Reconstruction Period Research Forum
AL Constitution ~ News Notes
"The Alabama constitution of 1819 and the Mississippi constitution of 1817 were the two most liberal constitutions in the world,'' Auburn University professor/author Wayne Flynt told a group of constitution reform advocates here Wednesday night.
Flynt said authors of the 1901 constitution were white, wealthy landowners and industrialists whose main intent was to disenfranchise blacks and protect their narrow interests by stifling local governmental authority.
Rewrites in 1861, 1865, 1868 and 1875 began to chip away at freedoms for blacks and poor whites. Reconstruction-era constitutions restored some rights to newly freed black slaves. But when federal military rule ended, reform advocates led by industrialists and Black Belt plantation owners rammed through another constitutional convention designed largely to suppress "Negroes'' and populists who were considered troublemakers.