Famous Documents in American History
The Articles of Confederation
Read the first constitution of the United States of America.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Read the actual text of the Fugitive Slave Act that was part of the larger Compromise of 1850.
Constitution of the Confederate States of America
"We, the people of the Confederate States, ...establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America." Read it in it's entirety.
Constitution of the United States
The document on which our federal laws (and in essence, our society) are derived from.
The Crittenden Compromise
The Crittenden Compromise was perhaps the last-ditch effort to resolve the secession crisis of 1860-61 by political negotiation. Authored by Kentucky Senator John Crittenden it was an attempt to resolve the crisis by addressing the concerns that led the states of the Lower South to contemplate secession.
The proclamation that outlawed slavery for all wishing to join the Union; it reinforced a moral ground on which to fight the Civil War.
The Federalist Papers
These influential papers are arranged in an easy-to-use chart. The site offers information regarding the author of each, where the papers were originally published and publication date if known.
George Washington's Farewell Address
Read the actual speech that George Washington gave upon leaving office after two terms as president. Find out the advice and warnings he offers to future presidents.
The Gettysburg Address: Drafts
Of the five known manuscript copies of , the Library of Congress has two. President Lincoln gave one of these to each of his two private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. This site has holograph images and transcripts to both the Nicolay and Hay drafts. From the Library of Congress site.
Keigwin & Matthews Collection of Rare and Historical Documents
A private collection of historical newspapers maps & writings focusing on the period in American history from the Colonial Period through the Jefferson Presidency.
The Magna Charta
Read this influential document from British history. The Magna Charta began Great Britain down the path to democracy.
The first charter of government by the people was established aboard the Mayflower in 1620 with this document that established the new form of government.
The Monroe Doctrine
Read the seventh annual address of President James Monroe and discover his feelings about european involvement in the western hemisphere.
Presidential Inaugural Addresses
The great speeches outlining the blueprints for each presidential administration.
Treaty of Greenville
The Treaty of Greenville, one of the most important Native-American treaties, marked the end of years of warfare between the United States and the Miami Confederacy.
Why is the Magna Carta seen as a key document in the founding of the US?
Learn about the Magna Carta and its importance to civil liberties and the US Constitution.