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U.S. Constitution & Related Sources

Updated Nov. 3, 2014.


This guide links to several of the many excellent, free resources available for conducting constitutional research.

See also the Gallagher guide on Popular Names of Constitutional Provisions.

U.S. Constitution

Text-Only Versions

The U.S. Constitution, as written in 1787  (without amendments).

The U.S. Constitution as amended—with unratified amendments and analytical index—from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

The U.S. Constitution from Cornell's Legal Information Institute.

Annotated Versions

The U.S. Senate's Constitution of the United States site has the original text and general explanations of each provision.

An annotated version, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, is prepared by the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. The Centennial Edition includes an analysis of cases decided by the Supreme Court to June 28, 2012 (available at Reference Office and Reference Area, KF4527.U54 2013). The digital edition, available on FDsys, includes cases through July 1, 2014 (2840 pages). Appendices include:

  • Supreme Court cases holding state constitutional and statutory provisions (and municipal ordinances) unconstitutional or preempted by federal law
  • Supreme Court decisions overruled by later Supreme Court decisions.

Also available at and as a free app for the iPhone and iPad (with an Android version under development)

The U.S. Constitution as amended—searchable and annotated with references to federal court opinions and law review articles—can also be found on LexisNexis Academic. Here you will find links not only to cases, but also to secondary sources including treatises, legal encyclopedias, and law review articles. UW Restricted


Historical Materials

The Founders' Constitution from the University of Chicago Press is a searchable collection of full-text documents compiled by constitutional scholars Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner.

The Library of Congress—in one of its American Memory historical collections—presents materials from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, including:

You can also find a transcript of the Introduction and the U.S. Constitution from the First Volume of the Annals of Congress.

The Federalist Papers (The Federalist), from Thomas, the U.S. Congress's public legislative website—arranged numerically and with author information. U.S. Constitution page 1

The Federalist Papers (The Federalist), from Yale Law School's Avalon Project—arranged numerically.

The U.S. National Archives and Record Administration provides links to historical materials and images of the actual U.S. Constitution.


Additional Resources

Members of the House of Representatives, 112th Congress, read the U.S. Constitution on the House Floor.

The Supreme Court of the United States explains its "authority of constitutional interpretation" in Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes's address, The Republic Endures and This is the Symbol of its Faith.

The White House website includes a Constitution page.

The National Constitution Center—a "nonpartisan, nonprofit institution devoted to the Constitution"—provides links to a variety of educational resources, including an interactive Constitution.


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