Since the early discoveries of the Spindletop, King Ranch, and East Texas oil fields, the oil and gas industry has dominated the Texas economy. The industry has also played an important role in shaping state politics and culture. The oil boom of the early 1900s created thousands of jobs for ordinary workers and immense wealth for a select few. Early Texas oil barons made headlines because of their lavish lifestyles and often extreme political beliefs. Legendary wildcatter H.L. Hunt typified this oil-fueled exuberance. Hunt became one of the eight richest individuals in the United States after securing mineral rights to the East Texas oil field (the largest oil field in the contiguous United States) from an unscrupulous land man at a poker game. Hunt used his tremendous resources to support conservative politicians (including Joseph McCarthy) and to promote a conservative political agenda. Hunt’s politics, particularly his focus on the primacy of individualism and his belief that government intervention posed the greatest single threat to individual liberty, helped to shape the broader neoconservative movement. His political influence continues to resonate throughout the modern political dialogue in Texas.
Matthew K. Trawick,
Cooperative Mineral Interest Development in the Lone Star State: It's Time to Mess with Texas,
Mich. J. Envtl. & Admin. L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjeal/vol4/iss2/6