The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 25
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The Texas Militia during Reconstruction
ily from Florida to Texas in the 1830's and prior to the Civil
War had enjoyed a successful law practice in Corpus Christi,
Brownsville, and Laredo. When war came, he remained a stead-
fast Unionist, recruited troops for the United States Army and
eventually attained the rank of brigadier general in that organ-
ization.3 After the war, he served as delegate to the Constitution-
al Convention of 1866 and as presiding officer of the Convention
of 1868-1869, during which time he began active agitation for
the formation of militia forces. Immediately after presentation
of a report by the Committee on Lawlessness, Davis gave his sup-
port to a resolution to Congress requesting permission to organ-
ize a loyal militia, insisting that without such a force, the pro-
visional government remained "powerless."4 No such authority
was granted by Congress, however, and at the time of Davis' in-
auguration in early 1870, the state was still without a protective
force, a deficiency which the governor immediately set out to
rectify. On April 26, 1870, in one of his first messages to the
Texas Legislature, Davis recommended passage of a militia act.
The legislature answered the governor's request by drawing up
not one but two bills; it was proposed to organize not only a
state militia but a state police force as well. These two bills were
considered jointly and precipitated a fierce debate. Supporters
of these measures defended them on the grounds that they were
necessary for the re-establishment of law and order in Texas; the
opposition bitterly condemned them for deliberately creating a
"military despotism," giving to the governor powers of "supreme
dictation," and debasing the civil authority." One prominent Re-
publican openly joined the opposition because of his expressed
fear of the concentration of so much power into the hands of one
man. With almost prophetic insight, he warned his Republican
colleagues of the danger of their course." In order to offset such
defections, the Radicals assured passage of their two bills by
8W. P. Webb and H. Bailey Carroll (eds.), The Handbook of Texas (2 vols.;
Austin, 1952), I, 469-470.
4Senate Miscellaneous Documents, 4oth Cong., 2nd Sess. (Serial No. 1319), Docu-
ment No. iog, p. 6.
5For summary of this debate, see Marion H. Farrow, The Rise of Democrats to
Power in Texas, 1872-1876 (Master's thesis, University of Texas, 194o), 28.
6Speech of Senator Webster Flanagan quoted in Daily Austin Republican, June
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/38/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.