- Library of Congress
The Library of Congress presents an "American Memory." Providing free and open access through the Internet to the written words, pictures, and maps that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history. These materials chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning.
Named after Thomas Jefferson, this Government site has many historical documents in its searchable archives.
- Articles of Association [ circa 1774 ]
Drafted in the face of oppression, the colonists full of anxiety and apprehension attempted to redress their grievances with England by way of these articles, which were the precursor to the Declaration of Independence.
- Articles of Confederation [ circa 1781 ]
The first draft of this document was delivered to the Continental Congress just eight days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After many changes, it became the United States' first constitution, and was adopted in its final form in 1781.
- Bill of Rights [ circa 1791 ]
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States. These first amendments, named the "Bill of Rights," were proposed by Congress on September 25, 1789, and ratified by the States on December 15, 1791.
- Constitution [ circa 1787 ]
While meeting to revise the Articles of Confederation, it became evident that an entirely new document would need to be drafted. The Constitution was born out of those thoughts, changes and revisions.
- Declaration of Independence [ circa 1776 ]
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11th and June 28th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was America's notice to the World, and especially King George III of England, of its new found freedom.
- The Federalist Papers [ circa 1787-88 ]
Written and published during the years 1787 and 1788 in several New York State newspapers to persuade New York voters to ratify the proposed constitution. The primary authors were Alexander Hamilton and James Madison with help from John Jay. In total, the Federalist Papers contains 85 essays outlining how this new government would operate and why this type of government was the best choice for the United States of America.
- The Anti-Federalist Papers [ circa 1787-88 ]
In contrast to the authors of the Federalist Papers, who supported ratification of the Constitution, not everyone agreed with them. Although the Pro-Federalists prevailed, the Anti-Federalists writings helped them play devil's advocate on certain issues they knew would surely be raised by the Anti-Federalists.
- The Magna Carta [ circa 1215 ]
King John, faced with the possibility of revolt and civil war, agreed to the demands of his Barons and granted the Magna Carta, which not only bound his subjects but himself and his heirs to the provisions contained therein.
- Mayflower Compact [ circa 1620 ]
The agreement reached among the first settlers who landed at Plymouth Rock.
- Royal Command to Christopher Columbus [ circa 1492 ]
Order to Christopher Columbus to search out the new world as granted by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.
See also, these cross-references: