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Modern Texas

The state of Texas as it is known today, is located to the Southwestern part of the United States of America, and is bordered eastwards by Louisiana, northwards by Oklahoma and northeastwards by Arkansas. The Gulf of Mexico defines the state’s southeastern boundary, New Mexico the western boundary, while Mexico and the Rio Grande River form the southwestern border. Texas, nicknamed the Lone Star State, covers an area of 678,051 square kilometers, making it coterminous USA’s larges state.

It supports a population of approximately 23,507,800 people, 80% of whom are found in the urban areas. This indicates that the process of urbanization is nearly complete (Handbook of Texas Online, 2008). The consolidated metropolis of Dallas-Forth Worth is the most populous area. Other cities that deserve a mention here are El Paso, San Antonio and Houston. The Texan landscape is variable, with the Range and Basin region westwards, the Great Plains northwards and the Gulf of Mexico and the Coastal Plain southwards.

The area contains an abundance of sedimentary rocks, with a large depth of oil reserves. The magnitude of this natural wealth is such that it contributes just under a third of petroleum production in the whole of the United States. Other economic products that characterize the area are wheat sorghum, cotton and petrochemicals. Livestock farming also thrives here (Research Machines, 2009). The top ten cities in the state are San Antonio, Austin (the capital of the state), Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Corpus Christi, San Angelo, Tyler and Lubbock (Ford, 2009).

Political ideology and culture with respect to Texas are well encapsulated in the amalgamation of three primary philosophical streams: populism, social conservatism and classical liberalism. Politics and culture are inextricably intertwined, dictating not only the governance structure, but also the way of life. Classical liberalism attaches value to political agreements allowing for the greatest degree to exercise individual liberty, so long as other people’s liberties are not restricted in an unreasonable fashion.

This school of thought offers ammunition for opposition of government arms to attain certain social objectives. The focus instead is to rely either on the free market or private initiatives to ascertain outcomes that address the common good. More than just serving as a market economy and entrepreneurship bulwark, classical liberalism as employed in Texas has given support for a high level of civil liberties and religious tolerance for both entrepreneurship and individualism. The wide range of renowned iconoclasts with ties to Texas is a testament of this fact.

Perot, political candidate and billionaire businessman, Willie Nelson, Nashville activist and dissident and the various Texans that broke gender and race barriers, defying the prevailing social customs such as O. C. Hobby and Barbara Jordan are a few of the names that come to mind (Texas Politics, 2009). Social conservatism, as seen in Texas takes root in English as well as the European stand that regarded liberalism suspiciously, embracing social relations of a traditional hierarchical order and interpreting changes in the social structure as an affront to the beliefs and practices that had been established.

Social conservatism in modern Texas values established religious practices, beliefs and respects traditional figures of authority such as religious leaders, military and business. Whereas social conservatism is primarily linked to the Republicans, it has predominantly been associated with The Democrats until fairly recent times, where it exerts an effective moderating influence in the Democratic Party (Texas Politics, 2009). Populism as Texas’s third political influence focuses on the ordinary individual’s well being, while emphasizing popular resolve as a political position’s chief virtue.

This school of thought clearly has social and political dimensions. Taking the political angle, it supports the government’s involvement in the regulation of the economy as well as the society. Moreover, populism may assume a socially conservative form, or depend on rhetoric appeal and style as opposed to addressing issues of substance. In some cases, Texan populism offers an effective means of defusing tension that may exist between the polar influences of social conservatism and classical liberalism.

Populism ideals have led to a reduction in taxes for upper and middle class Texans (Texas Politics, 2009). Texas is the birthplace of a large number of famous people in the United States of America, their interests represented in entertainment, business, politics and sports. Renee Zellweger, Luke and Owen Wilson, Robin Wright Penn, Mathew McConaughey are just a few of the names associated with the silver screen. Music is spoken in the same breath with names like Janis Joplin, Norah Jones, Beyonce Knowles and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Dan Rather was for a long time the face of CBS News, if not its pseudonym. Texas production of influential political figures brings Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Ross Perot, and the father and son duo of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Kay Bailey Hutchison deserves a mention here, as she was the first female Texan representative in the US senate. Michael Dell, Dell Computers’ CEO and founder, Stanley Marcus, Nieman Marcus’s CEO, T . B. Pickens and Mary Kay Ash are a few of the business leaders hailing from Texas.

Lance Armstrong, Roger Clemens, Earl Campbell, George Foreman and Dennis Rodman are a small fraction of the numerous sports figures with roots in Texas (Fessenden-Joseph, 2009). This reality, looked at in conjunction with the physical features and heritage of the land, indicates that Modern Texas is indeed a place rich in history, culture and experience.

Works Cited: Fessenden-Joseph, L. A. , “About Famous People in Texas” (2009). Accessed on 12th March, 2009, from http://www. ehow. com/about_4566544_famous-people- texas. html Ford, G. , “Top 10 Cities in Texas”, SouthernLiving. com (2009).

Accessed on 12th March 2009, from http://www. southernliving. com/travel/south-west/top-10-cities-in- texas-00400000009283/page3. html Handbook of Texas Online, s. v. “,” (2008). Accessed on 12th March, 2009, from http://www. tshaonline. org/handbook/online/articles/UU/hyunw_print. html Research Machines, “Texas” (2009). Accessed on 12th March, 2009, from http://encyclopedia. farlex. com/Texas+(state) Texas Politics, “Texas Politics – Texas Political Culture” (2009). Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, University of Texas, Accessed on 12th March, 2009, from http://texaspolitics. laits. utexas. edu/10_printable. html

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