Founded in 1989, the Texas Public Policy Foundation has grown to become America’s largest free market state think tank. Now, 26 years later, the Foundation has its own home at 901 Congress Avenue in Austin.
The Texas Revolution is referenced three times in the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s new building.
The cornerstone features this inscription:
FOUNDED IN 1989
WITH A SPIRIT
FORGED IN 1836
In the foyer, a visitor sees an image of the Gonzales cannon on the parquet floor with the challenge, “COME AND TAKE IT.”
Lastly, the words from Lieutenant Colonel William Travis’ letter from the Alamo are set in the back wall of the Joe B. Hogsett Theater.
These three revolutionary references offer strong encouragement for today’s challenges.
The roots of the Texas revolution are found in Mexico’s swing from a rights respecting republic to a centralizing military dictatorship under General Santa Anna.
While Colonel Travis’ letter from the Alamo is mainly a military dispatch, outlining his estimate of the gathering enemy strength and listing his available supplies, it also had another purpose: rallying support for the nascent revolution. On February 24, 1836, exactly one week before Texas declared its independence from Mexico, Travis called on, “…the People of Texas & All Americans in the World… …in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid…”
On March 2, 1836, Travis’ invocation of liberty was repeated by the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence:
“When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.”
Four days later, the Mexican army overran the Alamo. For more than six weeks, General Santa Anna’s forces pursued the retreating Texians, winning two battles at Refugio and Coleto. Prospects for the revolution looked grim—then, April 21 and the victory at San Jacinto.
What can we learn from this struggle for liberty 179 years ago? Never surrender in the struggle for freedom even when the odds appear long.
Today’s battles for liberty in Texas don’t involve bullets and blood, but the stakes are serious nonetheless.
In the fight for freedom, the Texas Public Policy Foundation develops workable ideas for elected officials to consider in their roles as representatives of the people. There are several broad policy initiatives we’re promoting this year, among which are:
- School choice for all Texas children to dramatically improve educational outcomes for students of all backgrounds.
- Permanent and meaningful tax cuts to spur job creation and entrepreneurship.
- Tighter limits on government spending to ensure Texans will continue to have a government they can afford.
- Making the case against federal regulatory overreach, especially regarding the EPA’s ill-conceived Clean Power Plan which would serious harm the Texas economy.
- Enhancing local government transparency and putting the brakes on rapidly growing local debt and tax increases.
- Reforming procurement processes at the Texas Department of Transportation, the state’s third-largest agency, to save up to $1 billion per year in road and bridge construction costs.
- Enacting additional criminal justice reforms to improve public safety while reducing employment barriers to ex-offenders who have stayed out of trouble.
- Improving access to healthcare through greater use of free market principles and less red tape.
- Ending eminent domain abuse through commonsense reforms that respect private property rights.
It’s ambitious agenda and there are powerful forces arrayed against us—but then, we’re Texans, we have the spirit of 1836 coursing through our veins.
The Hon. Chuck DeVore is Vice President of Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.