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Why Do I Have To Take This Class?

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Why Do I Have To Take This Class? GOVT 2305 This is the part of the Education Code (Chapter 61) that applies to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why Do I Have To Take This Class?


1
Why Do I Have To Take This Class?
  • GOVT 2305

2
As you may know, GOVT 2305 introduces you to the
government of the United States. It details the
development and content of the Constitution and
the principle institutions it creates, as well as
the influence of political parties and elections
and the various ways that the general population
can influence the government.
3
It is designed to accompany GOVT 2306, which
introduces you to state and local government.
4
Here is a list of the basic subjects we will
cover The U.S. Constitution The
Legislature The Executive The Judiciary Federalism
Civil Liberties and Rights Political Parties
Elections Public Policy Public Opinion The
Media Interest Groups
5
This introductory set of slides is intended to
welcome you to the class, and to address a
question you undoubtedly ask about every class
you are required to take.
6
Why?
7
Why is it important that you know this stuff? Why
is this a required class? Heres an attempt at
an answer Because you are citizens of (or at
least residents in) a democratic republic. Which
means that you are the basic building block on
which government rests.
8
The stability of the republic depends on you, and
people like you. Look around and be afraid
very afraid.
9
This is a mob
10
Mobs are bad things. They are driven by passion
and can be led to support all sorts of things.
11
Democratic republics are based on the people its
actions are the culmination of the preferences of
the population. That is what consent of the
governed ultimately means. Consent is expressed
subtly when individuals choose to follow or not
follow the laws, or to pay taxes, or protect the
republic when threatened, or participating in
public events like elections.
12
Everything governments do can be traced to a
decision made by the general population. Think
about that the next time you criticize the
government for something it does. It is not a
discrete and autonomous entity. At some point its
actions can be traced to a grant of power
supported by the general population or at least
an influential part of it.
13
Are these decisions based on reason or on passion?
14
But people can consent to all sorts of
things. People sometimes consent to
authoritarian governments. As an example, it is
controversially suggested that people in Russia
like being ruled by an iron fist and prefer
rulers like Josef Stalin. This explains support
for the increasingly authoritarian rule of
Vladimir Putin.
15
People can even be persuaded to no longer support
the concept of self government. We will discuss
the attractiveness of oligarchy to some soon
enough.
16
This leads to an important question
17
How can the public in a democratic republic
be persuaded to support the preservation of
it? People do not always do so.
18
Why not? Doing so takes works, and requires
that people the eligible voters anyway - be
attentive. People are not always up to the
challenge.
19
The tyranny of a prince is not so dangerous to
the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in
a democracy. Montesquieu. Click here for a
handful of other quotes on the same theme.
20
Here is more recent commentary
21
In his essay on Representative Government, John
Stuart Mill identified three fundamental
conditions. . . . These are "One, that the
people should be willing to receive it
representative government two, that they
should be willing and able to do what is
necessary for its preservation three, that they
should be willing and able to fulfill the duties
and discharge the functions which it imposes on
them." Jeane Kirkpatrick.
22
Fulfilling the duties and discharging the
functions of representative government make heavy
demands on leaders and citizens, demands for
participation and restraint, for consensus and
compromise. It is not necessary for all citizens
to be avidly interested in politics or
well-informed about public affairsalthough far
more widespread interest and mobilization are
needed than in autocracies. What is necessary is
that a substantial number of citizens think of
themselves as participants in societys
decision-making and not simply as subjects bound
by its laws. Moreover, leaders of all major
sectors of the society must agree to pursue power
only by legal means, must eschew (at least in
principle) violence, theft, and fraud, and must
accept defeat when necessary. They must also be
skilled at finding and creating common ground
among diverse points of view and interests, and
correlatively willing to compromise on all but
the most basic values.
23
This is a very important quote. Well try to
discuss it in class.
24
Note This doesnt matter in an autocratic or
oligarchic government because the general
population is prevented from participating. The
only question there is what does it take to
ensure the people follow existing authority?
25
I recommend a quick read of this article for one
persons look at autocratic regimes.
26
An educated, participatory and virtuous citizenry
has always been considered to be necessary to the
survival of a democratic republic. Our goal in
this class is to address the former.
27
Why? Because democratic republics are fragile.
History provides many examples of them losing
public support and falling into anarchy and then
despotism. This was a fact recognized by the many
of the founders of the United States at least
those who wrote the Constitution.
28
Whats the proof? The respective fates of Ancient
Athens and the Roman Republic. Each crumbled
after a while. The founders participated in an
ongoing inquiry about why each ultimately failed.
Suspicions were aimed at the fact that each was
based on the people. Perhaps this did not allow a
strong enough foundation for their governments.
29
They were especially interested in the factors
that led the Roman Republic to transition into
the Roman Empire. They wanted to determine how
to prevent this from occurring. The point being
that it is one thing to establish a republic,
another to sustain it.
30
The nations founders were (generally)
classically educated and were familiar with the
history of Ancient Rome. Many of their debates
made explicit references to this period. It was
assumed that participants in political debates
understood the references. (By the way Who were
the founders? Heres the Wikipedia page on who
qualifies as a founder.
31
This is what they were concerned about After
almost 500 years as a Republic (509 BC27 BC),
where it was ruled by its citizens, Rome became
an empire, ruled by a single individual. The
driving force behind this change was Julius
Caesar.
32
By the way, Great Britain also had a problematic
and brief experience with a republican system
(the Commonwealth) under Oliver Cromwell from
1649 1660. It briefly turned into a military
dictatorship prior to the death of Cromwell and
the reestablishment of the monarchy.
33
Democracy was a bad word to many of the
founders. Probably not too different than the
word socialism now.
34
A popular term used in its place was mobocracy
which was based on the Greek term ochlocracy
which is a special, degraded form of democracy.
It is rule by the people spoiled by a
demagogue, that is a political leader in
a democracy who appeals to the emotions,
fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the lower
classes in order to gain power and promote
political motives. 
35
What is a demagogue? . . . A political leader
in a democracy who appeals to the emotions,
fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the lower
classes in order to gain power and promote
political motives. Demagogues usually oppose
deliberation and advocate immediate, violent
action to address a national crisis they accuse
moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness.
36
What kinds of leaders are demagogues?
37
Heres an easy call.
38
Others are not. For example, Huey Long.
39
Was Huey Long was a Louisiana governor and
senator who rallied popular opposition to big
business and promoted wealth sharing plans. His
theme was everyman a king. Opponents notably
the wealthy called him a demagogue who rallied
the passions of the general population against
the elites. But supporters argued that his
tactics were a legitimate means of representing
the interests of the middle and lower classes.
40
The term can be used as an insult.
41
For more on Long and other alleged demagogues
- Hes a Demagogue, Thats What He Is -
American Demagogues.
42
This might be worth a quick glance An Analysis
Of How Demagogues Work In Politics
43
Heres the problem How do we draw the
distinction between demagogues that are harmful
to the republic and politicians that are simply
reaching out to the electorate?
44
If the assumption is that demagogues take
advantage of ignorance and anger in order to
attain political power, then the answer might be
in ensuring the general population has a level of
education to rationally respond to the messages
they receive.
45
But this is no guarantee.
46
As we will see soon enough the Framers of the
Constitution were concerned that a republic could
prove fatal not only to the nation, but to their
own personal self interests. There was some
support in retaining the oligarchic nature of the
British governing system.
47
Before we continue (and in case you are curious)
what is a Democratic Republic? A republic is a
type of government where the citizens choose the
leaders of their country and the people (or at
least a part of its people) have an impact on its
government. -Wikipedia
48
This is in contrast to a direct democracy where
the eligible population votes directly to pass,
implement and adjudicate the law.
49
In a democratic republic, the people are
sovereign, but do not rule directly. They vote
for people in some but not all governing
positions and hold them accountable in periodic
elections. They provide the basis for the
legitimate actions of government.
50
In a republic, institutions specifically
legislative, executive and judicial institutions
lie between the people and the law.
51
In short, a republic is a governing system where
the people rule themselves indirectly. But this
creates problems. Can the people really rule
themselves? Will they be manipulated? This will
be a huge subject when we cover Federalist 10
soon enough, but it is an ongoing question. It is
the hear of what is known as the American
Experiment.
52
Previous attempts to do so have failed at least
after a while. In the late period of the Roman
Republic, Rome became chaotic, unstable, and
ungovernable. Leaders were often corrupt and
unpopular or at least thats how the general
public saw them.
53
This instability and corruption led to a general
contempt towards the governing system. Which
led to civil war.
54
Julius Caesar took advantage of this chaos and
worked to consolidate power.
55
He had been appointed consul by the Senate, which
possessed the executive powers of the state, but
used this position to gradually expanded his
powers over Senate.
56
He failed because he was assassinated by Senators
who were aware of his plans. You probably heard
the phrase Et tu, Brute?. (Heres some
information about Marcus Junius Brutus, one of
the conspirators these names will matter soon
enough)
57
Click here for a scene from HBOs Rome which
recreates the scene.
58
Much of what Caesar did was done with the support
of the people of Rome who were becoming angry
with a Senate they saw as corrupt and more
supportive of the rights of wealthy landowners
than of them. They supported the expansion of
Caesars power. This is the key point The
general population was actually supportive of the
shift from a republic to an empire. This fact
concerned the framers of the US Constitution.
59
This is a key lesson learned by the framers of
the Constitution. This is what they hoped to
prevent when they designed the Constitution Since
the people of Rome supported Caesars usurpation
of power, they believed democracies were
problematic. As we will note soon enough, they
were wary of the democratic systems established
in the several states under the Article of
Confederation.
60
While Julius Caesar failed, his nephew Augustus
Caesar would succeed in establishing an
empire. (Heres a quick video about him.) And
here is a claim that he was one of historys
great leaders.
61
But what is an empire? A major political unit
having a territory of great extent or a number of
territories or peoples under a single sovereign
authority especially one having an emperor as
chief of state. The territory of such a political
unit. Something resembling a political empire
especially an extensive territory or enterprise
under single domination or control.
62
During the empire, all civil and military power
rested with an emperor. The people had no say in
governance, though emperors had to appease them
in order to minimize the possibility of rebellion.
63
An empire is a governing system where the people
are ruled by an emperor and have little ability,
if any, to directly participate in public
affairs. But ironically, empires can also be
peaceful and prosperous.
64
After the transition, the chaotic Roman republic
became a more peaceful empire. After Augustus
there would be over 200 years of peace in Rome,
This was called the Pax Romana. This creates a
dilemma Which system is preferable?
65
Do you want to be free in a system that is
chaotic and violent or one that is less free (or
at least one where you cannot participate
politically) but where you are secure and
prosperous? Is it possible to be both?
66
A bit more history from the movies The emperor
who would end the Pax Romana was Commodus the
guy from the Gladiator. It is argued that the
decline of the Roman Empire began with his rule.
67
A few videos on You Tube try to explain this
transition. Here are a few you might want to
watch Rome The Fall of the Republic (1-4)
68
So the question became What factors led to the
decline of the Republic, and could the decline
have been prevented? In short Is a republic
a system of government based on the people -
sustainable?
69
As a practical matter considering that the
early empire seemed temporarily to be a
successful system what balance ought to be
struck between popular rule and a central
state? And once that balance is struck, can the
citizenry maintain it?
70
There was a general belief among the educated
around the time of the founding that
civilizations tended to have a life cycle that
followed a specific pattern. A 19th century
artist, Thomas Cole, made this the subject of a
series of paintings called The Course of Empire.
71
The Savage State
72
The Pastoral State
73
The Consummation of Empire
74
Destruction
75
Desolation
76
Notice that political systems develop, then
decay. Political commentators like to speculate
on where we might be in this timeline. This talk
by Niall Ferguson (well regarded smart guy)
provides an alternative take on the rise and
decline of current western civilization.
77
Thats the basic question Is self government
really possible? In a nutshell, that is the
American Experiment.
78
Benjamin Franklin put it this way in an exchange
alleged to have taken place as he walked out of
Independence Hall at the conclusion of the
Constitutional Convention
79
Mrs. Powel "Well Doctor, what have we got, a
republic or a monarchy?" Benjamin Franklin "A
republic if you can keep it
80
Notice that he considered republics to be fragile.
81
Abraham Lincoln would also ask the question,
posed differently, during a challenge to the
preservation of the republic
82
Four score and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now
we are engaged in a great civil war, testing
whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived
and so dedicated, can long endure. Abraham
Lincoln The opening of the Gettysburg Address
83
So why are republics difficult to maintain? The
founders argued that the basic problem stems from
human nature. Are we naturally co-operative or do
we like to fight? Are we willing to make
sacrifices for the greater good or are we purely
self interested? Can we contain our ambition?
84
A democratic republic can only be maintained if
the people are willing to look after a societys
long term needs and set personal interests and
ambitions aside. But people tend to not like to
do that sort of thing.
85
"Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without
private, and public virtue is the only foundation
of republics." - John Adams Public Virtue
86
But the founders were not certain that the
general public (you and I) were up to the
task. They assumed that people tended to be more
focused on short term personal needs, which is
not conducive to the maintenance of a Republic.
They also assumed the general population lacked
the knowledge necessary to govern effectively.
87
When we look at the Federalist Papers, we will
note the authors assumed that human nature was
flawed and unchangeable, so the design of the
constitution had to compensate for that. Two
traits specifically stood out.
88
Self Interest People were assumed to be more
likely to act in accordance with their own needs
or those of the group they identify with
rather than the needs of the nation, especially
its long term needs.
89
Ambition The people most likely to be involved
politically are the ones driven by a desire to
attain more and more control of not total
control of the state.
90
James Madison addresses how the Constitutional
structure prevents those traits from having
negative effects in respectively Federalist
10 and 15. We will read through those
documents soon enough.
91
Many argued that the role of the general
population needed to be curtailed in order to
maintain stability. Heres a quote from
Alexander Hamilton.
92
For my part, I am not much attached to the
majesty of the multitude, and therefore waive all
pretensions (founded on such conduct), to their
countenance. I consider them in general as very
ill qualified to judge for themselves what
government will best suit their peculiar
situations nor is this to be wondered at. The
science of government is not easily understood.
Cato will admit, I presume, that men of good
education and deep reflection, only, are judges
of the form of a government whether it is
constituted on such principles as will restrain
arbitrary power, on the one hand, and equal to
the exclusion of corruption and the destruction
of licentiousness on the other - (Caesar 2)
10/17/1787 Alexander Hamilton
93
This, by the way, was not an especially wise
thing to say politically. Neither was it wise to
sign the document Caesar. He would not repeat
this mistake when he co-wrote the Federalist
Papers and signed them Publius. (more on this
soon enough)
94
Publius refers to Publius Valerius Publicola
who was one of the Romans responsible for
establishing the Roman Republic and creating the
laws that would govern it.
95
It also tells us something about attitudes
towards popular participation by those in charge
of politics at that time. They saw little reason
to expand participation beyond a small set of
elites. The expansion of participation over time
will occupy us in future sections.
96
Heres a link to a speech given by James Madison
where he wrestles with the expansion of the right
to vote to those without property.
97
Like many other wealthy landowners he was worried
that expanding the right to participate
politically to non-property owners would allow
them to vote against their property rights.
98
We are all, the elites assumed, prone to certain
deficiencies Corruption Ambition Complacency Se
lf Interest
99
All create problems for the maintenance of a
republic.
100
Note A key philosophic dispute is whether human
nature can be improved. Enlightenment thinkers
fought this out. The founders seemed to think it
could not be improved and a governing system had
to compensate for this. Click here for fuller
background on the Enlightenment.
101
Whats worse, democratic republics tend to
develop the very factors that will lead to their
demise. Freedom leads to conflict.
102
The freer people are, the more they can engage in
conflict over social affairs, including how
government ought to be run and over who ought to
be in charge. This can create further dissension
that can lead to the dismantling of the republic.
103
Here is a central question they explored Is
order and liberty possible? Heres a provocative
read Renewing Our Experiment in Ordered Liberty
104
What system of government, if any, can best
preserve order and liberty in the long run? To
secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and
our posterity.
105
Can Democracy?
106
Democracies are inevitably unstable. James
Madison would make this case in Federalist 10
The instability, injustice, and confusion
introduced into the public councils, have, in
truth, been the mortal diseases under which
popular Governments have everywhere perished We
will read through this document soon.
107
Again, conflict is an inevitable consequence of
individual freedom.
108
Which makes the question even more pertinent
Is self government in fact possible?
109
American Government is founded, in a sense, on a
contradiction. While it is based on the people
(popular sovereignty) historically the people
have demonstrated themselves not to be a solid
foundation for government. At least the elites
again - thought so. Do you notice a theme?
110
The countrys founders did not necessarily expect
the republic to last. Previous republics had not.
One of historys lessons is that democracies tend
to be very short lived. That was what they took
not only from Rome, but also the Athenian
Democracy. The Wikipedia entry on Athenian
democracy has a section on the criticism of it
that details the deficiencies the founders were
concerned about. The democracy would eventually
be converted into an imperialist empire.
111
Similar criticism were made regarding the English
Commonwealth as well as the America under the
Articles of Confederation. Governing was chaotic
and unstable, and the rights of the minority
which usually referred to property owners - were
not protected.
112
This suggested that self government may not be
possible, perhaps the natural state of government
was rule by the few over the many in some
permanent arrangement like a monarchy. But the
American people were in a unique position to
determine whether or not this was possible.
113
In a future lecture we will discuss the Iron Law
of Oligarchy.
114
Alexander Hamilton (later, when he seemed to have
moderated his stance on the capabilities of the
general public) would claim that this was the
question America was to answer for the world.
115
It has been frequently remarked that it seems to
have been reserved to the people of this country,
by their conduct and example, to decide the
important question, whether societies of men are
really capable or not of establishing good
government from reflection and choice, or whether
they are forever destined to depend for their
political constitutions on accident and
force. - Publius (Alexander Hamilton),
Federalist 1
116
As we will see later, he made this argument
regarding the ratification of the Constitution.
He believed that the republic would not survive
under the Articles of Confederation. Notice the
choices Reflection and choice or Accident and
force.
117
Would people make the right choice rationally
and deliberately or would they allow events to
determine how they were governed? For a current
example, think of the struggle over the deficit
and debt. Are we making deliberate decisions to
solve these or are we continually delaying
decisions? Will we make a rational decision to
solve these problems or will external forces
impose?
118
The governmental system is a choice, it only
survives to the degree that people make choices
that maintain it. What are we willing to
consent to? People have consented to be ruled in
all sorts of ways.
119
Is the general population capable of offering
informed consent? What are people willing to
consent to?
120
Is the general population willing to be persuaded
to support one party or the other, or one
candidate or the other, for superficial short
sighted reasons harmful to the long term
interests of the community?
121
In Ancient Rome (the period of empire) the
support of the population was purchased with
Bread and Circuses. Can the support of the
people be bought? At what price? As we will see
later, this is one of the reasons why we are a
republic, not a pure democracy.
122
Government based on popular consent requires an
educated population capable of providing a solid
basis for governing.
123
. . . an educated choice . . .
124
An understanding of the principles of government
is argued necessary to maintain the
republic. Thats what this class is supposed to
accomplish.
125
But heres the problem Most public opinion
surveys demonstrate that people lack the
knowledge about governmental issues, and the
attentiveness to politics that was expected
necessary by the founders.
126
Some links to some disturbing poll results -
PEW Research - How Dumb Are We? - Is voter
ignorance killing democracy?
127
Here are past items Ive posted on the blog about
the subject Political Ignorance Political
Knowledge
128
An old study once pointed out that more people
could name the Three Stooges and any three
members of the Supreme Court.
129
(No Transcript)
130
(No Transcript)
131
The difference between the two can be subtle.
132
Does political ignorance threaten
democracy? Some thoughts from the Cato Institute
here and here.
133
As we saw with Hamilton, many founders expected
that the mass public would be incapable of
self-government and purposely limited
participation to a ruling class that would have
the ability to govern effectively. Cato
Institute Why Policymakers Should Ignore Public
Opinion Polls.
134
This was one of the reasons why participation was
limited to property owners for much of American
history. Heres an instructive quote Those who
own America ought to govern it. - John Jay
135
Jay not only helped write the Constitution, he
co-wrote some of the Federalist Papers, and
served as the first Supreme Court Justice. But
since the early years of the republic, suffrage
has expanded considerably. Participation has
broadened.
136
We have evolved into a more full democracy than
we were at our founding. This is a good thing
in that more people are able to have influence
over the laws that govern them, but problematic
in that it leads to even more conflict and
increases the possibility of social unrest due to
ambition and self interested behavior.
137
How can participation be expanded without
creating unrest? Heres a suggestion
138
Public education. It is assumed that educated
citizenry can more effectively govern itself than
an uneducated one.
139
Heres some interesting commentary Education
for Civitas The Lessons Americans Must Learn
140
Thomas Jefferson was an early promoter of civic
education. He was a driving force behind two
pieces of legislation that promoted
education. 1- A Bill for the More General
Diffusion of Knowledge 2 The Northwest
Ordinance
141
Preamble to a Bill for the More General Diffusion
of Knowledge Here is a link to the entire bill.
142
Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms
of government are better calculated than others
to protect individuals in the free exercise of
their natural rights, and are at the same time
themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet
experience hath shewn, that even under the best
forms, those entrusted with power have, in time,
and by slow operations, perverted it into
tyranny and it is believed that the most
effectual means of preventing this would be, to
illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of
the people at large, and more especially to give
them knowledge of those facts, which history
exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the
experience of other ages and countries, they may
be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes,
and prompt to exert their natural powers to
defeat its purposes. From the Preamble.
143
We will cover this point more clearly soon
enough, but the founders understood tyranny as
being concentrated political power. Its what the
separated powers are supposed to prevent.
144
In a nutshell, that is what this class is about
what an educated republic is supposed to be able
to do. To recognize attempts to establish
tyranny, and how to adequately respond to it.
145
The Northwest Ordinance (1787) established the
rules regarding the development of the territory
that would become Ohio, Michigan, Indiana,
Illinois and Wisconsin (click here for background
from the Library of Congress). It encouraged the
development of schools.
146
Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being
necessary to good government and the happiness of
mankind, schools and the means of education shall
forever be encouraged.
147
Education is considered to be one of the powers
reserved to the states, though the national
government has expanded its jurisdiction over
education in recent decades. We cover education
policy in GOVT 2306, but heres a quick peak.
148
Education was also assumed to be important to the
founders of the Republic of Texas. At least to
the ruling class. One of the grievances in the
Texas Declaration of Independence concerned the
Mexican governments refusal to establish schools.
149
It the Mexican Government has failed to
establish any public system of education,
although possessed of almost boundless resources,
(the public domain,) and although it is an axiom
in political science, that unless a people are
educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect
the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity
for self government.
150
That said, the state has a history of not
providing equal access to education all groups in
the state. We look at this more in GOVT 2306, but
heres a look at two areas of education
discrimination in Texas African Americans and
Education Mexican Americans and Education.
151
Access to quality education across races was a
principal goal of the civil rights movement.
Conversely, denial of access to education was a
ways to ensure a secondary status for certain
populations.
152
The same is true for access to education for
women. Greater access to education helps
facilitate political participation.
153
Click here for a history of education in Texas
from the Texas State Historical Association.
154
Starting in 1845 the Texas Constitution has
contained a separate article mandating that the
state support and maintain public schools.
155
Article VII of the Texas Constitution of 1876
begins by stating the following SECTION 1. A
general diffusion of knowledge being essential to
the preservation of the liberties and rights of
the people, it shall be the duty of the
Legislature of the State to establish and make
suitable provision for the support and
maintenance of an efficient system of public free
schools.
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Consider the language for a moment. Without
knowledge, the rights and liberties of the people
cannot be maintained.
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Section 10 of Article VII allows for the
development of a university Sec. 10.  ESTABLISH
MENT OF UNIVERSITY AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL
DEPARTMENT. The legislature shall as soon as
practicable establish, organize and provide for
the maintenance, support and direction of a
University of the first class, to be located by a
vote of the people of this State, and styled,
"The University of Texas," for the promotion of
literature, and the arts and sciences, including
an Agricultural, and Mechanical department.
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Section 13 allows for the establishment of Texas
AM, Section 14 for Prairie View AM and the rest
are listed in Section 17.
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In the 1890s, a push for two year colleges began
in the state. In fact the junior college movement
began in Texas before it spread nation-wide.
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Chapter 130 of the Texas Education Code outlines
the design and the rules regarding junior
colleges (now community colleges) in the
state. Alvin Community College is authorized in
Section 130.163.
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In 1965, the Texas Legislature established the
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (TSHA
website) to provide unified planning and
development of a comprehensive system of higher
education.
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This is the part of the Education Code (Chapter
61) that applies to the Texas Higher Education
Coordinating Board.
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It sets curriculum for state colleges and
universities, including the requirement that you
have to take two classes in order to get a degree
form a public university (note that this
requirement does not apply to private
institutions).
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Why? Lets review the statement made in the
Texas Declaration of Independence
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. . . it is an axiom in political science, that
unless a people are educated and enlightened, it
is idle to expect the continuance of civil
liberty, or the capacity for self government.
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This overview should explain why the Texas
legislature wants you to takes this class. If
you want to file a grievance about it thats
where you should take it. . . . Just sayin
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The next section introduces you to some key terms
and definitions that will be useful to remember
as we forward in class.
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