Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Constitutional Law and History Research Guide

This guide covers sources that are useful for researching Constitutional law and Constitutional history.

Introduction

This guide provides an introduction to resources for conducting constitutional law research. The U.S. Constitution is widely considered the world's oldest constitutional document still in force today. The broad topic of “constitutional law” deals with the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution and covers a wide variety of areas, from the body of law that regulates the federal, state, and local governments of the United States to the fundamental rights of the individual in relation to both federal and state government.

It is important to remember that conducting research on constitutional law, as with many other areas of the law, is not so much an endeavor in finding answers as it is discovering different approaches and learning the sources that guide constitutional interpretation.

Given the breadth and diversity of this topic, we typically recommend that you start your research with secondary sources such as treatises or legal encyclopedias to help you more quickly identify the focus of your research. This research guide includes information on finding historical documents and resources for U.S. Constitutional history research, primary sources, secondary sources for U.S. Constitutional law, and material on state constitutional law research.

As the U.S. Supreme Court plays an integral role in interpreting the Constitution, the study of this area also focuses heavily on the Supreme Court justices and the Court’s rulings. For more information on primary and secondary materials relating to the Supreme Court, consult the Supreme Court Research Guide.

Getting Started: Key Resources