Colonel David Crockett
Editor’s Note: David Crocket has been immortalized as a folk hero, known for his battles with the Red Stick Creek Indians under Andrew Jackson, and his last stand at the Alamo with fellow Patriots James Bowie from Kentucky and William Travis from South Carolina.
He is less known for the several terms he served in Congress between 1827 and 1835 during the presidency of his old commander, Andrew Jackson. Crockett’s friend, Sam Houston, had been elected governor of Tennessee. (Houston, who would later become governor of Texas, is the only American in history to serve as governor of two states.)
Though he had little formal education, Crockett exuded a commanding presence and was feared, if not loathed, by his more refined congressional colleagues for his backwoods rhetoric. He was known for his stalwart devotion to our Constitution and the liberty it embodies.
In one instance, Crockett took an unpopular position regarding a benevolence distribution to the family of a military officer after his death. His opposition to this unconstitutional distribution is recorded in the Register of Debates for the House of Representatives, 20th Congress, 1st Session on April 2, 1828.
While the text of his speech was not transcribed (it was not the practice to report anything more than basic congressional proceedings in those days), the spirit of his words in regard to those proceedings was captured in an 1867 Harper’s Magazine article entitled “Not yours to give” by Edward Ellis.
It is not known how much of Ellis’s account is fact mixed with the annals of Crockett legend, but it is known that the account is consistent with Crockett’s character, and his support for our Constitution.