Bailey Thomson


University of Alabama
Box 870172
Tuscaloosa, Al 35487
Office: 205-348-8617
Fax: 205-348-2780
Email: bthomson@
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"A Century of Controversy: Constitutional Reform in Alabama" (Bailey Thomson, editor)

You may have read about efforts to revise Alabama's racist and antiquated constitution. I invite you to consider this new book of essays on the subject. Eleven experts join me in presenting the case for reform.

Click here to learn more about the book and order it from the University of Alabama Press. You may also buy a copy at your local bookstore or order one through on-line book sellers, such as or Books A Million.

Sam Hodges of the Mobile Register writes, "State constitutions don't get the attention they deserve. They are important historical documents, and they have considerable influence on state and local government. Alabama's constitution is, according to the scholars and journalists who know it well, one of the longest (more than 315,000 words) and worst. In recent years, a grassroots movement for a new constitution has spread across the state. So the timing is right for a rigorous look at the history and practical consequences of the current document. "A Century of Controversy" serves as a terrific primer for understanding how this constitution came to be, how it has survived for more than 100 years and how it continues to impede home rule and good governance generally. Along with furthering debate about constitutional reform in Alabama, this book should inspire students of other state constitutions to take up their pens.

Comments from reviewers:

“Make no mistake: This is more than a serious book; this is a scathing indictment of Alabama's outmoded and shameful constitution.”
   --John Ehinger, Editorial Page Editor, Huntsville Times. Click here for full review.

"A Century of Controversy" will likely become the manifesto of Alabama's constitutional reformers. If the crusade succeeds, future Alabama historians and political scientists will undoubtedly point to its publication as a milestone in a citizen revolution that carried off the most meaningful political reform in the state's history.
   --Jim Aucoin, Mobile Register.
Click here for full review

"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 government-the nation's 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 South State

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