Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
Civil Government in the United States and in the State of
Texas: a Text-Book on Cicics. By John C. Townes, LL. D., Dean
of the Law Department, the University of Texas. (Austin, Texas:
Austin Printing Company, 1908. Pp. 378.)
During the past summer, the State Text-Book Commission,
created by act of the Thirtieth Legislature, met in Austin and
adopted a set of text-books for use in the public schools of Texas
during the next five years. The Civil Government adopted by the
Board was in the strictest sense a local product. It was written
by Judge John C. Townes, Dean of the Department of Law in the
University of Texas, and was published by the Austin Printing
Company, of Austin, Texas. The work was largely prepared for
publication while its author was absent from the University on
leave during the Fall Term of 1907, but came from the press in
the spring of 1908.
Since the book was written for use in the public schools of
Texas, as the author tells us in the preface, it deals with Civil
Government in the dual form in which it exists in this country.
The general plan adopted seems simple and logical. The subject
is presented in five parts. Part One presents the general principles
underlying all governments. Part Two is historical and gives a
brief account of our early colonial governments, and the Con-
federacy, and narrates briefly the events leading up to the adoption
of the constitution of the United States. Part Three analyses the
constitution of the United States and describes the governmental
machinery that has grown up under it. Part Four gives an ac-
count of the State governments, with particular reference to Texas,
while Part Five deals with "Municipal Law" and is, in substance,
a brief statement of the general principles of elementary law.
In setting forth the general principles of government, the author
takes as his point of departure the necessity of government in any
civilized society, and points out that the act of governing implies
the existence of two persons, one the governor, or sovereign, who
exercises control, and the other the subject, or citizen, over whom
the control is exercised. This calls for a brief examination of the
nature of sovereignty. The author rejects the contention of the
theorists to the effect that sovereign power is absolute and in-
divisible. In our dual arrangement in this country, says he, "We
have two peoples and two governments operating in the territory
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/. Accessed September 17, 2014.