The mission of The Constitutional Sources Project is to increase understanding, facilitate research, and encourage discussion of the U.S. Constitution by connecting individuals — including students, teachers, lawyers and judges — with the documentary history of its creation, ratification, and amendment.
An Online Library of Constitutional History
The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) is revolutionizing the way people interact with history by democratizing access to source materials of the U.S. Constitution — letters, journals, newspapers, articles, speeches, and other first-hand records — so that any citizen can research and learn from the document’s rich intellectual history.
The countless letters, speeches, and journals of the Framers and later Amenders of the Constitution are housed in hundreds of libraries, archives, and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. These documents together embody the “best” history of our Constitution and its amendment over time. Yet many of these documents are virtually inaccessible to most of us, whether a fourth grader or a Supreme Court Justice. Even diligent researchers cannot gain access to all of them. As a result, far too many Americans lack an understanding of the ideas that influenced the Framers, many of which still lie at the root of current conversations and debates concerning our government and our laws.
To address this lack of access, ConSource.org is building the preeminent online resource for constitutional research and education. Continually expanding in scope, it provides free public access to what is fast becoming the world’s most comprehensive online library of source documents related to the U.S. Constitution.
But ConSource is not stopping there. It is not enough to merely provide access to source documents. It is also necessary to provide the right tools to navigate and search the pages of history. To this end, the ConSource library includes a vibrant and growing cross-reference database that connects modern legal and political issues to our nation’s history.
ConSource is also planning the creation of unique research communities on ConSource.org tailored to the specific needs of scholars and authors, legal practitioners and government officials, educators and students, and the general public. Contact us for further information or to sponsor and shape the development of one of these communities.
By connecting individuals to and facilitating discussion around the diverse ideas and documents that established the United States and have informed our progress, ConSource ensures that future generations will understand the principles of liberty espoused by the Declaration of Independence and enabled by the Constitution and its Amendments.
Selected Current Initiatives
- New version of ConSource.org
- Digitizing/annotating papers of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin
- SCOTUSource: Harvard law students researching constitutional history for Supreme Court cases
- CapitolSource: Annotating legislation with source history
- Constitution Day: ConSource was "born" on Constitution Day in 2007 and holds an annual event with noteworthy speeches by public figures and notable historians to celebrate the Constitution.
- Newly launched education initiative – Using Technology to Help Students Think Historically: ConSource’s Executive Director will demo ConSource technology to educators around the country. Staff members will also work one-on-one with educators to integrate primary source materials in to existing classroom lesson plans and materials.
- Virtual Supreme Court Competition, in partnership with The Harlan Institute: Offering teams of two high school students the opportunity to research contemporary constitutional law issues, use primary source documents in constructing a legal argument, write persuasive appellate briefs, argue against other students through Google Video chats, and try to persuade a panel of esteemed attorneys during oral argument that their side is correct. This year the competition focuses on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin – a challenge to the constitutionality of race-based affirmative action programs.
Julie Silverbrook, Executive Director
Board of Directors
Chair: Gene Schaerr, Appellate Attorney
Peggy Duckett, Former Chairman, Miracle at Philadelphia, the U.S. Constitutional Convention Bicentennial Exhibition
Randall Guynn, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell
Dr. John Kaminski, Editor, Documentary History of the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution
Dr. Maeva Marcus, Director, Institute for Constitutional History
Academic Advisory Board
Chair: Dr. John Kaminski, Editor, Documentary History of the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution
Prof. Randy E. Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center
Susanna Dokupil, Assistant Solicitor General, Office of the Attorney General of Texas
Ralph Ketcham, Emeritus, Syracuse University
Dr. Gordon Lloyd, Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University Prof.
Tara Ross, Esq., Author
Lisa Grow Sun, Associate Professor of Law, Brigham Young University Law School
Dr. James Taylor, Editor, John Adams Papers
Legal Advisory Board
Chair: Lorianne Updike Toler, Co-Founder, former Executive Director, ConSource
Thomas G. Goldstein, Partner, Goldstein & Russell, P.C.
Carl Cecere, Partner, Hankinson LLP
Ashley C. Parrish, Partner, King & Spalding
Travis M. Seegmiller, Partner, Patton Boggs LLP
National Advisory Board
Chair: Randall Guynn, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell
Prof. Akhil Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale College and Yale Law School
Prof. Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law, Yale Law School
The Honorable Bill Barr, former Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Verizon Communications, Inc.
Prof. Herman Belz, Emeritus Professor of U.S. and Constitutional History, University of Maryland
Dr. Robert George, Princeton University
Thomas W. Luce III, President, National Math and Science Initiative, Inc.
Hon. Michael McConnell, Director, Stanford Constitutional Law Center
Mr. Edwin Meese III, Fellow, Heritage Foundation
Randal S. Milch, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Verizon Communications
Prof. Kenneth Starr, Pepperdine Law School
Dr. James Taylor, Editor, John Adams Papers
The Honorable Don Willett, Justice, Supreme Court of Texas
Admiral Paul Yost, President, James Madison Fellowship Foundation
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Washington DC 20006
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