Constitutional Development in Alabama, 1798-1901: A Study in Politics, the Negro, and Sectionalism

By Malcolm Cook McMillan | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER IX
GENERAL PROVISIONS OF THE RECONSTRUCTION
CONSTITUTION

The report of a special committee reaffirmed the major ideas of the preamble and bill of rights of previous Alabama constitutions, but the committee and the convention added new pro-Negro, anti-secessionist, and liberal features. It incorporated the classic phrase of the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal" into Alabama's bill of rights and declared that all citizens have "equal civil and political rights and public privileges."1 The convention readopted the clauses abolishing slavery in the Constitution of 1865. No property qualification had ever been required to hold office in Alabama but the committee deemed it wise in order to protect the freedmen to declare that for the future "no property qualification shall be necessary to the election to, or the holding of any office in this state."2

The convention strengthened the provisions in previous Alabama constitutions against imprisonment for debt.3 On motion of Albion Labat Morgan, Carpetbagger from Wilcox County, all the qualifying clauses of the old constitution were stricken out and it was simply provided "that no person shall be imprisoned for debt."4 Since the Fourteenth Amendment had not yet been ratified, the convention decided to define state citizenship so as to include the Negro, rather than follow the committee report making all citizens of the United States citizens of Alabama.5 Carpetbagger Daniel H. Bingham wanted a proviso against "peonage or contract labor of any form for longer than one year" added to the section outlawing slavery, but the convention refused to accept the amendment.6

A bitter controversy arose when the Carpetbaggers and Negroes attempted to write into the bill of rights a guarantee in favor of equal rights for Negroes on common carriers and in public places. Carpet

____________________
1
Journal of the Convention of 1867, 139.
2
Ibid., 145.
3
Ibid., 142. The old constitution provided "that the person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be detained in prison after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, in such manner as may be proscribed by law."
4
Ibid. Morgan was a Republican from Elmira, New York, who moved to Alabama in 1866.
5
Ibid., 144.
6
Ibid., 145.

-134-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Constitutional Development in Alabama, 1798-1901: A Study in Politics, the Negro, and Sectionalism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 412

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?