The Tennessee State Constitution: A Reference Guide
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990 - 193 sider
This work, the second in Greenwood's series of guides to the state constitutions provides a basic introduction to Tennessee's constitution that includes the history of its development beginning in the 1700s, commentary on the constitution itself, and an extensive bibliography of Tennessee constitutional history. The state's first settlers pioneered innovation in self-government as early as 1772, and later Tennesseans adopted, abolished, and changed their fundamental law as political and social needs have demanded and allowed. Lewis L. Laska's substantial introduction demonstrates that although sometimes driven by political expediency and not always fair in all their actions, each era of constitutional reformers in Tennessee produced a fundamental charter that generally met the public's needs and served the state well in times of prosperity and strife. Some notable innovations include the Tennessee plan for gaining statehood, elections by ballot, direct election of the governor, an early prohibition against double jeopardy, the effective use of a limited constitutional convention, and guidelines for a balanced budget and tax revenue growth.
Documenting the constitutional history of Tennessee, Part one charts the rise to statehood and the constitutions of 1796, 1835, and that of 1870 which remained unamended until 1953. Part two presents valuable commentary on the constitution's preamble and 11 articles including the declaration of rights, the distribution of powers, the executive department, elections, impeachments, the judicial department, state and county officers, militia, disqualification, oaths, bribery of electors, new counties, and miscellaneous provisions. Following the second section is an annotated bibliography of Tennessee constitutional history, includes general references as well as references to pre-statehood compacts, the constitutions of 1796 and 1835, the Civil War, Reconstruction and the 1865 amendments, the constitution of 1870, attempted constitutional reform, and five constitutional conventions from 1953 to 1977. A table of cases completes a resource that will be referred to and relied upon by constitutional scholars and students as well as legal historians.