University of Alabama Press
Edited by Bailey Thomson
This timely examination of Alabama's severely criticized
state constitution will serve as an indispensable guide for legislators
and citizens considering reform of the outdated document.
Alabamas present constitution, adopted in 1901,
is widely viewed as the source of many, if not most, of the states
historic difficulties and inequities. Chief among these is a poorly
funded school system, an imbalanced tax system that favors special
business interests, legislated racism, and unchecked urban sprawl.
Many citizens believe that, after 100 years of overburdening amendments
and confusing addendums, the constitution urgently needs rewriting.
With this book, Bailey Thomson has assembled the best
scholarship on the constitution, its history, and its implications
for the future. Historian Harvey H. Jackson III details the degree
to which the 1901 document was drafted as a legal tool to ensure white
supremacy at the expense of poor whites and blacks, while Joe A. Sumners
illustrates how the constitution ties the hands of elected civic leaders
by handing authority for local decisions to state government in Montgomery.
James W. Williams Jr. explores the impact of the state constitution
on the beleaguered tax system and the three principal revenue
crises it has engendered. Thomsons own contribution explains
how, in contrast to the previous failed attempts for constitutional
change by past governors who appealed to their fellow power brokers,
the current reform movement arose from the grassroots level.
As citizens and politicians in Alabama review the 1901
constitution for revision, as they navigate the pitfalls and opportunities
inherent in change, it is incumbent that they inform themselves adequately
on the controversies that have swirled around the constitution since
its adoption. The future of Alabamas government will depend
upon it, as will the fortunes of Alabamas business interests
and the well-being of every citizen in the state for years to come.
Here is a book that should be read by
every Alabamian (as well as many others outside the state). Here,
for the first time, is a single, documented, and burning indictment
of that instrument of governmentthe nations longest, most
unwieldy, and most amended constitution.
William Warren Rogers Sr., author of The One-Gallused Rebellion:
Agrarianism in Alabama, 1865-1896
Alabamians still find their fundamental
law in a document based on racial intolerance, overweening class interest,
and a disdain for democratic practices.
Robert David Ward, coauthor of Alabama: The History of a Deep
Bailey Thomson is Associate Professor of Journalism at The University
6 x 9
Publication Date: August 1, 2002
(20 percent discount for Web orders!)
HOW TO ORDER
? Order form
University of Alabama Press
Priscilla J. McWilliams
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0380
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