Differences between US government and Texas State government
The United States of America is a country consisting of many states, including Texas state, and various outlying areas. Although Texas is one of the states of U. S.
, to some degree, it has difference in terms of its governance. This paper scrutinizes the difference between the government of US and Texas State government in terms of its constitution and economy. The United States is a democratic federal republic under the Constitution of 1787 and its amendments.
There are three levels of government: (1) national, or federal; (2) state, consisting of 50 separate governments; and (3) local, consisting of thousands of county, township, city, and other local units within the states (Ferguson, 2001). The U. S. Constitution, the oldest written constitution among the great nations, has served as a model for a number of other countries. The presidential system of government, with separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, is one of the two leading forms of democratic government is use today (Bender, 2006).
The emphasis on freedom in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights has been an important world influence. The United States form of government is based on these principles: 1. Popular Sovereignty. Supreme power is in the hand of the people. Government is based on the consent of the governed, as expressed through the United States Constitution, elections, and public opinion (Bender, 2006). 2. Constitutionalism, or Limited Government. The U. S. Constitution is the supreme law. Every government—national, state, and local—and every citizen must abide by its provisions.
The national and state constitutions have bills of rights that guarantee certain basic rights to the individual (Bender, 2006). 3. Federalism. Governmental powers are divided between the national government and the states. Whatever powers are not granted to the national government by the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the people (Bender, 2006). 4. Representative Government. As a republic and representative democracy, the government is run by the voters to express and enforce their will. 5. Separation of Powers.
Governmental powers are divided among three generally coordinate (equal-ranking) branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. To prevent any one branch from taking over the functions of another, the power of each branch is checked and balanced by the powers of the other two. The President, as chief executive, has the power to veto, or refuse to give consent to, legislation. Laws must be approved by both houses of Congress, the legislative body. (Ferguson, 2001). Through the power of judicial view, the courts can invalidate laws and actions that are contrary to the Constitution.
In addition, in terms of its economy, the United States is a leading agricultural nation even though the relative importance of agriculture in the economy has declined steadily over the years. Farming now accounts for less than 3 percent of the nation’s labor force and a similar percentage of the gross national product (Baumol, 2005). Nevertheless, it makes the nation virtually self-sufficient in food and, by value, provides about one-seventh of the nation’s exports. On the other hand, Texas is a state in the south-central United States.
It extends from the Gulf of México and the Rio Grande Valley into a heart of the Great Plains. Texas, with an area of 266, 807 square miles, ranked as the largest state in the Union for more than a century, and now is second only to Alaska in size. More than 7 percent of the total area of the United States is occupied by Texas. To many people, the name Texas brings to mind dry, barren plains dotted by occasional cattle herds and oil wells. In reality, there is great scenic variety, ranging from thick pine forests and long sandy beaches to beautiful mountains and canyons.
There is as much variety in the state’s economy as in its scenery (Jordan, 2003). Cattle and oil are still very important in Texas, but they are now only part of a highly diversified economy that is dominated by manufacturing. Texas cities that had long been primarily market and oil-refining centers are now industrial and financial capitals of a multistate area. Despite the many changes that have taken place, Texans maintain a traditional pride in their state and its colorful history. They sometimes tend to think of Texas as a separate country.
This feeling is at least partly due to the vastness and diversity of Texas, its numerous resources, and a spirit of independence that goes back to the days of the republic of Texas (Ridgeway, 2002). Texas is governed under its fifth constitution, adopted in 1876 and frequently amended. The chief executive of the state is the governor. He is elected for a four-year term and may be reelected an unlimited number of times. The lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller of public accounts, the treasurer, the commissioner of agriculture, and the commissioner of the general land office are elected for four years.
The secretary of state is appointed by the governor for a four-year term (Whisenhunt, 2004). The state legislature meets in odd-numbered years. It consists of a Senate elected for fours and a House of Representatives that are elected for two years. The judicial branch of the government is made up of a supreme court and several lower courts. The judges of all state courts are elected. Texas has 254 counties. It is represented in Congress by 2 senators and 27 representatives. Moreover, until the beginning of the 20th century the economy of Texas was based on farming, ranching, and lumbering.
Then, in 1901, large-scale production of petroleum began following discovery of the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont. Since then, the economy of Texas has become closely bound to the production and distribution of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas and to such related industries as petroleum refining and the making of petrochemicals. Since roughly mid-century, diverse manufacturing industries have been established in the state especially notable are those in the electronic and aerospace fields (McDonald, 2003). Today, about 20 percent of the nonagricultural labor force is engaged in manufacturing.
Wholesale and retail trade, the service industries, and government also employ large numbers of persons. These changes in the Texas economy reflect the demand, both from within and from outside the state, for an ever-widening variety of products. Abundant resources, especially petroleum and natural gas, a large labor force, relatively low wages, and large amounts of investment capital have helped bring about these changes (Adams, 2003). Furthermore, Texas has the largest network of primary and secondary roads in the United States.
The primary system, which connects all major Texas cities, includes seven Interstate routes and many miles of other multilane divided highways. Railway mileage is also the largest of any state, but, as in most other states, has declined for many years. Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are the chief railway hubs. Six major poets serve Texas. Houston, connected to the gulf by the 50-mile Houston Ship Channel, is the state’s largest port and ranks among the busiest ports in the country. Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Texas City, Port Arthur, and Freeport also handle heavy cargo tonnages.