This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Constitutional Reform in Alabama: Why Efforts for Change Continue to Fail




Hartley, Rebecca

Type of Degree



Political Science


Alabama has been governed by the same constitutional document for one hundred thirteen years. The document is outdated and it is also the longest constitution in the world. Two of the most unique components of the document are a lack of home rule and the state’s tax structure is based on laws set forth in the constitution. Since 2000 grassroots movements across the state have brought various issues—length, language, and regressive tax structure—to light but the document remains unchanged. This study focuses on the history of the state to determine if political or socioeconomic factors are the reason behind the stagnant process in the grassroots movements. One component of the study is a comparative study between two Deep South states to illustrate one state that has made changes and one that has not in comparison with similar trends in Alabama. Additionally, a secondary analysis of public opinion survey data collected statewide is also analyzed to determine if citizens are interested, against, or indifferent to changes in the constitution. Finally, an examination of the 1973 Judicial Article was conducted to determine the political climate of Alabama that led to making a significant change in the constitution. This research seeks to provide generalizations for a lack of change in Alabama’s Constitution when other states are more amenable to revising their governing documents.