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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Abstract

Early in America's history, comprehensive compilations of existing state constitutions were printed and widely available to the public. These compilations have been largely overlooked as legal sources, but provide significant insights into this country's productive culture of constitutional history and law. This Article examines the distinct sources within the compilations, their variety and availability, and the guidance they provided to early American constitution-makers and the American people. As concise and authoritative sources, they were widely used and referenced during constitutional debates. Due to their availability to the public, these compilations helped democratize the process of constitution-making. A broader understanding of these influential compilations and the people who used them is especially relevant given the renewed interest in state constitutions as sources of independent rights separate from the federal constitution.

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