Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview

may have had immediately more important bearing on the public welfare than yours. Your problem is to deal with fundamental principles. The thinking and the work you do in rewriting the Constitution may not immediately show on the surface. Whether you do your job thoroughly and with wisdom will not be apparent to a great many people in North Carolina. Most of us will not know whether you have found the correct answer to this, that, or the other question involved in the organic law of the State. This fact, however, merely places on you the higher obligation to do your task in such a way as to serve best the public welfare.

I have every confidence that each one of you will undertake his share of the assignment to redraft and rewrite the Constitution as an obligation of the highest order and as an opportunity to render the fullest service that your training and experience and high citizenship fits you to render. The membership of this commission was not lightly considered. No one of you is here because of personal or political friendship. Each was appointed because of my high regard for qualities which I felt would be constructively and patriotically employed in this epoch-making undertaking.

North Carolina is the only Southern state which has not substantially rewritten the Constitution adopted by it or forced upon it in the Reconstruction era following the War Between the States. Throughout my public life I have observed the limitations placed upon the General Assembly and upon our organized government in serving intimately the present needs of the people because of the restrictions of our Constitution. Our Constitution, written sixty-three years ago when North Carolina was a broken, impoverished, agricultural state, does not, of course, adequately serve the economic, industrial, social, and governmental life which we have been developing since 1900. As you know, practically all efforts in recent years to recon

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