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Documents that show the framers' (or ratifiers') intent, including:
- speeches and writings of early American statesmen
- records of the Federal Convention
- records of state debates on ratification
- the Federalist Papers (Hamilton, Madison & Jay)
- writings of the Anti federalists
- contemporary accouns in newspapers
Documents emerging from the legislative process
- drafts and differing versions of bills
- House & Senate Committee Hearings
- House & Senate Committee Reports (Serial Set)
- floor debate (Congressional Record)
- Conference Committee reports
Court Opinions/Decisions interpreting law
Briefs submitted by the parties
Presidential signing statements
Executive Orders & Proclamations
Regulations and documents coming out of rulemaking procedures
Opinions of the Attorney General
Author search in catalog:
names of "key players"
Subject search or keyword search:
The following words often appear in the subject headings for primary sources. Since keyword searches search the subject heading field, in addition to other fields, you may want to include these terms in your searches, or use these words to limit ("Words in subject") after a keyword or subject search.
- Search catalog by title Constitution of the United States
- Core Documents of Democracy through GPO Access
- LexisNexis Academic Legal - Federal and State Codes
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- The Constitution of the United States of America, analysis and interpretation: annotations of cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States to ...
Case Ref Document Y 1.1/3: (most recent issue)
LASR Gov't Document (older issues)
Records of the state debaties on ratification:
The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution
Tracse the Constitution's progress through each of the thirteen states' conventions
Author catalog search
United States. Continental Congress
Papers of the Continental Congress
Journal of the Continental Congress
"key players", e.g. the federalists
Contemporary accounts in newspapers, broadsides, etc.
Archive of Americana
Includes Early American Imprints (Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker) and Early American Newspapers series 1-7 and African American Newspapers 1827-1998
Nineteenth Century Masterfile
Important index to 19th century American and English periodicals. This database also indexes books, newspapers, patents, and government documents published in the United States prior to 1930. This is not a full text database, but we do have access to much of the material.
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
Every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in Great Britain during the eighteenth century, along with thousands of important works from the Americas.
Documents that show intent:
Catalog subject search or keyword search.
Constitutional amendments -- United States
Constitutional history -- United States
Constitutional law -- United States
United States Constitution
United States Constitutional Convention (1787)
various terms that describe the subject of each amendment:
e.g. Firearms -- Law and legislation
Bill Summary & Tracking
LexisNexis Congressional (now ProQuest Congressional) 1989-
Digest of Public General Bills and Resolutions 1936-1990
Case Ref Documents LC 14.6:
History of Bills & Resolutions (part of Congressional Record Index, see below)
LexisNexis Congressional (now ProQuest Congressional) 1824-
Committee reports/Serial Set
LexisNexis Congressional (now ProQuest Congressional) 1789-
(Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, Congressional Globe, Congressional Record)
Case Ref Documents X 1.1: (Permanent volume indexes)
FDsys (Daily indexes) 1993-
A Century of Lawmaking 1789-1873
LASR Gov't Docs Permanent 1789-1986
Case Microfiche Documents Permanent 1985-
LexisNexis Congressional (now ProQuest Congressional) Daily 1985-
FDsys Daily 1994-
FDsys Permanent 1998-
Thomas Daily 1989-
A Century of Lawmaking Permanent 1789-1873
Supreme Court Opinions
United States Reports (1754- )
LASR Gov't Docs JU 6.8:
(each volume has an index)
LexisNexis Academic (1790- )
Select U.S. Legal - Federal and State Cases -Jurisdiction: U.S. Supreme Court.
Lawyers Ed. includes annotated references.
United States Supreme Court (2006 term- )
FindLaw (1983- )
Also includes Opinion summaries from 2000-
Full text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme courts. Check the button for "Legal opinions and journals" before searching. Seach by case name (like Planned Parenthood v. Casey) or by topices (like desegregation). More information from the Google blog.
FEDWORLD/FLITE Supreme Court Decisions Homepage
Provides access to ASCII text of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions from 19367-1975. also has 325 historic court decisions. Also available via FDSys
Access to U.S. Supreme Court decisions and orders, released electronically by the court, from 1990-- via Cornell University's Legal Information Institute (HTML, PDF formats). Also contains information such as court calendar and rules.
Refugee Case Law
"This site is designed to assist judges, advocates, and policymakers around the world to access leading court decisions that interpret the refugee definition set by the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Our core collection contains cases from the highest national courts of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These cases have been selected and summarized by the Director of the Refugee Caselaw Site.
Briefs submitted by the parties (Supreme Court)
Landmark briefs and arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States
Case Main KF101.9 .L36
LexisNexis Academic US Legal -- Supreme Court Briefs
Supreme Court merit briefs for cases granted cert., amicus curiae briefs, joint appendices and special masters beginning in January 1979, with selected coverage from 1936. All briefs for cases granted cert. begins after 1993. Also includes all briefs for cases petitioning for cert. after 2001.
For October 1999 term to the present includes petitioner, respondent, reply and amicus briefs in multiple formats.
American Bar Association
Merit briefs from 2003-
Office of the Solicitor General (Dept. of Justice) From 7/1998 to present, all briefs filed by the Solicitor General, except responses to IFP cases. From 1993-1996, and 1986-1990 Solicitor General merits briefs and responses. From 1982-1985 Solicitor General merits briefs. Please see the web site for information on omissions, arrangement, and formats
Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Supreme Court data and analysis
The Supreme Court Compendium
Case Ref KF8742.S914 2007
American Presidency Project
Full text of signing statements, Public Papers of the President, executive orders and proclamations, press conferences, and more. Only place to read signing statments.
Weekly Compilations of Presidential Documents (1965-2008)
see Journal Finder
Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents (2009-)
see Journal Finder
Public Papers of the President (Hoover, Truman- )
Case Ref Documents AE 2.114:
American Presidency Project
Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Case Ref Documents AE 2.113:
LASR Main 353.03 Un31
Codification of Presidential proclamations and executive orders
Case Ref Documents AE 2.113:
Search Presidents as authors in catalog.
National Archives Executive Orders (1993- )
U.S. Attorney General Opinions (Hein Online)
Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice (Hein Online)