Posted by: Ed Darrell | September 12, 2011

Studying the U.S. Constitution on line

Similar to everything else anyone studies via the internet, the problem with studying the Constitution is finding solid, credible and creditable sources to study.

First page of the U.S. Constitution, from the National Archives

First page of the U.S. Constitution, from the National Archives

Start with the National Archives. The Constitution is one of the 100 key documents in U.S. history, “Charters of History.” The website for the Archives features both photo images of each page of the document and a transcription of what it actually says.

NARA’s exhibit also includes a history of the creation of the Constitution, and sort of an FAQ about the document.

Cornell University’s Law Library provides extensive online legal documents, at the Legal Information Institute (LII) — a highly credible site. They provide a full text of the Constitution, of course. While you’re there, noodle around the site to see what else is available. LII provides full texts of Supreme Court cases for the 20th and 21st centuries, and some historic cases from earlier. is a commercial site that does a lot of what LII does. There is a good copy of the Constitution there, too. I find more convenient for searching for state constitutions and state laws than other sites. also features an annotated Constitution, explaining what the sections actually do.

Other sources that should be accurate:

Another group whose material is thought provoking and high quality is the Bill of Rights Institute. They focus more on the Bill of Rights, but their work is, in my experience, top-notch. They offer a lot of material aimed at students for online use.

Tip of Herodotus’s quill to Mr. Darrell’s Government and Politics.


  1. You should of posted something about 9/11

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