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Exploring the History of Texas: From the 1920s to the Bush Administration

The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in Texas during the 1920s

Being a notorious blemish in U.S. history, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) emerged as the ultra-right organization that advocated for highly reactionary ideas, promoting racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and a range of other ideas associated with White Nationalism ideology. KKK was particularly prolific in the Southern states in the 1920s (Hernandez 188). Remarkably, the establishment of the organization in the 1920s was not the first time when the KKK appeared in the political arena of the U.S. The country witnessed the conception of the organization and its egregious ideas in the early Reconstruction era, yet KKK was revived shortly after WWI erupted (Haynes and Wintz 383). The observed change could be ascribed to the disarray occurring on the global political scene and the resulting turmoil in the American political environment (Hernandez 189). Nonetheless, the KKK and its atrocious ideas cannot possibly be justified by any political circumstances.

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Being one of the Southern states, Texas became a particularly favorable environment for the KKK ideas to settle. In the 1920s, the KKK reached the peak of its development as the political disarray contributed to the promotion of the racist ideas that the organization engineered. It was estimated that by the end of the 1920s, the organization had recruited around 2,000,000 people (Kidd 184). When dissecting the mindset of the KKK’s target audience and the reasons for people to submit mindlessly to the atrocious rhetoric of the organization, one must mention the unwillingness to give up the social privilege along with the fear of losing dominance in culture, politics, and economy (Haynes and Wintz 385). Feeding on the specified fears, the KKK positioned itself as the so-called “fraternal lodge” where white people would retain their privilege and cultural, political, and economic dominance (Hernandez 41). Unfortunately, the specified rhetoric served as a powerful tool for recruiting new members.

However, as the ideas associated with democracy, equality, and cultural diversity spread across the U.S. community in the 1940s, the KKK began to dissipate. The internal conflicts within the group coupled with the increasing propensity toward tolerance and acceptance, as well as the principles of equality and social justice, eventually led to the demise of the KKK in Texas (Haynes and Wintz 397). Although in the 1950s and 60s, Texas would witness a rise in the KKK activity as the civil rights movement gained traction, the Klan eventually became too fragmented and lost the social support needed to sustain its existence. Finally, Texas was freed of the atrocious organization that spread hate and focused on the persecution of innocent people.

Governorship of George W. Bush and Rick Perry: A Comparison

Claiming that the era of Bush’s governance was among the most controversial pages of U.S. history would be an overstatement, yet George W. Bush’s presidency contributed to the increase in international political issues significantly. However, even taking a comparatively less influential position of a Texas governor, George W. Bush was still heavily criticized for his actions and overall politics. In turn, the current governor of Texas, Rick Perry has received significantly lesser publicity, yet his approach toward governance appears to be of similar efficacy and even more rigid conservativism than that one of Bush, which has led to better economic outcomes yet a tangible drop in the political diversity rates.

Although Bush and Perry both belong to the Republican Party, their approach toward the political and economic management of the state was strikingly different. Namely, the focus on the support of private entrepreneurship has led to a string of positive outcomes for the state economy (Fording and Patton 281). By encouraging the development of appropriate economic climate and bolstering opportunities for entrepreneurs, Perry managed to achieve the economic balance that made Texas especially prolific.

At the same time, one should mention significantly negative changes in the healthcare sector that Perry advanced as a governor. Whereas Bush attempted at introducing equal access to healthcare for all residents of Texas, Perry has committed to the idea of increasing healthcare costs along with property taxes, thus leaving very few options for people from disadvantaged backgrounds (Southwick 1847). As a result, the quality of healthcare has dropped significantly, which has become especially evident at the time of a global health crisis witnessed currently (Silver et al. 12). Therefore, Perry’s rigid reforms have produced quite a deleterious impact on the well-being of Texas citizens.

The difference between the governance of Bush and that one of Perry leaves a striking impression. Whereas it would be a mistake to claim that he either failed to make any redeemable step throughout his career as governor, it is undeniable that both have made few improvements while reinforcing the conflicting aspects of the Texas political identity. Compared to Bush’s administration, Perry’s governance has contributed to a string of important improvements in the economic environment of Texas, yet it has also set the healthcare issue back tangibly. In addition, the increase in business development cannot compensate for the loss of political diversity in citizens. Therefore, Bush’s indecisiveness and the lack of coordination in his actions may have been less efficient, yet it might have had fewer negative effects in the long term.

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Works Cited

Fording, Richard C., and Dana J. Patton. “Medicaid Expansion and the Political Fate of the Governors Who Support It.” Policy Studies Journal, vol. 47, no. 2, 2019, pp. 274-299.

Haynes, Sam W., and Cary D. Wintz. Major Problems in Texas History. Nelson Education, 2016.

Hernandez, Miguel. The Ku Klux Klan and Freemasonry in 1920s America: Fighting Fraternities. Routledge, 2019.

Kidd, Thomas S. American History, Volume 2. B&H Publishing Group, 2019.

Silver, Charles, et al. “Fictions and Facts: Medical Malpractice Litigation, Physician Supply, and Health Care Spending in Texas Before and after HB 4.” University of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper, vol. 284, 2019, pp. 1-12.

Southwick, Leslie H. “A Survivor’s Perspective: Federal Judicial Selection from George Bush to Donald Trump.” Notre Dame Law Review, vol. 95, no. 5, 2020, p. 1847.

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