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POLS 299: The South in American Politics (Klinghard): General Resources on State Government, Policies, Law, and Demographic Data

Racial History

Government & Politics

Description (from their about page): “Ballotpedia is the digital encyclopedia of American politics, and the nation’s premier resource for unbiased information on elections, politics, and policy. We provide our readers curated content on all levels of U.S. politics that is relevant, reliable, and available for all. We are firmly committed to neutrality in all our content. As a nonprofit, our mission is to educate.”

Tip: Using the navigation panel on the left-hand side, go to “government”, then “state government” for a list of links to each state’s Congress, legislature, and courts. Also has indexes of ballot measures for each state, most back to 1900 with clickable links to summary of the ballot measure and voting result.

Warning: there are a lot of ads on this site - so be extra careful what you are clicking on.

A Guide to State Legislative Research

This guide is a starting point for State Legislative Research, especially researching bills. The guide includes recommended resources and tips for effective research.




Access World News | Easy Search: All content (

Features a wide variety of international, national and local news sources, including the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Use search functions below to search for specific states to get a list of searchable titles of state-specific newspapers or search across multiples titles for state-specific news articles

  • “Map Search”

    • Choose North America -> USA -> State 

      • Click on blue text # of sources on the list on the left

        • List of newspapers - click on Title

          • Searchable individually

          • Browsable by date

      • OR...  Click on one or multiple states and use the search box on that page to search multiple newspapers from those states

        • Use filters on left to refine results by date, source type, etc.



Chronicling America « Library of Congress (

Extensive collection of historic American newspapers both big and small. The collection covers 1777-1963, and may be searched by keyword and by specific state. Sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

  • Use main tab “search pages” to select state, date range, and search terms

  • Or use Advanced Search for more limits

Social/Demographic Data & Statistics

Sage Data (formerly Data Planet): library database

An all-in-one resource for social science researchers and students to access statistics relevant to their areas of study. Scan and search the contents of billions of datasets, compare and contrast variables of interest, and create customized views in tables, maps, rankings, and charts. Obtain specific indicators and locations in 16 topical categories such as Banking, Finance, & Insurance, Education, Health & Vital Statistics, Labor & Employment, Military & Defense, etc.

Tip: Search datasets by subject or geography -> Subject: Government and Politics -> “electoral votes”

Social Explorer: Library Database

An online data reference tool for the United States. It unlocks 220 years of U.S. Census data and makes them available in an easy-to-use fashion with data visualization, reporting and downloads. 

  • Search and visualize US Census data and other sources from 1790 - present in interactive maps or tables

  • Click on "Explore" -> "Change Data" -> "Categories" OR "Search" for keyword

    • Example: Map of total slave population by state in 1830

    • Example: U.S Presidential Elections outcomes by state in 1936

State-specific legal/law information

Westlaw is a library database with primary law resources for U.S. federal and state cases including Supreme Court cases, law journals and other analytical legal materials.  Also has access to state level legal/legislative documents.

Tip to get to state-specific resources: 

  • On landing page, select “State Materials” tab (inside of the “Browse” box)

    • Select state

      • Under “Statutes & Court Rules”

        • State Constitution, Civil Codes, Criminal Procedures, etc.

      • Under “regulations” 

        • Nice browsability under each topic/title

      • Under “Secondary Sources”

        • State-specific Law Journals - searchable

        • Texts & Treatises  - Legislative Law and Procedure Handbook