Historic American Documents


Historic American Documents

The history of the United States can be traced through the significant documents that have guided and inspired generations of Americans.

Source: This book was compiled by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology and includes passages from multiple sources. Please refer to the passage pages for further source information.

Patrick Henry’s Speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, Richmond, Virginia March 23, 1775
A transcription of Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech made before the Virginia House of Burgesses.
The Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson outlines the despot-like behavior of the King of Great Britain and declares that the United States of America will no longer recognize British rule.
The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named ten specific states where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.
The New Colossus
The author discusses the stature and symbolism of soon to be constructed Statue of Liberty in New York City.
The United States Bill of Rights
The ten original amendments of the United States Constitution, authored by James Madison, passed by Congress on September 25, 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791.
Address to the Federal Convention, Philadelphia, PA, September 17, 1787
Benjamin Franklin's address to the Federal Convention in Philadelphia, PA, September 17, 1787 as transcribed by James Madison.
  • Year Published: 2012
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 9.4
  • Word Count: 4,570
  • Genre: History
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