Arkansas Politics & Government: Do the People Rule?

By Diane D. Blair | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
The Constitution: Provisions and Politics

A constitution...requires that only its great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated.

Chief Justice John Marshall, 1819

All affidavits of Registration shall be made and executed in quadruplicate, the original and each copy of a distinctively different color. Each form shall be printed at the top thereof with the word "Original," "Duplicate," "Triplicate," or "Quadruplicate," as the case may be.... The forms shall be bound together in books or pads and each set of copies shall be capable of being detached from the book or pad and inserted and locked into the Registration Record Files.

Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 51

The winds of change that produced so many modifications in Arkansas politics in recent decades also generated an intense period of attempted constitutional reform. On three separate occasions between 1968 and 1980, machinery was established to replace the existing constitution, written in 1874, with a new one that was more appropriate to contemporary circumstances and needs. Since none of these efforts succeeded, Arkansas still operates under a constitution better designed to prevent the recurrence of Reconstruction than to enable a late-twentieth-century government to perform effectively. In that sense, the more things change, the more they seem to remain the same.

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