Texas divisionism is a mainly historical movement that advocates the division of the U.S. state of Texas into as many as five states, as some proponents argue is permitted by a provision included in the resolution admitting the former Republic of Texas into the Union in 1845.
Texas divisionists would tend to argue that the division of their state is desirable because as the second largest and second most populous state in the U.S. Texas is too large to be governed efficiently as one political unit or that in several states Texans would gain more power at the federal level, particularly in the U.S. Senate to which each state elects two Senators and by extension in the Electoral College in which each state gets two electoral votes for their Senators in addition to an electoral vote for each Representative. However, division may be wastefully duplicative, requiring a new state government.
Texas' division was frequently proposed in the early decades of Texan statehood, particularly in the decades immediately prior to and following the American Civil War in which Texas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. Since approximately the 1930s, Texas divisionism has generally been seen as a fringe movement and proposals to divide the state have not usually been taken seriously.
State of Jefferson
Because the Act of Admission of Texas into the Union allows the state to divide itself, a bill was introduced to the Texas legislature in 1915 in order to create a State of Jefferson, made up of the Texas Panhandle.
State of Lincoln
Another state that was to be named "State of Lincoln" was in Texas after the U.S. Civil War. It was proposed in 1869 to be carved out of the territory of Texas from the area south and west of the state's Colorado River. Unlike many other Texas division proposals of the Reconstruction period this one was presented to Congress, but like the others it failed.
Federal Constitutional Provision
The resolution of 1845, states that division is "under the provisions of the Federal Constitution". Article IV Section 3 of The United States Constitution expressly prohibits Texas, or any other state, from dividing up and forming smaller states without Congressional approval. The relevant clause says "New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress". While opponents argue that the Constitutional provision would require Congressional approval of any new states formed from Texas' territory, proponents argue that the resolution of 1845, as it was a bill which passed both houses of Congress, stands as Congressional "pre-approval" under the terms of the Constitution for formation of such states.
- "Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States Approved March 1, 1845". Texas State Libraries and Archive Commission.
- Division of Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Snopes.com entry on the history of the proposal
- "Messing with Texas," a post on the FiveThirtyEight blog on the political implications of a hypothetical modern-day division of Texas