Texas and the National Constitution
Constitution is the fundamental principle of government in any nation, in its either institution, laws and customs that are embodied in a single document. (Michener, 1985) The US constitution was completed in 1789, and since then it has served as a model for many constitutions of other nations. This constitution is the oldest written national constitution.
Texas constitution is the second longest constitution in United States, and it is the oldest in operation.( Levy, 2000) These constitutions have some similarities with the national constitution model. First, both constitutions have bills of rights, which forms a formal summary of the rights and liberties that are considered essential to the people protected by these constitutions. This outlined individual right provides a variety of restraints on political power in order to protect people against unwarranted intrusions and abuses. (Michener, 1985) Another similarity is that both constitution talks about the supremacy of the administration in each different department.
These two constitutions outline the power of the government in each separate department, they both address the issue of suffrage, returns and levy in accordance to the general provisions and the mode of amending the constitution.( Levy, 2000) Furthermore, the two constitutions outline the supremacy of the administration in each different department.
Difference between Texas and national constitution
These two constitutions have some differences. The United State constitution provides for representative government with political power that is divided among the three departments which is not the case in Texas constitution. (Michener, 1985) The Texas constitution is longer and more detailed than the US constitution; the US constitution has approximately 7,400 words while the Texas constitution has more than 80,000 words. The Texas constitution is more detailed than US constitution because, it describes states and local matters in details, while the US constitution only deals more with the national laws.
Another difference is that, in the US constitution, all the amendments stand out in the manuscript while in the Texas constitution; all the amendments are buried throughout the text. This means that in Texas constitution one need to go through the entire document in order to figure out all the amendments. (Michener, 1985) The legal regulations implied in the Texas constitution are only applicable in the Texas state while the US constitution applies to all states in the union including Texas. The Texas constitution has Spanish and Mexican land titles information under it, a provision that no other constitution has in United States.
The US constitution also contains articles that do not exist in the Texas constitution. The US constitution describes the privileges the state has and the rules they have to abide by in order to make it one nation.( Levy, 2000) The Texas constitution goes into depth about what the state want its people to abide with.
Gaps in the Texas constitution
The modern Texas constitution was written in 1876 after the termination of oppressive reconstruction policies, in order to put restraints on the government and to guard against future power abuse. Today, this document is so restrictive that many believe that it tends to hinder the achievement of the initial goal. (Levy, 2000) However, the rewrite of the constitution has been elusive due to the special interests of the individuals who benefits from the current system.
In the executive branch, the governor lacks control over the elected states executives but shares the authority. Furthermore, there are numerous commissions and board that serve terms that are longer than those of the governor. (Michener, 1985) At the county level, executive powers are usually fragmented to create several officeholders. Presence of these elected officeholders creates a long ballot during elections that tend to turn voters away.
According to this constitution, all judicial officeholders are elected, thus allowing individuals with special interest to have a super deal of influence. (Levy, 2000) The local control of schools in the districts is usually instituted, but with wide disparities in local taxes bases has actually created an inequitable public education system.
The constitution requires a balanced budget but restricts legislature spending since a large amount of money is usually directed to specific purposes. Furthermore, the architect of this constitution failed to anticipate limitations that they imposed on the government institution that ultimately allows substantial economic interests in the state to dominate the policy making process. (Michener, 1985)All these gaps that need to be bridged through amendments make this document to be contradictory.
Movement to address the above gaps
In Texas, movements started as early as 1861, this was after a research done by Richard Lance who said that four to one Texan voted in favor of recessing from the union of United States. According to Richard work, he proposed that according to international laws Texas met the qualification of a captive nation of war. Activist within the movement claims that they have a support of over 40,000 active members. (Levy, 2000) This shows that the movement is popular.
The movement split in 1996. One was led by Richard Lance, another by Jesse Enloe and the third by Archie Lowe. In 2003, the movement consolidated into one dominant group recognizing an interim government headed by Daniel Miller.
The movement hard work to overhaul the Texas constitution that has failed severally, this has forced the state to make amendments in the constitution in order to bridge these gaps. The first amendment was adopted in September 2 1879. (Levy, 2000) The amendment process has given some success in modernizing the Texas charter, but problems of the federal government require significant institutional changes that cannot be resolved through constitutional amendments. Texas movement is also limited in that it cannot initiate a referendum so as to address the gaps between Texas and the Federal government constitution.