The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 148
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of Texas must before receiving a degree from the institution have
passed satisfactorily a course in the study of Texas state govern-
ment. Fundamentally there is no doubt that this book is an
offering for a textbook to track the legislative demands. If any
citizen has any lingering doubt about whether or not it is advis-
able to have such legislation as a part of the statutory law of the
land, he would be doing himself and Texas a genuine civic service
by reading this book and then coming to an independent and
intelligent decision. Anyone finding himself in disagreement
should openly announce his hostility both to the statute and to
the book. But again the purpose of this review is not to treat
primarily this book as a textbook. Actually this book might as
properly have had a title "The Texas Heritage" or "Texas in
1961." Perhaps a sample may best prove the point:
"Texas," says John Gunther, "is an empire, an entity, totally its
own." To grasp the meaning of this fact is the best approach to un-
derstanding the state's democracy and its political behavior.
In many aspects the Texas brand of politics is unique. It con-
forms to no standard or pattern found in other states. The state's
democracy reflects an unusual mentality that comes partially from
traditions and partially from a combination of other circumstances.
Texas is a land of diversity and conflict, constantly buffeted by the
winds of change, and perpetually at odds with its own extremes.
The state's history has been unusual. Its political past can be di-
vided into rather distinct historic periods, each of which has made
some contribution to its political development.
Texas is the only state in the Union that once was a free republic.
The revolution against Mexico, followed by ten hectic years as a
republic reflect a legendary glow upon the state's political annals.
Enshrined in its hall of fame is a galaxy of traditional heroes-
Austin, Houston, Crockett, Travis, Bowie, Bonham, Fannin, and
a host of others. These were unusual and picturesque men. Their
habits were those of the era, but they represent the "heroic age"
of the state's history. When a Texas schoolboy reads about the dra-
matic episodes of the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto, he finds noth-
ing in the nation's history that has a greater appeal to, his interest.
Unconsciously he grows up with a feeling of a dual nationality, a
sort of divided loyalty which, over the years, has become deeply
rooted in the state's thought and political complexion.
Many other factors along the way have had their influence. The
facts of geography, the state's Hispanic-American cultural background,
the cattle kingdom, the colorful cowboy-today's popular character
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/172/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.