JIM B. PEARSON, Editor
Imperial Texas. By D. W. Meinig. (Austin: University of Texas Press,
1969. Pp. 145. Illustrations, index. $4.50.)
In this interpretive essay, D. W. Meinig, professor of geography at
Syracuse University, examines from the perspective of his discipline
the development of Texas as a cultural area. Utilizing an impressive
variety of both historical and contemporary sources, he has produced
a book which is both scholarly and readable.
The essay's title, Imperial Texas, indicates the author's recognition
of the claim by Texans that their homeland is an empire as a valid
one. Characteristics associated with the term empire can be found
both in contemporary Texas and in its historical development. How-
ever, although the idea of empire is a recurring theme, Professor
Meinig's basic purpose is to describe the development of Texas as a
distinctive, yet diverse, cultural area.
In pursuing this purpose, the author traces the development of
Texas in four historical periods which he identifies as: (1) "Im-
plantation" (169o-1836); (2) "Assertion" (1836-1861); (3) "Ex-
pansion" (1865-19oo00); and (4) "Elaboration" (2oth century). For
each of these periods, Meinig discusses the cultural development of
Texas as seen in the ethnic characteristics of its settlers and in the
settlement patterns, economic activities, and routes of commerce estab-
lished by them. Upon completing this survey, the author concludes
that Texas today is a distinct "American region, Southern in source,
Southwestern in locale, but definitely Texan in character."
In the essay's fifth chapter, entitled "Differentiation," Professor
Meinig identifies nine cultural areas of contemporary Texas on the
basis of criteria developed in the previous chapters. This is a sig-
nificant contribution because, although the cultural diversity of the
state has long been recognized, previous geographers have divided
the state into regions based largely on physical criteria such as land
and vegetation features. In the final chapter the book discusses Texas
as a cultural area within the context of a culture gradation model.
In his preface Meinig cautions the reader that his essay is "ex-
ploratory" in nature and asks that certain maps, including the one
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed April 23, 2014.