1876. It was a time of rebirth in Texas. Or maybe more precisely – time to get rid of those Reconstruction-era carpetbaggers.
“When the North sent folks down to Texas to govern as governors, Texans felt like these king-like people came down from the North and ran roughshod,” says Sherri Greenberg, a clinical professor with the LBJ School of Public Affairs. “So when Texans wrote the Texas Constitution, this very populist document with as much power as possible vested in the people and at the lowest, most local level of government.”
UT Law Professor Hugh Brady says decentralizing government power was a broader trend across the country in the 1800s. “Now the Constitution says the governor is the chief executive officer of the state of Texas, but what does that mean?” he says. “And for over 100 years, it meant very little.”