Texas is a State, in every sense the same as every other State of the
Union. Texas was restored to its full representation in the Congress
under the same terms as the other "Rebel" States.
Essentially, the States were never "out" of the Union, but rather in
rebellion against the Union. Leaving the Union was theoretically and
legally impossible under the doctrinal interpretation of Lincoln and
Johnson, Congress, and Supreme Court. However, the Congress regarded
the rebellious States as "conquered provinces" and considered that
they must meet certain terms in order to receive the full rights of
States, in particular representation in Congress. As a result,
Congress passed several acts, over the veto President Johnson, which
established the military occupation by which States would be governed
until they had formed State governments that complied with the terms
set by Congress.
The first Reconstruction Act required that:
1) the rebel States form and ratify constitutions that conformed to
the Constitution of the United States,
2) recognize the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
An Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel states.
"Sec. 5. That when the people of any one of said rebel States shall
have formed a constitution of government in conformity with the
Constitution of the United States in all respects, framed by a
convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said State
twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous
condition, who have been resident in said State for one year previous
to the day of such election, except such as may be disfranchised for
participation in the rebellion, or for felony at common law, and when
such constitution shall provide that the elective franchise shall be
enjoyed by all such persons as have the qualifications herein stated
for electors of delegates, and when such constitution shall be
ratified by a majority of the persons voting on the question of
ratification who are qualified as electors for delegates, and when
such constitution shall have been submitted to Congress for
examination and approval, and Congress shall have approved the same,
and when said State, by a vote of its legislature elected under said
constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to the Constitution of
the United States, proposed by the Thirty-Ninth Congress, and known as
article fourteen, and when said article shall have become a part of
the Constitution of the United States, said State shall be declared
entitled to representation in Congress, and Senators and
Representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their taking the oaths
prescribed by law, and then and thereafter the preceding sections of
this act shall be inoperative in said State: Provided, That no person
excluded from the privilege of holding office by said proposed
amendment to the Constitution of the United States shall be eligible
to election as a member of the convention to frame a constitution for
any of said rebel States, nor shall any such person vote for members
of such convention."
Texas passed an ordinance in 1866 declaring that the act of secession
was null and void, and recognizing the supremacy of the Constitution
of the United States. Effectively, this confirmed the position held by
the Federal Government that secession was not possible, because the
ordinance annulled the act of secession (declared that it had never
existed in law).
An Ordinance, Declaring the Ordinance of Secession Null and Void
In 1870, the Congress passed the act by which Texas was readmitted to
representation. The act recognized that Texas had fulfilled the
requirements of the first Reconstruction Act.
Chap. XXXIX -
An Act to admit the State of Texas to Representation in the Congress
of the United States.
"Whereas the people of Texas have framed and adopted a constitution of
State government which is republican; and whereas the legislature of
Texas elected under said constitution has ratified the fourteenth and
fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States; and
whereas the performance of these several acts in good faith is a
condition precedent to the representation of the State in Congress:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That the said State of Texas
is entitled to representation in the Congress of the United States:"
Compare to the act applicable to Virginia:
"Committee: Committee on Reconstruction
December 14, 1869
Read twice, ordered to be printed, and recommitted to the Committee on
Reconstruction. Mr. Ward, from the Committee on Reconstruction,
reported the following bill: A Bill Providing for the admission of
Virginia to representation in Congress, upon certain fundamental
conditions. Whereas the people of Virginia, in pursuance of an act
entitled ''An act for the more efficient government of the rebel
States,'' passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and
the acts supplementary thereto, formed a constitution of State
government, which is republican, and have adopted such constitution
upon its submission to them, pursuant to the act of Congress, passed
April tenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven:"
An Act authorizing the Submission of the Constitutions of Virginia,
Mississippi, and Texas to a Vote of the People, and authorizing the
Election of State Officers, provided by the said Constitutions, and
Members of Congress.
April 10, 1869
Thus, it can be seen that Texas enjoys the same status as all other
States, whether they participated in the rebellion or not. It is a
State, the same as all others of the Union.
Second Reconstruction Act
Third Reconstruction Act (July 19, 1867)
Civil War reconstruction plan
The Civil War
Equal Footing - state constitutions
'As stated by Justice Field in Escanaba & Lake Michigan Transp. Co. v.
City of Chicago, 107 U.S. 678 (1883):
"...although the act of April 18, 1818, enabling the people of
Illinois territory to form a constitution and state government, and
the act of August 26th, following, admitting the state into the Union,
refer to the principles of the [Northwest] ordinance according to
which the constitution was to be formed,-its provisions could not
control the authority and powers of the state after her admission.
Whatever the limitation upon her powers as a government while in a
territorial condition, whether from the ordinance of 1787 or the
legislation of congress, it ceased to have any operative force, except
as voluntarily adopted by her after she became a state of the Union.
On her admission she at once became entitled to and possessed of all
the rights of dominion and sovereignty which belonged to the original
states. She was admitted, and could be admitted, only on the same
footing with them. The language of the act of admission is, 'on an
equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever.' 3
St. 536. Equality of constitutional right and power is the condition
of all the states of the Union, old and new...."'