"The earth belongs always to the living generation." So said Thomas Jefferson in developing a constitutional theory that included the belief that Virginia's Constitution should be revised at regular intervals "so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation .... " Despite such advice, some generations of Americans have shown more interest than others in revising their scare constitutions. For about a quarter of a century-from the 1920s into the 1940s-no American state adopted a new constitution. By midcencury, however, interest in revising these fundamental laws had burgeoned. So widespread was the movement for constitutional revision that by 1970, a leading student of the subject commented that there was at that time "more official effort directed toward revising and rewriting state constitutions than at any time in the nation's history with the possible exception of the Civil War and Reconstruction era.”

A. E. Dick Howard, Adopting a New Constitution: Lessons from Virginia, in State Constitutions for the Twenty-first Century: The Politics of State Constitutional Reform, State University of New York Press, 73–110 (2006).