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Response to Review of Contending Visions of the Lone Star State: Debating Texas’ Identity

I have only several minor comments. Overall, this was a very balanced and insightful comparative review. My comments are meant to be helpful in more fully understanding my perspective. Passages commented on are in inverted commas and noted here by word #.

1) At word #807 in review: ‘After 1910, blacks and Tejanos enjoyed an easing of tensions because they were recognized as an important source of labor in a changing economic climate.’

I do not say this. Racial tensions were still elevated in 1910 West Texas and did not ease until after the Second World War. The main point here is that in West Texas (that is, the western third of the state), segregation was more informal than East Texas and its southern Jim Crow laws. Regarding racial violence (a key indicator of regional identity), out of the 489 lynchings in Texas from 1882 to 1938, only seven occurred west of the 100th meridian, or less than 2 per cent. Lynching, burning, and dragging were far more prevalent in East Texas and the South.

2) At word # 970: ‘The cotton economy was unsustainable in West Texas, making those trading relationships with the army extremely valuable.’

Prior to the First World War affordable irrigation technology did not exist in arid West Texas, making cotton farming a dicey endeavor. After the development of such technology, however, cotton farming proliferated across much of West Texas. Today, with rapidly falling water tables in West Texas, widespread irrigated agriculture appears unsustainable. Before the Civil War there was scant cotton farming in West Texas and the regional economy was far more dependent upon the federal government and its agencies.

3) At word # 1020: ‘Many west Texans felt they were foreigners in their own land’.

The word ‘foreigners’ does not quite fit the bill. I would say they felt ignored by the rest of the state and more like second-class citizens.

4) At word # 1141: ‘Increasingly marginalized, west Texans naturally felt a closer kinship to the West than to Texas proper’.

I would state this differently. I argue that west Texans felt slighted until the state established Texas Tech, which greatly alleviated their complaints. Texan identity, forged during the Texas Revolution and Republic periods (1836–46), is complex. West Texans may live in the arid American West, but they still consider themselves Texans first. Identity in the Lone Star State is not just southern or western, but is multi-faceted and diverse. The last two sentences of the comparative review ably illustrate this Texan diversity.