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After nearly ten years of being its own nation, the Republic of Texas became the 28th state of the union this day, Dec. 29, 1845. It later joined the Confederacy, but was readmitted after the Civil War. The Preamble of the Texas Constitution began: “We, the people of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude the grace and beneficence of God, in permitting us to make a choice of our form of government, do … establish this Constitution.” It later added: “Nor shall anyone be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”

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