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The Law of American State Constitutions$
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Robert F. Williams

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195343083

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195343083.001.0001

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The Evolving American State Constitutions

The Evolving American State Constitutions

The Law of American State Constitutions

Robert F. Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the broad outlines of the evolutionary paths of state constitutions after the adoption of the federal Constitution. State-specific, regional, and national influences were brought to bear on the amendment and revision of the original states' constitutions. The constitutions of new states admitted to the Union were subject to similar influences, but in addition, congressional and presidential influences were also exerted over the new states' constitutions. The chapter reviews the processes of admission for new states, including the use of enabling acts, and the influence of the federal constitution on state constitution-making, as well as that of Jacksonian Democracy, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Progressive Movement, and the one-person-one-vote cases. The chapter analyzes the evolution of state constitutions from framework-oriented documents to serve, in addition, as policy-oriented documents. Throughout the evolution of state constitutions, the process of following examples or models from one state to another is described. All of these elements of evolution influence the judicial interpretation of current state constitutions.

Keywords:   evolution, Jacksonian Democracy, Civil War, Reconstruction, influence, new states, original states, framework-oriented documents, policy-oriented documents, models

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