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

When researching an issue or area of law for the first time, we suggest you begin with a secondary source such as a legal encyclopedialegal treatise, or ALR.  Though not comprehensive, on this page you will find a selective list of print and electronic treatises, books, study aids, and other secondary sources on constitutional law. 

Consult our Constitutional Law Treatise Finder for additional texts & study aids.  Also consult our research guides for secondary sources on other specific areas of law related to constitutional law, such as our Supreme Court Research Guide and American Legal History Guide.

Study Aids

Texts & Treatises

Finding Additional Sources (Databases)

The following resources are useful places to look for additional secondary sources on Constitutional Law topics:

Finding Additional Sources (Catalog)

Expand your search by using subject headings in the law library's catalog to locate more sources.  Relevant subject headings from our catalog include:

  • Constitutions -- United States
  • Constitutional law -- United States
  • Constitutional law -- United States -- Amendments
  • Constitutional law -- United States -- Amendments -- Ratification
  • Constitutional law -- United States -- Interpretation and construction
  • Constitutional law -- United States -- Philosophy
  • Law -- United States -- Interpretation and construction
  • Law -- United States -- Interpretation and construction -- History
  • United States. Constitution - 1st-10th Amendments
  • United States. Constitution 1st-10th Amendments -- History
  • Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804
  • Jay, John, 1745-1829
  • Madison, James, 1751-1836

Catalog Searching Tips: To search materials in the catalog by subject, use our Advanced Search. Select "subject" in the first drop-down box, then enter a subject heading (such as one of the above) in the corresponding search box.  You can run the search alone or include additional terms in additional search boxes below.  To find books, it may help to first narrow your search to "Law Library Catalog" or "Georgetown Univ. + Local Academic Libraries" using one of the radio buttons at the top of the page.  After running a search, you can sort by "Date-newest first" on the left to put the most recent materials at the top.  You can also narrow your results to books only on the left under "Resource Type."

Journals & Newspapers

Lexis and Westlaw's law journal databases are the most popular places to search for relevant law journal articles. Searching Lexis and Westlaw's databases, however, is not necessarily the most efficient way of finding relevant journal articles, nor is it comprehensive. The Articles for Legal and Non-Legal Research research guide explains the differences between searching journal indexes and searching full-text databases. It also suggests legal and non-legal indexes and full-text databases.

There are several law reviews and journals dedicated to constitutional law; however, note that scholarly articles on constitutional law issues may appear in numerous publications, including publications that are general in nature, or specific to other areas such as criminal law, so you should not limit your research only to constitution-titled journals.

To identify and locate constitutional law-specific journals in our the library's collections, search the catalog by subject for "Constitutional Law -- United States -- Periodicals." 

Advocacy Organizations / Websites