General Information on Politics
New York Times: Learning Network
This "free service for students in grades 3-12, their teachers and parents" offers background information on news stories, lesson plans and classroom activities, links to related resources, suggested family discussion topics, and other features to help with an understanding of current events. For more advanced information, you may want to visit
which is a lightly annotated site that provides numerous links to information on political media and commentary, public opinion, private organizations, state polls, and presidential candidates. requires (free) registration. From the New York Times.
Johns Hopkins University Library Guides: political Science Working Papers
Working papers are also called research reports, technical papers, or staff papers. Working papers are mostly sponsored by academic institutions, research organizations and some private organizations. Some working papers are eventually published in scholarly journals. Working papers summarize original research in a particular field of study. They are usually written by faculty, doctoral candidates, and research fellows, and can be very useful for identifying new ideas and concepts in a particular subject area. This site provides links to other sites which catalogue working papers from The Federal Reserve, The National Bureau of Economic Research, The Kennedy School of Government, The RAND Corporation, The Social Science Research Network, and more. Excellent, well-organized.
Teaching Websites from The American Political Science Association
An excellent annotated compendium of links relating to research and teaching of political science. The list ranges from information more appropriate for the serious researcher to links designed for the classroom teacher and student.
History and Politics Out Loud: a searchable archive of politically significant audio materials
This is "a collection of invaluable audio materials some available for the first time on this website capturing significant political and historical events and personalities of the twentieth century. The materials range from formal addresses delivered in public settings to private telephone conversations conducted from the innermost recesses of the White House." Contains audio from: Johnson, Nixon, Churchill, the 3 Kennedys, Clinton, Khrushchev and FDR, among others.
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
The Web site for "one of the largest archives and most complete libraries in the world devoted to political, economic, and social change in the twentieth century." Includes research papers, newsletters, online books, weekly essays by Hoover Fellows, and more. Based at Stanford University.
A Dictionary of Political Economy Terms
This is the online edition of A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Dr. Paul M. Johnson of Auburn University. Searchable and browsable.
American Government and Politics Online
This site offers a free online American government & politics "textbook," a historical & political documents archive and other resources for students, teachers and those generally interested in "this nation." The site includes a library of such items as the text of presidential inaugural addresses, important documents in US political history--i.e. the Constitution, Amendments, important Supreme Court decisions--and image and sound files of important political figures. Searchable.
The History Guy: A Resource for History, Military History, Politics, and Biography
Information on the governmental systems of selected nations, U.S. politics, biographies, news on current conflicts, and more from a high-school teacher and enthusiast.
National Debt Clock
Up-to-the-second display of the outstanding public debt and each citizen's share of the debt. Also provides links to news and a FAQ. Information comes from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Bureau of the Census' Population Clock.
History of Property Taxes in the United States
This essay describes the history of taxes based on ownership of property from Colonial times through the 20th century in the U.S. Topics include property taxes during the Revolutionary War, 19th century uniformity provisions ("property be taxed equally by value") in state constitutions, failure of the general property tax provisions in the 20th century, and California's tax revolt in 1978 (Proposition 13). Includes a short bibliography and course syllabus. By an emeritus professor from Wichita State University.
iCivics The Democracy Lab
The site is focused on providing games to help students to better understand government and how it works. In Do I Have A Right?, students run their own firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. In Executive Command, they can be President for four years. In Supreme Decision, students help cast the deciding vote in a Supreme Court case.
The Vietnam Center and Archive
This center's mission "is to support and encourage research and education regarding all aspects of the American Vietnam experience; promoting a greater understanding of this experience and the peoples and cultures of Southeast Asia." While the site features a virtual archive with over 2.7 million pages of scanned materials including "documents, photographs, slides, negatives, artifacts, moving images, sound recordings, and maps, the visually-impaired visitor is likely to be most interested in the
Oral History Interviews
Resources for Teachers.
From the Institute for Modern Conflict, Diplomacy and Reconciliation, Texas Tech University.
African-American Voices in Congress
The "for educators" section of the Avoice site is designed to bring to life the information on the history and work of African American Congressional members featured in the Avoice Virtual Library. For students, the goal is to encourage young people to pursue careers in government based on the exemplary work of previous and current congressional leaders. Each lesson unit corresponds to an Avoice exhibit and contains activities, primary document sources, worksheets, a vocabulary list, and a bibliography to guide teachers in using the library’s resources to supplement classroom instruction in U.S. History, Government, and Civic Education. Teachers may choose to follow the units in a sequential format or select specific activities most appropriate for students’ varying levels of learning skills and interests.
The Center for Democratic Institutions Audio Archive
The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI) was founded by Robert Maynard Hutchins and was based in Santa Barbara, California, from 1959 to 1987. During that time it brought together many of the most capable and distinguished minds of the times to discuss vital issues facing American society of the day. Political and academic leaders, scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, journalists, theologians, labor and community leaders focused on topics such as peace and war, democracy, dissent, community action, ecology and the environment, elections and the electoral process, immigration, international relations, law and order, the media, race and ethnicity, and religion. A project has begun to digitize and make accessible on the web some of the most important conference proceedings, talks, and dialogues recorded by CSDI. These have been grouped by broad topic areas. You will need to have Quick Time to listen to the audio.
The Political Graveyard
Billed as "The Internet's Most Comprehensive Source of U.S. Political Biography," you can find brief biographical information on over 200,000 American politicians, judges, and diplomats as well as where they were born, lived, died, offices held or sought, political party affiliation, and where buried. Clear, simple, easy to navigate design.
What Fuels the National Debt?
Brief overview of the factors involved in the creation of the national debt. Discusses the roles of Congress and the Treasury Department, and how part of this debt may be financed during wartime through war bonds issued by the U.S. government. From a company that provides investment advice.
The White House Blog
This is the official White House blog, launched in January 2009 at the start of the Barack Obama administration. Includes video and text of the "Weekly Address," and announces events, proclamations, executive orders, and other White House activities. RSS feed is available.
The American Presidency Project
This is the only website that contains a searchable database of tens of thousands of documents from U.S. presidents from 1789 to the present. Includes inaugural addresses, press briefings, signing statements, and debates. Also features data on topics such as popularity and number of public appearances, election results back to 1828, and an archive of audio and video clips. A collaboration between John Woolley and Gerhard Peters at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Presidents of the United States
This collection features "background information, election results, cabinet members, notable events, and some points of interest on each of the presidents. Links to biographies, historical documents, audio and video files, and other presidential sites are also included." Includes indexes to names and subjects, and a brief bibliography. From the Internet Public Library.
American Elections: The Learning Page
Introduction to the electoral system in the United States. Topics include requirements to be a presidential candidate, who can vote and how this has changed over time, the political party system, how presidents are elected (including the primary system and electoral votes), and significant issues through time. Part of a website designed for teachers from the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress.
Creating the United States
"This exhibition offers a remarkable opportunity to learn in a fresh new way how the [U.S.] founding documents . . . were forged out of insight, invention, and creativity, as well as collaboration and much compromise." Includes interactive features that "reveal the source documents and the careful crafting of language" in Creating the Declaration of Independence
The United States Constitution
as well as
The Bill of Rights.
Also provides related links. From the Library of Congress.
Constitution Day: Resources for Educators
Collection of links to sites relating to this September 17 event commemorating the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Features links to classroom activities and lesson plans.
US Government Directory Federal, State & Local Government
"Site contains over 17,000 federal, state, and local governmental links." Of special note are the sections for most states on its executive, legislaative, and judicial branches as well as the state constitution. On occasion, these links are accompanied by audio of legislative proceedings and extensive additional links to resources about the state.
All Things Political
The aim of this site "is to offer a more efficient gateway to leading political and governmental online resources. [Its]directories encompass many categories, ranging from the practical – with over 6,700 school district websites, 5,600 local and city government websites, and 2,100 county government websites – to the partisan – with over 1,100 Democratic and Republican county party sites. Searchable.
CongressLink - A Resource for Teachers Providing Information About the U.S. Congress
CongressLink provides information about the U.S. Congress -- how it works, its members and leaders, and the public policies it produces. CongressLink is directed to teachers of American Government and civics. It is multi-featured, offering original content (including lesson plans and historical materials) and up-to-the-minute information about Congress. This is an excellent accessible site.
Congress for Kids - Interactive, Fun-filled Experiences About the Federal Government
Uncle Sam takes you on a tour through American history, the important documents and their creation, and the branches of government. Links to important government sites are also included.
FedNet - The Leader in Multimedia News Production
This site by FedNet offers broadcast coverage of the United States Government online. It delivers daily broadcasts of both the Senate and House floor debates, Congressional hearings, The White House and other agencies around the Washington, DC, area.
U.S. Senate: Virtual Reference Desk
If you are seeking general information on the Senate, the legislative branch and process, or on the federal government, this is a good place to begin. Links are arranged broadly by subject and may take you to PDF documents, useful sources on the Web, or other Senate Web pages.
House Committee on Foreign Affairs:: U.S. House of Representatives
This site contains press releases, a weekly schedule, hearing information and transcripts, along with other Committee material. This is the Committee with jurisdiction over matters including relations with foreign nations, embassies, national border lines, exports, foreign loans, international conferences, and international relations. The
US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
has oversight over the foreign policy agencies of the U.S. government, including the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Peace Corps. The Committee reviews and considers all diplomatic nominations and international treaties, as well as legislation relating to U.S. foreign policy.
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: The Supreme Court
Background about the Senate Judiciary Committee's role in holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees. Includes a listing of previous justices. Also features sections on judicial nominations, executive nominations, and the nomination process. Searchable.
as well as the
host sites on the Committee on Homeland Security. This congressional committee created in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 features dozens of press releases and reports on topics such as border security, emergency preparedness, and infrastructure protections.
Congressional Votes Database
This database features "every vote in the United States Congress since the 102nd Congress (1991)." Browse votes by member, or by topics such as party, state, region, "boomer status," gender, missed votes, and even astrological sign; and for specific types of votes, such as impeachments, nominations, and treaties. Offers an RSS feed of recent Congressional votes. From washingtonpost.com.
Contacting the U.S. Congress
"Contacting the Congress is a very up-to-date database of congressional contact information for Congress. As of February 21, 2007, there are 538 email addresses (of which 507 are Web-based email homepages), and 539 WWW homepages known for the 540 members of the 110th Congress. Traditional ground mail addresses are available for all current members of Congress.
NewsIsFree: Your Personal News Portal
NewsIsFree is an online news reader, RSS Directory and news search engine. The site claims to have pioneered the RSS and news syndication field. It carries a broad selection of high quality news sources and provides headlines from sites which do not provide rss feeds. It includes world, sports, entertainment, science, health, technology, economic, and other news. Basic site information is available in English, French, or German; the sources cited are in their original language. Site is searchable, and may also be browsed through a categorized index. Free registration allows for personal customizing and there are also fee based options.
World Press Review is the journal of record for an influential global audience, providing an unprecedented platform for ideas and opinions on topics of significant international concern. For more than 30 years, World Press Review has been the only English-language magazine giving readers a first-hand look at the issues and debates that occupy the world's newspapers and magazines. Drawing upon publications around the globe, and a network of correspondents in dozens of countries, World Press Review illuminates the issues that barely see the light of day in the mainstream U.S. press, translating, reprinting, analyzing, and contextualizing the best of the international press from more than 20 languages.
Google: News Archive Search
This is "an easy way to search and explore historical [news] archives." Some news articles are free, while the remainder are fee-based. Note: Before purchasing news articles, users are cautioned to check with their libraries to see if these articles are already available to them at no added cost. From Google.
This site allows users to "quickly and easily find targeted news on the Internet" with the aid of "artificial intelligence algorithms that continuously monitor breaking news from over 10,000 sources, 24 hours a day" and cluster news stories by subject and geography. Search by topic, city, or ZIP code; or view news in categories. Is especially good at identifying local news stories.
Federal News Service: Congressional Transcripts Online
Must reading for any serious or advanced student or researcher of government or finance. Contains verbatim transcripts of Congressional hearings, Washington newsmakers, Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as taping and transcribing of news in 80 different U.S. broadcast markets and a schedule of events transpiring in Washington.
You "can track what is said on your issues or interests in the online edition of 4,000 media outlets. Totally customizable with the results delivered to your desktop each morning." Archives go back to 2002. The search feature carefully targets the site's database and, like the entire site, is extremely screen-reader friendly.
U.S. Government RSS Directory
"This site provides access to government sites with RSS feeds. Topics include agriculture, business, education, health, international relations, and science. Also includes a link for downloading RSS readers. RSS has several meanings: Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, and RDF Site Summary, where RDF stands for Resource Data Framework. In any case, it's a method of summarizing the latest news and information from a website, that can be easily read by many news readers or news aggregators.
Government Information: Making Government User Friendly
"GOV.com is a partnership of private enterprise and public-sector government news and information bureaus, with the goal of delivering official information from official government sources, preserving the highest level of information integrity. GOV.com serves everyone from academics seeking verifiable source data and statistics for analysis to individuals seeking government news and policy untainted by media editing, opinion or commentary."
Center for American Women in Politics
"This site . . . provides up-to-the-minute information and analysis on the developing women's political movement. The Center's National Information Bank on Women in Public Office, with its growing database on current and past women officeholders and candidates, offers timely and accurate summary information, specific demographic and political data on individual officeholders, and a picture of the trends and context in which women's political history is being made. Much of this information is available in the Fact Sheet." From the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
"The Politico launched in January, 2007 with the mission of covering the politics of Capitol Hill and of the presidential campaign, and the business of Washington lobbying and advocacy with enterprise, style, and impact. You can search by author, article date, or key words. The Politico is a publication of Capitol News Company, LLC.
OpenCongress - 112th Congress - Track bills, votes, senators, and representatives in the U.S. Congress
"OpenCongress brings together official government information with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind what's happening in Congress. OpenCongress is a free, open-source, non-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to help make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement. OpenCongress is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation."
"This Web site, staffed entirely by professional journalists, was originally envisioned primarily as a resource for newsmen and newswomen who cover state government. Readership includes thousands of state officials, students of state government and ordinary citizens who want to keep track of what's going on in their state capitol and in other states throughout the country." You may search or browse by state or topic. From the Pew Research Center.
Political Communication, Polling, and Campaigns
American National Electoral Studies
ANES "produces high quality data on voting, public opinion, and political participation to serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, policy makers and journalists." Its website features graphs and tables on public opinion and electoral behavior (1948-2004), downloadable data, reports, and links to other election study sites. For the advanced student or researcher. A collaboration of Stanford University and the University of Michigan.
Political Campaign Communication
Watch dozens of the 2008 presidential campaign ads for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Also includes advertising from prior elections, such as the 2006 California gubernatorial campaign and the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections. Also provides a feature on negative advertising. From Stanford University.
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
"Frequently cited by journalists, public officials and researchers, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll regularly surveys residents in Connecticut, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and nationwide about political races, state and national elections, and issues of public concern, such as schools, taxes, transportation, municipal services and the environment." Find polling results back to the late 1990s on topics from presidential elections in swing states to Boston Red Sox fan support in Connecticut.
Red, Blue, and Purple America
Website for "a joint project from The Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute, [which] joins leading demographers, geographers and analysts in examining the impact of seven trends on the 2008 election and the future of American politics." Features project papers on topics such as the decline of the white working class and immigration and America's changing electorate, February 2008 conference material, and related articles such as "The Search for the Next Soccer Mom."
Past Convention Coverage
News and photo essays on the Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions for 1896 -1996. The first Democratic national nominating convention was held in 1832. "The Republicans' first convention as a national party was held in 1856." Covers conventions such as the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago with its Vietnam War protesters, and the 1924 Democratic convention in which the candidate was not selected until the 103rd ballot, a record. From The New York Time.
Fundamentals of Polling
"This tutorial is intended to offer a simplified glimpse into some of the fundamentals of public opinion polling. Designed for the novice, [it] provides definitions, examples, and explanations that serve to introduce interested students to the field of public opinion research." Topics include sampling, total survey error, and reading tables. Provides a glossary of polling terminology. From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut.
How Do Caucuses Work?
This essay, written during the 2008 Presidential campaign, explains how caucuses work, and outlines the differences between presidential primaries and caucuses, which are both "a means for each political party to let voters nationwide select their party's presidential nominee." The Iowa caucus (the first of the presidential election year) is used as an example. Includes links to further information about the U.S. presidential election system. From HowStuffWorks.
Third Parties in American Politics
This 2004 interview with Professor J. David Gillespie covers the role of third parties in American politics. Topics include constraints on third-party participation, media coverage of third parties, and specific third parties such as the Anti-Masonic Party of the early 1800s, the Progressive Party (Bull Moose Party) from the early 1900s, and the Reform Party, which was founded by Ross Perot in the 1990s. From the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs.
What Is the History of Third Parties in the United States?
An introduction to the types of third parties in U.S. government and politics. Features a table listing parties, third party presidential candidates, voting percentages, and electoral votes. Parties listed include Free Soil, Populist, Progressive (Bull Moose), American Independent, Reform, and Green. From a company that publishes an online American government and politics textbook.
Who Votes, Who Doesn't, and Why: Summary of Findings - Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
This October 2006 report of survey results about American voting habits and views provides data on topics such as factors affecting whether people vote, views of country and community, and demographics of voters and non-voters (both registered and not registered). Includes a summary of findings and the full report. From the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
Generation X Speaks Out on Civil Engagement and the Decennial Census: An Ethnographic Approach
This 2003 study provides information and data based on 2000 census questions related to civic involvement addressed to blacks, Afro-Caribbean immigrants from Haiti and Jamaica, American Indians, Southeast Asians, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic white Americans, all of whom were born between 1966 and 1980. Includes information about education, income, core values and issues, involvement in the community, and related matters. From the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Rhetorica Network: Analysis of Rhetoric, Propaganda, and Spin in Politics and Journalism
"Offers analysis and commentary about the rhetoric, propaganda, and spin of journalism and politics, including analysis of presidential speeches and election campaigns." In addition to a blog, this site has background information on rhetorics ("Rhetorics Primer") and explanations of critical terms and techniques ("Critical Meter"). From a rhetoric scholar and former journalist.
The Center on Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
CIRCLE "conducts research on the civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25." Its website features quick facts on youth voting, civic education, trends (by race, ethnicity, and gender), youth demographics, non-college youth, and community service. Also includes fact sheets, reports, data sets, and links to related sites. From the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University.
The Pew Research Center
"The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does so by conducting public opinion polling and social science research; by analyzing news coverage; and by holding forums and briefings. It does not take positions on policy issues." Its survey results, which are frequently published on this site, may be of particular interest. Weekly newsletter is available.
Vanderbilt Television News Archive
"The Vanderbilt Television News Archive is the world's most extensive and complete archive of television news. [It has] been recording, preserving and providing access to television news broadcasts of the national networks since August 5, 1968. The collection spans the presidential administrations of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The core collection includes evening news broadcasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC (since 1968), an hour per day of CNN (since 1995) and Fox News (since 2004). Special news broadcasts found in the Archive include political conventions, presidential speeches and press conferences, Watergate hearings, coverage of the Persian Gulf War, the events of September 11, 2001, the War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq."
Individuals may request "loans of items from [the] collection for reference, study, classroom instruction, and research. [Vanderbilt] offers DVDs that are duplications of entire broadcasts as well as compilations of individual news stories specified by the borrower."
Polls Can Effect Presidency
"The Gallup organization first started asking Americans how they approved of the job the president was doing in the 1940s. See how each president since then has fared in the approval poll, look at some news events that influenced public opinion and compare how approval ratings evolved for each president.
"Although the Gallup organization started asking Americans their opinions on presidential job performance during Franklin Roosevelt's term, Harry Truman's presidency was the first that the question was asked from the start of the term. Even then, Gallup asked the question infrequently. Now, Gallup's public opinion polls come out frequently. Although each poll is only a snapshot in time, over the course of history, the polls tell an interesting story about each presidency and American attitudes." Includes an excellent explanation of the significance and limitations of the polls. From The USA Today.
"PollingReport.com's subscriber pages contain state-by-state data from election and issue polling: campaign polls, media polls, academic polls, and polls by political, business and public-interest groups. We track U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, hot U.S. House contests, the presidential race, ballot initiatives and referenda, and major issues. Campaign coverage includes candidate match-ups, job and favorability ratings, reelect questions, and more. New surveys are added as they are released. Data are from primary sources only -- not cribbed from wire stories, blogs or tip sheets." Most all of the information on the site requires paid registration, but, for the person addicted to politics, it may well be worth it.
American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States
Although the site is cluttered for use with a screen-reader and takes some getting used to, it is worth the effort. The visitor can find an extensive catalog of speeches, ranging from important addresses of state to movie speeches. You can hear the actual speech along with the associated text. In addition, the site features some links to material of use in understanding and evaluating oratory.
"Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 75 years. Gallup's reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world's leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology" to help interpret survey results. Not only find out the basics of public opinion polling but see some of the results of current polls, both in the United States and internationally.
Public Opinion Surveys: Cornell University
This site is for the more advanced user but is an outstanding source of all kinds of information. "The data archive maintains a collection of social and economic datasets, about 27,000 online files and thousands of studies on CD-ROMs and DVDs. It's a centralized source for numeric data files: their acquisition, storage, maintenance, and use. [The site] supports the research activities of social science faculty, students, and staff at Cornell University.
"The collection includes federal or state censuses, files based on administrative records, public opinion surveys, economic and social data from national and international organizations, and studies compiled by individual researchers. You can search [the] holdings or browse studies by subject area."
Guide to Public Opinion Polling From Around the World
This annotated compilation of websites "focuses on significant Internet sites concerning general public opinion polls, especially those providing polling results in usable formats." The scope does not include "Web and blog polls, as many are unscientific, biased, or oriented toward amateur efforts." Published in the October 2006 issue of C&RL News, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
"Polls, public opinion research, national surveys on public attitudes toward press, politics, public policy issues; funded by Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew Research Center tracks trends in values, political and social attitudes."
Pew Research Center: The Daily Number
"The Daily Number is a statistic, updated every weekday that highlights an important finding or trend. The Daily Number is typically drawn from surveys, research or analysis done by one of the Pew Research Center projects. Each day's entry includes links to additional information on the subject as well as to an archive of past Daily Numbers. Typical topics include support for the U.S. military, young people's views of marriage, and perception of the goals of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
Legal Information Institute @ Cornell
This site by the Cornell Law School, presents summaries of recent Supreme Court decisions. During the past term the Supreme Court ruled on: Affirmative Action, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law and Procedure, First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Intellectual Property, Foreign Policy, Foreign Sovereignty, and Voting Rights.
The Guide to Law Online – Law Library of Congress
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the U.S. Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information.
Web Guide to U.S. Supreme Court Research
A selection of annotated links to the most reliable, substantive sites for U.S. Supreme Court research. The sites mentioned here focus predominantly on information that is freely, or inexpensively, available on the Internet." Created by an Associate Law Librarian at Pennsylvania State University.
The Federal Judicial Center
The Federal Judicial Center is the education and research agency for the federal court system. Learn how the federal courts are organized. Discover
the history of the Supreme Court, courts of appeals, district
courts, circuit courts, and others. Find units for teaching
about notable federal trials -- the Sedition Act trials, the
Aaron Burr treason trial, Amistad, Chinese exclusion, and
Lawyers, Legal Forms, Law Books, Legal Software, and Free Information – Nolo
While this site is less accessible than it once was, it is still an excellent resource for information about the law. It helps people handle their own everyday legal matters -- or learn enough about them to make working with a lawyer a more satisfying experience. Everything that is publish is regularly revised, updated and improved by the site’s staff of lawyer-editors. The site provides articles on almost any legal topic, and links to other helpful websites.
Get Your Free Case Law on the Web
This May 2009 article describes and links to "10 sites that provide free access to [U.S.] case law. Each has its peculiar strengths and weaknesses. Which is right for your research project? The answer depends on what you need." Discusses jurisdictions, time periods, and searching options. From Law.com.
"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor welcomes teachers and students to the site for civics games, lesson plans, comprehensive resource link, civics-in-action projects, and more." Use the "Learn About Civics" section to find material about current members of the U.S. Supreme Court (and Sandra Day O'Connor), the three branches of government, tribal government, and state resources. Includes lesson plans on the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. From Georgetown University and Arizona State University.
Exploring Constitutional Law
"This site explores some of the great issues and controversies that surround our Nation's founding document." Read the full text of the Constitution, find links to material on Constitutional history, see how Supreme Court justices have divided on landmark cases back to 1989, find material about dozens of Constitutional issues, and more. From a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
Justia :: Law & Legal Information for Lawyers, Students, Business and the Public
The goal of this site is "making legal information, resources and services easy to find on the Internet." Features summaries of legal practice areas, links to federal and state law sources, information about law schools and lawyers, and material on noteworthy cases involving computer and Internet technology (such as Facebook and Google). Also includes information about public interest and pro bono projects. From a company that also provides online marketing solutions for law firms.
The Public Library of Law
PLoL bills itself as “one of the largest free law libraries in the world. The staff assembles law available for free scattered across many different sites all in one place. You can find Cases from the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal; cases from all 50 states back to 1997; Federal statutory law and codes from all 50 states; regulations, court rules, constitutions, and more. Searchable.
The Legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall
Background about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who as legal director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had argued "Brown v. Board of Education" before the Supreme Court. Also includes a timeline, photo gallery, video clips, bibliography, and material about his mentor and law school professor, Charles Hamilton Houston. Available in several languages. From the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs.Quick and Dirty Tips on Everyday Law
"Legal Lad offers concise, useful information from a practicing [California] attorney to help you decipher the laws that govern your daily life. Cover[s] areas of constitutional law, employment law, privacy rights, liability, criminal law, international rights, family law and wills and estates." Includes podcasts and transcripts on topics such as plea withdrawal, arbitration clauses, store security and shoplifting, drug screening, minimum wage, power of attorney, and nudity in public places. From a publishing company.
Signers of the Declaration of Independence
This series of essays covers topics related to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, including historic sites and buildings associated with the signing, and biographical sketches of the signers of the Declaration, such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson. Provides text and history of the Declaration and suggested reading. Based on a book that was issued by the National Park Service in observance of the U.S. bicentennial.
The Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress prepared the initial online annotated version of the Constitution in 1992, and supplements were released in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. This edition is a hypertext interpretation of the CRS text. It links to Supreme Court opinions, the U.S. Code, and the Code of Federal Regulations." Provided by the Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School.
A Guide to the Constitution for Kids
"While the language of the original Constitution may be difficult for children to understand, many educators
and other organizations have created websites, songs and other resources that put the content of the Constitution into kid-friendly terms and help children
understand that the issues in the Constitution relate to them too." Annotated links lead to excellent sites on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Inside the Courtroom: United States Attorneys Kids Page
This site provides an introduction to the workings of U.S. courtrooms. It includes a description of federal prosecutors and U.S. Attorneys, an illustrated guide to a courtroom and its participants, and a glossary. From the U.S. Department of Justice.
"This database offers constitutions, charters, amendments, and other related documents [for countries around the world]. Nations of the world are linked to their constitutional text posted somewhere on the Internet." Browsable by country. Includes links to texts in languages other than English. From the University of Richmond School of Law.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Grand Jury System
This FAQ about the federal grand jury system covers the purposes of the grand jury, typical term, selection of jurors, reasons for secrecy of grand jury proceedings, and specifics of the proceedings, such as witness consultation with a lawyer, immunity, and contempt of court. From the American Bar Association.
FindLaw: Family Law Center
Articles and resources about family law issues in the United States. Main topics include adoption, child custody, child support, divorce, and marriage and living together. Includes links to laws and related materials for each state and for specific topics, such as international adoption, physical and legal child custody, child support guidelines, spousal support (alimony), prenuptial agreements, same-sex couples, and more.
Complete collection of the 85 articles urging the citizens of New York to ratify the new United States Constitution. They were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, and were first published from October 1787 to August 1788. From the Lillian Goldman Law Library in Memory of Sol Goldman at Yale Law School.
Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School
This "is an ambitious effort to construct a collaboratively-created, public-access law dictionary and encyclopedia. It is sponsored and hosted by the Legal Information Institute [LII] at the Cornell Law School." Searchable, or browsable by category. Contributors are evaluated by LII before being authorized to add material. "In general [LII prefers] formal legal education and give preference to legal academics and distinguished practitioners."
Guide to Law Online
"The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the U.S. Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information."
Internet Legal Research Group
"A categorized index of more than 4000 select web sites in 238 nations, islands, and territories, as well as thousands of locally stored web pages, legal forms, and downloadable files, this site was established in 1995 to serve as a comprehensive resource of the information available on the Internet concerning law and the legal profession, with an emphasis on the United States of America. Designed for everyone, lay persons and legal scholars alike, it is quality controlled to include only the most substantive legal resources online."
The History of the Supreme Court
"Created by a collaboration of classroom teachers, historians, and legal scholars, the site presents the history of America's highest court within a series of broad themes drawn from the social studies curriculum. Examples include 'The Court and Gender', 'The Court and Young People', and 'The Court Today', which tracks the present changing Court in real time and focuses on the issues now under consideration."
Exploring Constitutional Law
"This site explores some of the great issues and controversies that surround our Nation's founding document." There are sections on introduction to the study of Constitutional law, how the Supreme Court functions, the power of judicial review, theories of Constitutional interpretation, etc. In addition, you will find links devoted to contemporary issues such as abortion, gay rights, the right to die, and the due process rights of students.
This "web site contains links to information of interest to people with disabilities, their families, employers, service providers and other community members." You can find information here that is difficult to locate elsewhere. While it is accessible for a screen-reader, it is, paradoxically, not WC3 compliant.
"This is an educational and non-commercial site maintained at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School. The Web's largest and most visited collection of materials relating to famous trials, from Socrates to Clinton. The site includes original essays, . . . primary documents, . . . transcript excerpts, chronologies, video clips, court decisions, and other materials to aid readers in understanding the significance of historic trials."
Legal Information Institute: Supreme Court
Hosted by the Cornell Law School, "this site features a collection of nearly all Supreme Court opinions issued since May of 1990, as well as a current schedule, a gallery of justices, and a glossary.
U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Recordings, Case Abstracts and More
"The Oyez Project is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work. It aims to be a complete and authoritative source for all audio recorded in the Court since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. The Project also provides authoritative information on all justices . . .."
"LexisNexis® is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets." You can find the "latest News from over 4,000 sources, including newspapers, tv transcripts, wire services, magazines, journals -- Politics, financial information, government, and education."
"Explore the history and impact of America's highest court at this PBS site."
Public Library of Law
PLOL bills itself as the "best free library of the law online," and this may not be an exaggeration. You can find cases from the Supreme Court and courts of appeal; cases from all 50 states back to 1997; Federal statutory law and codes from all 50 states; regulations, constitutions, and more.
Internet Law Library
"The Internet Law Library was originally provided to the public courtesy of the United States House of Representatives Law Revision Counsel Office. Part of the Counsel's mission is to make the law (particularly the U.S. Code) available to the public. When the U.S. House of Representatives discontinued hosting the Library, [the] site and several others were allowed to carry it." For the more advanced student.
Portals to the World
This site is a starting point for studying other countries. Learn about
the culture, economy, geography, government, history,
languages, politics, religions, and other aspects of more than
150 nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Find links to
authoritative, in-depth information selected by area
specialists and other staff at the Library of Congress.
WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources
"An Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of information and analysis in a wide range of international affairs, international studies, and international relations topics. These sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, favoring those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online. Each website is described only in general terms because of the typically rapid changes in the details of its contents and features." Well-organized, easy to browse, and accessible.
Union of International Associations Online Databases
"Listings of political sites available on the Internet sorted by country, with links to parties, organizations, governments, media and more from all around the world." These databases have extensive links to sites on international organizations, biographical profiles, bibliographies, statistics, and more. Some sections of the site require paid registration while others are free. Searchable.
Erik Herron's Guide to Politics in East Central Europe and Eurasia
"The site is designed to facilitate research on the politics and economics of transition states in the post-communist world." Includes "thousands of links to governmental and non-governmental web sites based in post-communist states." The countries can be searched individually, and the language of each site is indicated. The author is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas. You may need to use the non-Java version if you have trouble accessing the site.
The Infography about International Affairs
"The World Online," from Tufts University, is a portal that collects and links to international studies websites created by scholars, libraries, and government organizations. Links to scholarly journals, news sources, and statistical information in the field are also provided.
"Oxford Analytica is an independent, privately held company founded in 1975 to bring timely and authoritative analysis of world developments to business and government leaders from the best available scholar experts." Highly specialized and very accessible, you can find information on arms control, border conflicts, foreign policy, international law, international relations, invasions, sanctions, security, diplomatic talks, international treaties, war, industry, domestic politics of individual countries, and much more.
The United Nations home page leads to thousands of full-page publications of documents relating to international relations as well as the world agency itself.
BBC News Country Profiles
This site by the BBC, offers full profiles that provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries. These profiles also include audio and video clips from the BBC archives. The site is exceptionally accessible. Searchable.
Freedom of the Press Publications
Freedom House has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980. Its annual survey tracks trends in global press freedom and draws attention to countries or regions where such freedom is under threat. Considered an authoritative assessment of media freedom around the world, the survey's findings are widely utilized by policymakers, scholars focusing on democratic development, educators and students, press freedom advocates, journalists, and governments and international institutions. Now covering 194 countries and territories, Freedom of the Press: A Global Survey of Media Independence provides numerical rankings and rates each country's media as "Free," "Partly Free," or "Not Free." Country narratives examine the legal environment for the media, political pressures that influence reporting, and economic factors that affect access to information.
America -- Engaging the World
"This site delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture." Includes webchats, webcasts, podcasts, blogs, and social networks on topics ranging from American life, economy, and U.S. government to education, international relations, and people and places. "It is produced by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs."
Electronic Research Collection of the Department of State
The Electronic Research Collection (ERC) is a partnership between the United States Department of State and the Federal Depository Library at the Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago. The Government Printing Office, which is responsible for the national system of federal depository libraries, officially recognizes this unique partnership as the first electronic partnership agreement between an executive agency and a depository library. This partnership began in 1994. ERC is responsible for electronically archived information produced by the State Department. You can find information from 1990 to 1997. You can find information on defense, foreign trade, counter-terrorism, and more. For more current information on the Department of State, visit
The Department of State Home Page
"Press TV is the first international Iran-based news network to broadcast in English on a round-the-clock schedule." It "offers broad news coverage, specifically focusing on the Middle East," and aims to "tackle the controversial global news agenda and broadcasts cutting-edge documentaries with political, social and economic contents." The site features news articles and the opportunity to watch or listen to live coverage.
Guide to Public Opinion Polling From Around the World
This annotated compilation of websites "focuses on significant Internet sites concerning general public opinion polls, especially those providing polling results in usable formats." The scope does not include "Web and blog polls, as many are unscientific, biased, or oriented toward amateur efforts." Published in the October 2006 issue of C&RL News, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries.
RAND Voices of Jihad Database
"This online database is a compilation of speeches, interviews, statements, and publications of jihadist leaders, foot soldiers, and sympathizers. Nearly all content is in English translation, and has been collected from publicly-accessible websites. Original links are provided, along with excerpts and full-text content when available."
"Track global public opinion on current issues." This site "monitors democratic conditions around the world, by reviewing background information, assessing the latest campaign news and events, describing trends in voting intention, and reporting on the outcome of a particular ballot." From Angus Reid Consultants, a polling company.
World Public Opinion
Provides regionally organized information "on public opinion from around the world on international issues." Each report provides the questionnaire and methodology used in polling. Topics include development and aid, environment, trade, governance, security, justice, human rights, the United Nations, and more. Also provides links to sources for polling data. From the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.
"The CIA publishes and updates the online directory of Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments regularly. The directory is intended to be used primarily as a reference aid and includes as many governments of the world as is considered practical, some of them not officially recognized by the United States." Quite accessible.
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