
that England might enter the war as an ally of Mexico. The
constitutional scruple seems absurd and insincere, but it was
urged also by spokesmen of the abolitionists, and, in extenua-
tion, we know that law and diplomacy make use of their peculiar
technicalities. Hunt had the last word. He replied as best he
could, but it was obvious that Van Buren would have none of
Texas, and he would be President until 1841.
IV. ANNEXATION Is DEFERRED
In September, 1837, following Van Buren's curt rejection of
the Texan proposal, John Quincy Adams offered in the House
of Representatives a resolution embodying the substance of the
President's scruples about the Constitution. He declared: "The
power of annexing the people of any independent foreign state
to this union is a power not delegated by the Constitution of
the United States to their Congress or to any department of
their government, but reserved to the people." In other words,
it would require an amendment of the Constitution to annex
Texas. He repeated the resolution toward the end of the next
session of Congress and, gaining the floor on June 16, spoke
for one hour daily with a few exceptions until Congress ad-
journed on July 9, 1838. The speech covered a wide range.
Had he been challenged, he would have maintained that all that
he said was germane to the resolution, but in fact he traveled
far afield. His view of the Texas question was that it was a
sordid plot to expand the slave territory of the United States
so as to give the South greater power in the Senate. It is not
likely that he wanted the House to vote on his resolution. More
probably he offered it to gain an occasion for the speech. Later
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/70/: accessed February 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.