UT Wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
Texas Politics - The Constitution
Table of contents: U.S. and Texas Constitutions Table of contents: U.S. and Texas Constitutions
4.    Articles of the Texas Constitution

Much can be understood about a constitution by its organization and coverage, specifically the order and placement of articles and sections, and the space devoted to specific areas and provisions.

As one might expect, the framers of the Texas Constitution were focused on the task of outlining the powers and organization of the government. They were also concerned with emphasizing the popular roots of governmental authority, devoting the very first article to the Bill of Rights.

However, the framers also devoted considerable time and space to the minute specification of numerous policy areas, including extensive areas of public policy normally under local jurisdiction. This reflects the frontier populist orientation of the conventioneers, who supported regulation of economic and social relationships, but deeply feared potential abuse of authority by holders of public office. As a result of these tendencies, the Texas Constitution grants extensive powers to government, but these powers are carefully and restrictively specified.

The Texas Constitution begins with a preamble, followed by seventeen articles running from the Bill of Rights (Article I) to the mode of amendment (Article XVII). The articles in between cover both the essential features of government and governing - powers and institutions of government - as well as what might be regarded as inessential features, including railroads (Article X) and private corporations (Article XII).

4.1    The Preamble

In the preamble to the Texas Constitution the framers used just twenty words to introduce the approximately 23,500 remaining words (today with amendments more than 85,000 words). Compare that to the fifty-two words that the framers of the U.S. Constitution expended in their preamble.

Texas Politics:
© 2009, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services
University of Texas at Austin
3rd Edition - Revision 115
prev next