Six Constitutions Over Texas

Texas’ Political Identity, 1830–1900

978-1-64843-171-5 Cloth
6.12 x 9.25 x 0 in
336 pp. 18 b&w photos. Appendix. Index.
Pub Date: 02/14/2024


  • Cloth $45.00 s
In his foreword to Six Constitutions Over Texas: Texas’ Political Identity, 1830–1900, historian H. W. Brands describes the saga surrounding the development of the Texas state constitution as having “the sweep of a Russian novel . . . populated by characters as colorful as any of Tolstoy’s.” Indeed, even a glance at the table of contents reveals hints of international and regional conflict, intrigue, and shifting political alliances that characterized the rise and—in the case of the first five iterations—fall of the constitutions serving as the guiding document for what was variously a state of Mexico, an independent nation, a member of the Union, a Confederate state, and a newly subdued region under Reconstruction.
This meticulous study by legal historian William J. Chriss examines how Anglo Texans went about creating their political identity over three quarters of a century and the impact of those decisions. By delineating the social, political, military, and other considerations at play during the various stages of Texas’ development and how those factors manifested in the various constitutions, Chriss illuminates the process by which various groups constructed Texas “as an imagined community, an identity produced by ideological consensus among economic, cultural, and legal elites.”
Replete with insights on the ways in which systems of law impact social control and political identity, Six Constitutions Over Texas offers a fresh view of how shifting political ideologies were canonized with varying degrees of permanency in the state constitution.

Published by Texas A&M University Press