CCS Projects and Research


The Quill Project


The Quill Project studies the history of negotiated texts. It is a research project based at Pembroke College, Oxford. 

Using the records of the processes that have created constitutions, treaties, or legislation, Quill re-creates the contexts within which decisions were made and offers visualizations of the process of negotiation that led to the founding documents as we know them today. Its flagship project examined the work of the 1787 convention that created the U.S. Constitution.

Since 2015, CCS has assisted with most aspects of the Quill Project, including student engagement in digitizing and analyzing materials relevant to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and a growing number of state constitutional conventions.

As a result of this work, students have engaged in archival and historical work and related scholarship regarding the negotiation of the constitutional documents.

Read the latest on the CCS–Quill partnership here.


Constitutional Literacy Institute


To meet the challenges facing our nation today and into the future, the rising generation of citizens and leaders needs a broad understanding of political thought and practices critical to the preservation of constitutional government, ordered liberty, and the rule of law. The Constitutional Literacy Institute (CLI) is tool to assist K–12 teachers in their critical role in that process.

During a weeklong summer seminar each year, CLI provides professional development for teachers to increase their own constitutional literacy, and by extension, to help their students do the same.

Participants examine the U.S. Constitution through the lenses of history, law, economics, and public policy. Teacher attendees increase their personal understanding of foundational principles and dispositions of America's founding and its roots in classical republicanism, the British enlightenment, common law, and the Protestant-Christian tradition.

Participants learn constitutional theory from esteemed constitutional scholars from CCS, Oxford University, and elsewhere. Experienced teachers and UVU School of Education faculty provide customized pedagogical training, and each day culminates in a collaborative workshop to translate the constitutional and pedagogical information for classroom use.

Additionally, participants are trained on the University of Oxford-developed Quill Project, an award-winning software platform for the study of constitutional conventions and legislative debates.


Federalism Index Project


Created in 2018 and housed within CCS, the Federalism Index Project is a regional hub for the study and promotion of American federalism.

Its aim is to help educators, state leaders, and ordinary citizens better understand and appreciate the significance of American federalism in the overall structure of the United States Constitution.

Federalism can be defined as a political system that combines self-rule with shared rule across different levels of government. The structure of American government, which includes representation, bicameralism (two legislative chambers), separation of powers, and federalism, was vital to the early history of the American republic and it remains so today. In fact, the framers of the U.S. Constitution considered structural features of the Constitution to be so important that these alone were not left to later amendment. 

Although federalism is widely regarded as the “key innovation” of the U.S. Constitution, it is in danger of being forgotten. While no one doubts that federalism is a core principle of American democracy, the public's knowledge of it—and other structural components of the U.S. Constitution—is at dangerously low levels.

The Federalism Index Project aims to help reverse this trend by promoting the study of American federalism in higher education, K–12, and in the public sphere. Read more here.