|Nickname||The Lone Star State|
|Governor||Greg Abbott, R|
|Senator||Ted Cruz, R |
|Senator||John Cornyn, R |
|Ratification of Constitution/or statehood||December 29, 1845 (28th)|
Texas became the 28th state to join the union on December 29, 1845. It was a territory of Mexico from 1821–1835, before gaining independence from Mexico as the Republic of Texas from 1836–1845. This state has the largest conservative state in population, and is predicted to surpass California in population within a few decades. Texas is the second largest in population after California and has the second largest land-area after Alaska. It has the largest land-area in the continental United States.
The capital of Texas is Austin, and the largest city is Houston. Texas was a solidly Democrat state from the end of Reconstruction in the early 1870s until the 1970s, when Republican Party started gradually taking control, until it dominated the political atmosphere of the state. Nevertheless, Democrats dominate the largest cities of Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and El Paso along with the counties along the Mexican border.
Up until the 1980s Texas had a booming oil industry, starting with the Spindletop oil gusher. For many years Texas was one of the largest oil producers in the world, with the Permian Basin and East Texas oilfields being famous around the globe. Currently, Texas is shifting from the oil industry (though still a significant component of the state economy) to the service sector. It has a growing tech industry and is home to many well-known corporations such as Dell, Texas Instruments and Hewlett Packard. The North Texas area also has a large concentration of defense contractors: Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, L3Harris Technologies, and Raytheon all have a large presence in the area.
The state Constitution of Texas, like all of the other 50 states, acknowledges God or our Creator or the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. It says:
- Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
- 1 History
- 2 Politics
- 3 Elected Officials
- 4 Energy
- 5 Education
- 6 Notable Texans
- 7 See also
- 8 Bibliography - Further Reading
- 9 External links
- 10 References
- For a more detailed treatment, see History of Texas.
Six national flags have flown over Texas. Spain, France (which had a small brief settlement), Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America have ruled Texas.
Spain sent in several exploration teams, but they found no gold and gave negative reports that warned about the arid land and the hostile Indian tribes. Spanish settlers moved to New Mexico instead.
Spain opened a mission at San Antonio in 1718 along with several small missions and military outposts, primarily to keep France from expansing from its base in Louisiana. Spain began issuing permission for American settlement, but was replaced by Mexico in 1821.
France was looking to expand its new colony in the Louisiana area, and French nobleman Robert de La Salle led an expedition looking for the mouth of the Mississippi river. However, he got lost and shipwrecked on the coast of Texas, and founded the colony Fort St. Louis in 1695. However, the colony was beset with many problems, including famine, disease, and attack from Native Americans. After five years, many of the inhabitants were dead, La Salle was murdered by his own crew, and the survivors had abandoned the colony.
In January 1821, the Spanish authorities in Mexico City granted American Moses Austin permission to settle 300 families in Texas. After the death of Austin and after Mexico's successful revolt against Spain, the Mexican provisional government confirmed this concession to Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas." The younger Austin obtained contracts to settle 900 additional families, most of whom arrived by 1833. Austin's colonies formed the nucleus of the American settlements in Texas.
Republic of Texas
- March 2, 1836 – December 29, 1845
Texas leaders gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Four days later the Alamo fell after a 13-day siege by Mexican troops led by Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna. The massacre of all the defenders gave rise to the rallying call "Remember the Alamo". Santa Anna's Mexican troops were defeated on April 21 at the Battle of San Jacinto near present-day Houston. Mexico, however, refused to recognize the independence and when Texas joined the U.S. in 1845, the Mexican American War became inevitable.
Texas was a favorite destination of German immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s. The state grew rapidly because of cattle herds and cotton farming; there were few cities.
Confederate States of America
Texas joined the Confederate States of America on March 2, 1861, and remained firmly in it until March 15, 1865. The coast was blockaded, and after the fall of Vicksburg in 1863, it became almost impossible to send men, horses or cattle to the east. Texas became a backwater with little military action.
United States of America
- December 29, 1845 – March 2, 1861, March 15, 1865 – present
Texas' Reconstruction experience was similar to other rebel states. Texas was hardly damaged by the war, and attracted a large number of immigrants from the deep South after 1865, while few Europeans arrived. Cotton and cattle continued as the dominant economic base, with cattle drives used to move the cattle to railheads in Kansas and Missouri before the railroads reached Texas. The Republican Party in Texas was founded on the 4th of July 1867 in Houston, Texas by 150 African Americans and 20 whites. Two of the first three statewide Republican chairman were African American.
Beginning around the mid-20th century, Texas began to transform from a rural and agricultural state to one that was urban and industrialized. The state's population grew quickly during this period, with large levels of migration from outside the state. As a part of the Sun Belt Texas experienced strong economic growth, particularly during the 1970s and early 1980s. Texas's economy diversified, lessening its reliance on the petroleum industry. By 1990, Hispanics overtook blacks to become the largest minority group in the state.
Texas is a mostly conservative state. It has consistently voted Republican in presidential elections since 1980, last favoring the Democrats in 1976 when Jimmy Carter won the state. In 2012 Romney received 4.56 million votes, compared to Obama's 3.31 million. As of 2016, the Texas Senate has 20 Republicans and 11 Democrats, and the State House consists of 99 Republicans, 50 Democrats, and one independent. Republicans also have a 25-11 edge in the federal House delegation.
Historically, Texas was a Democratic Party stronghold. This was the case until the 1960s, and was especially the case in the early 20th Century. Due to the Dominance of the Democrats, the Democrat primaries were considered "the real election", during this time. In the party however, there were competing factions, and during the New Deal, a conservative-liberal divide within the Democratic Party emerged. As the Democratic Party became more liberal (in a conservative state), and as different changes occurred in the state, conservative voters switched to the growing,more conservative Republican Party, until it took the Democrats place as the dominant party in Texas. However, Democrats maintain liberal strongholds in Austin (the state capital), most of the large cities, and along the Texas-Mexico border.
In the 2014 Texas elections, the Tea Party Movement made large gains, with numerous Tea Party favorites being elected into office, like Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor, Ken Paxton as attorney general, in addition to numerous other candidates including conservative Republican Greg Abbott as governor.
However, as Texas's economy was performing very well – unlike states with liberal economic policies – many non-Texans moved into the state. This caused the political left-wing to grow in power, and political analysts predicted Texas would soon become a swing state.
Several Texas Cities Rank Among the Most Conservative American Cities
As of 2019.
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R)
- Sen. John Cornyn (R)
- Rep. Louie Gohmert [R, TX-01]
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw [R, TX-02]
- Rep. Van Taylor [R, TX-03]
- Rep. John Ratcliffe [R, TX-04]
- Rep. Lance Gooden [R, TX-05]
- Rep. Ron Wright [R, TX-06]
- Rep. Lizzie Fletcher [D, TX-07]
- Rep. Kevin Brady [R, TX-08]
- Rep. Al Green [D, TX-09]
- Rep. Michael McCaul [R, TX-10]
- Rep. Mike Conaway [R, TX-11]
- Rep. Kay Granger [R, TX-12]
- Rep. Mac Thornberry [R, TX-13]
- Rep. Randy Weber [R, TX-14]
- Rep. Vincente Gonzales [D, TX-15]
- Rep. Veronica Escobar [D, TX-16]
- Rep. Bill Flores [R, TX-17]
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee [D, TX-18]
- Rep. Jodey Arrington [R, TX-19]
- Rep. Joaquin Castro [D, TX-20]
- Rep. Chip Roy [R, TX-21]
- Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22]
- Rep. Will Hurd [R, TX-23]
- Rep. Kenny Marchant [R, TX-24]
- Rep. Roger Williams [R, TX-25]
- Rep. Michael Burgess [R, TX-26]
- Rep. Michael Cloud [R, TX-27]
- Rep. Henry Cuellar [D, TX-28]
- Rep. Sylvia Garcia [D, TX-29]
- Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson [D, TX-30]
- Rep. John Carter [R, TX-31]
- Rep. Colin Allred [D, TX-32]
- Rep. Marc Veasey [D, TX-33]
- Rep. Filemon Vela, Jr. [D, TX-34]
- Rep. Lloyd Doggett [D, TX-35]
- Rep. Brian Babin [R, TX-36]
- Governor Greg Abbott (R)
- Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R)
- Attorney General Ken Paxton (R)
- Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R)
- Land Commissioner George P. Bush (R)
- State Comptroller Glenn Hegar (R)
Texas leads the Nation in fossil fuel reserves and in non-hydropower renewable energy potential. Texas crude oil reserves represent almost one-fourth of total U.S. oil reserves, and Texas natural gas reserves account for almost three-tenths of total U.S. natural gas reserves. Although Texas's oil reserves are found throughout the State in several geologic basins, the largest remaining reserves are concentrated in the Permian Basin of West Texas, which contains more than 20 of the Nation's top 100 oil fields. Similarly, deposits of natural gas are found in abundance in several Texas production basins, with the largest fields heavily concentrated in the East Texas Basin in the northeastern part of the State. Texas's fossil fuel reserves also include substantial deposits of lignite coal, found in narrow bands in the Gulf Coast region, and bituminous coal, found in north central and southwestern Texas.
Texas is also rich in renewable energy potential, including wind, solar, and biomass resources. Wind resource areas in the Texas Panhandle, along the Gulf Coast south of Galveston, and in the mountain passes and ridgetops of the Trans-Pecos offer Texas some of the greatest wind power potential in the United States. Solar power potential is also among the highest in the country, with high levels of direct solar radiation (suitable to support large-scale solar power plants) concentrated in West Texas. Due to its large agricultural and forestry sectors, Texas has an abundance of biomass energy resources. Although Texas is not known as a major hydropower State, substantial untapped potential exists in several river basins, including the Colorado River of Texas and the Lower Red.
Due to its large population and an energy-intensive economy, Texas leads the Nation in energy consumption, accounting for more than one-tenth of total U.S. energy use. Energy-intensive industries in Texas include aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass, and petroleum refining.
The State's signature crude oil type, known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), remains the major benchmark of crude oil in the Americas.
Texas leads the United States in both crude oil production and refining capacity. Texas's first major oil boom began in 1901 with the discovery of the Spindle Top oil field in the upper Gulf Coast basin. Since then, major discoveries have been made in East Texas, West Texas, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Texas oil production increased until 1972, when it peaked at more than 3.4 million barrels per day. Afterward, production declined rapidly, and in recent years Texas crude oil output has fallen to less than one-third of its 1972 peak.
Although Texas oil production is in decline, the State's signature crude oil type, known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), remains the major benchmark of crude oil in the Americas. Because of its light consistency and low-sulfur content, the quality of WTI is considered to be high, and it yields a large fraction of gasoline when refined. Most WTI crude oil is sent via pipeline to Midwest refining centers, although much of this crude oil is also refined in the Gulf Coast region.
Texas's 26 petroleum refineries can process nearly 4.8 million barrels of crude oil per day, and they account for more than one-fourth of total U.S. refining capacity. Most of the State's refineries are clustered near major ports along the Gulf Coast, including Houston, Port Arthur, and Corpus Christi. These coastal refineries have access to local Texas production, foreign imports, and oil produced offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the U.S. government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which operates two large storage facilities in Bryan Mound and Big Hill, Texas. Many of Texas's refineries are sophisticated facilities that use additional refining processes beyond simple distillation to yield a larger quantity of lighter, higher value products, such as gasoline. Because of this downstream capability, Texas refineries often process a wide variety of crude oil types from around the world, including heavier, lower value varieties.
Refineries in the Houston area, including the Baytown refinery, the Nation's largest refinery, make up the largest refining center in the United States. From Houston, refined product pipelines spread across the country, allowing Texas petroleum products to reach virtually every major consumption market east of the Rocky Mountains. This network includes the Colonial Pipeline system (Koch), which is the largest petroleum product pipeline system in the United States and is vital for supplying markets throughout the South and East Coast.
Texas's total petroleum consumption is the highest in the Nation, and the State leads the country in consumption of asphalt and road oil, distillate fuel oil, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gases (LPG), and lubricants. Texas LPG use is greater than the LPG consumption of all other States combined, due primarily to the State's active petrochemical industry, which is the largest in the United States. Four separate motor gasoline blends are required in Texas to meet the diverse air quality needs of different parts the State, including reformulated motor gasoline blended with ethanol required in the metropolitan areas of Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. The agriculture-rich Texas Panhandle has several corn- and milo-based ethanol plants that are operational or under construction.
Texas is the Nation's leading natural gas producer, accounting for more than one-fourth of total U.S. natural gas production. In the early days of Texas oil production, natural gas found with oil was largely considered a nuisance and was often flared (burned off) at the wellhead. Although some Texas cities and towns located near oil fields began using natural gas for energy, it was not until the State banned flaring after World War II that oil producers began to find new markets for natural gas. Two pipelines that once carried crude oil to the East Coast were converted to carry natural gas and a new natural gas pipeline to California was built, setting the stage for strong natural gas production growth in the 1950s and 60s. Texas natural gas production reached its peak in 1972 at more than 9.6 billion cubic feet of annual production. Since then, output has declined steadily to less than three-fifths of that level.
Today, an expansive network of interstate natural gas pipelines extends from Texas, reaching consumption markets from coast to coast, including those in California, the Midwest, the East Coast, and New England. Texas has 10 natural gas market hubs located in both East and West Texas, more than any other State, and its natural gas storage capacity is among the highest in the Nation. Most of Texas's 34 active storage facilities are depleted oil and gas fields converted for storage use, although many sites have also been developed in salt dome formations. These storage facilities allow Texas to store its natural gas production during the summer when national demand is typically lower and to ramp up delivery quickly during the winter months when markets across the country require greater volumes of natural gas to meet their home heating needs. However, due to the growing use of natural gas for electricity generation in the United States, Texas has occasionally withdrawn natural gas from storage during the summer months to help meet peak electricity demand for air-conditioning use.
Texas consumes more natural gas than any other State and accounts for about one-fifth of total U.S. natural gas consumption. Texas natural gas demand is dominated by the industrial and electric power sectors, which together account for more than four-fifths of State use. Because Texas demand is high, and because the State's natural gas infrastructure is well connected to consumption markets throughout the country, several companies have proposed building liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
Coal, Electricity, and Renewables
Natural gas-fired power plants typically account for about one-half of the electricity produced in Texas and coal-fired plants account for much of the remaining generation. Although Texas produces a substantial amount of coal from 13 surface mines, including five of the 50 largest in the United States, the State relies on rail deliveries of subbituminous coal from Wyoming for the majority of its supply. Nearly all of the coal mined in Texas is lignite coal, the lowest grade of coal, and all of it is consumed in the State, mostly in arrangements where a single utility operates both the mine and an adjacent coal-fired power plant. Although lower in energy content than other varieties of coal, lignite coal is also low in sulfur, an important consideration in the State's efforts to lower emissions. Texas consumes more coal than any other State and its emissions of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide are among the highest in the Nation.
Texas is a major nuclear power generating State. Two nuclear plants, Comanche Peak and South Texas Project, typically account for about one-tenth of the State's electric power production. Until the recent uprating (capacity improvement) of the Number 2 reactor at Palo Verde in Arizona, the two South Texas Project nuclear reactors were the largest in the Nation.
Commentators have described Texas as a "green energy giant." Although renewable energy sources contribute minimally to the Texas power grid, Texas leads the Nation in wind-powered generation capacity, and substantial new wind generation capacity is under construction in Texas. Texas surpassed California as the country's largest wind energy producer in 2006. Currently, there are over 2,000 wind turbines in West Texas alone, and the numbers continue to increase as development costs continue to drop and wind turbine technology improves. At 736 MW, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in central Texas is the largest wind power facility in the world.
Texas produces and consumes more electricity than any other State. Despite large net interstate electricity imports in some areas, the Texas Interconnect power grid is largely isolated from the integrated power systems serving the eastern and western United States, and most areas of Texas have little ability to export or import electricity to and from other States. Texas per capita residential use of electricity is significantly higher than the national average, due to high demand for electric air-conditioning during hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity as the primary energy source for home heating during typically mild winter months.
The weakness of education in Texas has always (and still is) an important priority. The Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico included the following grievance against the government of Mexico pertaining to education:
It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.
Even today, Texas is considered in the forefront of education in the country as the No Child Left Behind Act was implemented. The administration of George W. Bush used Texas as a model for many of the reforms in the NCLB Act because of his previous experiences as governor of Texas. Further, Texas has never implemented Common Core officially (though many urban and highly liberal school districts have adopted it in stealth form).
- #49 in verbal SAT scores in the nation (493) and #46 in average math SAT scores (502).
- #36 in the nation in high school graduation rates (68%).
- #33 in the nation in teacher salaries. Teacher salaries in Texas are not keeping pace with the national average. The gains realized from the last state-funded across-the-board pay raise authorized in 1999, which moved the ranking from 33 to as high as 26th in the nation, have disappeared over the last five years.
- Texas was the only state in the nation to cut average per pupil expenditures in fiscal year 2005, resulting in a ranking of #40 nationally; down from #25 in fiscal year 1999.
- #6 in the nation in student growth. The general student population in Texas public schools grew by 11.1% between school years 1999 and 2005, with the largest percentage of growth seen among low income and minority children.
The Texas public education system consists of 1,033 independent and common school districts. There are an additional 190 charter school districts. Public school enrollment has continued to increase at a rapid pace. In the 2000-2001 school year, public school enrollment was at 4,059,619 students. By the 2006-2007 school year, the public school enrollment had increased by over 500,000 students to a mark of 4,594,942 students.
The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M System are two of the largest higher education systems in the nation, with numerous branch campuses. The University of Texas at Austin is the largest institution in the UT System, while Texas A&M is the flagship of the rival system. Thanks to ownership of oil fields, their endowments in 2006 reached $13.2 billion and $5.6 billion. The best endowed private schools were Rice University in Houston with $4.0 billion, Southern Methodist University in Dallas ($1.1 billion); Baylor College of Medicine ($1.0 billion), and Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth ($1.0 billion).
The state of Texas is home to many notable institutions of higher learning.
- Greg Abbott, prominent Texas politician who served as Attorney General from 2002 to 2015 and as Texas governor since 2015
- Lance Armstrong, who held the record for most consecutive Tour de France victories before being stripped of his titles, was born in Plano.
- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, former Governor of Texas.
- Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican congressional nominee in 2018 who lost an eye in the Afghanistan War
- Ted Cruz, Texas Solicitor General, U. S. Senator, and Republican presidential candidate
- Rick Perry, prominent Texas politician, served as Texas Governor and U.S. Secretary of Energy
- Ron Paul, U.S. Representative, physician, and notable libertarian-conservative activist, lived and worked in Texas
- Lou Dobbs, television/radio host and conservative commentator, born and raised in Texas
- Henry Morris, hydrologist and prominent creation scientist, born and raised in Texas
- Chuck Norris, actor, producer, and conservative/Christian activist, lives in Texas
- Bill Engvall, standup comedian
- Pat Garrett, the policeman who shot Billy the Kid, lived in multiple locations in Texas.
- Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas; the large city of Houston is named in his honor.
- Lyndon B. Johnson, former president, lived and died in Stonewall.
- Alex Jones, libertarian and paleoconservative commentator
- George Jones, deceased country, rock, and gospel singer
- Dan Patrick, prominent sportscaster, conservative talk radio host, and Texas lieutenant governor
- Angela Paxton, state senator
- Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general since 2015
- Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, lived in Dallas until his death in 2019
Bibliography - Further Reading
- The Handbook of Texas Online - Published by the Texas State Historical Association thousands of scholarly articles on every aspect of Texas history
- texas Almanac annual compendium of statistics
- Bailey, Alvin R., Jr. and Light Townsend Cummins, eds. A Guide to the History of Texas. 1988. online edition
- Campbell, Randolph B. Gone to Texas: a History of the Lone Star State (Oxford University Press, 2003, 500 pages), standard scholarly survey excerpt and text search; also complete online edition
- Fehrenbach, T. R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans (2007), popular survey excerpt and text search
- McDonald, Archie P. Texas: A Compact History (2007) excerpt and text search
- Wooster, Ralph A. and Robert A. Calvert, eds. Texas Vistas (1987) reprinted scholarly essays
- Official State of Texas website
- Demographic profile on U.S. Census Bureau official website
- Texas State Historical Association
- Texas Cities on City-data.com
- Texas Since World War II. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved on January 19, 2017.
- Political Parties - Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- Sirois, Francis (November 8, 2016). History of Texas voters. KFDA. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- How Texas Became a "Red" State - Frontline. PBS. April 12, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- "Lieutenant Governor Loses Texas Runoff as Tea Party Holds Sway", The New York Times, May 27, 2014. Retrieved on April 2, 2015.
- Koppel, Nathan (January 21, 2015) - "Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Moves Quickly to Advance Conservative Agenda". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
- Grissom, Brandi. Tea Party Conservatives Win Top GOP Runoff Contests, Texas Tribune, May 28, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
- Fernandez, Manny (January 20, 2015). Texas’ New Governor Echoes the Plans of Perry. The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- Wilson, Reid (November 18, 2018). Rise of big cities push Texas to swing-state territory — maybe by 2020. The Hill. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- 2005 study rankings on liberal and conservative cities. Posted Oct 27, 2014. Accessed March 18, 2015
- See Energy Information Administration, State Report 2009
- Lindquist, Nick (August 14, 2019). Deregulated energy markets made Texas a clean energy giant. The Hill. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
- See "Which State Is Smartest?" (2007) at
- see Carol Keeton Strayhorn, Texas State Comptroller, "Major Challenges Facing Texas Education Today" at