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The table below consists of averages for August generally the warmest month and January generally the coldest in selected cities in various regions of the state. El Paso and Amarillo are exceptions with July and December respectively being the warmest and coldest months respectively, but with August and January only being narrowly different. Thunderstorms strike Texas often, especially the eastern and northern portions of the state. Tornado Alley covers the northern section of Texas.

The state experiences the most tornadoes in the United States, an average of a year. These strike most frequently in North Texas and the Panhandle. Some of the most destructive hurricanes in U. A hurricane in killed about people in Indianola , followed by another hurricane in that destroyed the town. These events allowed Galveston to take over as the chief port city. The Galveston hurricane subsequently devastated that city, killing about 8, people or possibly as many as 12, This makes it the deadliest natural disaster in U.

The storm stalled over land for a very long time, allowing it to drop unprecedented amounts of rain over the Greater Houston area and surrounding counties. The result was widespread and catastrophic flooding that inundated hundreds of thousands of homes. Other devastating Texas hurricanes include the Galveston hurricane , Hurricane Audrey in which killed over people, Hurricane Carla in , Hurricane Beulah in , Hurricane Alicia in , Hurricane Rita in , and Hurricane Ike in Tropical storms have also caused their share of damage: Allison in and again during , and Claudette in among them.

Texas emits the most greenhouse gases in the U. As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world's seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases. Texas lies between two major cultural spheres of Pre-Columbian North America: Archaeologists have found that three major indigenous cultures lived in this territory, and reached their developmental peak before the first European contact.

When Europeans arrived in the Texas region, there were several races of Native peoples divided into many smaller tribes. At least one tribe of Coahuiltecans, the Aranama, lived in southern Texas. This entire culture group, primarily centered in northeastern Mexico, is now extinct. It is difficult to say who lived in the northwestern region of the state originally. By the time the region came to be explored, it belonged to the fairly well-known Comanche, another Uto-Aztecan people who had transitioned into a powerful horse culture, but it is believed that they came later and did not live there during the 16th century.

It may have been claimed by several different peoples, including Uto-Aztecans, Athabaskans, or even Dhegihan Siouans. No culture was dominant in the present-day Texas region, and many peoples inhabited the area. The region was primarily controlled by the Spanish for the first couple centuries of contact, until the Texas Revolution. When the Spanish briefly managed to conquer the Louisiana colony, they decided to switch tactics and attempt being exceedingly friendly to the Indians, which they continued even after the French took back the colony.

After the Louisiana Purchase, the United States inherited this odd circumstance. Whether a Native American tribe was friendly or warlike was critical to the fates of European explorers and settlers in that land. Warlike tribes made life difficult and dangerous for Europeans through their attacks and resistance to the newcomers.

During the Texas Revolution, the U. Prior treaties with the Spanish forbade either side from militarizing its native population in any potential conflict between the two nations. It seems most likely that these were false-flag attacks meant to start a cascading effect to force the natives under Caddoan influence into armed conflict without breaking any treaties—preferably on the side of the Spanish. While no proof was found as to who the culprit was, those in charge of Texas at the time attempted multiple times to publicly blame and punish the Caddoans for the incidents with the U.

Furthermore, the Caddoans never turned to violence because of it, excepting cases of self-defense. By the s, the U. Fearing retribution of other native peoples, Indian Agents all over the eastern U. Following the Texas Revolution, the Texans chose to make peace with their Native peoples, but did not honor former land claims or agreements. This began the movement of Native populations north into what would become Indian Territory—modern day Oklahoma.

They went about with a firebrand, setting fire to the plains and timber so as to drive off the mosquitos, and also to get lizards and similar things which they eat, to come out of the soil. In the same manner they kill deer, encircling them with fires, and they do it also to deprive the animals of pasture, compelling them to go for food where the Indians want.

Two kinds of people travel around these plains with the cows; one is called Querechos and the others Teyas ; they are very well built, and painted, and are enemies of each other. They have no other settlement or location than comes from traveling around with the cows. They kill all of these they wish, and tan the hides, with which they clothe themselves and make their tents, and they eat the flesh, sometimes even raw, and they also even drink the blood when thirsty. The tents they make are like field tents, and they set them up over some poles they have made for this purpose, which come together and are tied at the top, and when they go from one place to another they carry them on some dogs they have, of which they have many, and they load them with the tents and poles and other things, for the country is so level, as I said, that they can make use of these, because they carry the poles dragging along on the ground.

The sun is what they worship most. European powers ignored the area until accidentally settling there in In Spanish authorities, concerned that France posed competitive threat, constructed several missions in East Texas.

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Hostile native tribes and distance from nearby Spanish colonies discouraged settlers from moving to the area. It was one of New Spain's least populated provinces. By the end of the 18th century only a few nomadic tribes had not converted to Christianity. When the United States purchased Louisiana from France in , American authorities insisted the agreement also included Texas.

The boundary between New Spain and the United States was finally set at the Sabine River in , at what is now the border between Texas and Louisiana. Several filibusters raised armies to invade the area west of the Sabine River. Hoping more settlers would reduce the near-constant Comanche raids, Mexican Texas liberalized its immigration policies to permit immigrants from outside Mexico and Spain.

The first grant, to Moses Austin , was passed to his son Stephen F. Austin after his death. In , Texas had about 3, people, with most of Mexican descent. Early Texas settler David B. Edwards described his fellow Texans as being "banished from the pleasures of life". Many immigrants openly flouted Mexican law, especially the prohibition against slavery. Combined with United States' attempts to purchase Texas, Mexican authorities decided in to prohibit continued immigration from the United States.

The Anahuac Disturbances in were the first open revolt against Mexican rule and they coincided with a revolt in Mexico against the nation's president. Texians met at the Convention of to discuss requesting independent statehood, among other issues.

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Within Mexico, tensions continued between federalists and centralists. In early , wary Texians formed Committees of Correspondence and Safety. News of the defeats sparked panic among Texas settlers. The newly elected Texian delegates to the Convention of quickly signed a Declaration of Independence on March 2, forming the Republic of Texas. After electing interim officers, the Convention disbanded. While Texas had won its independence, political battles raged between two factions of the new Republic.

The nationalist faction, led by Mirabeau B. Lamar , advocated the continued independence of Texas, the expulsion of the Native Americans, and the expansion of the Republic to the Pacific Ocean. Their opponents, led by Sam Houston, advocated the annexation of Texas to the United States and peaceful co-existence with Native Americans.

The conflict between the factions was typified by an incident known as the Texas Archive War. Mexico launched two small expeditions into Texas in The town of San Antonio was captured twice and Texans were defeated in battle in the Dawson massacre. Despite these successes, Mexico did not keep an occupying force in Texas, and the republic survived.

As early as , the Republic made several attempts to negotiate annexation with the United States. Texas was finally annexed when the expansionist James K. Polk won the election of Statehood brought many new settlers. Because of the long Spanish presence in Mexico and various failed colonization efforts by the Spanish and Mexicans in northern Mexico, there were large herds of Longhorn cattle that roamed the state.

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Hardy by nature but also suitable for slaughtering and consumption, they represented an economic opportunity many entrepreneurs seized upon, thus creating the cowboy culture for which Texas is famous. While in the early days of the republic cattle and bison were slaughtered for their hides, soon a beef industry was established with cattle being shipped all over the U. After Texas's annexation, Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the United States.

While the former Republic of Texas could not enforce its border claims, the United States had the military strength and the political will to do so. A few months later Mexican troops routed an American cavalry patrol in the disputed area in the Thornton Affair starting the Mexican—American War. The first battles of the war were fought in Texas: After these decisive victories, the United States invaded Mexican territory ending the fighting in Texas. The Compromise of set Texas's boundaries at their present form. They also brought or purchased enslaved African Americans, whose numbers tripled in the state from to , from 58, to , Texas was at war again after the election of At this time, blacks comprised 30 percent of the state's population, and they were overwhelmingly enslaved.

Five other Lower South states quickly followed. A State Convention considering secession opened in Austin on January 28, Texas voters approved this Ordinance on February 23, Texas joined the newly created Confederate States of America on March 4, ratifying the permanent C. Constitution on March Not all Texans favored secession initially, although many of the same would later support the Southern cause.

Texas's most notable Unionist was the state Governor, Sam Houston. Not wanting to aggravate the situation, Houston refused two offers from President Lincoln for Union troops to keep him in office. After refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, Houston was deposed as governor.

While far from the major battlefields of the American Civil War , Texas contributed large numbers of men and equipment to the rest of the Confederacy. Texas's border with Mexico was known as the "backdoor of the Confederacy" because trade occurred at the border, bypassing the Union blockade. Texas descended into anarchy for two months between the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and the assumption of authority by Union General Gordon Granger.

Violence marked the early months of Reconstruction. Social volatility continued as the state struggled with agricultural depression and labor issues. Like most of the South, the Texas economy was devastated by the War. However, since the state had not been as dependent on slaves as other parts of the South it was able to recover more quickly. The culture in Texas during the later 19th century exhibited many facets of a frontier territory. The state became notorious as a haven for people from other parts of the country who wanted to escape debt, criminal prosecution, or other problems.

Indeed, "Gone to Texas" was a common expression for those fleeing the law in other states. Nevertheless, the state also attracted many businessmen and other settlers with more legitimate interests as well. The cattle industry continued to thrive though it gradually became less profitable. Cotton and lumber became major industries creating new economic booms in various regions of the state.

Railroad networks grew rapidly as did the port at Galveston as commerce between Texas and the rest of the U. As with some other states before, the lumber industry quickly decimated the forests of Texas such that by the early 20th century the majority of the forest population in Texas was gone later conservation efforts restored some of it, but never to the level it once was. In , Texas suffered the deadliest natural disaster in U. The resulting " oil boom " transformed Texas. In , the Democratic-dominated state legislature passed a bill requiring payment of a poll tax for voting, which effectively disenfranchised most blacks, and many poor whites and Latinos.

In addition, the legislature established white primaries , ensuring minorities were excluded from the formal political process. The number of voters dropped dramatically, and the Democrats crushed competition from the Republican and Populist parties. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl dealt a double blow to the state's economy, which had significantly improved since the Civil War. Migrants abandoned the worst hit sections of Texas during the Dust Bowl years. Especially from this period on, blacks left Texas in the Great Migration to get work in the Northern United States or California and to escape the oppression of segregation.

World War II had a dramatic impact on Texas, as federal money poured in to build military bases, munitions factories, POW detention camps and Army hospitals; , young men left for service; the cities exploded with new industry; the colleges took on new roles; and hundreds of thousands of poor farmers left the fields for much better paying war jobs, never to return to agriculture.

Texas modernized and expanded its system of higher education through the s. The state created a comprehensive plan for higher education, funded in large part by oil revenues, and a central state apparatus designed to manage state institutions more efficiently. These changes helped Texas universities receive federal research funds. On November 22, , President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Beginning around the midth century, Texas began to transform from a rural and agricultural state to one urban and industrialized.

During the late 20th century, the Republican Party replaced the Democratic Party as the dominant party in the state, as the latter became more politically liberal and as demographic changes favored the former. The current Texas Constitution was adopted in Like many states , it explicitly provides for a separation of powers.

The state's Bill of Rights is much larger than its federal counterpart , and has provisions unique to Texas. Texas has a plural executive branch system limiting the power of the governor, which is a weak executive compared to some other states. Except for the Secretary of State , voters elect executive officers independently; thus candidates are directly answerable to the public, not the governor. When Republican President George W. Bush served as Texas's governor, the state had a Democratic lieutenant governor, Bob Bullock. The bicameral Texas Legislature consists of the House of Representatives , with members, and a Senate , with 31 members.

The Speaker of the House leads the House, and the lieutenant governor, the Senate. Thus, the FY dates from September 1, through August 31, The judiciary of Texas is one of the most complex in the United States, with many layers and overlapping jurisdictions. Texas has two courts of last resort: Except for some municipal benches, partisan elections select judges at all levels of the judiciary; the governor fills vacancies by appointment.

Georgia case see Capital punishment in Texas. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption. They have acted as riot police and as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a paramilitary force both for the republic and the state.

The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in and formally constituted in The Rangers were integral to several important events of Texas history and some of the best-known criminal cases in the history of the Old West. The Texas constitution defines the responsibilities of county governments, which serve as agents of the state.

What are called commissioners court and court judges are elected to serve as the administrative arm. Most cities in the state, those over 5, in population, have home-rule governments. The vast majority of these have charters for council-manager forms of government, by which voters elect council members, who hire a professional city manager as operating officer. In the s, white Democrats wrested power back in the state legislature from the biracial coalition at the end of Reconstruction.

In the early 20th century, the legislature passed bills to impose poll taxes , followed by white primaries ; these measures effectively disfranchised most blacks, poor whites and Mexican Americans. It held power until after passage in the mids of national civil rights legislation enforcing constitutional rights of all citizens. Although Texas was essentially a one-party state during this time and the Democratic primary was viewed as "the real election," the Democratic Party had conservative and liberal factions, which became more pronounced after the New Deal.

The state's conservative white voters began to support Republican presidential candidates by the midth century. After this period, they supported Republicans for local and state offices as well, and most whites became Republican Party members. The shift to the Republican Party is much-attributed to the fact the Democratic Party became increasingly liberal during the 20th century, and thus increasingly out-of-touch with the average Texas voter.

Despite these efforts, the legislature passed a map heavily in favor of Republicans, based on data and ignoring the estimated nearly one million new residents in the state since that date. Career attorneys and analysts at the Department of Justice objected to the plan as diluting the votes of African American and Hispanic voters, but political appointees overrode them and approved it.

Perry , but the court ruled in favor of the state and Republicans. In the Texas elections , the Tea Party movement made large gains, with numerous Tea Party favorites being elected into office, including Dan Patrick as lieutenant governor, [] [] Ken Paxton as attorney general, [] [] in addition to numerous other candidates [] including conservative Republican Greg Abbott as governor.

Texas voters lean toward fiscal conservatism , while enjoying the benefits of huge federal investment in the state in military and other facilities achieved by the power of the Solid South in the 20th century. They also tend to have socially conservative values. Since , most Texas voters have supported Republican presidential candidates. In and , Republican George W. Bush won Texas with respectively John McCain won the state in , but with a smaller margin of victory compared to Bush at 55 percent of the vote. Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio consistently lean Democratic in both local and statewide elections.

Residents of counties along the Rio Grande closer to the Mexico-United States border , where there are many Latino residents, generally vote for Democratic Party candidates, while most other rural and suburban areas of Texas have shifted to voting for Republican Party candidates. As of the general elections of , a large majority of the members of Texas's U.

House delegation are Republican , along with both U. One seat is vacant. Since , Texans have not elected a Democrat to a statewide office. Texas has counties — the most nationwide. Each county runs on Commissioners' Court system consisting of four elected commissioners one from each of four precincts in the county, roughly divided according to population and a county judge elected at large from the entire county. County government runs similar to a "weak" mayor-council system; the county judge has no veto authority, but votes along with the other commissioners.

Although Texas permits cities and counties to enter "interlocal agreements" to share services, the state does not allow consolidated city-county governments, nor does it have metropolitan governments. Counties are not granted home rule status; their powers are strictly defined by state law.

The state does not have townships— areas within a county are either incorporated or unincorporated. Incorporated areas are part of a municipality. The county provides limited services to unincorporated areas and to some smaller incorporated areas. Municipalities are classified either "general law" cities or "home rule". Texas also permits the creation of "special districts", which provide limited services. The most common is the school district , but can also include hospital districts, community college districts, and utility districts one utility district near Austin was the plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case involving the Voting Rights Act.

Municipal, school district, and special district elections are nonpartisan , [] though the party affiliation of a candidate may be well-known.

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County and state elections are partisan. Texas has a reputation of very harsh criminal punishment for criminal offenses. Texas's large population, abundance of natural resources, thriving cities and leading centers of higher education have contributed to a large and diverse economy. Since oil was discovered, the state's economy has reflected the state of the petroleum industry. In recent times, urban centers of the state have increased in size, containing two-thirds of the population in The state's economic growth has led to urban sprawl and its associated symptoms.

As of April , the state's unemployment rate is 6. In , Site Selection Magazine ranked Texas as the most business-friendly state in the nation, in part because of the state's three-billion-dollar Texas Enterprise Fund. In , there were , millionaires in Texas, constituting the second-largest population of millionaires in the nation. Texas has a "low taxes, low services" reputation. Instead, the state collects revenue from property taxes though these are collected at the county, city, and school district level; Texas has a state constitutional prohibition against a state property tax and sales taxes.

The state sales tax rate is 6. Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States. The state is ranked No. It is ranked No. Texas leads the nation in the production of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, wool, mohair and hay. With mineral resources, Texas leads in creating cement, crushed stone, lime, salt, sand and gravel.

Texas throughout the 21st century has been hammered by drought. This has cost the state billions of dollars in livestock and crops. Ever since the discovery of oil at Spindletop , energy has been a dominant force politically and economically within the state. The Railroad Commission of Texas , contrary to its name, regulates the state's oil and gas industry , gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas industry, and surface coal and uranium mining.

Until the s, the commission controlled the price of petroleum because of its ability to regulate Texas's oil reserves. According to the Energy Information Administration , Texans consume, on average, the fifth most energy of all types in the nation per capita and as a whole, following behind Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Iowa.

Unlike the rest of the nation, most of Texas is on its own alternating current power grid , the Texas Interconnection. Texas has a deregulated electric service. The state is a leader in renewable energy commercialization ; it produces the most wind power in the nation. The state also has the highest solar power potential for development in the nation. With large universities systems coupled with initiatives like the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund , a wide array of different high tech industries have developed in Texas. Texas has the headquarters of many high technology companies, such as Dell , Inc.

Texas's affluence stimulates a strong commercial sector consisting of retail, wholesale, banking and insurance, and construction industries. As of , the state had 3. Texas from to had the fastest growing illegal immigration rate in the nation. This was the fifth highest percentage of any state in the country.

Texas's Rio Grande Valley has seen significant migration from across the U. During the crisis , many Central Americans , including unaccompanied minors traveling alone from Guatemala , Honduras , and El Salvador , reached the state, overwhelming Border Patrol resources for a time. Many sought asylum in the United States. In , the U. Department of Homeland Security estimated 1.

Texas's population density is In contrast, while Texas and France are similarly sized geographically, the European country has a population density of Two-thirds of all Texans live in a major metropolitan area such as Houston. While Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is larger than Houston. As of the Texas Population Estimate Program, the population of the state was 27,,; non-Hispanic whites 11,, According to the United States census , the racial composition of Texas was the following: As of , German Americans make up Irish Americans make up 8.

There are roughly , French Americans and , Italian Americans residing in Texas; these two ethnic groups make up 2. In the United States Census the largest ancestry group reported in Texas was English with 3,, Texans citing they were of English or mostly English ancestry making them 27 percent of the state at the time.

African Americans are the largest racial minority in Texas.

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Their proportion of population has declined since the early 20th century, after many left the state in the Great Migration. Blacks of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin make up African Americans of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin number at roughly 2. Native Americans are a smaller minority in the state. Native Americans make up 0. Native Americans of non-Hispanic origin make up 0. Cherokee made up 0. In contrast, only identified as Chippewa. Asian Americans are a sizable minority group in Texas. Americans of Asian descent form 3.

They total more than , individuals. Non-Hispanic Asians number over , Just over , Indian Americans make Texas their home. Texas is also home to over , Vietnamese and , Chinese. In addition to 92, Filipinos and 62, Koreans , there are 18, Japanese Americans living in the state. Lastly, over , people are of other Asian ancestry groups, such as Cambodian , Thai , and Hmong. Sugar Land , a city within the Houston metropolitan area, and Plano , within the Dallas metropolitan area, both have high concentrations of ethnic Chinese and Korean residents. The Houston and Dallas areas, and to a lesser extent, the Austin metropolitan area, all contain substantial Vietnamese communities.

Americans with origins from the Pacific are the smallest minority in Texas. According to the survey, only 18, Texans are Pacific Islanders; 16, are of non-Hispanic descent. There are roughly 5, Native Hawaiians , 5, Guamanians, and 6, people from other groups. Samoan Americans were scant; only 2, people were from this group. The city of Euless , a suburb of Fort Worth , contains a sizable population of Tongan Americans , at nearly people, over one percent of the city's population.

Killeen has a sufficient population of Samoans and Guamanian, and people of Pacific Islander descent surpass one percent of the city's population.

Multiracial individuals are also a visible minority in Texas. People identifying as multiracial form 1. Almost 80, Texans claim African and European heritage, and make up 0. People of European and American Indian ancestry number over , close to the number of Native Americans , and make up 0. People of European and Asian ancestry number over 57,, and form just 0. People of African and Native American ancestry were even smaller in number 15, , and make up just 0. This group forms over 37 percent of Texas's population. People of Mexican descent alone number over 7.

There are over , Salvadorans and over , Puerto Ricans in Texas. Other groups with large numbers in Texas include Hondurans , Guatemalans , Nicaraguans and Cubans , among others. Census, Texas is home to 6,, White Hispanics and 2,, Hispanics of "some other race" usually mestizo. German descendants inhabit much of central and southeast-central Texas. Over one-third of Texas residents are of Hispanic origin; while many have recently arrived, some Tejanos have ancestors with multi-generational ties to 18th century Texas.

In addition to the descendants of the state's former slave population, many African American college graduates have come to the state for work recently in the New Great Migration. Three federally recognized Native American tribes reside in Texas: In , 49 percent of all births were Hispanics; 35 percent were non-Hispanic whites; Between and , the total population growth by The state has three cities with populations exceeding one million: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.

As of , six Texas cities had populations greater than , people. Texas has four metropolitan areas with populations greater than a million: The Dallas—Fort Worth and Houston metropolitan areas number about 6. Texas has counties , which is more than any other state by 95 Georgia. In contrast to the cities, unincorporated rural settlements known as colonias often lack basic infrastructure and are marked by poverty. Hidalgo County , as of , has the largest number of colonias.

The most common accent or dialect spoken by natives throughout Texas is sometimes referred to as Texan English , which itself is a sub-variety of a broader category of American English known as Southern American English. Chicano English —due to a growing Hispanic population—is widespread in South Texas, while African-American English is especially notable in historically minority areas of urban Texas. Other languages spoken include German including Texas German by 0. The largest denominations by number of adherents in were the Roman Catholic Church 4,, ; the Southern Baptist Convention 3,, ; the United Methodist Church with 1,, ; and Islam , Known as the buckle of the Bible Belt , East Texas is socially conservative.

Lakewood Church in Houston, boasts the largest attendance in the nation averaging more than 43, weekly. Adherents of many other religions reside predominantly in the urban centers of Texas. In , the Islamic population was about , with more recent figures putting the current number of Muslims between , and , Adding to Texas's traditional culture, established in the 18th and 19th centuries, immigration has made Texas a melting pot of cultures from around the world.

Texas has made a strong mark on national and international pop culture. The entire state is strongly associated with the image of the cowboy shown in westerns and in country western music. The state's numerous oil tycoons are also a popular pop culture topic as seen in the hit TV series Dallas. The internationally known slogan " Don't Mess with Texas " began as an anti-littering advertisement.

Since the campaign's inception in , the phrase has become "an identity statement, a declaration of Texas swagger". The phrase "everything is bigger in Texas" has been in regular use since at least ; [] and was used as early as Houston is one of only five American cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: The Deep Ellum district within Dallas became popular during the s and s as the prime jazz and blues hotspot in the Southern United States.

The second president of the Republic of Texas , Mirabeau B. Lamar , is the Father of Texas Education. During his term, the state set aside three leagues of land in each county for equipping public schools. An additional 50 leagues of land set aside for the support of two universities would later become the basis of the state's Permanent University Fund. Texas has over 1, school districts ; all districts except the Stafford Municipal School District are independent from municipal government and many cross city boundaries. Due to court-mandated equitable school financing for school districts, the state has a controversial tax redistribution system called the " Robin Hood plan ".

This plan transfers property tax revenue from wealthy school districts to poor ones. Although unusual in the West, school corporal punishment is not uncommon in more conservative areas of the state, with 28, public school students [] paddled at least one time, according to government data for the — school year. Texas's controversial alternative affirmative action plan, Texas House Bill , guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class automatic admission to state-funded universities. The bill encourages demographic diversity while avoiding problems stemming from the Hopwood v.

Thirty-six 36 separate and distinct public universities exist in Texas, of which 32 belong to one of the six state university systems. The four other university systems: The state has been putting effort to expand the number of flagship universities by elevating some of its seven institutions designated as "emerging research universities". The two expected to emerge first are the University of Houston and Texas Tech University, likely in that order according to discussions on the House floor of the 82nd Texas Legislature. The state is home to various private institutions of higher learning—ranging from liberal arts colleges to a nationally recognized top-tier research university.

Rice University in Houston is one of the leading teaching and research universities of the United States and is ranked the nation's 17th-best overall university by U. Universities in Texas host three presidential libraries: Obesity has quickly become a major health issue in Texas. Obesity causes several chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Obesity also has substantial impacts on the economy in Texas. Effective treatment for obesity is known to be expensive and difficult. For childhood obesity, programs tend to focus on creating lifestyle changes including a healthier diet and more exercise.

Environmental factors play a large role in obesity rates. In , the Texas School Nutrition Policy Launch set nutrition standards with the intentions of discouraging obesity. The most commonly abused substance in Texas is alcohol. This law requires judges to order ignition interlocks for all drunk-drivers with a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and the rate by which Texas women died from pregnancy related complications doubled from to , to A rate unmatched in any other U. Texas has the seventh highest birth rate in the United States, with nearly , babies born each year. For decades the infant mortality rate in Texas was higher than the nationwide rate but that gap has slowly closed. In , the infant mortality rate in Texas was identical to the nationwide rate: In , the infant mortality rate for Black babies in Texas was A birth is considered preterm when it takes place more than 3 weeks before the estimated due date.

A low birth weight is less than grams. Prenatal care is the best way to prevent preterm births and low birth weight babies. In , Texas passed legislation that requires employees of child-care facilities to have certain vaccinations, unless the employee objects for reasons of conscience. Further, Texas has allowed for parents to exempt their children from vaccines on the basis of religious belief since Texas has many research medical centers. The state has nine medical schools , [] three dental schools, [] and two optometry schools.

The Texas Medical Center in Houston, holds the world's largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions, with 47 member institutions. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is a highly regarded academic institution that centers around cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The Southwestern Medical Center ranks "among the top academic medical centers in the world". The Trust for America's Health ranked Texas 15th highest in adult obesity , with Notwithstanding the concentration of elite medical centers in the state, The Commonwealth Fund ranks the Texas healthcare system the third worst in the nation.

Drinking at a young age is correlated with long-term alcohol abuse. Texans have historically had difficulties traversing Texas due to the state's large size and rough terrain. Texas has compensated by building both America's largest highway and railway systems in length. The regulatory authority , the Texas Department of Transportation TxDOT maintains the state's immense highway system, regulates aviation, [] and public transportation systems.

Located centrally in North America, the state is an important transportation hub. The first Texas freeway was the Gulf Freeway opened in in Houston. Texas has airports, second-most of any state in the nation. It ranks as the largest airline in the United States by number of passengers carried domestically per year and the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried. It served as the largest hub for the former Continental Airlines , which was based in Houston; it serves as the largest hub for United Airlines , the world's third-largest airline, by passenger-miles flown.

The smallest airport in the state to be designated an international airport is Del Rio International Airport. Atlantic seaboard with the Gulf section of the Intracoastal Waterway. Part of the state's tradition of cowboys is derived from the massive cattle drives which its ranchers organized in the nineteenth century to drive livestock to railroads and markets in Kansas, for shipment to the East. Towns along the way, such as Baxter Springs , the first cow town in Kansas, developed to handle the seasonal workers and tens of thousands of head of cattle being driven.

This caused a decline in the economies of the cow towns. Since , Texas has led the nation in length of railroad miles within the state. Both Dallas and Houston feature light rail systems. Amtrak provides Texas with limited intercity passenger rail service.

Three scheduled routes serve the state: Port of Houston along the Houston Ship Channel.

While American football has long been considered "king" in the state, Texans enjoy a wide variety of sports. Texans can cheer for a plethora of professional sports teams. The Dallas — Fort Worth Metroplex is one of only twelve American metropolitan areas that hosts sports teams from all the "Big Four" professional leagues. Collegiate athletics have deep significance in Texas culture, especially football. Four of the state's schools claim at least one national championship in football: Events organized by UIL include contests in athletics the most popular being high school football as well as artistic and academic subjects.

Texans also enjoy the rodeo.

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The world's first rodeo was hosted in Pecos, Texas. It begins with trail rides that begin from several points throughout the state that convene at Reliant Park. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the U. For other uses, see Texas disambiguation. State of the United States of America. Part of a series on the. Texas Revolution and Republic of Texas. Texas annexation and Mexican—American War.

Texas in the American Civil War. List of Texas state agencies. Political party strength in Texas. List of Texas counties. Texas locations by per capita income. Deregulation of the Texas electricity market. Largest cities or towns in Texas Source: List of people from Texas and List of Texas symbols. List of colleges and universities in Texas.

Healthcare in Texas and List of hospitals in Texas. List of airports in Texas. List of ports in the United States. The decision risks throwing the nation's health care system into turmoil should it be upheld on appeal. But little will be different in the meantime. O'Connor made his decision after 18 Republican state attorneys general and two GOP governors brought their case, Rovner reports. They claimed that the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in because it included an individual mandate — or a tax penalty for Americans who did not buy health insurance.

After Congress repealed the individual mandate in , O'Connor said the rest of the law fell apart. The Affordable Care Act runs for more than 1, pages and includes many provisions — the exchanges for individuals that are frequently political footballs — and a long list of other measures and protections designed to expand insurance coverage.

NPR's Alison Kodjak reports that the ACA expanded Medicaid, which has allowed more than 10 million people to get coverage in states that chose to expand the program. The law also protects people with pre-existing conditions and allows people up to age 26 to be covered under their parents' insurance; requires calorie counts at restaurants and gives protections to lactating mothers.

The ACA also secured more money for Native American health care and made significant changes to allow for generic drugs and to provide funding for Medicare. Rovner says people should act as if the ACA is still in place, but the ruling opens a possibility for "an enormous disruption. Judge O'Connor did not rule the law has to be enjoined immediately. Saturday was the last day of open enrollment for the ACA in most states. NPR's Kodjak reports people can still enroll in health plans in states with extended deadlines. She says even the newest ACA insurance policies will go into effect until more legal action plays out in courts.