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"Alabama Politics in the Twenty-First Century" is an expansive and accessible primer on Alabama state politics, past and present, which provides an in-depth appreciation and understanding of the twenty-second state s distinctive political machinery."
The first systematic analysis of the obstacles to state constitutional reform.
The first systematic analysis of the obstacles to state constitutional reform.
This timely examination of Alabama’s severely criticized state constitution will serve as an indispensable guide for legislators and citizens considering reform of the outdated document. Alabama’s present constitution, adopted in 1901, is widely viewed as the source of many, if not most, of the state’s historic difficulties and inequities. Chief among these is a poorly funded school system, an imbalanced tax system that favors special business interests, legislated racism, and unchecked urban sprawl. Many citizens believe that, after 100 years of overburdening amendments and confusing addendums, the constitution urgently needs rewriting. With this book, Bailey Thomson has assembled the best scholarship on the constitution, its history, and its implications for the future. Historian Harvey H. Jackson III details the degree to which the 1901 document was drafted as a legal tool to ensure white supremacy at the expense of poor whites and blacks, while Joe A. Sumners illustrates how the constitution ties the hands of elected civic leaders by handing authority for local decisions to state government in Montgomery. James W. Williams Jr. explores the impact of the state constitution on the beleaguered tax system and the three principal “revenue crises” it has engendered. Thomson’s own contribution explains how, in contrast to the previous failed attempts for constitutional change by past governors who appealed to their fellow power brokers, the current reform movement arose from the grassroots level. As citizens and politicians in Alabama review the 1901 constitution for revision, as they navigate the pitfalls and opportunities inherent in change, it is incumbent that they inform themselves adequately on the controversies that have swirled around the constitution since its adoption. The future of Alabama’s government will depend upon it, as will the fortunes of Alabama’s business interests and the well-being of every citizen in the state for years to come.
Over sixty years ago, political scientist V.O. Key Jr. published his seminal work, Southern Politics in State and Nation. Key's book redefined the field of southern politics and remains one of the most cited and influential works in twentieth-century political science and southern history. In Unlocking V.O. Key Jr., prominent southern scholars in history, political science, and southern and American studies reconsider Key's analysis, debating his omissions as well as highlighting the timeless elements of his work. Charles Reagan Wilson, Kari Frederickson, and Pearl K. Ford argue that Key's exclusion of religion, violence, and African American political participation altered the field of southern politics. Keith Gaddie and Justin Wert draw attention to Key's methodological innovations, while Margaret Reid questions Key's limited and gendered vision of the southern electorate. Harold Stanley discusses the complexity of teaching Key in the twenty-first century. Byron E. Shafer and Richard Johnston argue for the role that class and the economy played in the realignment of the South with the Republican Party, while Dan T. Carter points to race as the driving factor in this major shift. Susan MacManus tracks immigration trends in the region to explain contemporary southern political behavior. Supported with a foreword by Byron E. Shafer that provides an overview of Key's major contributions as a political scientist, and concluding with Wayne Parent's discussion of Key and the contemporary student, Unlocking V.O. Key Jr. is a must-read companion to the classic Southern Politics in State and Nation.
The definitive guide to Alabama's political leaders, Alabama Governors is an entirely revised and updated edition of the best-selling 2001 original.