The constitutional and statutory development of public education in Texas, 1845-1860



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Texas, under the flags of six nations, has had an unusual and colorful history. During this time men and women of many and diverse origins transformed a wilderness into a prosperous land of Industries and homes. The State and its people have made great progress since the early years of Anglo-American settlement. Education, being inseparably related to social and economic life, has made a substantial contribution and therefore claims its share in the total progress of the State. The history of education has been an important adjunct of the general history of Texas and has been worthy of the most serious consideration of the student of education in Texas. From the earliest days of colonization in Texas by English-speaking Americans, education has had a high priority. In fact, the neglect of public education by the government of the Republic of Mexico was cited by the writers of the Texas Declaration of Independence as one of the chief grievances of the colonists.1 This early Interest in education was centered in the first State Constitution, the Legislature, and private schools after the passing of the Republic. The middle of the nineteenth century was a relatively flourishing period when large sums of money were accumulated in the cotton business and commerce. Consequently, there was time to consider the Improvement of life through education and investment of surplus capital in other areas 2 such as railroad development.2 Educated men were returning from the northern and eastern states with new ideas concerning education. They had observed the struggle for public support of schools by taxation which was being waged at that time. [...]