Virtual Volunteer Project
1875 VOTER REGISTRATION BOOKS
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This collection consists of sixty-one volumes of voter registration oaths taken by white and Black men in thirty-two Alabama counties, primarily in 1875. Each book records the date the oath was taken, the voter's name, race, employer, and the name of the registrar administering the oath. Like our collection of 1867 voter registration books, these volumes are among the earliest state records documenting the names of formerly enslaved African American men. They contain vital information for genealogical research and help citizens better understand Alabama's complex political and social climate during Reconstruction.
More About the Collection:
Calls for a new constitutional convention began days after the Democratic Party swept statewide elections in1874. Within a month’s time, a legislative committee submitted a proposal for a new convention. It called for the registration of qualified voters in advance of an August 1875 referendum, when the people would vote on the question of a convention and simultaneously elect delegates. The proposal passed the legislature along party lines. The subsequent registration period lasted several months. These books indicate that many participants registered to vote on the date of the referendum.
Alabamians supported the new constitution by a nearly 18,000-vote margin and chose eighty Democrats, twelve Republicans, and seven independents as its framers. The resulting document reversed much of the work of the 1868 Reconstruction constitution. It instituted limited government and centralized control in Montgomery, abolished the state board of education, imposed strict limits on how counties and municipalities could spend money. Framers replaced the 1868 constitution’s preamble statement that “all men are created equal” with a statement that “all men are equally free and independent.” None of the Republican delegates supported the document.
On November 16, 1875, voters ratified the new constitution by a wide margin, marking the end of Reconstruction in Alabama.