A page of the very first draft of the Republic of Texas Constitution is on display at the Bullock Texas State History Museum
. Visitors have a rare opportunity to view the fragile 178-year-old document that is on loan from the Texas General Land Office, Archives and Records Program. The document is believed to be part of the first full working draft of the Texas Constitution crafted by the state's founding fathers who gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos in the closing days of the Texas Revolution.
"We're extremely excited for Bullock Museum visitors to have this rare opportunity," Deputy Director Margaret Koch said. "The ideals that were instrumental in shaping our state governance during its earliest beginnings make this one of the most significant documents in existence."
Experts at the General Land Office believe the document is highly significant because it may be the first time the words "Republic of Texas" were committed to paper.
For the next six months, visitors have the chance to see this extraordinary bit of Texas history up close. The full document is eight pages and is the version recorded by convention secretary Herbert S. Kimble. The Texas Constitution, which is the first Anglo-American constitution to govern Texas, borrowed heavily from the United States Constitution, but elements of Spanish-Mexican law also were included.
"How can you not be impressed with a document that begins, 'We the people of Texas in order to form a government, establish justice, and ensure domestic tranquility'? The document is on display for such a short time, so this is a chance connect with the Texas Republic's history," Koch said.
The document is located on the second floor of the Bullock Museum's Lone Star Identity section, which contains handwritten letters, diaries, and other artifacts that exemplify the growing sense of separateness Texans felt from Mexico during the early decades of the 1800s. Visitors can step inside the Mexico City jail cell where Empressario Stephen F. Austin was held and trace his political transition from loyal citizen of Mexico to advocate for independence and watch the battles of the revolution unfold through the eyes of Tejano soldier Juan Seguin in the Revolution Theater, which features a façade of the Alamo.