The Origins, Evolution, and Purposes of State Constitutions in the US
The constitutional tradition was mature long before the formation of the United States’ national constitution due to the constitutional proactiveness of the states during colonial times. These constitutions were made to replace the authority of the British Empire due to popular rule. An independent constitution for each of the colonies would be the basis for their independence and institutional formation of the local authority.
The Texas State Constitution provided the basis for forming the United States constitutions after one hundred and 150 years of perfecting the thirteen states’ constitutions. Each state made distinctive constitutions to solve the local issue, but they were all commonly affected by the colonial rule, for example, other emulation of the British Common Law (Umberger, 2020). These constitutions of the states continue to affect the everyday life of Americans than the Federal constitutions.
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History of Texas State Constitution
A common trait among the thirteen states’ constitutions is the executive’s disproportionate power, which was based on the governor’s office. This power eroded eventually among all states and subsequently gained by the assemblies, the legislative arm of the state governments, who had the duty to amend the constitution, a significant catalyst to developing the United States’ constitutional culture.
The thirteen states eventually merged into two rival functions, with the Unions in the North being governed by the present-day constitutions while the Confederate States in the South is led by the Article of the Confederation that seized to exists after the defeat of the Confederation.
The state level’s constitutional culture was so strong that even after the United States Constitution’s formation, the states’ constitutions prevail to the present day in all 50 states (Umberger, 2020). In many aspects, they overshadow the constitution of 1787 and have a significant contribution to the national elections through the electro college.
Constitution of the State of Texas
The Republic of Texas Constitution was made in 1836, after the hefty escalation of tension with Mexico and her independence declaration. The Texas constitution has made a significant contribution to the present-day United States Constitution, despite it being a short charter with 6500 words. It also created the basis for the formation of the three arms of the government, namely the judiciary, legislature and executive, to provide checks and balances of the power of the government, a concept referred to as the separation of power.
The constitution later evolved to the State Constitution of 1845, when Texas seized to exceed and joined the United States, under the rule of the United States constitution (Mank et al., 2018). At the beginning of the Civil War, The State of Texas joined the confederacy. It was governed under the Confederacy Constitution of 1861, which Post Civil War Constitution replaced, and the reconstruction constitution, and the Texas constitution of 1876, after the United States’ formation, under the Federal rule of the United States Constitution.
Three Interesting Components of the Texas State Constitution
The Texas State Constitution provides the structure of the Texas government’s formation, which has three arms: the executive, legislature, and judiciary. One of the principal components of the Texas constitution is the Bill of Rights, which provides the basis of the limitation of the state’s powers over the individual. This is separate from the United States Bill of Rights, which is longer and more detailed (Watson, 2021).
The separation of power is another component of the State of Texas’s constitution, which helps in the diversification of power; thus, the government is more likely to work in the interest of the people. One of the most significant components is the legislative department, composed of the house of Representatives and the State Senate.
Texas State Constitution Length
The Texas State Constitution is 86,936 words long and second to the Alabama constitution in the United States. It is one of the most amended constitutions, which is the reason behind the length and is closely followed by the California and Alabama state constitutions. It is a highly restrictive document in how much the federal constitution affects the local legal process. The Texas constitution has seventeen articles that include the Bill of Rights, limiting the state authority’s extent over the individual.
Suffrage ensures that the majority have a grab of power from the minorities. Education is well addressed in the Texas State Constitution, providing for the formation of the public education system that is free. Taxes and revenues is another article of the States of Texas’s constitution, as it imposes taxes to people at the local level in addition to the Federal tax.
The Process for Amending the State’s Constitution
The Texas State Constitution Amendment is based on Article 17, which allows the joint resolution of the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate. These amendments can be made in joint or separate sittings for both houses, but an amendment proposal has to be backed by not less than two-thirds of the total votes. The minimum number of votes is 21 in the state senate and 100 in the State’s House of Representatives.
In case an amendment gets rejects, it can be revised and resubmitted. The ballot’s wording is specified in the joint legislative resolution to ensure that the ballot’s language is adequate to ensure a free and fair referendum (Mank, 2018). The ballots are printed, and the initial notice is made about 50 days before the election day.
The process for amending the US Constitution Vs. Texas Constitution
The United States constitution Amendment is based on Article 5, while the Texas constitution Amendment is based on Article 17 (Park, 2018). An amendment proposal has to be voted for by not less than two-thirds of the vote cast by legislative houses in the Texas constitution and the United States constitution.
The ratification of the constitution has to pass by seventy-five percent of the United States legislature, while the Texas state constitution’s ratification must be passed by a simple majority (Mank, 2018). The publication of the recordings of the amendment process’s proceeding is allowed both at the Texas State level and the National level.
Why the State Constitutions are Necessary When we Have a National Constitution
The state constitutions act as additional protection of and individual rights from the federal government’s overreach to the United States bill of rights. Additionally, state constitutions provide the basis of the United States’ operation to form and understand the federal constitutions and a form of separation of power to ensure that there are checks and balances at all levels of the government (Watson, 2021). The states’ constitutions are deeply ingrained in the American constitutions culture and contribute significantly to the United States’ constitutional evolution in response to developments in society.
- Mank, B. C. (2018). State Standing in United States v. Texas: Opening the Floodgates to States Challenging the Federal Government, or Proper Federalism. U. Ill. L. Rev., 211.
- Park, B. E. (2018). The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution by Michael J. Klarman. Journal of Southern History, 84(2), 427-429.
- Umberger, M. N. (2020). The United States Constitution in Film: Part of Our National Culture.
- Watson, F. (2021). Sowing the Seeds of Texas Nationalism. Bound Away: The Liberty Journal of History, 4(1), 5.