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Alabama's 1901 Constitution

bullet After the Civil War a coalition of native Republicans, transplanted northerners, and freedmen took control of state government and wrote the Constitution of 1868.

bullet Native Democrats rallied their forces, and overthrew the Republican government. They then branded Alabama whites who supported the Republican party as "scalawags" and northern Republicans as "carpetbaggers."

bullet Native Democrats, known as "redeemers" and/or "Bourbons" wrote their own constitution, which was ratified in 1875. It kept taxes low, government services minimal, and power in the hands of the propertied classes.

bullet The Farmers' Alliance, through the Populist Party, threatened the hold that the Bourbons had on the state. Bourbons called for a new state constitution to solidify their position.

bullet Constitution of 1901 was drawn up to continue to keep taxes low and governmental services minimal. To guarantee that the propertied classes stayed in power the vote was taken away from many poor whites and African Americans.

bullet Constitution of 1901 was ratified in one of the most corrupt elections in Alabama history.

bullet Today the Constitution of 1901 is still Alabama's constitution. Having been amended more than 650 times (as of 1999), it is one of the longest constitutions in the western world.