The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 458
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of the sources of the Texas Bill of Rights must begin, therefore,
with the sources of the state constitutions of 1833 and 1836.
The Texan of the 1830's has been characterized as a militant
individualist, who resented encroachments on personal rights,
was ready to settle disputes without adjudication, and was willing
to accept any person regardless of his past record.6 He was thus
imbued with the ideas and ideals of Jacksonian democracy. Gen-
erally, then, the constitutions of the 1830's in Texas were built
upon a framework of traditional Anglo-American ideas modified
by the advanced thinking of the Jacksonian period and further
modified by the traditions of Spanish law and custom.7
The bills of rights of 1833 and 1836 were built in the same
way. The basic framework was composed of the customary
English and colonial precedents, the Declaration of Independence
(1776), the bills of early state constitutions, especially those
drafted before 1787, and the first eight amendments to the federal
constitution. Upon this frame the Texas constitution-makers
added modifications drawn from Spanish civil law and practical
experience drawn from American state government from 1790
The cores of these declarations of the t83o's were the cus-
tomary guarantees based on English common law practices. Most
of these passed into American constitutional law through the
medium of the Virginia Bill of Rights (1776), the North Caro-
lina Constitution (1776), the Pennsylvania Constitutions (1776-
1790), the Kentucky Constitution (1792), the Tennessee Consti-
tution (1796), and, of course, the United States Constitution
The Virginia Bill of Rights was the first to be adopted and
served as the model for those that followed. The characteristic
feature of these early state declarations was their reflection of the
political philosophy of the eighteenth century. They declared that
men were "by nature equally free and independent" and spoke
of "inherent rights," of founding government only by "compact,"
and of "natural and unalienable right." Freemen could not be
6W. R. Hogan, The Texas Republic: A Social and Economic History (Norman,
lGerald Ashford, "Jacksonian Liberalism and Spanish Law in Early Texas,"
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LVII, i.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/555/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.