Go to Hell, Texas, Wherever


Coonskin-cap wearer Davy Crockett--one of the major character in the stinker version of The Alamo now disgracing movie theaters across this sweet land of liberty--wasn't just another pretty face who came to a grisly end at one of the most storied battles in American military history (yeah, yeah, the Republic of Texas' war with Mexico counts as American military history. I might add that it was in many ways fought for dishonorable reasons, including Texans' desire to keep slavery legal).

As John Fund of the Wall Street Journal reminds us, Crockett was also a U.S. congressman who pushed for limited government (whether he was in fact "libertarian," as Fund suggests, is not fully clear). Fund writes:

Then in 1834 [Crockett] stumbled badly when he took time away from a congressional session to promote his book in a three-week tour of the Northeast. He lost his re-election bid, 51% to 49%, to a war hero with a wooden leg. He then famously told his constituents, "You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas." He did just that and his death the next year at the Alamo ensured his place among America's heroes.

Almost forgotten in the mystique of his legend is Crockett's commitment to the principles of limited government. An 1884 biography of Crockett by Edward Sylvester Ellis published an account of a speech Crockett gave on his views on government called "Not Yours to Give."…

One day in the House, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Rep. David Crockett arose:

"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living.

"I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

Go here to read the rest.