Although constitutional originalism has attracted a remarkable degree of public and professional attention over the past several decades, little research has been conducted on the intellectual roots of modern originalism. This Article finds that American law schools housed few originalist theorists through much of the 1970s and early 1980s. However, after Edwin Meese III became U.S. Attorney General in 1985, the Department of Justice constructed a vibrant academy in exile, with government lawyers leading the way in the early development, theorization, and exercise of originalism. In addition to becoming the official mode of constitutional interpretation for Meese and the DOJ, originalism started to gain followers on the federal bench and within conservative social movements during the second half of the 1980s. As constitutional originalism grew in influence and professional use, academic interlocutors began engaging with and reimagining originalism more intently.