Compare the world's constitutions with a new online tool
Constitutions are as unique as the people they govern and have existed in one form or another for thousands of years. Africa, for example, has the youngest set of constitutions, with 19 of the 39 constitutions written around the world since the 2000s.
The process of redesigning and drafting a new constitution can play a critical role in unifying a country, especially after periods of conflict and instability. In the past, it has been difficult to access existing constitutional documents in order to make comparisons - something essential for editors - because the texts were protected in libraries or on the hard drives of constitutional experts. Although the process of writing constitutions has evolved from chisels and stone tablets to modern pens and computers, there has been little innovation in the way its content is provided and referenced.
With this in mind, Google Ideas has supported the Constitutions Comparative Project to create Constitute, a new site that digitizes the world's constitutions and makes their content searchable. Constitute allows people to browse and search the contents of constitutions through tagged topics, such as by country and year. The Comparative Constitutions Project has cataloged and labeled nearly 350 topics, so that people can easily search and compare specific constitutional materials. Topics range from fairly general issues, such as "citizenship" and "Foreign Policy", to very specific ones such as "Suffrage and strikes" and "Autonomy and the Judiciary."
The aim is to provide editors with a better tool for designing and writing constitutions. We also hope that citizens will use Constitute to learn more about their own constitutions and those of countries around the world.