The Zavala Program for Constitutional Studies was created in Fall 2021 to promote a greater understanding of constitutional theory and practice in both American and comparative politics. Housed within the Baylor Political Science Department, the Zavala Program is dedicated to augmenting the civic education of Baylor students and the general public by sponsoring lectures, colloquia, and readings groups to discuss the major issues and ideas affecting modern constitutional systems.
The Zavala Program takes its name from Lorenzo de Zavala, a Mexican statesman who became one of the Founding Fathers of the Republic of Texas. Zavala was one of the most prolific constitutional thinkers of his time, helping write both the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and the Texian Constitution of 1836. He also signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, served as Texas’ first Vice President, designed the original flag of the Texas Republic, and wrote a book about his travels through the United States, publishing it a year before Alexis de Tocqueville’s more well-known Democracy in America. As Baylor was chartered by the Republic of Texas, there is no more fitting namesake for a program dedicated to studying constitutionalism at Baylor than the man who was essential to that republic’s creation, was a keen observer of America, and set the trajectory for the constitutional systems of both Mexico and Texas.