OTD 1866: A minority report on the disputed “ab initio” question

On February 23, 1866, a minority of the committee on the Condition of the State reported their disagreement with a majority on the hotly debated question of whether the secession of Texas should be declared null and void, or declared void “ab initio,” i.e. a null act from the beginning. Represented in the convention by William E. Jones, a former associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas, the minority’s proposed substitute read as follows:

Declaring Null and Void the Ordinance of Secession,

We, the People of Texas, by delegates in Convention assembled, acknowledging the supremacy of the Constitution of the United States, and laws made in pursuance thereof, and disclaiming the right of secession and recognizing an ordinance entitled “An Ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of Texas and the other States united under the compact styled “‘The Constitution of the United States of America,’” adopted by a Convention, at Austin, on the first day of February, 1861, to be in contravention to the constitution of the United States, do ordain and declare the same to be null and void ab initio.


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