On March 2, 1836, 59 Texicans (yes, that was what they were called) adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence in Washington-on-the-Brazos. With this document, settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from Mexico and created the Republic of Texas.
As most Texans know, while we declared our political independence from Mexico in 1836, Spanish and Mexican influence on Texas remains strong to this day. Music, food, architecture, even our language all show our Spanish and Mexican roots.
But did you know that this influence also extends to Texas law?
Many of the bedrocks of Texas law and legal tradition is an extension of Spanish and Mexican law. For example, community property comes from Spanish property law. Special protections for one's home against creditors--our Homestead law--comes from similar protections present under Mexican rule. Texas water law and riparian rights mirrors those in the Spanish tradition. Texas probate law, which features the use of an independent executor, is modeled after similar provisions in Spanish and Mexican law dating back 200 years.
So, while we Texans proudly proclaimed our independence from Mexico, we retained many aspects of Mexican law that not only became part of our shared heritage, but also influenced other portions of the country.
We must also remember that without March 2, 1836, the world may have been deprived of many Texas-oriented cultural icons. No JR Ewing. No Houston. No Tex-Mex or Texas Tornadoes or Freddy Fender. There would probably have been an Alamo, but no one would remember it. No Lyndon Johnson or Barbara Jordan or George W, Bush. No Stanley Marcus. No Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans (or Oilers, for that matter).
And no Willie Nelson. For goodness sake, we should celebrate Texas Independence Day just for Willie Nelson.
So, have a taco and raise a glass to those 59 in the little log cabin who made Willie Nelson possible.