Unit 4

Depression, War, and Political Change

Behavioral Objectives (Test Items)
Here are the specific tasks you will be called upon to perform successfully on the Unit 4 Exam. The information required for mastery of the reading objectives is contained in Chapters 14-18 of Beyond Myths and Legends: A Narrative History of Texas. The information required for mastery of the lecture objectives is contained in the lectures for this unit – “Water and Wires: Flood Control and Electricity in the Lower Colorado River Valley,” “Texas Democrats and the Court Fight of 1937,” and “The New Deal and the Emergence of the Republican Party in Texas”.


Chapter 14 – “The Great Depression and the New Deal, 1929-1940”

  1. Describe in detail the East Texas oil boom of the Thirties being sure to address each of the following:
    1. the quantity of oil produced and the effect overproduction had on the value of crude oil on the open market
    2. the battle for control of the field between the majors (Humble, Texaco, Shell, etc.) and small independent operators
    3. the Depression relief the field provided East Texas and made residents there hesitant to see production limits imposed
    4. the battle to limit production levels (prorationing) involving the Texas Railroad Commission
    5. Governor Ross Sterling’s use of National Guard troops, Texas Rangers, and martial law to control production and restore order
    6. the eventual outcome of the prorationing battle
  2. Be familiar with the concept of a “Cotton Holiday” and Texas’ reaction to the plan.
  3. Explain Ma Ferguson’s defeat of Ross Sterling in the 1932 gubernatorial primary despite the scandals of the earlier Ferguson administrations.
  4. Describe the state’s extraordinary political influence in Washington, D.C. during the New Deal era.
  5. Be familiar with the goal and methodology of each of the following New Deal initiatives that revolutionized government in response to the Great Depression:
    1. the “bank holiday,” Emergency Banking Act, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
    2. Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) and Farm Credit Administration (FCA)
    3. Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA)
    4. Public Works Administration (PWA)
    5. Works Progress Administration (WPA)
    6. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
    7. National Youth Administration (NYA)
    8. Rural Electrification Administration (REA)
  6. Given the importance of agriculture to the Texas economy, New Deal efforts to engineer recovery in this sector were critical to Texans. Describe in detail those efforts being sure to address each of the following:
    1. Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) and the Jones-Connally Act
    2. Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (SCDAA)
    3. Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938
    4. the impact of such programs on tenant farming/sharecropping
  7. Be familiar with the Dust Bowl phenomenon of the 1930s and the impact on Texas and Texans.
  8. While manufacturing was still less important than agriculture in Texas, the state was also impacted by New Deal laws and programs dealing with business and organized labor. Describe in detail efforts in these areas being sure to address:
    1. National Recovery Administration (NRA)
    2. Connally Hot Oil Act
    3. Wagner National Labor Relations Act
    4. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
  9. Compare and contrast the administrations of Governors Ferguson, Allred, and O’Daniel in coping with the Depression’s impact in Texas.


Chapter 15 – “World War II and Texas, 1941-1945”

  1. Describe in detail Texans’ World War II experience being sure to address each of the following:
    1. the state’s manpower contribution
    2. military training facilities and prisoner of war camps
    3. the war’s economic impact on everyday citizens – rationing, scarcity, paper and scrap metal drives, purchase of war bonds, etc.
    4. the war’s transformation of the Texas economy – the growth of industrial manufacturing and the lessened importance of agriculture, new industries, changes in the oil and petrochemical sectors, changing labor force, etc.
  2. Be familiar with the enduring political phenomenon of W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel – his 1940 gubernatorial election use of anti-labor sentiments to further his career, and elevation to the U.S. Senate in the elections of 1941-1942.
  3. Evaluate the wartime administrations of Governor Coke Stevenson paying particular attention to his conservative political actions and his actions with respect to organized labor and race relations.
  4. Identify the particular components of the Manford Act and its restrictions on organized labor.
  5. Be familiar with the rebellion staged by the “Texas Regulars” in an effort to deny President Roosevelt’s 1944 reelection.
  6. Evaluate how transformative World War II was for Texas and Texans. To what degree was Texas changed?
  7. Identify the importance of each of the following:
    1. “Big Inch” and “Little Inch” pipelines
    2. race riots in Texarkana and Beaumont
    3. Smith v. Allwright (1944)


Chapter 16 – “On the Threshold of Modernization, 1945-1959”

  1. Describe in detail the continuing economic and demographic changes in Texas first unleashed in the Depression and World War II eras. Be sure to address each of the following:
    1. examples of new or expanding industrial manufacturing
    2. changes in agriculture and agricultural labor systems
    3. accelerated urbanization and suburbanization
  2. Chart the beginning of the modern civil rights era being sure to identify and describe each of the following:
    1. activist organizations mobilizing for change – LULAC, G.I. Forum, NAACP
    2. major court decisions mandating change – Delgado v. Bastrop ISD, Hernandez v. State of Texas, Sweatt v. Painter, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas
    3. Texans’ responses to desegregation mandates
  3. Trace the developing ideological rifts within the ranks of the Texas Democratic party being sure to pay particular attention to each of the following:
    1. the 1946 gubernatorial race between Homer Price Rainey and Beauford Jester
    2. the 1948 race between Coke Stevenson and Lyndon Johnson for the U.S. Senate
    3. the repeated gubernatorial contests between Allan Shivers and Ralph W. Yarborough
    4. Governor Shivers and conservative Democrats’ support of Republican presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956
    5. Ralph Yarborough and liberal Democrats’ victory in the U.S. Senate contests of 1957-1958
  4. Evaluate the gubernatorial records of Beauford Jester, Allan Shivers, and Price Daniel being sure to identify both conservative as well as progressive/liberal actions.
  5. Identify the importance of each of the following:
    1. Gilmer-Aikin Laws
    2. Tidelands controversy
    3. Mansfield High School desegregation crisis


Chapter 17 – “The Turbulent Decade: Reform and Reaction, 1960-1972”

  1. Evaluate the 1960 presidential contest’s outcome on the partisan battle between Democrats and Republicans in Texas. In your answer, explain reasons for the Kennedy/Johnson triumph in the Lone Star State and how, even in defeat, Republicans continued to make advances.
  2. Contrast the largely nonviolent progress in civil rights in Texas with the violence in other areas of the South.
  3. Identify the major components of President Johnson’s Great Society program.
  4. Describe the impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on minority representation and the resulting flight of many conservative/moderate Democrats across Texas and the South to the Republican party.
  5. Be familiar with increasing Hispanic activism in the 1960s in the fields of politics, labor, and education.
  6. Evaluate the gubernatorial administration of John B. Connally being sure to identify both progressive changes in education and more reactionary stances on civil rights and taxation.
  7. Identify Republican gains as the 1960s drew to a close that indicated that “For the first time since Reconstruction, two-party politics existed in the Lone Star State.”
  8. Identify the importance of each of the following:
    1. Civil Rights Act of 1964
    2. Voting Rights Act of 1965
    3. Minimum Wage March
    4. Crystal City Walkout
    5. La Raza Unida


Chapter 18 – “Politics in Modern Texas, 1972-2009”

  1. “Hoping to capitalize on the traditional desire for small government that many Texans revered, along with angst generated by the national Democratic party’s support for civil rights and other policies…by the end of the twentieth century, the Republicans emerged as the dominant political party in the state.” Trace the transformation of Texas partisan politics from the early 1970s to present being sure to be familiar with the particulars of each of the following:
    1. the effort of Republicans to paint all Democrats as liberal as the party’s national candidates (George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, etc.) and thereby convince Texas conservatives to join Republican ranks
    2. William Clements’ election as governor in 1978 and reasons for his victory
    3. Ronald Reagan’s immense popularity in Texas and ability to get conservative Texas Democrats to switch parties
    4. the “Bush factor” (Texans voting Republican for the father and son team because they lived in Texas)
    5. the Republican takeover of the Texas legislature
    6. the controversial redistricting of political districts engineered by Tom Delay and its partisan impact
  2. Identify the importance of each of the following:
    1. the Sharpstown scandal
    2. the “Dirty Thirty”

"The Crash & Early Depression" (HIS1693.HUP.22571x)

  1. Identify and describe in detail the various causes of the economic crash and start of the Great Depression according to John Kenneth Galbraith.
  2. Be familiar with the Depression's impact in each of the following areas: (a.) stock market values, (b.) bank failures, (c.) business failures, (d.) unemployment, underemployment, and wage reductions, (e.) home and farm mortgage foreclosures, (f.) declining government revenues.
"Water and Wires: Flood Control and Electricity in the Lower Colorado River Valley"
  1. Identify the various potential uses/benefits of the Colorado River which had originally attracted settlers to the Central Texas region.
  2. Be familiar with the historic problem of flooding along the Colorado River and attempts to control the problem being sure to identify the major floods of the Depression era of the 1930s.
  3. Describe in detail life in the Texas Hill Country prior to the acquisition of electricity being sure to cover each of the following areas: (a.) agriculture, (b.) household chores, (c.) indoor plumbing, (d.) refrigeration/heating/cooling, (e.) sanitation, (f.) entertainment.
  4. Identify the reasons Hill Country residents had been unable to obtain electricity prior to the New Deal of the 1930s.
  5. Describe in detail the manner in which Central Texans were finally able to control flooding being sure to cover such particulars as: (a.) the creation of the Lower Colorado River Authority, (b.) the role of the Public Works Administration, (c.) the importance of Texas' congressional delegation, including James P. Buchanan and Lyndon Johnson, in obtaining federal funding, (d.) the role of Buchanan, Mansfield, and Tom Miller Dams in the Highland Lakes chain administered by LCRA.
  6. Describe in detail the manner in which Hill Country residents, like rural dwellers across the rest of the country, finally acquired electrical service being sure to identify the role of the Rural Electrification Administration and the Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
  7. Identify the reasons the successful marketing of electricity in both the urban and rural areas of Central Texas was so critical to the financial viability of the LCRA.
"Texas Democrats and the Court Fight of 1937" (HIS1693.HUP.22572x)
  1. Identify and describe in detail the threat posed by the Supreme Court to President Roosevelt's New Deal by 1935-36 and explain why he felt it best to deal with the Court in early 1937.
  2. Identify particulars of FDR's court reorganization proposal and explain how its passage would have allowed him to change the voting behavior of the Court.
  3. Characterize the attitudes and actions of each of the following Texas Democrats and their effectiveness in blocking the president's proposal: (a.) Vice-President John Nance Garner, (b.) Representative Hatton Sumners, (c.) Senator Tom Connally.
  4. Explain how the Court fight demonstrated the ideological split within the Democratic party nationally and how President Roosevelt had only limited success in keeping the various factions of the party working together in harmony.
"The New Deal and the Emergence of the Republican Party in Texas" (HIS1693.HUP.22573x)
  1. Identify and describe in detail the two political cornerstones upon which Texas had historically rested.
  2. Explain those factors which had historically prevented the Republican party from being viable in Texas.
  3. Describe the relationship conservative Southern Democrats had with FDR and the New Deal from 1932 to 1936: (a.) Why did Texas Democrats, despite their inherently conservative ideology, support Roosevelt and the New Deal?, (b.) What attitudes and events signaled growing tensions between conservative Democrats and the New Deal by 1936?
  4. Be familiar with the breach between Texas conservatives and FDR following 1936 being sure to describe each of the following: (a.) the "Court Packing" Fight, (b.) the sit down strike against General Motors, (c.) the recession of 1937-38, (d.) the attempted purge of the Democratic party in 1938, (e.) the 3rd Term issue.
  5. Trace the growth of the Republican party in Texas stemming from the alienation of many conservative Democrats familiarizing yourself with each of the following: (a.) the Texas Regulars movement, (b.) the Dixiecrat campaign of 1948, (c.) Shivercrats and Democrats for Eisenhower, (d.) major Republican electoral victories in Texas between 1961 and 1996, (e.) the southern strategy of the modern Republican party and Texas' role and importance in that strategy.