The Texas Constitution: The People, History, and Government of the Lone Star State


by Terri B. Davis and James P. Nelson

Written for university political science classes, this book focuses on the Texas Constitution, its history, and how it functions in Texas politics. The authors discuss the constitution's context in American federalism and the role of elections, political parties, and interest groups in the state, giving much attention to the three branches of Texas government created by the Texas Constitution of 1876.

The book provides foundations for understanding the current Texas Constitution and some of the unique features of Texas government. Historically, the Constitution was written in response to the state's experience with Reconstruction, the governorship of Edmund Davis, and a political culture that embraced and continues to embrace rugged individualism and a strong belief in limited government. Today, the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of Texas government retain the basic structures created for them by the Constitution of 1876, as well as additional features added through constitutional amendments and state statutes.

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About the Authors

Terri B. Davis

Terri B. Davis was born in Hopkins County, Texas. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Texas at Tyler. Study abroad opportunities gave her the confidence to pursue a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Tyler. She formerly taught at the University of Texas and at Baylor University. Davis joined the faculty of Lamar University in 1996, where she is associate professor of poitical science specializing in American constitutional and administrative law. She served the Political Science Department as chair from 2010-2020.

James P. Nelson

James P. Nelson is originally from Baytown, Texas. He received an A.S. in Business Administration and Management from Lee College in 2002, followed by a B.S. in Political Science from Lamar University in 2004. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University in 2011. He formerly taught at the University of Texas-Pan American. He joined the faculty at Lamar University in 2011 and is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science. His research emphasizes political behavior in addition to sub-national U.S. Politics.