Texas Constitution of 1876 Texas Term Paper

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Subject: Government
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #43675340

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Women, for example, only gained their right of suffrage in 1920 and Article VI of the Constitution of 1876 only gives "male persons" over the age of 21 who have "resided in Texas for at least one year" the right to vote.

Compact Theory: The compact theory holds that the formation of the Union of the United States was through a "compact" of all the States individually and the creation of the national government was believed to be a creation of the states. Hence the states were the final judge of whether the national government had overstepped the boundaries of the "compact." One of the versions of the compact theory (the unilateral compact theory) was used by the Confederate secessionists to declare their secession from the Union, which signaled the start of the Civil War (Lind, para 11). In the Texas Constitution of 1876, the compact theory is used to emphasize the rights of the state and its people while remaining within the ambit of the U.S. Constitution. Section 3 of Article I of the Constitution also talks about a "social compact" of all free men to emphasize their equal rights.

Limited Government: The concept of limited government is that all power rests in the people, and the power of a government is limited to the extent the people have chosen to share their power with it. Since the primary motivation for the framing of the 1876 Constitution were the perceived and/or real excesses of the state government, the framers of the Constitution attempted to minimize governmental excesses by carefully defining what governments could and could not do in the document. Large parts of the Constitution (Sections II through V) are devoted to prescribing specific limitations on the powers of different sections of the government. For example, Section 48 of Article II states the specific purposes for which the Legislature may levy taxes; Section 49 of the same Article limits the state debt to a limit of $200,000 only. ("Article III-Legislative Department")

Separation of Powers: The concept of "Separation of Powers" into three distinct branches of the government, i.e., the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary was incorporated in the federal Constitution by the founding fathers in order to prevent abuse of powers and to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. The principle was applied in the Texas Constitution of 1876 with even greater emphasis since a whole section (Article II) is devoted to the concept. Article II specifically requires the establishment of legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and explicitly prohibits the exercise of powers of more than one branch by a single individual.

Works Cited

ARTICLE III- Legislative Department: Constitution of the State of Texas (1876)." The University of Texas at Austin. March 11, 2005. July 26, 2006. http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/text/IART03.html

Dye, Thomas R. Politics in America. Sixth Edition, 2004. Pearson Prentice-Hall: New York

General Characteristics of the Texas Constitution." Liberal Arts Instructional Services: University of Texas at Austin. 2006. July 26, 2006. http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/html/cons/0302.html

Lind, Michael. "Do the People Rule?" New American Foundation. February 1, 2002. July 26, 2006. http://www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?pg=article&DocID=719

Preamble and Article I.: Constitution of the State of Texas (1876)." The University of Texas at Austin. March 11, 2005. July 26, 2006. http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/text/IART01.html

The Radical Republican Constitution of 1869." Liberal Arts Instructional Services: University of Texas at Austin. 2006. July 26, 2006. http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/html/cons/0206.html

The Texas Constitution of 1876." Texas State Library and Archives Commission. November 11, 2005. July 26, 2006. http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/treasures/constitution/index.html

The longest state constitution in the U.S. is the Alabama Constitution; Texas Constitution is the second longest.

Carpetbaggers" was the derogatory name given to northerners who came to the South the white southerners who joined or cooperated with southern Reconstruction governments were termed "scalawags."

The original 1876 Constitution consisted of 23,500 words; after the addition of Amendments, it is over 85,000 words long.

The Bill of Rights was introduced in the U.S. Constitution only as an addendum to the first amendments.

The voting right "regardless of race" was granted to all American citizens after the ratification of the fifteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1870. Hence the Texas Constitution of 1876 also granted the right to blacks.

The people of the states rather than the state government

The revision of the limit has required several times since the original…

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