1. When we chose to become a State

As much as the rest of the country rags on Texas for its gun laws, wild west mentality, and conservative approach to education, have you ever imagined how the United States of America would have turned out if Texas had never existed? Texas didn’t have to become a state – from 1836 to 1845 we were doing quite well. The reason Texas joined the Union when it did, was mainly due to the efforts of Presidents Tyler and Polk, and the fact there was support for the annexation of Texas by the majority of its inhabitants (many of whom were US citizens).

Without this annexation, Texas might have continued its westward expansion to New Mexico, Arizona, and possibly California. Without Texas to keep the peace by surrendering this territory in the Compromise of 1850, the Civil War might have come much sooner.

2. When we saved wine from the Great French Wine Blight

Texas becoming a state might have saved the Union, but what about the world? We need look no further than the driving force of all humanity — not oil, but alcohol. In the mid-19th century, a unprecedented blight started ravaging the valuable French grapes.

At the time, some growers proposed grafting French vines onto American vines which were resistant to the blight, but some wine connoisseurs initially prevented this from happening. In the end, however, many of the vines were sent to farms in Texas, where they flourished and were eventually returned to France.

So you can thank Texas for that Bordeaux you’re sipping.

3. When we saved the Buffalo

About 70,000 years ago, many anthropologists believe the population of the entire human race was down to just a few thousand, due in part, to the eruption of a super volcano in Indonesia.

As recently as 100 years ago, estimates were that the US buffalo population in the wild was less than fifty — fifty out of the millions that used to roam freely, mainly due to poaching.

Texan and rancher Charles Goodnight owned his own herd of buffalo, which he protected from poachers and predators. He sent three breeding bulls up to where the largest concentration of buffalo lived near Yellowstone and soon the repopulation began.

Granted, a large number of Texans were also probably responsible for the dwindling numbers of buffalo, but this makes up for it… right?

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