Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr.

Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr.

Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr.

Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr.

Synopsis

In this thorough and colorful study of the leaders of the Lone Star State, Kenneth E. Hendrickson, Jr., holds up a Texas-sized magnifying glass to take a candid look at the lives and accomplishments of the now deceased forty-two men and one woman who held the office of governor, or president of the Republic. Each governor's administration, from Houston to Connally, is arranged within twelve historical periods, from the early days of colonization, revolution, and early statehood through the Great Depression, two world wars, and, finally, midcentury. The author includes contextual information about each period's major political, social, and economic influences.

Excerpt

Central to the Texan tribal myth is a simple profession of faith: the Lone Star State has always enjoyed strong leadership. In his 1940 monograph, They Sat in High Places: The Presidents and Governors of Texas, James T. DeShields admitted to joining generations of proud Texans in perpetuating that mythic past where "giants" once ruled and legends were born. Not even a hint of contrition may be found in his confession that his book of biographical sketches was little more than an exercise in "hero worship." He even concluded that all men and women who had served as chief executives of Texas were "statesmen. . . entitled to rank high on the scroll of fame" and that "the roll of their names is the register of great and good men." In 1976, Ross Phares was only slightly more realistic in his appraisal of the state's leaders in The Governors of Texas as he struggled to find fault or failing with any of his subjects. Although surveying briefly the frustrations and failures of colonial French and Spanish governors, this largely superficial book of biographical vignettes lionizes Anglo leaders as larger-than-life paragons of strength and courage.

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