A Symphony of Government Design: Imitation in State Constitutions on the Southern Frontier, 1812-1845
169 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2010 Last revised: 7 Jul 2010
Date Written: 1995
The original constitutions of six Southern frontier states are compared: Louisiana's (1812), Mississippi's (1817), Alabama's (1819), Arkansas's (1836), Florida's (1839), and Texas's (1845). Identical or similar elements are examined, and the historical circumstances leading each constitutional convention to adopt this group of provisions are recounted. The duplicated elements include some of the structures of the three branches of government, some individual rights, the methods of choosing seats of government, adaptations to epidemic disease, and means of enforcing fiscal accountability. Primary sources are the constitutions, the constitutional convention journals, territorial papers, and some legislative records, letters, and newspapers. This historical study of constitutional convergence conveniently summarizes parts of antebellum Southern frontier history and also examines the diffusion of a constitutional core of techniques of self-government.
Keywords: state constitutions, Southern frontier, government designs, Louisana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, statehood, territorial history
JEL Classification: E62, H11, N41, H70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation