July 11, 2010
The United States of America’s 234th birthday got me thinking: does Westlaw have the Declaration of Independence? I assumed the answer was “yes,” but I wasn’t completely sure where to look.
My first instinct was to check the United States Statutes at Large (US-STATLRG) database, which includes all laws enacted by Congress from the 1st Congress in 1789 to the 92nd Congress in 1972 (laws enacted after 1972 are contained in the US-PL and US-PL-OLD databases). The Declaration is obviously older than 1789 and isn’t a law enacted by Congress, but I thought it might be in there somewhere. And it is–a search in US-STATLRG for “declaration of independence” returns 25 documents, the first of which is the Declaration itself.
I then decided to see if any other database on Westlaw contained the Declaration. I typed “declaration of independence” into the “Search for a database” box and found something interesting. Legislative History – 1776 (LH-1776) is a database that contains not only the Declaration of Independence, but also other documents relating to the founding of the U.S., such as the Articles of Confederation and the Federalist Papers.
So if you’re ever looking for the Declaration of Independence or other “old stuff,” the aforementioned databases are a good place to start.