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Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

State Government


Interior room in the Texas Capitol
Texas State Capitol, Austin

TO STATEHOOD

Texas entered its union with the United States in 1845, putting an end to the claim by Mexico on its territory. The annexation also ended Texas’ aspirations for complete independence, requiring instead that it form an alliance with the rest of the country. The United States mandated that the new state create its own constitution as a condition for admission, one that was based on common principles found in the Nation’s constitution. Basic principles included the concept of popular sovereignty assigning sole source of authority to the people, a guarantee of individual rights (within the context of an era of the Anglo-American tradition), a republican form of government, and separation of powers. State constitutions differed little when compared to the Nation’s with the exception of principles found exclusively in Southern regionalism, primarily the protection of slavery, included in the Texas constitution of 1845. The outcome of the Civil War and Reconstruction required Texans to rethink their principles, thereby producing a final constitution, the sixth since independence from Mexico, considered the Constitution of 1876. It is a document and set of principles that continues to guide us today, and one that defines who we are as Texans and as well as citizens of the United States.

Map of Theme

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The Texas Experience - Miriam "Ma" Ferguson
Donor: Jim Ruddy
Sound | 1986
Film courtesy Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Produced by Jim Ruddy and presented by the Shell Companies Foundation and the Texas Committee for the Humanities, The Texas Experience presents the history of Texas through a series of one-minute clips. Each clip features a celebrity narrator briefly exploring a specific aspect of Texas history or culture, with topics ranging from early women settlers to Buddy Holly's short but influential career. In this episode, actor Susan Howard presents Miriam "Ma" Ferguson's bold stand against the Ku Klux Klan that lead to her election as Texas' first female governor.