The political culture of Texas can go far back, but before we can understand Texas’ political culture we must understand the meaning of political culture. Political culture can be defined as the set of values, attitudes, beliefs, and habits which give order and meaning to a political process and which provide the underlying assumptions and rules that govern behavior in the political system A good example of this is in a video titled “ Professor Richard Flores Discusses How Political Culture and Understandings are Conveyed” According to professor Richard Flores “ The alamo is a master symbol it becomes a premier narrative to which whole series of events, ideas, philosophies and even racism is constructed in Texas”. Therefore, in this essay I will discuss the attitudes, beliefs and the sentiments that make up Texas political culture, where it came from, what is it basis? And how is it different from other places?
According to Daniel Elazar’s typology of political culture there are three categories Individualistic, Traditionalistic, and Moralistic. Elazar believed Texas is and individualistic and traditionalistic. The Individualistic part means that Governments role is limited so the marketplace can stay functioning which is what Individualistic cultures rely on, a functioning marketplace. The traditionalistic portion which grew out the old south means that politicians come from societies elites. Which basically means people with money play a huge role in politics like voting. While ordinary citizens who are not a part of these higher societies do not play as big of a role in politics as the elites.
Even though a majority of Texas political culture is Individualistic and traditionalistic there is still a sprinkle of populist streak where they actually appreciate the government power when it is being used to protect people from exploitation by powerful corporations, excessive wealth, or the government itself. This populist streak also involves liberalism, where people are okay with the government butting in every now and then. These two portions of Texas political culture liberalism and populism are important when it comes to influencing the way Texas politics is, yet Texas still generally remains with its conservative roots being individualism and traditionalism.
Now I will discuss the history on what made Texas political culture what it is today, being traditionalistic and individualistic. One main reason for Texas political culture is in the early 1800s texas was a part of Mexico. After some time, and the number of Anglos in Texas increasing, Texas finally gained its independence from Mexico though it was under constant pressure from Mexico for about nine years. This shows the individualist quality that makes up Texas political culture. Another major factor to Texas political culture would be the civil war. As you know the civil war was the union verse the confederate for slavery, but the confederates lost. When the confederates lost to republicans, the republicans began to take over causing a ban on the confederates in office bringing many of the older elites back into office.
Therefore, shaping Texas traditionalism. Traditional culture goes way back relatively speaking, back to the early nineteenth century. When plantations were rich and affluent and controlled where a lot of money went. Only a handful of families were wealthy and the ones who owned slaves were even wealthier and from what we know about traditionalism is that people who are wealthy are usually one of the elites and they are in control of the politics.
Other states that differ from Texas political culture are Minnesota, California, Oregon, and Colorado. These states and a few more are generally moralistic which is one of the three typologies that Texas is not. States with a Moralistic political culture function by depending or trusting the government to better civilization and promote general welfare. This is a lot different from Texas because being a conservative individual and traditionalistic states they do tend to not trust the government like moralistic states who believe that a politician motive should be to better society instead of being corrupted and money hungry. Then there are states who have similar political cultures like Texas, these states are Wyoming, Nebraska and Illinois and many more.
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