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Like the constitution of any other state or national government, the Texas Constitution establishes the fundamental and crucial laws under which all of its citizens are governed (Texas Statutes 1). However, it is notable that the Texas Constitution significantly differs from almost all the constitutions in the U.S. This is mainly due to the fact that the Texas Constitution has been redesigned, changed, recreated, amended as well as overdone as a whole. Consequently, this has made this Constitution to be long, even more than that of the United States - a factor that has given room for many misunderstandings, leading to frequent amendments. This paper will analyze the key differences between the Texas Constitution and that of the State of Vermont. Some of the key differences to be looked at will include the structure, format, organization, content, number of amendments as well as the ease or difficulty of amending and changing the constitution.
The Historical Background of the Texas Constitution
It is notable that Texas has had a total of seven constitutions in its history. Every of these constitutions have certain fundamental principles shared with the U.S. Constitution. Some of these fundamental principles in its structure include separation of power into three distinct branches of the government, democratic governance, and system of federalism. Yet, every of these different constitutions have substantially reflected their time and the prevailing political culture of Texas. The first constitution that governed Texas was the Constitution of the Coahuila y Tejas from Mexico in 1827. This was followed by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836, drafted after Texas declared independence from Mexico. The third constitution, Texas State Constitution, was written in 1845 in response to admission of Texas to the union. In 1861, the state withdrew from the union and joined the Confederacy, thus drafting the forth constitution. The fifth, sixth and seventh constitutions were written in 1886, 1869, and 1876 respectively. Generally, the current Texas Constitution is among the longest of all the state constitutions. Since its adoption, 653 amendments have been proposed, of which 72.58% were approved by the voters (Hill 89).
Organization and Format
There are significant differences between the Texas Constitution and that of State of Vermont. One of the significance differences is the organization. As compared to other constitutions, the Constitution of Texas starts with the preamble that is followed by other 17 Articles. Unlike the Vermont Constitution, Texas puts the bill as Article 1. The bill of rights usually reflects the framer fear of the abuses of the government more than the constitutions of other states. This is then followed by powers and organization, found in Articles II through V. Article VI exhaustively covers elections and voting, while Articles VII and VIII (eight) cover taxation, education, and revenue. It is notable that Article VII significantly limits the amount of revenue, which can be spent in the field of education and dedicates some funds for that purpose. Articles IX through XVI exhaustively cover wide range of topics, including land use, property rights, railroads, local governance, and personal debts among other aspects. Finally, Article XVII, which is the last article of this Constitution, covers the modes in which the Constitution can be amended.
On the other hand, Vermont Constitution is divided into two major chapters. The first chapter is the Declaration of Rights to inhabitants of this state. It was drafted in 1777 and is divided into twenty one Articles. Some of the articles include right to emigrate, martial law, and trial by jury among others. The second chapter is plan or the frame of government, outlining all the structure of governance. The chapter also details the three notable branches of the government, elections, militia, and impeachments among other provisions. Based on this, the formats of these two constitutions vary significantly. The one of Texas is only divided into Articles, 17 in total, with no distinct chapters. On the other hand, the Constitution of Vermont is divided into two parts. Part 1 is the constitutional history of Vermont, having three subtopics, namely adoption of the Constitution, council of the censors and the ten year time lock. The second part is the Vermont Constitution and commentary, which is divided into chapter one and chapter two. Chapter one is in its turn divided into twenty one Articles, while chapter two is divided into different sections.
Content and Structure
The two constitutions also vary in terms of the content and structure. The Texas is remarkably lengthy, more than the Constitution of the United States itself. In 2009, Texas Constitution had more than 98,000 words. The main reason for this is the fact that early Texans were enormously scared of overly controlling government. Therefore, when the Constitution of Texas was drafted, they tried to create no loophole in this Constitution, by eliminating all the gray areas in politics. As a result of this large content of the Constitution, it has become hard for the politicians to function effectively as some of the parts contradict each other, mainly due to its structure. On the other hand, Vermont Constitution is one of the shortest constitutions in the United States, with only 8, 9295 words. Consequently, the reduced content of this Constitution has allowed politicians to function effectively. Generally, the well-managed content of Vermont Constitution has resulted into development, as the government does not require amending the Constitution in order to enact new laws (Hill 15).
Changing and Amending the Constitution
By far, it is easy to amend the Texas Constitution as compared to that of Vermont. This is based on the fact that Texas has relatively low bar for amending the constitution. The Constitution also takes high restrictive view of all powers held by the state government - a factor that has significantly demanded for alterations and addition. While Vermont Constitution has been changed for only 19 times since creation in 1793, that of Texas has been amended for more than 456 times, not counting the 176 times of amendments that were enormously defeated by the voters.
The State of Vermont Has the Better Constitution
In my own opinion, the State of Vermont has a better and more practical Constitution as compared to that of Texas. As indicated above, the large content of the Texas Constitution has hindered growth of this state. This is due to the fact that the government has to keep on amending the Constitution in order to enact laws and policies, especially those dealing with the emerging challenges of the 21st century. The Constitution of Texas has had very many amendments, - a factor that has enormously disorganized this Constitution. Consequently, it has become hard for the three branches of the government to perform effectively, thus hindering growth. Furthermore, the Constitution has a lot of fear of unknown, such as that of political corruption, as well as a lot interests in the existing constitution. This is unlike the Constitution of Vermont, which allows the government to develop new policies without necessarily making changes to the existing constitution.
From the above information, it is clear that Vermont Constitution is far more superior as compared to that of Texas. One can see that the Texas Constitution is either poorly drafted or is too specific, thus demanding frequent amendments
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