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Road, River, and Ol’ Boy Politics: A Texas County’s Path from Farm to Supersuburb

In 1946, Williamson County, Texas, was profoundly rural. Reflecting the Democratic Party represented in Congress by Lyndon Baines Johnson, the county was based on an isolated agricultural economy and contained a rich brew of ethnic groups and cultures. Half a century later, Williamson County was one of the five fastest growing counties in the United States, a staunchly Republican homogeneous supersuburb north of Austin whose economy depended on the global market for computers and other high-technology products. How did this radical transformation occur?It came about largely through the machinations of a handful of local political and economic "bosses" who brought to Williamson County two great federal public works projects: Interstate Highway 35 and a dam on the tiny San Gabriel River. Those projects swept away the farmers and ranchers whose way of life had defined the county for 100 years and triggered explosive population growth.

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Product Details

Category Tags: 
Number of Pages: 
Width (in): 
8.38 inches
Height (in): 
11.00 inches

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