State Constitutions

I.    Basic Purposes

    A.    Establish Governmental Framework

    B.    Set Forth Basic Political Principles

    C.    Distribute Powers Among Governments

    D.    Limit Government Power

    E.    Protect Individual Rights

II.    Common Features

    A.    Preamble

    B.    Bill of Rights

    C.    Establishes and Empowers Three Government Branches

    D.    Corporation Section

    E.    Local Government Provisions

    F.    Miscellaneous Subjects (education, mining, canals, boundaries, agriculture, water, environment, etc.)

II.    Six Historical Patterns

    A.    Commonwealth

    B.    Commercial

    C.    Southern Contractual

    D.    Frame of Government

    E.    Civil Code

    F.    Managerial

III.    Common Weaknesses

    A.    Excessive Length and Detail

    B.    Long Ballot

    C.    Excessive Restrictions on Local Government Powers and Forms

    D.    Confusing Legalese

    E.   Reforms --   Model State Constitution; Alabama Constitutional Reform

IV.    Changing Constitutions

    A.    Informal Changes

            1.    Custom and Usage

            2.    Judicial Review

    B.    Formal Change

            1.    Initiation of Change

                    a.    Legislative Proposal

                    b.    Popular Initiative -- direct and indirect

                    c.    Constitutional Convention

                    d.    Constitutional Commission

            2.    Voter Approval

Key Web Sites

Power Point Presentation

State Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Center for State Constitutional Studies

Useful Web Links