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State Constitutions Illustrated

HeinOnline's State Constitutions Illustrated database contains historical and current constitutions for all fifty U.S. states.

HeinOnline Specialist

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Stephanie Jacobson
William S. Hein & Co., Inc.
2350 North Forest Road
Getzville, NY 14068


Main Search Bar Tips

The main search bar is stationary throughout HeinOnline. After entering the State Constitutions Library, the Just Search for option within the one-box search will search within only this database and across all states. Need a refresher on how to construct a perfect search? Click Search Help for a quick reference guide to commonly used search syntax.

For example, enter the phrase “minimum wage” inside quotation marks into the search bar and select the Just Search for option.

This will produce results for all states, even if you navigate to the search bar from within a particular state. Use the facets on the left side of the page to narrow your results by Date, State Published, or Section Type. Terms matching the search query appear in bold text within the matching text page snippets. Sort search results by relevance, volume date, and title. Save to your MyHein, email a result, display download options, or download a PDF using the icons on the right side of each search result.  Use the icons next to the sort-by bar to modify your current search, to search within results, to toggle all matching text pages, or to turn OFF infinite scroll.

Full text results


Advanced Search

Click Advanced Search to be taken to a page with custom facets to help maximize your research within this collection. Users may recognize this page from World Constitutions Illustrated; that's because it's the same great search engine, but here tailored to states instead of countries.

Use the drop downs to choose a variety of ways to search; Adoption Date, Section Author, and Current Historical are the default suggestions, but other options include Document Description, Effective Date, and Official Reference Number, among others. Add another search field if three isn't enough. Select one state, Ctrl + click to select multiple states, or search all states. Restrict results within a date range and change how results are sorted.

Constitution search

Using the Advanced Search, let's explore Article XIV of the New York Constitution, also known as the "forever wild" section, which governs the state's Forest Preserve. Article XIV first appeared in New York's 1894 constitution; since its adoption, of the more than 2,000 amendments which have been introduced to this article only twenty have passed. One of those came on November 5, 2013, when New York State voters approved an amendment to Article XIV regarding a disputed area of land in the Raquette Lake area of Township 40. Since additional amendments on Township 40 have been introduced since the 2013 election, and we're only interested in this original amendment on the issue, we are going to use three fields to find the document we want: Description, Text, and Document Description. In the Description field, enter "article XIV;" in the Text field, enter "Raquette Lake" in quotation marks; and finally, in the Document Description field, enter "5 November 2013." Select New York from the list of states and search for one result.

Raquette Lake

About Venn Diagram Search

In the Constitution Search tab, we learned about constructing effective searches to take us straight to a particular document. But what if we are doing general research and not looking for a particular document, or building a search of multiple terms to learn about a topic? HeinOnline's new Venn Diagram Search offers a visual representation of how search terms interact with each other to help users both refine their current search terms and become better researchers going forward. 

Let's explore Article XIV some more with Venn Diagram Search, which can be accessed under both Advanced and Constitution Search. Searches are constructed by stringing together multiple terms separated by the Boolean operator "AND," with phrases grouped together in quotation marks.

Some of the most significant changes to Article XIV concern skiing in the Catskills and Adirondacks. In this example, let's search for "article xiv" AND whiteface AND ski to bring up results in the Venn Diagram.

Venn Diagram initial search

The results displayed on the right side of the page pertain to the search as we originally constructed it (represented by the red slice in the center of the intersecting circles). If we're interested in the results in the other circles, select Clear for the ability to hover over the different segments of the diagram. Once Clear is clicked, the twenty-two results will vanish from the right side of the page. Now as users hover over the diagram they will see all possible search term combinations from our original query. In our example, we can see results for ski AND whiteface, "article xiv" AND ski, "article xiv" AND whiteface, and the terms whiteface, "article xiv," and ski individually. Click one of these highlighted circles or intersections to explore their results. For example, we can change our search to see the thirty-four results for "article xiv" AND whiteface by clicking that slice of the diagram. Sort the results, save or export, turn to the specific page of a result, or start at the beginning of a given title.

Revised Venn Diagram search