A new website, launched in a beta version last month, seeks to democratize access to source materials of the Constitution so that anyone can more easily research and learn from the history that led to its creation, ratification and amendments. The site, ConSource. represents a major redesign and relaunch of the site of the Constitutional Sources Project, a Washington, D.C. non-profit.

The website is a free online library of more than 19,000 source documents related to the Constitution. It includes letters, journals, newspaper articles, speeches, and other first-hand records from U.S. history and pre-history. Current collections include James Madison’s handwritten notes, the papers of George Washington and records of state ratification debates. It also includes early English documents, such as the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights.

ConSource will eventually contain texts and images of constitutional sources from antiquity to the passage of the 27th Amendment in 1992.

The beta site will continue to be built up over the next year, with plans to add features such as community-driven document digitization and annotation.

To help pay for all this, the site is currently in the midst of a major fundraising campaign. The company Overstock.com has pledged to match every dollar raised before Dec. 31 up to $100,000. If you’re interested in donating, you can do so at the ConSource site.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.