What is ConText?
ConText is a groundbreaking online tool developed by the Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier in partnership with the Brookings Institution. Working with an interdisciplinary group of historians, political theorists, lawyers, technological innovators, educators, and you, we are all together crowd-sourcing the most important documents in our nation's history. With this site, you can explore historical documents through browsing the text, reading scholar commentary, and adding your own observations. In the process, you will delve into the document's historical context and realize its relevance to the contemporary world. The first text we explore in ConText is Madison's notes of the federal convention of 1787.
The Notes of Debates in ConText addresses a real need in our constitutional scholarship. There is currently no systematic, accessible commentary on the Notes that explains the details and context of each decision made at the convention, while also describing the subsequent (and ongoing) debates over constitutional meaning that have stemmed from those decisions. With this site, we are providing the most up-to-date analysis of the Framers’ debates by some of the country’s leading academic voices.
Montpelier’s Center for the Constitution continues to innovate and explore new ways of illuminating James Madison’s contributions to America’s experiment in constitutional self-government. Leveraging new technology, ConText is a fully searchable, multimedia experience that makes accessible one of the most important, and one of the least recognized, documents in American history.