Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States Page: 14 of 55
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries.
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ON THE PROPOSED
" 2. The Congress shall have power to dispose of, and make
all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other
property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this
Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of
the United States, or of any particular State."
That is to say, it must either exist (1.) in the President and
two-thirds of the Senate, or (2.) in a majority of both branches
of Congress with the concurrence of the Executive; or (3.) in the
act of a State, with the concurrence of Congress.
Mr. Walker says the power is three-fold, and that the object
can be accomplished either by a treaty for the admission of
Texas; or, secondly, by an act of Congress; or, lastly, that any
one of the Southern States can amalgamate itself with Texas,
with the concurrence of the government of the Union.
The latter supposition it will be time enough to consider when
Louisiana or Arkansas shall propose to sink itself into Texas. In
the meantime let us see whether either the treaty-making power
or Congress is competent to admit foreign states into this Union.
It must be, in the first place, admitted that the treaty-making
power cannot admit a foreign State as a State into this Union.
The admission of States as such is exclusively reserved to Congress,
and the idea will never be tolerated, that the general words
of the treaty-making power can absorb any specific authority
conferred upon Congress.-Every power that is distinctly and
definitively conferred upon Congress can be exercised by the
two Houses alone. A different construction would vest all the
powers of the government in the President and Senate. If Texas
is therefore to be admitted by a treaty, it must come in as a territory,
to be erected afterwards as a State, according to the good
pleasure of Congress. The power to introduce it as a territory,
independently of the precedents of Louisiana and Florida, admitted
as territories in 1803 and 1819, rest mainly upon the rights
of sovereignty, the right of conquest, and the right to determine
boundary. It is contended that the right to acquire new territory
is a right incident to sovereignty. The rights and powers
of the government of the United States over the people which it
rules, are not to be sought in books of feudal law or national
jurisprudence.-They are to be found in that constitution which
created, and which limits it. There is no such thing as an incident
of sovereignty unless it be found in the constitution. To
suppose that the President and Senate can exercise powers of
this kind under the notion that they are incident to sovereignty,
i is to fall into the very difficulty that the constitution was intend*
ed to avoid. What becomes of all the limitations imposed upon
the central government, if not merely that government, but a
portion only, and its smaller portion can exercise such powers
as this on the pretence that they are incidents of sovereignty.
No color can be shown for this pretension, unless it be conclusively
established that the power demanded is essential to the
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Sedgwick, Theodore. Thoughts on the proposed annexation of Texas to the United States, book, January 1, 1844; New-York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2387/m1/14/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .