Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level





Patrick Williams

Committee Member

Janine Parry

Second Committee Member

Jeannie Whayne

Third Committee Member

Michael Pierce


Arkansas, Political History, Reconstruction, Redemption, Southern History, State Constitution


This dissertation examines the making of Arkansas’s constitution of 1874, which drew the curtain on Reconstruction in the state and remains in force in the twenty-first century. It contributes to the scholarship of Arkansas history, Southern history, and U.S. political and constitutional history by showing that Arkansas’s Redeemers were not unified or homogeneous, but rather a fractured group who fought about how restrictive the state’s new constitution would be. In the end, it was more generous in some sections than some Democrats wished. This dissertation, thus, challenges a traditional narrative of a likeminded convention and relentlessly restrictive constitution-making. However, it also shows delegates partook of political and constitutional trends present in the North and West as well as in the South, demonstrating that Redemption was part of a larger political current rather than simply a regional political reaction to the perceived and real abuses of Reconstruction.

Available for download on Thursday, September 17, 2020