I've seen in some videos that Texas has the right to split into 5 smaller states. If this is the case, and they didn't need congressional approval, why did they not split before the civil war?

First, southern states were competing with the north to catch more "slave states" or "free states." But a split Texas would just add 4 slave states to the union without question.

Second, the South might have been able to force Lincoln's loss in the election with this tactic. The electoral college mandates each state to have at least 3 electoral votes; Texas could have made 4 more "states" that are arbitrarily small. The original Texas would keep roughly the same population thus keeping the same number of electoral votes. And the 4 smaller Texases, with theoretically 1 person who votes democrat, would each have 3.

So why didn't Texas seize this opportunity?

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  • 4
    Please document your preliminary research. I'm not sure that historical sources and methods will help to answer a question about a hypothetical. History helps us to understand what happened, but has no role in addressing hypothetical events. That said, one reason might be that the US Constitution forbids it. What motivation would Texas have for this behavior? The South might advocate this, but why would Texas agree?
    – MCW
    May 13 at 23:34
  • 1
    Quite obviously, because there is no majority for it. Some (very few) people want to secede, but the majority by far does not.
    – Jos
    May 13 at 23:48
  • 5
    Probably because of the whole constitution thing, specifically Article IV Sec 3, "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. "
    – ed.hank
    May 13 at 23:54
  • @ed.hank, Congress's consent is largely irrelevant in this case due to the wording of the resolution for annexing Texas: "Third, New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution". That sounds to me like Texas can unilaterally split itself into as many as five states, and careful selection of borders would make all five of them slave states.
    – Mark
    May 16 at 21:15
  • 1
    @mark I am not a lawyer, but i think there are legal arguments that can lend support to both sides. I attended UT Austin about 20 years ago and we discussed this problem extensively in Pol sci class having students debate both sides, the professors end opinion was that Article IV sec 3 was fairly solid and would trump Texas' claims but this would be something that the supreme court would have to clarify.
    – ed.hank
    2 days ago


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