Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Baum and Fritz on Constitutional Compilations

Marsha L. Baum and Christian G. Fritz, University of New Mexico School of Law, have posted American Constitution-Making: The Neglected State Constitutional Sources, which originally appeared in volume 27 (2000) of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. (One of their example's is The American's Guide, which went through many editions between 1810 and 1864.) Here is the abstract:

"American Constitution-Making: The Neglected State Constitutional Sources" looks at a frequently overlooked genre of literature pertinent to American constitution-making: comprehensive compilations of state constitutions that made their appearance from the first wave of constitution-making preceding (and following) the Federal constitution. Routinely issued in pocket-sized editions, the authors demonstrate the presence of these compilations in constitutional conventions and their use by constitution-makers from the Revolutionary period through the late 19th century. The significance of the process of "borrowing" provisions from other state constitutions is placed in a new and different light that raises intriguing questions about the level of American awareness, understanding, and interest in written constitutions in the 18th and 19th centuries. The article contains a Bibliographic Appendix of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Compilations of American State Constitutions.