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

By Malcolm Cook McMillan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
THE CONVENTION OF 1901: SUFFRAGE PLANS

When Alabama's sixth constitutional convention met in Montgomery, May 21, 1901, all of the one hundred and fifty-five delegates were present.1 One hundred and forty-one delegates were recognized by the Democratic caucus as regular Democrats.2 Seven delegates were Populists, six Republicans, and one an independent Democrat.3 All Populists and Republicans came from the hill country of North Alabama except one Populist and one Republican each from the Wiregrass section.4 No Negro was elected to the convention as the Negro for some time had been excluded from elective office in Alabama.

Two former governors of Alabama, two former justices of the State Supreme Court, two former attorneys-general, one member of the constitutional convention of 1865, four members of the convention of 1875, the chairman of the Democratic State Executive Committee, ninety-six lawyers, twelve bankers, four journalists, several physicians, teachers, and engineers were members of the convention. Because of the preponderance of lawyers, the 1901 convention is often referred to as "the lawyer's convention"; and some of the ablest lawyers in the state were in the convention.5 At least thirty-eight of the convention's members were Civil War veterans. Forty-five had served in the legislature and seventeen in the legislature which called the convention. Sixty-two members were college graduates and twenty-eight others had completed one or more years of college work. Many had been county solicitors, constables, probate judges, or mayors of small towns throughout the state. The majority of the convention consisted of men in their late forties or older, "at least one third grey heads," according to Max

____________________
1
Journal of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1901, 3-4. Hereinafter cited as the Journal of the Convention of 1901.
2
Montgomery Advertiser, May 22, 1901.
3
The independent Democrat came from Elmore County where as a result of an intraparty fight the local committee had recognized the independent ( A. E. Williams) and the state committee another candidate.
4
Populist members were Lewis H. Reynolds of Chilton, Edmund A. Phillips of Clay, J. M. Foshee of Conecuh, William Thomas L. Cofer of Cullman, S. L. Studdard of Fayette, John A. Byars of St. Clair. Republican members were James B. Sloan of Blount, John H. Porter of Coosa, D. C. Case of DeKalb, William O. Mulkey of Geneva, William H. Bartlett of Marshall, and Newman H. Freeman of Winston. Montgomery Advertiser, May 22, 1901; Mobile Register, April 24, May 22, 1901.
5
Montgomery Advertiser, June 25, July 30, 1901.

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