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Indians in Texas
Early Inhabitants Analysis of bones found near the present-day western Texas town of Midland suggests that humans lived in the area as early as 15,000 years ago. Between 1000 BC and the arrival of Europeans several Native American cultures existed in different parts of what is now Texas. A well-developed society existed in the wooded areas of eastern Texas. Abundant rainfall allowed the inhabitants, whom archaeologists call Mound Builders, to raise corn, beans, squash, and tobacco. They built houses of poles, thatch, and mud plaster. They made beautiful pottery and used stone implements. Several mounds, each about 12 ft high and 150 ft long, are thought to have been made by these prehistoric people.

Along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico early inhabitants lived principally on seafood and practiced ceremonial cannibalism. They made pottery that was waterproofed with asphalt. The Karankawa lived along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. They used dugout canoes to catch seafood from the lagoons along the shore, smearing their bodies with fish oil to repel mosquitoes.

In central Texas large middens, or refuse piles built up over many years, have revealed advances in technology during the Stone Age. More advanced stone implements were found in the top layers of the refuse, and cruder ones were found at the bottom. Dwellings made of stone slabs were discovered along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. The people who lived there hunted and planted corn and beans. An early people, whom archaeologists call Basket Makers, settled in the Texas Panhandle and along the Pecos River. They lived in caves or built shelters of poles and adobe mud. They made baskets, bags, and sandals from the yucca and other plants and raised corn and squash and killed game with a dart-thrower.

When the first European explorers arrived, they found that the settled, agricultural Native Americans living in Texas were usually peaceful. The peoples of eastern Texas belonged to the Caddoan linguistic group and were loosely organized into two confederacies, the Caddo of the Texarkana area and the Hasinai on the upper Angelina and Neches rivers. When Spanish explorers first met the Hasinai, the Spaniards were greeted with the word techas, or allies. The Spanish pronounced the word as Tejas (Texas), and adopted it for both the area and the people. These people lived in small villages with 7 to 15 dome-shaped huts. They were accomplished farmers and raised many different crops. Deer, bears, and fish were plentiful, and these peoples sometimes made long trips to hunt buffalo. Wichita Indians Migration to Texas

Wichita Indian Chief
The Wichita ( and Tonkawa ( of central Texas hunted and planted beans and corn, but they depended less on farming than did their eastern neighbors. The Coahuiltecan (, who lived south of present-day San Antonio, ate beans, cacti, and small animals. The Lipan peoples (, who were related to the Apache of the southwest United States, inhabited the western part of Texas. Late in the 18th century, bands of Comanche ( entered the Texas area and pushed the Apache southward. The Apache and the Comanche depended on the buffalo for food and used its hide for shelter and clothing. The Comanche, in particular, became expert horsemen.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore present-day Texas. In 1519 a group led by Alonzo Álvarez de Piñeda ( mapped the coast of the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Vera Cruz, spending 40 days at the mouth of the river they named Rio de las Palmas (probably the present-day Río Grande). In 1528 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca ( and other members of an expedition led by Pániflo de Narváez were shipwrecked on the Texas coast. Cabeza de Vaca and three others made their way across Texas, wandered through what would become the southwestern United States, and in 1536 reached a Spanish settlement in Mexico. The native inhabitants told Cabeza de Vaca tales about cities full of gold and jewels, which interested the Spaniards. In 1540 an expedition led by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado marched northward from Mexico in search of these cities, called the Seven Cities of Cíbola (actually a village of the Wichita in present-day Kansas) and the city of Quivira (actually a pueblo of the Zuñi people in present-day New Mexico). The group spent much time wandering over the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plain, of western Texas and eastern New Mexico in 1541, but found no evidence of cities full of treasure.

At about the same time, the Spanish adventurer Hernando de Soto was exploring the Mississippi River. After de Soto died of fever, his men tried to reach Mexico by an overland route. They traveled through eastern Texas, but when they reached the plains area, they turned back to the Mississippi. The Spanish lost interest in the territory after the disappointing reports of the two expeditions, although in 1598, Juan de Oñate explored the area above the Río Grande.
In 1682 the Spanish established the first mission in Texas at Ysleta, a village near present-day El Paso, to bring Christianity to the native peoples. In 1685 the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, built Fort Saint Louis near Matagorda Bay and claimed for France all the lands drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Soon afterwards La Salle was killed on another expedition, and the men at the fort died from disease or were killed by the native inhabitants. The French claim alarmed the Spanish, however, and they sent several expeditions to find and destroy the French fort. In 1690 churchmen from these expeditions established the first of several missions among the Tejas people of eastern Texas.
Spanish Settlers in Texas

The missions were difficult to maintain and were quickly abandoned. The eastern province of what was called New Spain was ignored until 1714, when a French trading expedition crossed Texas and founded a settlement on the Río Grande near present-day Eagle Pass. Again the Spanish were alarmed by the French activities. In 1716, fearing more French incursions into their territory, the Spanish re-created the eastern Texas mission system. More than 30 new missions were established, the most prominent of which was near San Antonio, which was founded as a Spanish town in 1718.

No official boundary had ever been set between the territories claimed by Spain and those claimed by France, and when the United States bought the Louisiana territories from the French in 1803, the boundary was still unknown.

Between 1800 and 1820 Spain's weak hold on the province of Texas became even more insecure. During that time several expeditions by adventurers from the United States entered Texas. One of the earliest of these so-called filibustering expeditions (armed invasions by groups of private citizens) was led in 1800 by Philip Nolan, who was captured and executed by the Spanish. In 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his followers, many of whom were in Texas, tried to declare Mexican independence from the Spanish Empire. Although that revolt was crushed, unrest in Texas and in the rest of Mexico under Spanish rule continued. Several times Mexicans seeking freedom from Spain joined American adventurers to try to set up governments in Texas. In 1813, for example, the Republican Army of the North, led by Bernardo Gutiérrez, a Mexican liberal, and by Augustus W. Magee, a former United States Army officer, took control of Nacogdoches, Goliad, and San Antonio. The leaders declared Texan independence and adopted a constitution. However, on August 18, 1813, the revolutionaries were wiped out by Spanish forces at a battle near the Medina River.

In 1819 James Long of Natchez, Mississippi, led the last filibustering expedition into Texas. He captured Nacogdoches, set up a republic, and proclaimed himself president, but Spanish soldiers soon drove him out as well. Long fled to Galveston Island, the base of the French pirate Jean Laffite, to ask for Laffite's help in the revolution against Spain, but he refused. Long left Galveston to return to Texas and fight for independence. He was eventually captured and sent to prison in Mexico, where he was killed by a guard. His wife, Jane Long, had remained at Point Bolivar near Galveston when he had returned to the mainland. There she gave birth to a daughter in 1821, the first known Anglo-American birth in Texas.

Moses Austin, born in Durham, Connecticut in 1761, was awarded a land grant from the Mexican government after Mexico won its independence from Spain.  His task was to settle 300 families in his colony.  After his death, his son Stephen F. Austin fulfilled his fathers contract.  These were the first permanent Anglo-American settlers in Texas.  Today, the capital of Texas isn't named after Moses; it's named after Stephen. Although Spain had claimed Texas for more than 300 years, there were only three settlements between the Río Grande and the Sabine rivers: San Antonio, Goliad, and Nacogdoches. Spanish officials realized that more settlers were needed to prevent other countries from trying to claim the land. In 1820 Moses Austin, a United States citizen, asked the Spanish government in Mexico for permission to settle in Texas. Austin died soon after making his request, but his son, Stephen Fuller Austin, was permitted to continue with the project in 1821. Mexico gained its independence from Spain in a revolution that same year, and Austin negotiated a contract with the new government to settle 300 families in Texas. This was the beginning of the empresario system. Empresarios were people who contracted with the Mexican government to bring Roman Catholic settlers to Texas in exchange for 9,300 hectares (23,000 acres) of land for each 100 families that they brought. The first Anglo-American settlements were at Washington and San Felipe de Austin, on the Brazos River, and at Columbus, on the Lower Colorado River. Other American empresarios who founded colonies in Texas included Green DeWitt (, Martin de Leon (, and Haden Edwards (, each of whom was responsible for settling several hundred families.

From 1821 to 1836 the population of Texas increased from about 4,000 to between 35,000 and 50,000 people. Most of the immigrants were from the southern United States. They only pretended to be Catholic, spoke English, did not have much respect for authority, and refused to assimilate. Most importantly, they brought black slaves with them to cultivate cotton. Mexicans, having fought only recently for their freedom from Spain, opposed slavery.

The Anglo-Americans were worried about promised land titles, and as population increased, they wanted to be separate from the Mexican state of Tejas y Coahuila, to which Texas had been joined. Mexican officials, however, were usually too busy with internal political problems to give much attention to the new settlers.

In 1826 the Fredonian Rebellion, a short-lived attempt by a small group of Anglo-Americans in Texas to create the independent Republic of Fredonia, increased Mexican suspicion that settlers were not loyal to Mexico. Realizing that there were more Anglo-Americans in Texas than Mexicans, the Mexican government stationed Mexican troops there, and passed a law that restricted further Anglo-American immigration and prohibited the importation of slaves. In October 1832 a convention of Anglo-Americans met at San Felipe de Austin and petitioned for the repeal of the law. Stephen Fuller Austin, who at first urged the colonists to remain loyal to Mexico, was sent to Mexico City to present the petition, and after several months he was assured that Mexico would take action. However, when a letter he had written advising Anglo-Americans to organize a separate state fell into Mexican hands, he was arrested and spent almost two years in prison. In 1835 Austin returned to Texas, by then convinced that using force to obtain independence was justified.

In 1834 the Mexican politician and soldier Antonio López de Santa Anna (} deposed the Mexican government and assumed dictatorial powers. He was determined to crush rebellions in Texas and other areas. This determination led to the outbreak of the Texas Revolution. In October 1835 Mexican soldiers were sent to Gonzales, Texas, to retrieve a cannon that had been given to the settlers for use against Native Americans. The settlers, with a few reinforcements, forced the Mexicans to retreat in an encounter that is considered the first battle of the revolution.

In November 1835 a convention of Anglo-American settlers set up a provisional state government, elected a governor and a council, and declared that Texans were fighting for the rights due them under the Mexican Constitution of 1824. Austin and two others were sent to the United States to secure loans. A Texan army was quickly gathered, and won a series of battles in the fall of 1835. However, the Texas forces were defeated at The Alamo, a former mission in San Antonio. On March 2, 1836, during the siege of the Alamo, a convention of American Texans met at Washington-on-the-Brazos and declared independence from Mexico. The delegates chose David G. Burnet ( provisional president, named Sam Houston commander in chief of all Texas forces, and adopted a constitution that protected the institution of slavery, which had been prohibited by Mexican law.
William Huddle's 1886 depiction of the end of the Texas Revolution shows Mexican General Santa Anna surrendering to the wounded Sam Houston after the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. The Revolution lasted less than one year but resulted in a great loss of territory for the Mexicans. Following the Revolution, Texas proclaimed itself a republic affiliated with neither the United States nor Mexico.

The Texans defeated Santa Anna and his troops at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Santa Anna was captured, and forced to recognize Texas's independence and to withdraw south of the Río Grande.

Sam Houston was Born in 1793 in Virginia.  Houston moved to Tennessee in his early teens, and lived almost three years with the Cherokee Indians in his late teens. Houston was wounded in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814). His legal and political career began in 1818: he was elected district attorney of Nashville, adjutant general, congressman, and finally governor of Tennessee.  In 1829 Houston resigned the governorship and left the state. He spent the next six years in diplomatic and business ventures in the Indian country. Houston died at his farm near Huntsville on July 26, 1863.
Although Sam Houston represented Nacogdoches in the Convention of 1833, he was not a permanent resident of Texas until 1835. Houston was a delegate to the Consultation in 1835, and was elected major general of the Texas army by the General Council. As delegate from Refugio, he was a leading figure at the Convention of 1836, which then named him commander-in-chief of the Texas Army. After leading the victory at San Jacinto, he was elected second president of the Republic of Texas. He was representative from San Augustine County in the 4th and 5th Congresses before being elected president once again in 1841. After annexation, he served in the U.S. Senate (1846-1859), during which tenure he was defeated by Hardin Runnels in the gubernatorial election of 1857. Houston was elected governor of Texas in 1859. His term was dominated mainly by his anti-secessionist activities, in which he warned of the dangers of civil war and worked for a compromise. When he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America in March of 1861 (arguing that now Texas was again an independent republic), Houston was replaced by his lieutenant governor, Edward Clark.

The Republic of Texas (, which existed for almost ten years before becoming part of the United States, was beset by many problems, principally financial ones. Although Texas had much land, until it was farmed by settlers little money would be available. To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the native inhabitants by force. The first Texas election took place in September 1836, and Sam Houston defeated Stephen Austin to become the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Although the new republic was recognized by the United States and by several European countries, Mexico refused to recognize it, arguing that the treaty signed by Santa Anna claimed territory that was not part of the original state of Tejas. The republic asserted that the Río Grande from its mouth to its source was the western boundary of the new country, which would have given Texas parts of present-day New Mexico and Colorado. Mexico maintained that the southern boundary of Texas should be the Nueces River and not the Río Grande.
Texas Immigrants

Texas Immigrants

In 1841 a trading expedition of Texans was sent to Santa Fe as the first step in a plan to secure the western boundaries of Texas. The group was captured by Mexican troops, and the captives were forced to march to Mexico City, where the survivors of the march were imprisoned. Mexican soldiers also periodically crossed into Texas and for short periods occupied San Antonio, Goliad, and Refugio. Finally, in February 1844, the Republic of Texas and Mexico signed an armistice.

Difficulties with Mexico did not prevent more land grants to those who settled in the Republic of Texas. The population increased from an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 in 1821 to between 125,000 and 150,000 in 1836. German immigrants settled in central Texas, and other Europeans also established colonies. Most of the settlers had come from the United States to get the free land Texas was offering. Most of these new settlers joined Houston and his political supporters, who wanted the United States to annex the republic.

As the land was settled, Native Americans were forced out. During the Texas Revolution, Houston had negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee that reserved lands in east Texas for the Cherokee. Texans had not approved the agreement, and now the republic refused to honor it.

As settlers moved in, some Cherokee took matters into their own hands. Perhaps as many as 300 Cherokee joined about 100 Mexicans led by Vicente Cordova to camp on an island in east Texas and announced that they did not support the republic. A Texas army attacked and arrested all the leaders, and distrust between the Cherokee and whites increased. In December 1838 the Georgia-born soldier and politician Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected president of the republic. Lamar had no sympathy for Native Americans. He ordered the Cherokee out of the country. The Cherokee resisted, but at the Battle of the Neches in 1839 they were defeated and forced to go north to what is now Oklahoma, clearing east Texas for white settlement.

The United States Senate rejected a treaty to annex Texas in 1844, but it reversed that decision the following year, and Texas joined the Union on December 29, 1845. Under the treaty of annexation, Texas was responsible for all debts incurred by the republic. Mexico immediately broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. U.S. General (and future U.S. President) Zachary Taylor was ordered to the Río Grande to enforce it as the Texas boundary. Mexico, however, held that the boundary was the Nueces River and considered Taylor's advance a provocation. Mexico sent troops across the Río Grande. Congress responded by declaring war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. Many Texans participated in the Mexican War. Members of the Texas Rangers, a group formed on the eve of the Texas Revolution by Austin to protect Anglo-Americans from attacks by Comanche and Apache, acted as scouts for U.S. troops. Mexico was not defeated until troops under General Winfield Scott invaded Mexico City, which fell on September 14, 1847. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, Mexico relinquished its claims to Texas, and the United States acquired land that would become the states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. In addition, the United States paid Mexico the sum of $15 million and agreed to settle all legal claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico. Under the Compromise Measures of 1850 the United States paid Texas $10 million for territory on the Upper Río Grande. Texas used the money to pay debt and set up a school fund. The Texas Rangers were formed in 1835 by pioneer Stephen F. Austin to protect Texans against hostile Native Americans. The number and influence of the Rangers grew as a major peacekeeping force and enforcer of frontier justice. In 1935 they became a division of the state's Department of Public Safety.

Southern immigrants to Texas had brought their slaves with them after 1820, but the plantation system for growing cotton had not penetrated much farther than east Texas in 1861, when the American Civil War began. Pro-Union sentiment was strong in west Texas, because of the proximity to Mexico and because west Texans needed federal protection against the attacks of Native Americans, and in central Texas, where German settlers opposed slavery.

Houston, who had been elected governor in 1859, was a staunch Unionist and strongly opposed secession, withdrawal from the United States. Nevertheless, at a convention held in February 1861, delegates voted to secede and join the Confederate States of America. Houston, despite his long service to Texas, was removed from office.

The majority of Texans supported the Confederacy once secession took place. General John B. Hood's Texas Brigade and Benjamin Franklin Terry's Texas Rangers made notable contributions to Confederate forces. Early in 1862 an expedition of Texas troops, under General Henry H. Sibley, captured Santa Fe, New Mexico, but they were later forced to withdraw.

Among the few Civil War battles fought in Texas were the Confederate victory at the Battle of Sabine Pass along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the capture of Galveston by Union forces, and its recapture by the Confederates. Because soldiers had not yet heard the news that the war had ended, the last battle of the Civil War occurred near Brownsville more than a month after Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia. Black people in Texas did not hear of the Emancipation Proclamation-which President Abraham Lincoln had issued in 1863, to free the slaves in Confederate states-until June 19, 1865, when the Union Army landed in Galveston.

After the Civil War ended in 1865, the Southern states that had seceded from the Union were governed by a combination of appointed federal officials and the army until Congress readmitted them to the union. Ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, was among the requirements for readmission of the states. These amendments, respectively, prohibited slavery, gave citizenship to all born or naturalized in the United States while prohibiting political activity by those who had supported secession, and gave all citizens, regardless of color, the right to vote. The former slaves, or freedmen, were enfranchised (given the right to vote) by the 15th Amendment and, because the Democrats had led the South into the Civil War, blacks joined the Republican Party. Blacks, who could vote and hold office in Texas until they were disfranchised in the early 20th century, were the major source of Republican voting strength. They joined with Northern immigrants to the state and long-time opponents of Texas secession to elect Republican Edmund Davis as governor in 1870.

The early success of the Republican Party in Texas was due primarily to a lack of unity on the part of white voters. Most whites objected to enfranchising blacks and joined the Democratic Party. When white Democrats did unite, they defeated Davis in 1874 but he refused to concede the election. He argued that organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, a secret terrorist organization that was dedicated to white supremacy, had intimidated black and other potential Republican voters. Angry whites armed themselves and went to the capital in Austin to force Davis to leave office. When he found no support from the federal government, Davis stepped down.

Chief Quanah The Comanche were among the Native American tribes European settlers encountered when they moved into the area now called Texas. A nomadic people, the Comanche followed their main food source, the buffalo, across the southern Great Plains. Chief Quanah led Comanche attacks on white settlers in the early 1870s in an attempt to preserve the Comanche life-style. After the Civil War, Texas grew rapidly. Between 1870 and 1900 the population of Texas increased from 19th in the country (818,579) to sixth (3,048,710). In the 1880s railroads opened new lands on the Great Plains and across Texas, and farmers flocked to those areas and planted staple crops-wheat, corn, and cotton-encouraged by new mechanical reapers, barbed wire (which helped control wandering cattle), and better farming techniques. One spur to growth was the end of Native American raids.

During the Civil War and Reconstruction, settlers on the poorly protected western frontier were harassed by Native Americans and were forced to leave the area. Although the U.S. government had begun in 1845 to build a string of forts from the Red River to the Río Grande, the forts had never been a satisfactory method of dealing with the Plains Native Americans. Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa raiding parties easily slipped between the forts to attack settlements. In 1868 a reservation in the Indian Territory (now in Oklahoma) was set aside for the Comanche and the Kiowa, but they continued raiding across the border into Texas, and the Apache left reservations in New Mexico to raid into Texas. In the early 1870s, U.S. troops, which included the all-black 10th and 11th units known as Buffalo Soldiers, began a vigorous campaign to keep Native Americans on the land set aside for them. Federal forces also fought Native Americans with the assistance of the Texas Rangers.

The most effective weapons against Native Americans on the Plains were the decision to exterminate the buffalo by General William Tecumseh Sherman and the expansion of the railroad into the West. These actions destroyed Native American food supplies and forced them onto reservations. It is estimated that almost ten million bison were killed between 1871 and 1880 for sport, for food to feed people laying tracks for the railroad, and for the animals' hides. The cattle industry also grew after the Civil War. Since the days of the Spanish missions, there had been cattle in Texas, but because of the long distance to markets, the cattle had little value, except for hides and tallow. Ranching had been neglected during the Civil War, and vast herds of wild cattle roamed southwestern Texas, where the famed longhorn breed originated.

Before the Civil War, cowboys riding horses had rounded up the cattle and driven them from East Texas to Louisiana markets, but after railroads were built from Chicago to Kansas it was possible to send beef to the large Chicago market. The first major cattle drive all the way from Texas to Kansas took place in 1866. As the railroads pushed farther west, the cowboys drove their herds to the railroad terminal points, called cow towns. The cow towns Wichita, Dodge City, and Abilene became identified with cowboys and the cattle trails from Texas. Until railroads began arriving in Texas in the 1880s to make the drives unnecessary, thousands of Texas cattle were herded north each year on various trails, of which the best known was perhaps the Chisholm Trail from San Antonio to Abilene, Kansas. Texas Cattle Ranchers  The beef industry has been one of the major sectors of Texas's economy for half a century and continues to thrive today. Cattle and calves account for two-fifths of the state's agricultural income.

Texas Cotton Cotton, however, not cattle, was the most important influence on the economy of Texas. As the railroads pushed west, they opened new land for growing cotton, which could be shipped to Galveston, Houston, or transported to St. Louis and then into the international trade. In addition, the state gave lands to railroad companies to encourage the companies to lay more tracks. Those companies then sold the land cheaply to settlers who would later ship their farm goods on the trains. By 1890 Texas produced more than 33 percent of the cotton grown in the United States. The crop financed the growth of Texas cities, especially Dallas and Houston.

As Texas grew, many of its new immigrants came from other Southern states. Southerners were attracted to the state because it had seceded from the Union, the land had not suffered damage during the Civil War, and its economy and racial views were similar to those of other Southern states. The new immigrants were usually Democrats, and as Texas slowly became a one-party state, political battles took place within that party for control of the local and state governments.

In the 19th century, factions, or groups, rather than parties, dominated Texas politics. During the years of the republic and early statehood, sentiment was divided between factions who supported or opposed Sam Houston. The Whig Party had some strength in cities and among the German population, but most Texans disliked the fact that national Whig leaders had opposed annexation of Texas in 1845. Members of the American Party (or Know-Nothings) wanted to prevent foreign-born citizens from holding political office and to reduce what they believed to be foreign influences and ideas, and they gained support in the state in the 1850s. Many Know-Nothings were former Whigs who could neither support the Democrats nor join the developing Republican Party, which most Southerners considered antislavery. Others were followers of Houston, who did not like the drift of the Southern Democrats towards secession.

Hardin R. Runnels, a man who supported the anti-Union, or Calhoun Democrats (named after former Vice President John Calhoun of South Carolina), was elected governor in 1856. Houston challenged Runnels for governor in 1860 and Houston won, but he resigned in 1861 rather than agree to secession. The governors during the Civil War were all anti-Houston men, and after the war ended, they moved into the Democratic Party. In 1874 Richard Coke was elected governor. Coke and his followers were known as Conservative, or Redeemer Democrats. Their policies emphasized economic expansion through government aid to business, noninterference in private enterprise, and few government services. With no other major party for disgruntled voters, opponents of such policies fought the establishment by trying to control the local or state Democratic Party organization. Often, however, they created third parties. Farmers made up the bulk of voters in these third-party movements.

Born August 30, 1820 in Mississippi.   Runnels settled with his mother and two brothers on a plantation in Bowie County in 1842. From 1847 to 1852, Runnels represented Bowie and various surrounding counties in the 2nd through 5th.
He was chosen speaker of the house in his last term. Runnels was elected lieutenant governor under Elisha M. Pease, and was the only person to defeat Sam Houston in a political campaign, becoming governor in 1857 on a states-rights ticket. Runnels was a delegate to the Secession Convention of 1861 and the Constitutional Convention of 1866. 
He died in 1873.
Farm prices fell in the 1880s, as production of staple crops increased around the world, creating a surplus. In Texas, as in the South generally, one result of falling cotton prices was an increase in tenant farming and sharecropping. Sharecroppers raised part of the landlord's crop and were paid a share of the profits after deductions for living expenses and the cost of tools and supplies. A tenant farmer sold the crop himself and paid the landlord a share of the profits as rent. The landlord chose what crop to raise, and the choice was almost always cotton. Even if the profit was low, the landlord got his share first. The cropper or tenant took what was left or, if none was left, took out a loan to keep going until the next harvest. Unfortunately, cotton prices stayed depressed until the end of the century. Thus the tenants and sharecroppers found themselves in a cycle of debt from which they could not escape. More than 50 percent of both black and white Texas farmers were tenants by the 20th century.

Dissatisfied farmers across the nation responded to these developments by organizing third parties to challenge the Democrats and the Republicans. Both the Greenback Party in the 1870s and the Populist Party in the 1890s advocated an inflated currency to make debts easier to repay, government ownership of the railroads that controlled the prices for transporting crops, and other reforms, such as the direct election of senators. In Texas the Greenback and Populist parties courted Republican voters, mostly blacks. These parties did not advocate outright racial equality, but many Populists argued that economic progress would benefit all who were poor, black and white.

Some leaders of the Democratic Party in Texas responded to the challenges of third parties by advocating similar reforms within their own party. They were called Agrarian Democrats and their most important leader in Texas was James Stephen Hogg. As Texas attorney general (1887-1891), he had successfully prosecuted several railroad companies for anticompetitive activities and helped write the Texas antitrust law in 1891, the second such law in the nation. In his 1890 campaign for governor, he promised stricter regulation of monopolies, including railroads. After his victory Hogg appointed former U.S. Representative and Senator John H. Reagan as chairman of the newly created Texas Railroad Commission. Reagan had achieved national recognition for sponsoring legislation to establish the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, which oversaw the operations of railroads across the nation. The Texas Railroad Commission regulated railroads in the state so successfully that it was later given the job of controlling state petroleum production.

In 1892 Hogg defeated challenges from both the Populists and the Conservative Democrats, but when he retired in 1894, the Populist Party threatened to defeat the state Democratic Party in 1894 and 1896 by taking advantage of farmer discontent created by a depression in 1893. In 1894 the Populists elected 22 representatives and two senators to the state legislature. Although Democrat Charles Culberson won the election for governor, the Populist candidate, Thomas L. Nugent, ran a very close second.

The 1896 race for governor was a particularly vicious one. The Populists formed a biracial coalition with black Republicans to unite all tenant farmers in support of wide-ranging economic reforms. In response, the Democrats charged the Populists with racial betrayal and argued that Populist economic reforms were too radical. In an election marked by ballot fraud and racial violence, the Democrats won the election. The Populists tried to reorganize, but returning prosperity in 1897 and endorsement by the Democratic Party of moderate reforms left populism with no political base.

At the end of the 19th century, black Texans suffered from increasing discrimination. In 1896 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that laws creating what were called separate-but-equal facilities for blacks and whites did not violate the 14th Amendment. Consequently Texas passed laws that segregated all public facilities and transportation, authorized segregated residential neighborhoods, and restricted black Texans in all aspects of life. The Democratic Party in Texas, as in the South, promised to white voters that these segregation laws-or Jim Crow laws as they were called-would be enforced.

The political contests of the 1890s had already begun to prevent blacks from voting prior to the Plessy v. Ferguson decision. In the bitter and often dishonest local elections of the 1890s, white men's associations used violence to keep blacks from voting. Democrats argued that the violence and corruption of local elections could be prevented if voters registered by paying poll taxes and nominated candidates by using party primaries. The party wanted primaries to be for whites only to remove the issue of race. The Democratic Party authorized all-white primaries, Texas voters approved a poll tax, and the Terrell Election Laws (1903-1907) mandated party primaries for statewide offices. Black Texans could then vote in general elections that were meaningless, since the state only elected Democratic candidates; but they could not vote in Democratic primaries, which chose state office-holders and the party's nomination for the U.S. Congress. By the 20th century, Texas had defined blacks as second-class citizens without voting power and had created elaborate legal codes that segregated blacks in all public and private facilities.

Mexican Texans also faced discrimination. Before the Texas Revolution, they had been farmers, small ranchers, and skilled laborers. As Anglo-American ranchers and farmers settled in Texas, the Mexican Texans faced increased competition-as well as taxes, fraud, legal fees, and battles over water rights. Over time most Mexican Texans joined an unskilled labor pool. Disfranchising Mexican Texans after the Civil War proved relatively easy, because most Mexicans in Texas retained their Mexican citizenship. Those who were citizens fell victim to the whites-only primary and the poll tax.

Many important Texas politicians endorsed moderate reforms that would increase the power of the state government and allow it to take a more active role in preventing social and economic injustice. These Democrats called themselves Progressives and controlled the party before World War I (1914-1918). The reforms they advocated were mostly those of white middle-class Texans, who were not particularly concerned about racial injustice. Nationally, progressivism was largely an urban movement. In Texas, however, there were no particularly large cities: In 1920 fewer than 33 percent of Texans lived in metropolitan areas, fewer than 20 percent lived in cities of 10,000 or more, and only three of those-Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio-had populations between 200,000 and 300,000 inhabitants.

As a result, progressivism in Texas stressed reforms that changed state institutions, enfranchised white women, and most importantly prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages, called Prohibition. Texas progressives believed that the sale of alcohol corrupted democratic society and was a moral evil.

Prohibitionists began campaigning for a dry state in 1887. In 1918, influenced by the charge that alcohol interfered with the effort to support World War I, which the United States was fighting in Europe, the legislature passed a law forbidding the sale of alcohol anywhere in the state. In January 1920 the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the sale of intoxicating alcoholic beverages throughout the country.

Middle-class Texas women played a major role in the prohibition movement. Although they could not vote, women could campaign for legislation. Their visibility in the prohibition campaigns, and their active participation in organizations that advocated reforms of education and charitable institutions, increased their desire to vote themselves. The Texas Woman Suffrage Association was organized in 1903 and lobbied hard in 1915 and 1917 to force the legislature to enfranchise women. In 1918 the legislature extended the franchise to women in primary elections, and in 1919 the legislature ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the vote throughout the country.

Democrats that enacted prohibition in Texas also passed laws creating orphanages and state institutions to care for the mentally ill. Progressives voted money for colleges and universities, in particular for scientific agriculture at Texas A&M College (established in 1876) and professional education at the University of Texas (established in 1883). The legislature standardized curriculum in the public schools and extended more state control over them.

Texas Prison System

The state also reformed the prison system. The convict release system, under which criminals were rented out for private labor, was abolished, and the state segregated prisoners by sex, age, race, and nature of the offense.

All of these reforms extended state control over social institutions and became politically contentious later in the century. Progressive Democrats also passed other legislation that created agencies to improve roads and conserve forests and other natural resources.

Texas Prison System

Most Texans enthusiastically supported World War I. Texas had voted for Woodrow Wilson, Democratic governor of New Jersey, when he won the presidential election in 1912. Wilson was a Southerner and chose several Texans to serve in his administration. Almost 200,000 Texans served in the military services during the war, including more than 400 women who volunteered as nurses. A number of important army bases were built in Texas, and San Antonio in particular retained active military sites after the war ended. World War I created a connection between the Texas economy and the defense industry, and most Texans, including farmers, prospered in both the years preceding and during the war.

Racial and ethnic tensions, however, increased during the war years. Around military posts in the South, black soldiers objected to Jim Crow laws being applied on army posts and in the surrounding communities. A riot provoked by discrimination in Houston involving the all-black Third Battalion of the 24th United States Infantry ended with a court-martial that severely punished the soldiers involved.

The same surge of patriotism that demanded endorsement of the war effort identified German surnames as un-American. The legislature recommended that books or pamphlets praising German culture, for example, be withdrawn from the public schools, and some Germans in the Texas Hill Country and San Antonio were harassed and beaten.

The Mexican Texans of South Texas were affected by border troubles. The fighting that followed the Mexican Revolution in 1910 had pushed immigrants north of the border to escape the war. In 1916 President Wilson sent the U.S. Army to pursue the rebel Mexican General Francisco (Pancho) Villa, who had raided several Texas towns, and Texas Governor James Ferguson dispatched the national guard and the entire Texas Ranger force to South Texas to maintain order. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed on both sides. Suspecting the new immigrants and the Hispanic population of complicity with the raiders, white Texans violated civil rights in attempts to identify bandit leaders. The Texas Rangers, in particular, were accused of indiscriminately brutalizing Mexican Texans; as a result, many Mexican Texans came to distrust legal authority, in particular the Rangers. After an investigation, the legislature reorganized the Rangers, reducing it to 4 regular companies of 17 men each.

The intolerance continued into the early 1920s. Provoked by the Communist revolution in Russia during the war, many Texans saw any unusual idea as dangerous. The result was the persecution of those who belonged to labor unions, the Socialist Party, or to civil rights organizations. Intolerance was also encouraged by the perception that the values of the city were intruding upon the morality of rural America.

In 1920 the Ku Klux Klan was reborn and spread through the Midwest into rural areas and into the South, Texas, and the Southwest. The organization chose for its leader, or grand wizard, Hiram Evans of Dallas and promised to restore Christian morality to the nation. In Texas the Klan promised to enforce prohibition, stop gambling, discourage divorce, and prevent immoral conduct. It was anti-foreign, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic as well as anti-black. By 1924 Klan supporters in Texas had elected a U.S. senator and may have controlled the police forces and governments of every city except San Antonio and Galveston.

The issue of the Ku Klux Klan and enforcement of prohibition dominated politics in the early 1920s. "Farmer" Jim Ferguson, who had been governor of the state from 1915 to 1917 but had resigned after he was accused of misconduct in office, led much of the fight against the Klan. Ferguson was still a force to be reckoned with despite the fact that he had been banned from public office. In 1924 his wife Miriam "Ma" Ferguson ran for governor, and aided by her husband's popularity, she defeated the Klan candidate to become the second woman governor in the United States and the first elected to that office. Her victory sealed the Klan's fate as a public political force.

Dan Moody defeated Ferguson in 1926 and won reelection in 1928. His administration reformed the highway department and modernized both the state administration of schools and the prison system.

Texas Democrats generally did not support the party's presidential candidate in 1928, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith. Smith opposed prohibition and was a Roman Catholic, both of which irritated many Texans. Some Texas Democrats who opposed Smith organized as "Hoovercrats" to support the Republican nominee, Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover. Texas voted for Hoover in 1928, the first year that the state supported a Republican candidate for the presidency.

At the onset of the Great Depression, the economic downturn of the 1930s, many Texans assumed that the downturn was an eastern financial collapse and would not affect Texas. By the winter of 1930-1931, however, the price of cotton had dropped to less than a nickel a pound. More than 350,000 Texans were out of work by mid-1932, and at least 25 percent of them had no resources to survive unemployment. Dwindling tax revenues and the lack of industries limited public funds, and private charities had no funds.

Consequently Texans, like other Americans, were anxious for federal aid, and they voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election over the incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt promised a New Deal for Americans in his inaugural address, and his domestic programs profoundly affected the Texas economy in the 1930s. Under Roosevelt's New Deal legislation, the federal government provided direct relief payments to states and individuals for the first time in history. Programs such as the Works Progress Administration and others hired the unemployed to work on public projects.

Putting people back to work meant that many minority Texans were included in the public work projects. At first local white leaders wanted blacks and Mexican Americans excluded from government employment. But under pressure from federal administrators and organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which were located in Eastern cities in which blacks could vote, state administrators relented and included minorities in federal programs. Black voters, as a result, switched their allegiance in the 1930s from the Republican Party to the Democrats. Federal courts struck down the all-white primary in 1944. The number of black voters in Texas increased during the early 1940s, particularly in urban areas, where blacks had begun to move during the 1920s. By 1950 blacks were nearly 20 percent of the population of most Gulf Coast cities and nearly that high a percentage in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Many Mexicans in Texas were deported to Mexico during the Great Depression. Large-scale roundups of immigrants, particularly in rural areas, included Texan Mexicans. Federal projects were prohibited from aiding immigrants, and since many Mexican Texans could not prove citizenship, they did not benefit from Roosevelt's New Deal as much as other poor people. Nevertheless a group of bicultural business leaders in San Antonio and in the Río Grande Valley organized the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to fight segregation and to create a stronger voice for Hispanics in Texas and in national politics. Members of LULAC tended to vote Democratic, and they financed the first court challenge to the segregation of Mexican American children in separate schools. In 1948 LULAC and members of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund won lawsuits ending official segregation of Mexican Americans in public facilities in Texas.

The New Deal changed Texas politics in other ways as well. Aided by the National Labor Relations Board (a federal commission that oversaw business-labor relations), higher percentages of Texas workers joined labor unions than ever before. These workers also became ardent Democrats.

Some changes were more subtle. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, for example, began planning deliberate scarcities to raise crop prices. Much of the land taken out of cultivation was marginal land farmed by tenants. Texas farmers began the great migration to the cities and to California. The speed of the migration increased during World War II (1939-1945) when defense-related jobs were created in many cities. Texas, 60 percent rural in 1930, would be 60 percent urban in 1950. After 1950, agriculture remained one of the three legs supporting the Texas economy (farming, oil, and defense-related industries), but it no longer dominated all other economic enterprises. Tenant farming, moreover, had all but disappeared from the state.

Although the oil industry was important to the economy of the Gulf Coast, it did not dominate the state's economy before 1930. In that year, the great East Texas oil field near Kilgore began production, and the Permian Basin field was discovered in the late 1930s. Much of the Permian field was on state land, and as a result much of the royalties from the field financed education in Texas. So, too, did the income from the tidelands oil, and petroleum became the state's leading export.

During World War II, Texas benefited from the rapid construction of defense-related factories. An estimated 1,250,000 troops trained at 15 Army military bases. San Antonio became a center for the United States Army Air Force, and clear skies and available land encouraged the construction of more than 40 air bases. The Gulf Coast became a center of naval activity(United States Navy). Although some of these military sites were shut down after the war ended, many remained open, providing jobs as the nation geared up for the Cold War, the economic and diplomatic struggle between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), that followed World War II.

The demand for oil and petrochemicals (chemicals based on oil or natural-gas) during and after the war made the strip from Houston to Lake Charles in southwestern Louisiana the most industrialized area in the South. The need for paper and pulp products revitalized the East Texas lumber industry. These defense industries hired workers and turned the state away from its rural economic base toward an urban-industrial one.

Politics in Texas The political landscape of Texas changed dramatically with the New Deal, World War II, and its aftermath. When Roosevelt won the presidency in 1932, U.S. congressmen from the South, who had possessed little power under Republican administrations, began to have national influence. In 1936 Texas representatives chaired nine congressional committees, and Texan John Nance Garner was vice president. Democrat Sam Rayburn also became a national figure, serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives three times (1940-1947, 1949-1953, and 1955-1961) during his 48 years in Congress. This political power obtained defense contracts, military bases and New Deal relief money for the state. A number of young Texan politicians, notably future U.S. president Lyndon Baines Johnson, adopted a national outlook. These people believed that the future of Texas, because it was now connected to the national economy, was no longer either predominately rural or Southern.

Opposition to the New Deal centered in third-party activity, and it remained there throughout the 1950s. In Texas, the third-party factions called themselves Texas Regulars in 1944 and Dixiecrats in 1948. Their strategy was to vote for third-party electors in presidential elections and vote for Democratic candidates for state and local office. That way the elites could retain local and state political influence.

The third-party strategy had little success in Texas. Roosevelt won in 1940 and 1944 with more than 70 percent of the popular vote, and President Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) defeated the Dixiecrats just as soundly. In 1952 and 1956 more traditional Democrats, led by Governor Allen Shivers, voted for the Republican Dwight David Eisenhower for president rather than Democrat Adlai Ewing Stevenson. The success of President Eisenhower failed to create support for the state Republican Party, however, and Democrats retained control of local, state, and congressional offices.

Throughout the 1950s, the Texas Democratic Party became more moderate. Traditional Democrats were challenged by a liberal wing of the party that supported government-directed social programs and complete integration of public facilities. Although they could only muster about 40 percent of the popular vote, liberals could defeat any very conservative candidate who ran for statewide office. Under their pressure, however, the state government provided more money to education, established minimum salaries for school teachers, and expanded and improved colleges and universities. The state government reduced its own costs, updated the prison system, and improved the highway system. Shivers is considered the first of the modern Texas governors; yet he opposed racial integration. His successor, Price Daniel, Sr. (1957-1963), reorganized the agency responsible for welfare, and during his term the legislature enacted a sales tax, guaranteeing a dependable source of revenue for the state. More importantly, no Texas governor after Shivers ever considered passing legislation that would interfere with integration. Both Texas senators and most Congress members refused to sign the infamous Southern Manifesto (, a pledge never to support Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court ruling that ordered desegregation of public schools.

Moderate Democrats continued to control Texas politics in the 1960s. United States Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy of Massachusetts selected U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson from Texas as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1960, and the Democratic ticket narrowly carried both Texas and the nation. Despite the influence of moderate Democrats in Texas, Dallas won a national reputation as a center of right-wing extremism after Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy while he was riding in a presidential motorcade through the city in November 1963. City and state leaders worked hard after the assassination to erase that image and demonstrate that Texas was a modern and moderate state.

Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency and won reelection in 1964, overwhelming Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee. Johnson's War on Poverty program, a series of measures to promote economic development in depressed urban areas, and his Great Society plan, which included a new housing bill, a Medicare program to help provide medical care for the elderly, and additional antipoverty measures, were controversial in Texas. The majority of Texas Democrats supported them despite reservations because Johnson was a native son and because a label of extremism might dampen economic growth.

Nevertheless, a number of white Texans objected to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (, a sweeping civil rights bill outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations and by employers, unions, and voting registrars. They also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (, which suspended use of voter-qualification tests that had sometimes served to keep blacks off voting lists. Many white Texans also objected to policies that favored minority-owned companies and job applicants as well as aid to minority citizens, hallmarks of the Johnson presidency. Texas strongly supported the Vietnam War (1959-1975), and the state's leadership had little patience with the antiwar demonstrations common in the late 1960s. Like many other Americans, social changes in the 1960s bothered many Texans, but a strong conservative reaction only came in the 1980s.

Black Texans and Mexican Texans made significant political gains in the 1960s. The successful attack on voting restrictions sent several blacks, including Barbara Jordan of Houston, to the Texas legislature, and in 1966 Jordan was the first black woman elected to the state senate. In 1972 Jordan was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where she earned national attention for her eloquent speech in favor of impeaching President Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974) during the Watergate affair. She also delivered the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Texas passed a state law specifically declaring segregation illegal in 1969, but most white Texans thought the civil rights movement had gone far enough. Blacks, however, were registered to vote and were an integral part of the Democratic Party. So too were Mexican Americans, who had become more militant, with many of the young calling themselves Chicanos and speaking of Brown Power. The militancy had subsided by the early 1970s, but not before the organization of a political party, La Raza Unida ( These new Hispanic voters registered as Democrats and controlled local and state politics south of San Antonio. The Democratic Party had to remain moderate once the registration of minorities increased.

John Connally, President Johnson's long-time friend and political protégé, won the 1962 election for governor. He was more cautious about government-sponsored social change than the president, but went along with the civil rights legislation.

He was the state's most forward-looking governor in economic terms. Connally worked to expand the community-college system, upgrade the university system (in particular the University of Texas and Texas A & M University), increase pay for teachers, and institute other measures to support scientific and specialized training. Connally spent most of his energy attempting to create a business climate that would bring new industry into the state.

Most historians believe that Connally's political success delayed the growth of the Republican Party in Texas for at least a decade. Johnson had persuaded the legislature to pass a law in 1960 that would allow him to run for vice president and for reelection to the U.S. Senate at the same time. When he was elected vice president, he resigned as a U.S. senator, and was replaced by John Tower, a Republican.

Senator Tower was the first Republican to be elected U.S. senator from Texas since Reconstruction. Tower won two more terms to the U.S. Senate, demonstrating that a Republican could win in Texas. By 1963 there were more than 100 local Republican clubs that were opposed to regulation of oil and gas and the integration of public schools. Their growth was limited by the popularity of Governor Connally, but more conservative Democrats began to donate money to Senator Tower's campaigns in the late 1960s. In general, club members endorsed the Republican candidate, U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona for president in 1964.

In 1968 both President Johnson and Governor Connally announced their retirement from public life. Texans voted for Minnesota Democrat and U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey for the presidency, but former Vice President Richard Nixon won the election. When Nixon was reelected in 1972, he carried Texas and most of the rest of the nation. The pall of the Watergate scandal caused the state to vote for Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976, but the election disguised a growing state Republican Party that won new adherents in the suburbs, and recruited well among more conservative Democrats. These new Republicans supported the conservative Republican Ronald Reagan, former governor of California.

The new Texas Republican Party showed its strength in 1978 when Republican Bill Clements, a Dallas oilman and friend of Ronald Reagan, was elected governor. Clements was not a particularly successful governor. He battled with the Democratic legislature, failed to pass much of his program, and his abrasive personality alienated many potential voters. He did, however, give the Republican Party credibility by demonstrating that Republicans could win statewide elections. He lost his first reelection attempt and then won again in 1986. By that time the nature of Texas politics and the Texas economy had begun to change drastically.

In the 1960s the population of Texas passed that of Ohio and Illinois to become the third largest state in the nation by 1975. In 1970 slightly more than 70 percent of Texans, both black and white, lived in urban areas, the same percentage as in the rest of the nation. About 12 percent of Texans were black, compared to 35 percent in 1870, but the Mexican American population had grown to 20 percent, up from less than 5 percent in 1900.

The character of Texas cities had changed, too. No city had adequate public transportation. Private automobiles encouraged the growth of interstate highways, although new highway systems often divided established neighborhoods. Whites escaped both school integration and a perceived crime threat by moving from city centers to the suburbs. Each year the inner cities housed a higher percentage of the poor and black and Hispanic people while tax revenues declined.

In the 1960s the economy of Texas remained centered on oil, defense and agriculture. Oil created new jobs, which attracted new settlers, which in turn encouraged real estate, financial, and manufacturing booms. Farms continued to grow in size, and the 1970 U.S. census reported that less than 3 percent of the population owned farms. East Texas and west Texas became almost uninhabited, with an occasional island city that served the vast territory. No one discounted the importance of agriculture to the Texas economy, however; somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of the state was involved in the $33 billion "agribusiness" industries. Many towns or cities, for example San Antonio, listed military bases as their major employer. In addition, the location of the manned-space center near Houston and the 1958 development of the microchip attracted high-tech defense contractors to the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Although the economy was much different than that of pre-war Texas, it remained one based on raw materials and defense.

In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, the Texas economy and population grew spectacularly. In 1973 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) placed an embargo on oil to the United States and other supporters of Israel, ending the stability in oil prices that had existed for the previous 25 years. The price of Texas oil tripled and then doubled again after 1979. Texas oil profits caused real estate prices to soar, construction to skyrocket, and banks to enjoy unprecedented growth. Texas agriculture, however, suffered from the high oil prices, which increased the cost of running machinery and petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. Nevertheless, the economic boom brought 2.5 million people to Texas between 1970 and 1985.

In the early 1980s, after world oil demand decreased and the embargo collapsed, oil prices dropped quickly. Real estate and banking fell into a depression that was accented by a reduction in the increase in defense spending, particularly after the end of the Cold War. By the mid-1980s the Texas economy had been badly damaged.

The collapse in oil prices cut the state's revenue 20 percent. Governor Mark White, Jr., who had defeated Bill Clements in 1982, made a temporary sales tax increase permanent and tried innovative ways to raise new revenue. At the same time, advised by a committee including billionaire Texan H. Ross Perot, White introduced and passed a number of public school reforms, a pay raise for public school teachers, and other measures to improve public services, including the prison system. He was defeated in 1986 by Clements.

Successive governors-Democrat Ann Richards (1991-1995) and Republican George Bush III (1995-2001) Now President George W. Bush - pledged not to institute an income tax, and state revenues have not expanded. When the state was affluent in the 1970s and 1980s, governors after Connally did not seem concerned about improving the state's infrastructure and services. They agreed that gradual improvement could take place with expanding revenues. The collapse of the economy left Texas with roads and bridges needing repairs and relatively low salaries for state employees.

In addition, the state was under a court order to improve and modernize state prisons, which had been neglected since 1950. Governor Richards allotted more funds to improve prisons, roads, and bridges, but that decreased money for public and higher education. In the last decade, Texas voters have increased their opposition to taxes and spending for public services.

Beginning in 1989 the state's economy improved, and lost its reliance on raw materials industries. Service industries, high-tech companies, finance, and trade all prospered in the 1990s. The number of people in trade and trade-related jobs increased, and many areas of Texas benefited from the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA). This 1994 agreement signed by Canada, the United States, and Mexico called for the gradual removal of tariff and trade barriers. The areas of Texas that benefited were concentrated in the industrial triangle of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Other parts of the state-east Texas, south Texas, and the Panhandle-did not fully recover from the economic collapse and have not received the expected benefits from NAFTA. Areas along the border, in particular, have lost manufacturing and assembly plants to Mexico, and the growth of new service industries has not eased high unemployment. Texas has also continued to lose petroleum-related and defense jobs. In addition, Texas farmers faced drought conditions in the late 1990s. West Texas agriculture was hit hardest by extremely dry weather in 1998, although most other regions of the state were also affected.

Texas's population grew by 1.5 million in the early 1990s, making the state the second largest in the country-after California. In the 1980s and 1990s the largest immigrant group came from south of the U.S. border, mostly from Mexico, but also from other Latin American countries. Mexican immigration to Texas, both legal and illegal, has made Hispanics the largest minority in the state. An increase in the Asian population, primarily from the countries of Southeast Asia, began in the 1980s and continued in the 1990s. Demographers predict that by 2010 Texas will have a population composed of 36.7 percent non-Hispanic whites; 9.5 percent blacks; 45.9 percent Hispanics (who may be of any race); and 7.9 percent of other racial and ethnic groups.

The new immigrants tended to join black Texans in the inner cities, or settle in the Río Grande Valley, south of San Antonio. They usually vote Democratic and have a much lower income level than whites who live in suburbs. Texas thus confronts the problem, as does the nation, of politically powerful and affluent suburbs that surround poor cities in which the inhabitants have been historically disenchanted with the political process.

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