The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) exists 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. Since October 2020 the digital archives and the research underpinning them has been part of The Quill Project at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, and is part of a broader project to study the history of American constitutional law.
An Online Library of Constitutional History
For more than 15 years, ConSource has revolutionized the way people interact with history by democratizing access to the 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 and archives, as well as in private collections throughout the United States and Europe, and are virtually inaccessible to most of us, whether a fourth grader or a Supreme Court Justice. To address this lack of access, ConSource provides free public access to what is fast becoming the world’s most comprehensive online library of source documents related to U.S. Constitutional history.
But we are not stopping there. Through our Constitutional Index and our merger with the Quill Project at Oxford University, we are providing scholars, legal professionals, educators, and the general public with a full range of cutting edge analytical tools and visualizations to explore these documents. The Quill models of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the Bill of Rights, for example, reconstruct months of negotiation and debate across dozens of committees and subcommittees, allowing the precise context of each proposal, speech, and vote to be explored. Users are able to chart how particular language emerged over weeks and months, and to trace the influence of particular individuals and delegations.
ConSource also creates research reports and educational resources to promote understanding and to meet the specific needs of scholars and authors, legal practitioners and government officials, educators and students, journalists and the general public. By connecting individuals to and facilitating discussion around the diverse ideas and documents that established the United States and have informed our progress, ConSource and the Quill Project are ensuring that future generations will understand the principles of liberty espoused by the Declaration of Independence and enabled by the Constitution and its Amendments.
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.
Current ConSource Collections
- The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Amendments 11 – 27
- Precursors to the Constitution (including the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and Mayflower Compact, Magna Carta and English Bill of Rights)
- Colonial charters and state constitutions before 1787
- The Federalist Papers
- Anti-Federalist and Pro-Federalist Papers
- Constitutional Convention Records, including James Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention and other records of the proceedings in Convention
- Select correspondences between delegates to the Constitutional Convention
- Selections from 10 state ratifying conventions
- The legislative history of the Bill of Rights
- 55 influential political sermons
- Correspondence and papers of George Mason
Planned ConSource Collections
- Documentary History of Colonial Charters & Early State Constitutions
- Select Correspondence & papers of James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Wilson, Oliver Ellsworth, Elbridge Gerry, Rufus King, John Lansing, Edmund Randolph and George Wythe
- Additional materials from state ratifying conventions
- Early Commentaries on the U.S. Constitution
- Early Congressional Records
- Women & the Constitution Collection (a collection that will bring to the fore the work of our nation's Founding mothers and their intellectual progeny)
- Reconstruction-era Materials
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our planned collections or legal and educational programs.
You can also support our work by donating today.
Join our NetworkIn 2018, Dr Nicholas Cole (Director of the Quill Project and Julie Silverbrook, former Executive Director of ConSource founded a new network to promote the study of the U.S. State Constitutions. Read More
Volunteer and Research OpportunitiesBoth the Quill Project and ConSource have had traditions of creating short-term research positions and internships, as well as finding ways to involve broader communities in their research project. Now that the ConSource collection has become part of the Quill Project, we will continue to find ways that let individuals contribute substantively to the understanding of constitutional history.
The Quill Project
As of October 2020, ConSource is part of the Quill Project at Pembroke College, Oxford.
Advisory Board & Note of Appreciation
In October 2020, the Constitutional Sources Project completed a merger with the Quill Project at Pembroke College, Oxford University. We are currently in the process of reconvening the Advisory Board to reflect the changes to the organizational structure resulting from this merger.
We hope that many of those who have been involved in the leadership of ConSource in the past will continue to be involved. In particular, we would like to express our appreciation to the outgoing Board of Directors, and to the former Executive Director for their whole-hearted investment in ConSource over so many years and for their efforts to ensure a seamless transition period.
ConSource 501(c)(3)Please note that any questions about the ConSource 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that formerly oversaw ConSource should be directed to Gene Schaerr, its President at the time that ConSource merged with the Quill Project.
The Quill Project
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