W&L Politics Professor Publishes Journal Article and is Interviewed by Several Media Outlets Professor Lynn Uzzell shared her expertise on the disputed document known as the Pinckney Plan.
Lynn Uzzell, visiting assistant professor of politics at Washington and Lee University, recently published an article in the St. Mary’s Law Journal and was subsequently interviewed for stories by both National Public Radio (NPR) and the Charleston Post and Courier regarding an ongoing Supreme Court case.
The article, “The Deep South’s Constitutional Con” focuses on narratives surrounding the United States Constitution, particularly the plan of government presented to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 by Charles Pinckney, former South Carolina Governor and one of America’s founding fathers.
William Jackson, the official secretary, failed to keep any of the plans of government presented to the Constitutional Convention. Nearly three decades later, in 1818, Congress ordered the official records be published and John Quincy Adams sought to obtain the missing plans. When Adams contacted Pinckney to get his plan of government, Pinckney claimed he had several versions and submitted to Adams what he thought to be the closest version to what he presented to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. This contradicted statements made by Pinckney in 1788, where he noted he did not have a draft of the plan. The legitimacy and accuracy of Pinckney’s 1818 version has been debated by many scholars and historians ever since.
Despite the varying opinions about Pinckney’s controversial plan, North Carolina state lawmakers are citing it for a case currently being argued in front of the Supreme Court. In Moore v. Harper, state lawmakers claim that Pinckney’s much-disputed document proves that the framers of the Constitution intended to give state lawmakers almost unfettered authority over how elections for Congress are run, without any checks or balances from state courts or state constitutions.
Uzzell, who is currently writing a book about the Pinckney Plan, has been a visiting member of the W&L faculty since 2021. She has also taught at Baylor University, the University of Virginia, James Madison University and the University of Richmond. Uzzell spent four years as the scholar in residence at the Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier. She holds a B.A. in speech communications from Black Hills State University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from the University of Dallas.
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