The Evolution of Political Parties in Texas

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Political parties in Texas developed slower than they did in the United States. Texas was an independent nation known as The Republic of Texas. In 1836 there were no political parties in Texas but instead there were individuals along with their policies. Sam Houston was elected as president with a limited two-year term. During 1838 Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected as president with a three-year term. Later in 1844 Sam Houston became President for a second term. The last president of the Republic was Anson Jones. In 1845 Texas became a state within the United States. The Democrats were the only political party available and so it dominated the politics. Beginning in the late 1840's and early 1850's the Whig Party competed with the Democrats and the Democrats remained in charge. In the 1850's the Know-Nothing Party decided to compete against the Democrats. When voting for Governor in 1855 the Democratic governor won. Between the late 1850's and early 1860's the Democrats disagreed about whether Texas should secede from the United States which caused a fall out threat to the Democrats. When voting for President in 1860 Abraham Lincoln won who was a Republican.

After the Confederate States lost the civil war in 1867 the Democratic Party dominance in Texas ended. The military leader with command over Texas began to secure for the Republican Party by removing former Democrats from office and off the voter rolls. An election to write a new Constitution for Texas resulted in victory for the Republicans in 1868. Ninety members were elected and seventy-eight of them were Republican. The Republicans were divided in two groups called the Moderates and the Radicals. The Moderates were led by Andrew Jackson Hamilton who was a former Democrat who opposed Texas secession. The Radicals were led by Edmund Jackson Davis who was a native to Florida who opposed secession. This division continued into the election of 1869. Edmund Jackson became Texas Governor in 1870.The Texas Legislature was majority Radical Republicans taking 3 out of 4 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and two were selected to represent Texas in the U.S Senate. During 1867 -1874 the Republican Party was in control of the government. Democrats won all the Texas seats in the U.S house of Representatives and served control of both houses of the Texas Legislature in 1872. In 1873 Richard Coke who was a democrat became Governor and Democrats dominated once again.

During the 1880's the Greenback Party competed with Democrats and between 1880-1890 the Populist Party became the competition for the Democrats. Between the 1940's and 1950's Democrats were unsatisfied with the policies of the New Deal so Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt and Henry Truman led to a divide between Conservative and Liberal Democrats. In 1952 Republican Dwight Eisenhower became President with the help of the Conservative Democrat Governor Allan Shivers. In 1957 Ralph Yerborough leader of the Liberal Democrats was elected to U.S. Senate over the opposition of Conservative Democrats. The segregation between Democrats played an important role in the 1961 election of Republican John Tower to U.S. Senate. In 1970 Lloyd Bentson a Conservative Democrat was elected Senator. The division amongst democrats also led to the election in 1978 of William Clements as the first Republican Governor. Every Texas Governor was a Democrat until 1979 when Republican William Clements became his term as Governor. In 1987, Kent Hance was appointed Railroad Commissioner and Judge Thomas Phillips was appointed Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Both men were elected to those positions in 1988, the first Republicans since Reconstruction. Ann Richards was elected in 1990 and was the last Democratic Governor. Republican George W. Bush became Governor in 1994. Republicans have filled executive and judicial offices statewide since 1998.Both Texas U.S Senators have been Republicans since 1993. Since 1996 Republicans won majority in the Texas Senate. By 2012 out of 31 Texas Senators 19 of them are Republicans.

The Republicans gained dominance of Texas politics in 2002 when they won a majority in the Texas House of Representative. Republicans haven't been speaker of the House for more than one hundred and thirty years until 2003. Out of one hundred and fifty members of Texas House of Representatives one hundred and one of them are Republicans. So now the Republican Party has taken the place of the Democratic party in dominance of the politics. The Democratic Party became more liberal on economic and social issues which caused division. These factors have contributed to the dominance of Republicans. A contribution to the Rise of Republicans is the former Democrats such as Phil Gramm, Kent Hance, Rick Perry who switched to the Republican Party. Another contribution to the rise of the Republics is the tremendous growth of Republican strength in the suburbs of Dallas and Houston which Republicans have moved from other states in search for well-paying jobs, low taxes and lack of unions. It has also been strengthened by Christian concerns over issues such as abortion and prayer in public schools. The dominance of the state's politics is unknown, but many believe that history will repeat itself and Democrats may dominate once again. Texas is majority minority and Republicans don't do so well among Latinos and African Americans so if more minorities and Latinos begin to vote the Republicans will be up against some competition. For the time being Texas is a Republican dominate state. Texas is considered the strongest Republican state in the nation.

Miller, Jan and Perry, Jerry. Development of Political Parties in Texas

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The Evolution of Political Parties in Texas. (2020, Jan 10). Retrieved June 20, 2024 , from

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