May 6, 2014
Constitutions of Texas
Ever since the glorious Battle of San Jacinto Texas has been its own nation and eventually apart of the United States of America. In order to make sure the government was set right there had to be a constitution that made and set the rules for the government to abide by. Over a fifty year period (1827-1876) there was seven constitutions were formed for the government of Texas. Each different in their own unique way. Each one attempted to correct the deficiencies of the previous political order and address the challenges of its times. But each new constitution also contained remnants of its predecessors creating some sort of constitutional tradition.
Constitutions tend to reflect the era in which they were created. They don’t express the lofty, timeless ideals, and the political culture of the community in which it was created. They usually address the gritty issues that are occurring when it was created. These constitutions are great examples of the ideas and of the history that bring in elements of the past into the present. These repetitive documents sort of make Texas out to reproduce basic values, ideals, norms and policies. For example, Texas constitutions since Texas was part of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas have asserted the value of representative institutions and popular control of government through competitive elections. Each Texas constitution has also divided governmental powers among three branches of government, each with some countervailing influence on the other two - what we have come to recognize as separation of powers and checks and balances. Even the Confederate Constitution of 1861, despite its rejection of other elements of the U.S. Constitution, retained these principles.
The durability of basic ideals and institutional arrangements in Texas derives from two main sources, one national and the other regional/local.The first mainspring of these arrangements is federalism. The various Texas constitutions reflect the political necessity to conform to a national constitution, whether of independent Mexico, the United States, or the Confederacy. Each nation mandated democratic institutions, leaving (to varying degrees) the precise form to the people of Texas and their representatives.
The second mainspring of the ideals and institutions found in the constitutions of Texas is the diffuse but definite effect of local norms and values. Texas constitutions each reflected an effort to preserve local autonomy and "home rule" within a…