Texas' state government was formed by elected officials upon its annexation to the United States in 1845. At that time, a state constitution was drafted, laying the foundation for our present system and establishing the structure and function of the government for the State of Texas. The Constitution of the State of Texas established the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and provided for a separation of powers, similar to the Constitution of the United States. However, the responsibilities of state government and the unique make-up and history of Texas resulted in provisions that are unique to the state, such as expanded protections to local governments.
This lesson plan asks students to examine the functions of state government, as well as the duties, responsibilities, and powers of state office holders. Students will be expected to combine an analysis of archival footage of state political activity with outside research into the current structures and functions of the government of the State of Texas. Focusing on films that were created to communicate the workings of state government to the public, as well as political ads, archival news footage, and other films, students will gain a greater understanding of the historic actions and the participants within state government. In both the lesson and extended learning sections, students will conduct outside research to determine the current composition of Texas government and will be expected to think critically about the differences between the modern political system in Texas and how the system operated in the past.