The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism

The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism

The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism

The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism


In The Texas Right: The Radical Roots of Lone Star Conservatism, some of our most accomplished and readable historians push the origins of present-day Texas conservatism back to the decade preceding the twentieth century. They illuminate the initial factors that began moving Texas to the far right, even before the arrival of the New Deal.

By demonstrating that Texas politics foreshadowed the partisan realignment of the erstwhile Solid South, the studies in this book challenge the traditional narrative that emphasizes the right-wing critique of modern America voiced by, among others, radical conservatives of the state's Democratic Party, beginning in the 1930s. As the contributors show, it is impossible to understand the Jeffersonian Democrats of 1936, the Texas Regular movement of 1944, the Dixiecrat Party of 1948, the Shivercrats of the 1950s, state members of the John Birch Society, Texas members of Young Americans for Freedom, Reagan Democrats, and most recently, even, the Tea Party movement without first understanding the underlying impulses that produced their formation.


David O'Donald Cullen

The triumph of the Texas Right in the late twentieth century can be tracked by Republican Party electoral victories. in 1979 William Clements became the first Republican governor of Texas since Reconstruction. in 1994 the Texas Observer proclaimed the death of the “yellow-dog Democrat.” in 1995 George W. Bush began the first of two terms as governor. in 2004 the Republican Party captured every statewide office, and Rick Perry was in the fourth year of what would become a record for consecutive terms held by one person in the governor’s office. By 2010 the state’s Republican Party had become the model for other states hoping to defeat Democrats, control the scope and direction of federal authority, shrink state governments, and reduce taxes. the state’s voters had reversed a century-long partisan voting pattern put best by the iconic Texas writer O. Henry: “We have only two or three laws, such as against murdering witnesses and being caught stealing horses, and voting the Republican ticket.”

A number of observers have sought to explain the ascendancy and dominance of conservatism as represented by the state’s gop. Two works long a part of the historical canon of the state, George N. Green’s The Establishment in Texas Politics and Chandler Davidson’s Race and Class in Texas Politics, have been joined by a number of scholarly works appearing over the last decade and a half. But a persuasive synthesis has yet to appear that explains what informed, influenced, and shaped the Texas Right. of course, to be successful, such an analysis would eschew the . . .

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