• Texas Political Culture

    Texas Political Culture

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Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the cultural, demographic and economic context of Texas government. 
  2. Identify the values that characterize Texas' political culture and describe the factors and conditions fostering that culture.
  3. Describe the racial and ethnic composition of Texas’ population and identify important demographic trends.
  4. Discuss the evolution of the Texas economy and assess the economic and financial challenges facing the state in the 21st century.

Texas Political Culture

Texans possess a strong sense of state identity, shaped by a distinctive history and culture. Rooted in rugged individualism and southern tradition, Texas political culture places a premium on individual liberty and harbors a distrust of government. This video introduces the cultural, historical, and social context of Texas politics and examines whether a political culture formed in the 19th century has evolved in the 21st century.

Video Focus Points

Look for answers to these questions when watching the video:

  • What is the basis of Texas government?
  • How might technology and changing demographics alter the limited government style of Texas?


Study Questions

Look for answers to these questions throughout the lesson:

  1. How does Texas compare to other states in the following categories?
    1. Geographic size
    2. Population
    3. Racial and ethnic diversity
  2. Describe the governmental experience of Texas prior to its independence from Mexico.
  3. Give examples of how the Spanish colonial influence left its mark on Texas’ political and legal culture.
  4. What are the three state political cultures identified by Daniel Elazar? Which ones apply to Texas?
  5. Identify the values that compose Texas political culture. What historical/geographical factors contributed to the development of this culture?
  6. Summarize the mythological significance of the following three symbols:
    1. Cowboys
    2. Rangers
    3. Wildcatters
  7. Describe the influence of the frontier era on Texas’ political culture.
  8. How has the geographic size of Texas impacted Texas politics?
  9. On average, where would you place Texans on the ideological spectrum? Why?
  10. What are the political implications of increased urbanization?
  11. What is the ethnic and racial distribution of Texas’ population? Which group has seen the most dramatic growth with potential long-term political consequences?
  12. What commodities formed the basis of the Texas economy in the 19th century? How did this change in the early 20th century?
  13. Describe the character of the modern Texas economy. Why is this economy an improvement over its traditional economy based on oil and other commodities?
  14. Analyze three of the most important challenges facing Texas policymakers in the 21st century.