The Quill Project

The Center for Constitutional Studies has a close partnership with The Quill Project of Pembroke College, Oxford, whose mission is to digitally model the creation of constitutions and other similar documents.  CCS directors and students work on a near-daily basis with the Project’s director, Dr. Nicholas Cole. We have helped build the Quill platform for the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, and just recently finished modeling the proceedings of the Utah Constitutional Convention of 1895. Presently, our Quill student workers are modeling the Congressional sessions that produced the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and are preparing to model more state constitutional conventions.

Explore the Utah Constitutional Convention of 1895

In 1895, delegates from across Utah met in Salt Lake City to debate and draft a constitution for the state. Some of the most heated topics discussed throughout the convention include women's suffrage, prohibition, and the use of lands. Documents and debates were pieced together by students at Utah Valley University from newspaper articles of the time, the journal of the convention, and microfilm copies of the original documents. With extensive analysis and hard work, these students were able to create a comprehensive digital model of the proceedings of the Utah Constitutional Convention.

To learn more about this groundbreaking research, visit The Quill Project's Utah modeling. 

Explore the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787

Quill Visual

Deliberations on what would become the U.S. Constitution began on May 25, 1787, and proceeded through the hot Philadelphia summer until September 17. If you've wanted to read about these debates, there is no better way than over a parallel time-frame. Books we would recommend include James Madison's Notes, Max Farrand's classic The Framing of the Constitution of the United States, and Richard Beeman's more recent Plain Honest Men. And now, they can be supplemented with the most advanced tool for studying the convention, the web platform from the Oxford Quill Project. It allows users to precisely trace what debates were about and changes to the Constitution were made on any given day. It was designed by Professor Nicholas Cole of Oxford University (Senior Research Fellow, History), and was partly executed by our own CCS Wood Assistants Lance Merrell, Matthew Nolte, and Colten Sponseller. We are proud of the results and invite you to visit the Quill platform. It really is the best way to learn, "21st-century style," about the momentous summer of 1787.