Little did James Madison know that if the Constitutional Convention could have just been delayed a couple of hundred years, he could have saved himself and his colleagues a lot of time. Instead of waiting weeks for crates of books sent from Paris by Thomas Jefferson, then studying those books to discover the weaknesses that ultimately destroyed the republics of history, Madison could have just Googled it.
In cooperation with Google Ideas, the Comparative Constitution Project has launched a site called “Constitute.” The purpose of the new venture is to make available the currently in force constitutions of over 160 countries around the world.
Anyone in the world may access these charters (searching by country name, for example), or users may select various topics and study their presence within the various governing documents.
The purpose of the creation of this database? According to the website:
New constitutions are written every year. The people who write these important documents need to read and analyze texts from other places. Constitute offers access to the world’s constitutions that users can systematically compare them across a broad set of topics — using a modern, clean interface.
As our own Constitution is judged by the caliber of men who crafted it, it would be likewise illuminating to learn the identity of the collaborators in the Constitute project.
Under the title, “Who is Behind Constitute?” the following information is provided by the consortium:
Constitute was developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project. It was seeded with a grant from Google Ideas to the University of Texas at Austin, with additional financial support from the Indigo Trust and IC2. Semantic search components were created by the Miranker Lab at the University of Texas. Engineering and web-design support are provided by Psycle.
The following organizations have made important investments in the Comparative Constitutions Project since 2005: the National Science Foundation (SES 0648288, IIS 1018554), the Cline Center for Democracy, the University of Texas, the University of Chicago, and the Constitution Unit at University College London.
There are disturbing “democratic” elements evident in most of these contributing organizations.
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Graphic at top: Screen-grab from https://www.constituteproject.org/#/