Notes de l'Ifri Potomac Papers

Le conservatisme texan Potomac Paper, No. 10, January 2012

Texas has its own particular brand of conservatism as a consequence of its history and geography. It emphasizes individual responsibility, distrust of government, strict morals and economic pragmatism. Its impact is important both on the state and federal level. 

Le conservatisme texan

Based on its history and geography, Texas is the birthplace of a very particular trend of “radical conservatism”. This brand of conservative dogma has impacted both the policies of the Lone Star State, which follow a large number of its tenets, and those of the federal government, which has long been invested by Texan politicians and business interests.

The early history of the state –fraught with difficult wars against the Indians and Mexicans, followed by ten years of independence and then the Civil War- explains a tendency to strongly distrust Washington and support limited government. The sublimation of many violent historical moments (notably the Alamo episode), would explain the interventionist attitude of many Texan conservatives today.

The weight of Christian fundamentalists in the state also brings about a great wariness on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, as well as a resolute choice in favor of “Christian Zionism”.

Yet in economic matters, the Texan experience points to pragmatism rather than ideology. On the one hand, the ruthless exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the state has enabled fiscal conservatism associated with limited social programs. On the other hand, Texan officials do not follow free-market theory or conservative tenets blindly. For the sake of economic growth, they accept federal subsidies as well as lax immigration regulations.

This content is available in French : Le conservatisme texan


US politics United States