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The History of the U.S. Constitution

  • Primary Documents in American History - Includes a copy of the Constitution with marginal notes by George Washington is included in the Library of Congress' virtual collection.
  • The Charters of Freedom   This National Archives and Records Administration site includes digital images of the Constitution and related documents.
  • The Evolving Constitution  This article from the CQ Encyclopedia of American Government provides an overview and commentary on the evolution of the Constitution from the the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, to the ratification of the Constitution and the first ten amendments (known as the Bill of Rights).
  • Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline  Highlights selected events pertinent to our constitutional history over the past 200 years
  • Organization of the Constitution  Headings or brief phrases depicting  the infrastructure of government and themes covered in this pivotal document.
  • Interactive Constitution  Search the Constitution by topic, keyword or Supreme Court case via this interactive web site from the National Constitution Center.
  • What is Constitution Day?   The National Constitution Center and its partners provide resources for educators, employees, parents, and students to observe September 17th as the birthday of the United States government.

The Constitution: Foundation of Our System of Government

IInterpretations of the Constitution

Criteria and Procedures for Selecting U.S. Supreme Court Justices

Sample Issues for Supreme Court Deliberation

  • The Online NewsHour: Supreme Court Watch – PBS staffers describe how the Supreme Court term left doors open for future disputes. The site provides highlights of the Court’s deliberations as well as background information on the Justices and past rulings.
  • Point Austin: MUD in Your Eye – The Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 sued the US Department of Justice on the grounds that water and wastewater infrastructure bonding would be too burdensome if the district had to comply with the electoral preclearance provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act .
  • Court Unanimously Upholds Key Provision of the Voting Rights Act – The federal court rejected the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District’s claim to be exempt from enforcement of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Judges Uphold Voting Rights ActWashington Post staff writer, Del Quentin Wilber, provides a link to the 121-page opinion of two U.S. District Court judges and an appellate court judge who, on May 30, 2008, ruled that the Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One is “not entitled to an exemption from rigid requirements of the Voting Rights Act,” which Congress had appropriately reauthorized.
  • Cavala: Republican Party Begins Campaign to Suppress the Vote—“Lose Your House, Lose Your Vote” - Bill Cavala, former Deputy Director of the Assembly Speaker’s Office of Member Services in Sacramento, reports that, in the upcoming Presidential election, a ‘swing’ state may challenge voters on “residency” grounds if their homes have been put into foreclosure.
  • New Directive to Increase Protection for Ohio Voters from Partisan Voter Caging - MarketWatch reports that Ohio’s Secretary of State directs that voters be notified before “their right to vote is challenged” in the upcoming election.
  • 2008 Voting Challenges – The editors of America, The National Catholic Weekly suspect that the Indiana law requiring possession of a government-issued photo I.D. as a condition for voting is aimed at low-income persons, the elderly, people with disabilities, and racial minorities.
  • The Democracy Restoration Act – New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice has a fact sheet indicating why this bill, which would affect 5.3 million adults, is important. The Act will restore the right to vote in federal elections to American citizens who are released from prison or are serving probation.
  • H.R. 492: District of Columbia Voting Rights Restoration Act of 2007 – The bill to restore Federal election rights to the residents of the District of Columbia residents was introduced in January 2007 and referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Post Office and the District of Columbia in March 2007.
  • Ensuring Access to the Ballot Box: Voting Rights in the United States – Elizabeth M. Yang and Kristi Gaines make a case for “continued vigilance and study as changes in our society and technology affect our electoral process.”
  • Political Participation: Voter Identification, Voter Registration and Student Voting Requirements -- essay exploring voter suppression and limits on political participation from the American Constitutional Society.
  • Times Topics: Supreme Court, U.S. -- Features articles about the Supreme Court from the New York Times and other sources. Also includes biographical sketches of the Supreme Court Justices and multimedia links.

Professional Organizations

The Constitution in Teaching and Learning (Lesson Plans)


  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution [CD-ROM]. New York: Simon & Shuster Macmillan, 1996. Founders Library, Reference)
  • The Constitution, that Delicate Balance [videorecording]. Produced by Jude Dratt. 780 min. New York: Media and society Seminars of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 1984. (Media Center, JK34 C66 1984)
  • Blacks and the Constitution [videorecording]. Produced by the Howard University School of Law, April 13, 1987. 105 min. Washington, D.C.: Howard University School of Law, 1987. (Law Library, KF4757 .B53 1987)
  • The Afro-American Experience and the U. S. Constitution: Compromise, Conflict, and Change [videorecording]. Sponsored by the Washington Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar, and Howard University School of Law. 105 min. Washington, D.C.: Howard University School of Law, 1987. (Law Library, KF4757 .A97 1987)

For additional books, search Sterling or Daniel Web Catalog for the subject "United States. Constitution," or "United States. Supreme Court -- History," or "judges -- selection and appointment -- United States." Also, conduct a keyword search combining "constitution" and such terms as "strict construction," "judicial politics," or "voting rights." For videotapes, add "video" as a keyword in your search statement or limit the catalog searches by format (material type).

For journal articles, conduct keyword searches in databases such as Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost), America: History and Life, JSTOR, Lexis-Nexis, Project Muse or Social Sciences Full-Text (Wilson Web).


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