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Search the USConstitution.net Site

Spy on searches. See the 30 most recent searches handled by the search engine.

Enter a word or words to search on in the box below. All messages and all pages will be searched for the words you provide. See the details below.

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For your convenience, some of the more common searches are pre-defined:

1st Amendment - 13th Amendment - 14th Amendment - Bill of Rights - Due Process - Freedom - Marriage - Pledge of Allegiance - Religion - Separation of Church and State - Slavery - Succession - War Powers


  • Spell correctly (common misspellings)
  • Use the Spell Check button to check your spelling - misspellings may find matches in messages, even though more matches may be found with the proper spelling
  • Typing in a question probably won't help, as most common words are ignored. Try just typing in key words (e.g.: Try "president articles confederation" instead of "Who were the presidents under the Articles of Confederation?")
  • Search for "1st" or "first" to find the 1st Amendment.
  • Search for "25th" instead of "xxv" to find the 25th Amendment.
  • Search for "impeach" to find "impeach," "impeachment," and "impeachable."
  • Search for "179" to find the years 1790-1799.
  • Use the singular form of a word to search for the singular and the plural (e.g.: "Senator" finds "Senator" and "Senators")
  • Searching for a name? Search for the last name.
  • Too many matches? Add a word to your search.
  • Once you're on a page found by the search, use your browser's search function to find your search term(s) on that page.

The USConstitution.net search engine is a nascent attempt at a fast, server-friendly search engine. The concept is simple: allow the user to search for a list of words, with an implied "AND" between them. Instead of searching all the files, search a list of words. The engine is now in its third generation; the first allowed only one-word searches; the third generation added "scoring."

This was accomplished by doing the following: no one- or two-letter words or one- or two-number numbers are indexed. Common words, like "the" and "how" are not indexed. Numbers with more than five digits are not indexed. Words with the root word "constitution" are not indexed (as they would lead to too many useful matches). All words are in lower-case. Create a list of words on a daily basis. Do prefix-matching (in other words, "impeach" matches "impeach" and "impeachment"). Do not do regular expressions. Store all unique words in a message or on a page in a one-line-per-file database, quickly searched using Perl.

Scoring is provided as an aid to the user. It shows what matches might be more relevant. If you search for "president," and the word appears in a document five times, a score of "5" is assigned to the match. Adding "bush" to the search might find a document with 10 occurrences, for a total score of 15. A match with a score of 15 might be better than one with a score of 3. However, this is only a guide.

This third crack at a search engine has a lot of room for expansion, such as boolean operators and wild card searches, and other common search features. I'll get to those as time goes on.

Using the "embedded match" feature

You can modify the way the search works if you find that you are getting too few matches. Normally, the search only finds the words you type in if they appear at the beginning of an indexed word. For example, if you type "quest," the search engine will find words like "quest" and "question," and "request." Allowing embedded matches provides the widest search, but it also slows down the search. For best results, only use embedded matches if a normal search does not find what you're looking for.

URL: //www.usconstitution.net/constsearch.html