200 Alabama Bicentennial

Celebrating Alabama’s 200th birthday2017 2018 2019

  • Portrait of Gov. George S. Houston

    Houston served as governor of Alabama from 1874 to 1878.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • “Voters of Alabama”

    This article seeks to build support for the 1875 constitution in advance of the election for its ratification.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Alabama Constitution of 1875

    Also known as the "Bourbon" "Conservative" or "Redeemer Constitution." The constitution includes the following articles: declaration of rights; state and county boundaries; distribution of powers of government; executive department; legislative department; judicial department; impeachment; suffrage and election; representation; exempted property; taxation (introducing property tax); militia; education (stating that "separate schools shall be provided for the children of citizens of African descent"); corporations; oath of office; miscellaneous provisions; and mode of amending the constitution. The last 4 pages are signed by 90 convention delegates, including Leroy Pope Walker, president of the convention. The document is written on 28 sheets of parchment, each page glued to the one below it and held together with blue grosgrain silk ribbon; it is 42 feet and 8 inches long.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Article IX - Taxation, Section 3

    This states that "no new debt shall be created against, or incurred by, this state, or its authority, except to repel invasion or suppress insurrection…." The debt the Civil War left made legislators want to curtail any excessive spending in order to keep the budget in check.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Article IV - Legislative Dept., Section 54, Internal Improvements

    This section of the constitution disallows the state to "engage in works of internal improvement, nor lend money or its credit in aid of such…." This reflected problems legislators found with sections 32 and 33 in the 1868 Constitution. These allowed the legislature to be able to vote to take on debt, if 2/3 voted in favor. This provision led to the state accruing significant debt based on railroad bonds, and the 1875 Constitution sought to amend this.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Article XIII - Education

    One of the main reasons for calling the Constitutional Convention was due to speculation that the Radical Republican Superintendent, Noah B. Cloud, was corrupt. Democrats wanted to abolish the Board of Education. The 1875 Convention provided for segregated schools, funding from the poll tax, and the establishment of a Superintendent of Education.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • “Great Democratic Victory.”

    This advertisement boasts the Democratic success in the 1874 election, claiming that "Alabama is Free! The Country is safe!"

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Speech of Leroy Pope Walker, President of the Constitutional Convention of 1875, to the Convention, p. 5-7

    In this speech, Walker talks about the problems he believes the 1868 Constitution had and what he believed the Convention needed to accomplish in the new document. Walker called the 1868 Constitution "a piece of unseemly mosaic, composed of shreds and patches here and there, incongruous in design, inharmonious in action, discriminating and oppressive in the burthens it imposes..."

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Portrait of Leroy Pope Walker

    Walker was the first secretary of war for the Confederacy. He served from February to September 1861. After his resignation, he was a brigadier general of the Confederate Army. He also served as the president of the Constitutional Convention of 1875.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • “The Constitution”

    This article, which supports ratification of the 1875 Constitution, highlights the changes the new document made over the previous one. It asks, "Will they have such a Constitution? … Or will they stay, at home and not vote, and thus take the Constitution of 1867, forced upon them by military power, made by carpetbaggers and thieves and adventurers...?"

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Representation between the 1868 and 1875 Constitutional Conventions

    This chart displays the difference between representation in the 1868 and 1875 Constitutional Conventions.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • “Vote the entire ticket, State and county. Strike not a name.”

    The election of Democrats, or "Redeemers," in 1874 was the first step to reversing the gains of the radical 1868 convention. This article both urges Democrats to vote and raises concerns with the Republican party.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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  • Montgomery Daily Advertiser Masthead

    For several days, the Advertiser's pages were festooned with images of the rooster, which was a symbol of the Democratic party and the Redeemer government. This was their way of trumpeting the fact that the Radical Republican government of Reconstruction had been defeated.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 7 (Civics), 10, 12 (US Government)

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