Led by mostly straight Democrats, many southern states including Mississippi and Alabama reduced their economic cost in 1875. The point of these operations was to return the states to fiscal balance and regain power, abolishing their debts. These southern states halted the funding and economic partnership with the railroads, reducing their economic leverage. They also shrank the size and cost of the Government. For example, the Alabama Constitution of 1875 limited the working days of the legislature, cut pay to 4 a day for congressman and cut the size and pay of the executive branch and bureaucracy. This also happened in Virginia, where amendments were proposed to the constitution to promote fiscal responsibility of the state government. Interestingly, the papers critiqued the free school system as having been started too early and being too costly, but celebrated the free schools as a glorious institution of the state that had come to define it.