Heritage, 2011, Volume 2 Page: 6
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Tom C. Doell
Texas Historical Foundation
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This issue of Texas HERITAGE magazine has two articles
about the Texas Revolution, which occurred 175 years ago this
year. One article is about the efforts of the Star of the Republic
Museum to locate the descendants of the signers of the Texas
Declaration of Independence. Volunteers tracked down these
family members, and a permanent database was created. Ap-
proximately 1,500 descendants of the 60 signers came to the
175th Texas Independence celebration at Washington-on-the-
Brazos in February. I am proud to note that the Texas His-
torical Foundation supported this project through a grant in
Another article in this issue, by Dr. Bruce Winders, reminds
us of why we should still remember the Alamo. Since the 1986
sesquicentennial, new scholarship on many topics related to
Texas independence has helped move the subject from the lore
of popular culture into the realm of real history.
In 1836, the year of the Revolution, the Texas population
was estimated to be 52,670. One hundred and seventy four
years later, in 2010, there were 25,145,561 people living in our
state. Houston is now the nation's fourth largest city, and the
Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is the fourth largest metropolitan
area in the country. Texas led the nation in population growth
in the decade ending 2010. Why did we grow to become the
second largest state in the union? What attracted so many peo-
ple to Texas over the years?
This great state, founded on cotton and cattle, then tim-
ber and oil, now has one of the most diversified economies
in the world. Texas is a leader in many fields, including pet-
rochemicals, aerospace, defense manufacturing, biomedical,
shipping, and information technology. Texas is the nation's
largest exporter of goods; Houston is still the undisputed en-
ergy capital of the world, and the state is number two in the
country in agricultural production. Furthermore, we have the
second largest economy in the country, and if the Lone Star
State were still an independent nation, it would rank number
13 in the world. Texas is home to 64 Fortune 500 companies,
more than any other state. Why are we such an economic
The answers to the preceding questions can be found in our
state's special history. In 1836, the crackdown of an oppressive
Centralist regime here gave rise to revolution. The old govern-
ment was torn down, and a new one that favored individualism
and self-reliance was born. The new country was founded on
democratic ideals and personal liberty. There was an emphasis
on the ownership of personal property and on free markets.
Texans had a spirit of enterprise and a sense of individual free-
dom. Our success today is attributable to this strong founda-
tion and to the belief by common people in a better tomorrow.
These traits-this Texas exceptionalism, born in 1836 and nur-
tured for 175 years-have helped the state avoid the worst of
the nation's real estate crisis and cope with the great economic
stresses of the time.
Tom Doell is a businessman from Dallas. Send comments on this
column to: PO. Box 50314, Austin, Texas 78763.
6 TEXASHERITAGE I Volume 2 2011
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 2, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254221/m1/8/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.