In the 20th Century oil became a major factor in Texas politics and the economy. One early oil historian, C.A. Warner, wrote in 1939 that “Petroleum and natural gas are products of importance to every Texan, and the growth and welfare of the industry are therefore of direct interest and concern to all. The almost miraculous growth of the industry, the value of its products, and the colorful stories of wealth achieved by many have combined to create a picture which is interpreted in different manners by different classes of people.” In this essay, your task is analyze the importance of the oil industry in Texas. Before the mass popularity of automobiles, how was oil used? Where was the first oil strike in Texas? What was the significance of Spindletop? How did overproduction effect Texas? Describe the conflict in the East Texas oil fields between large and small producers. How did the East Texas strike effect state politics? What is “hot oil”? How have oil profits shaped Texas culture? How did the Tidelands influence partisan politics in the 1950s? Why was the year 1983 important for the oil industry in Texas? What economic impact does oil have upon education and state programs? Lastly, how has oil continued to influence Texas politics, the economy, and culture into the 21st Century?
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