Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
library logo

Ask us!

U.S. History: Beginnings to 1877 - HIST201 - Primary Sources

Primary sources available in the library or on the Internet relevant to U.S. History before 1877.

Resources in Library Catalog

eBooks on this list are only available to RVCC students, faculty, and staff and require a login with your G# and password.

African-Americans

African American mosaic : a documentary history from the slave trade to the twenty-first century

With the proliferation of courses in African American history, a single collection of primary documents has become essential. This reflects both the recent trends and the enduring political and social themes regarding gender and culture in African American history.

Afro-American history : primary sources

50 complete documents present Afro-American history from colonial times to the 1970's. Includes speeches, articles, reports, and poetry from figures like: Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes, Stokely Carmichael, and Jesse Jackson.

Autobiography of a people : three centuries of African American history told by those who lived it

Contains primary source material from the early 18th to late 20th centuries.

Black protest; history, documents, and analyses, 1619 to the present

A wide selection of documents that provides the historical setting of today's protest thought and actions. Writings by: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, John Brown, Tom Hayen, William Bradford Huie, James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Stokely Carmichael.

The burden of race : a documentary history of Negro-white relations in America

Contains primary source documents spanning American history from slavery to the 1960's.

Civil rights and the American negro : a documentary history

Sturdy documentary evidence of the deep-rooted schism in American racial views, from the record of the first slave cargo in 1619 to the Summary of the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders.

Eyewitness; the Negro in American history

Illuminates the contributions of African Americans in every period of our history: from the early explorers to today's champions of true equality and civil rights. Clear narratives of every period set the stage for eyewitness accounts drawn from letters, army records, travel accounts, magazines, and other authentic sources of the times.

Freedom on my mind : a history of African Americans, with documents

This book weaves together narrative and a wealth of carefully selected primary sources. The narrative focuses on the diversity of black experience, on culture, and on the impact of African Americans on the nation as a whole. Every chapter contains two themed sets of written documents and a visual source essay.

Freedom on my mind : the Columbia documentary history of the African American experience

Chronicles the experiences of African-Americans from the Colonial era to the present, using personal letters, slave narratives, autobiographies, leaflets, speeches, oral histories, and political manifestos to recount African-Americans' efforts to pursue freedom in the U.S.

In their own words; a history of the American Negro

A history of Black people in the United States, as told through letters, speeches, articles, eyewitness accounts, and other documents. This is a collection of personal accounts of the experiences of African Americans. There are excerpts from the memoirs of slaves, from educator Charlotte Forten while observing a regiment of young freedmen, from Fannie Lou Hamer during unofficial hearings on brutality in Mississippi, & from Maya Angelou on being a black female artist. Issues from slavery to the Ku Klux Klan, to marches, boycotts, & political power, are presented.

Jim Crow New York : a documentary history of race and citizenship, 1777-1877

Jim Crow New York provides readers with both scholarly analysis and access to a series of extraordinary documents, including extensive excerpts from the resonant speeches made at New York’s 1821 constitutional convention and additional documents which recover a diversity of voices, from lawmakers to African-American community leaders, from newspaper editors to activists. The text is further enhanced by extensive introductory essays and headnotes, maps, illustrations, and a detailed bibliographic essay.

With pen and voice : a critical anthology of nineteenth-century African-American women

Here―in the only collection of speeches by nineteenth-century African-American women―is the battle of words these brave women waged to address the social ills of their century. In this chronological anthology, Shirley Wilson Logan highlights the public addresses of these women, beginning with Maria W. Stewart’s speech at Franklin Hall in 1832, believed to be the first delivered to an audience of men and women by an American-born woman.

Witness for freedom : African American voices on race, slavery, and emancipation

This documentary history of the African American struggle for freedom and equality collects eighty-nine documents that represent the best of the recently published five-volume Black abolitionist papers. In these texts, African Americans tell their own stories of the struggle to end slavery and claim their rights as American citizens, of the battle against colonization and the "back to Africa" movement, and of their troubled relationship with the federal government.

Women, Native Americans, immigrant groups

America's working women

Contains primary source materials and sections on black slaves, Lowell, women on the Oregon trail, nursing, white slavery, letters from black migrants, the Lawrence textile strike, the Triangle fire, and child care.

American Indians

This collection brings together recent essays covering over five hundred years of American Indian history. Attached to each essay are primary historical documents that deal with issues of survival, resistance, accommodation, and adaptation, all of which illuminate the complexity and diversity of American Indian experiences.

American women activists' writings : an anthology, 1637-2002

A collection of writings by American female activists highlights the contributions of women involved in environmental protection, wildlife conservation, civil rights, abolitionism, and many other causes. Includes works by Abigail Adams, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Amelia Earhart, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and many more.

Before they could vote : American women's autobiographical writing, 1819-1919

The life narratives in this collection are by ethnically diverse women of energy and ambition - some well known, some forgotten over generations - who confronted barriers of gender, class, race, and sexual difference as they pursued or adapted to adventurous new lives in a rapidly changing America. The engaging selections - from captivity narratives to letters, manifestos, criminal confessions, and childhood sketches - span a hundred years in which women increasingly asserted themselves publicly (eBook).

Chinese American voices : from the gold rush to the present

Offering a textured history of the Chinese in America since their arrival during the California Gold Rush, this work includes letters, speeches, testimonies, oral histories, personal memoirs, poems, essays, and folksongs. It provides an insight into immigration, work, family and social life, and the longstanding fight for equality and inclusion (eBook).

The Columbia documentary history of race and ethnicity in America

This invaluable resource documents all eras of the American past, including black/white interactions and the broad spectrum of American attitudes and reactions concerning Native Americans, Irish Catholics, Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans, and other groups. Each of the eight chronological chapters contains a survey essay, an annotated bibliography, and 20 to 30 related public and private primary source documents, including manifestos, speeches, court cases, letters, memoirs, and much more (eBook).

Controlling reproduction : an American history

This informative, detailed text contains 39 writings on the history of reproduction in the U.S. The historical path of reproduction control is viewed in the contexts of politics, law, medicine, sexuality, business, and social change.

Defining Documents in American History: Immigration & Immigrant Communities (1650-2016)

This text explores the full history of immigration issues in America, from those early immigrants making their way through Ellis Island, to immigration issues in modern society. With in-depth analysis of a broad range of documents, researchers come away with fresh understanding and insight to study this hot button topic (eBook).

I have spoken; American history through the voices of the Indians

A chronological compilation of both famous and unfamiliar Indian speeches from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.

Immigration: select documents and case records

A source book containing primary source documents related to the immigrant experience and spanning the history of America; including acts, essays, legislation, Senate documents, court documents, and social case records.

Irish immigrants in the land of Canaan : letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America, 1675-1815

Through exhaustive research and analysis of the migrants' letters and memoirs, the editors explore why the immigrants left Ireland, how they adapted to colonial and revolutionary America, and how their experiences and attitudes shaped society, culture and politics, and created modern Irish and Irish-American identities, in America and Ireland alike (eBook).

The Jews of the United States, 1790-1840, a documentary history

Provides access to primary source documents affecting the Jewish population of the United States from the late 18th to 20th centuries.

Race and racism in the United States : an encyclopedia of the American mosaic

This book provide readers with comprehensive content supplemented by historical backgrounds, relevant examples from primary documents, and first-hand accounts. To access primary source documents, click List of Primary Documents under Contents. Not all primary sources on this list are available online (eBook).

Root of bitterness : documents of the social history of American women

Presenting a diverse collection of documents, Root of Bitterness reaches from the colonial era through the nineteenth century, focusing on six dominant themes: women's work, the power of gender, the physical body, women's collective efforts, diversity and conflict among women, and women's relation to state authority. This edition contains about twenty selections from the original volume and almost sixty new ones.

Testimonio : a documentary history of the Mexican American struggle for civil rights

Historical documents help chronicle the struggle of Mexican Americans for equal civil rights in the United States from the early 1800s through the modern era, with individual prefaces for each document and suggestions for further reading (eBook).

This country was ours : a documentary history of the American Indian

Numerous extracts from firsthand accounts and documents provide both Indian and white perspectives on the life styles, white relations, and tragic plight of the North American natives since the early European invasions. Covers eras from before Columbus to the 1970's.

With pen and voice : a critical anthology of nineteenth-century African-American women

Here―in the only collection of speeches by nineteenth-century African-American women―is the battle of words these brave women waged to address the social ills of their century. In this chronological anthology, Shirley Wilson Logan highlights the public addresses of these women, beginning with Maria W. Stewart’s speech at Franklin Hall in 1832, believed to be the first delivered to an audience of men and women by an American-born woman.

Women's America : refocusing the past

Featuring a mix of primary source documents, articles, and illustrations, Women's America: Refocusing the Past has long been an invaluable resource. Now in its eighth edition, the book has been extensively revised and updated to cover recent developments in U.S. women's history.

Women's suffrage in America : an eyewitness history

Chronicles the struggle of American women for the right to vote, from 1800 to their victory in 1920. Includes quotations from contemporary witnesses through memoirs, letters, and other documents of the period.

Other social and political issues

America's families : a documentary history

Contains a collection of documents on the American family from colonial times to the present including letters, diaries, popular songs, advice manuals, laws and trial records, marriage contracts, and government investigations.

The Central Intelligence Agency, history and documents

This volume pulls together a core collection of documents pertaining to the CIA. Leary's introduction provides an overview and chronology of the US intelligence operations from the American Revolution through to World War II, and places the documents in proper perspective.

Controlling reproduction : an American history

This informative, detailed text contains 39 writings on the history of reproduction in the U.S. The historical path of reproduction control is viewed in the contexts of politics, law, medicine, sexuality, business, and social change.

The Declaration of Independence : a global history

In a stunningly original look at the American Declaration of Independence, David Armitage reveals the document in a new light: through the eyes of the rest of the world. Not only did the Declaration announce the entry of the United States onto the world stage, it became the model for other countries to follow.

Defining Documents in American History: Dissent & protest (1635-2017)

This collection of historical documents gathers a wide variety of examples of dissent and protest throughout American history. It is divided into two volumes: From Colonies to Nation and Slavery and Abolition. Also available as an eBook.

Documents relating to New-England federalism, 1800-1815

A collection of documents, mainly letters, and without narrative comment, but of high importance for the light they shed on the political movements of the period, and on the opposition to the administration which resulted in the Hartford convention. The most important document is John Quincy Adams's "Reply to the appeal of the Massachusetts Federalists" (p.107).

Documenting American violence : a sourcebook

Violence forms a constant backdrop to American history, from the revolutionary overthrow of British rule, to the struggle for civil rights, to the present-day debates over the death penalty. Organized topically, this volume looks at such diverse topics as famous crimes, vigilantism, industrial violence, domestic abuse, and state-sanctioned violence (eBook).

The encyclopedia of war journalism, 1807-2010

This book examines the development, history, and current state of war journalism. Primary sources are scattered throughout the book; after clicking "Read Online," click on "Primary Documents" to see where they are located (eBook).

The Environmental Debate

This unique collection of primary documents examines the evolution of concern about environmental degradation, pollution, and resource conservation in America from the Colonial period the present (eBook).

Fair trial rights of the accused : a documentary history

This collection of over 60 primary documents traces the evolution of trial rights from English and colonial beginnings to our contemporary understanding of their meaning. Court cases and other documents bring to life the controversies that have historically surrounded the rights of those who have been accused in the American legal system (eBook).

First exposures : writings from the beginning of photography

This book brings together more than 130 primary sources from 1839, the year many call the "first" year of photography, subdivided into ten chapters and accompanied by fifty-three images of significant visual and historical importance.

Free expression in America : a documentary history

A collection of primary sources on freedom of expression in America, starting with the founding of our nation and spanning through to the 20th century.

The Hammonds of Redcliffe

This is the story of the Hammond Family of South Carolina and of their attachment to a place, Redcliffe, their plantation home in Beech Island. The author has selected nearly 200 letters to tell the story of Southern life experienced by a prominent family, from 1855-1938.

The history of the Loco-foco, or Equal rights party : its movements, conventions and proceedings : with short characteristic sketches of its prominent men

First published in 1842, this traces the "Loco-Focos," a group who wanted to bring the Democratic party back to its founding principles.

Liberty and conscience : a documentary history of the experiences of conscientious objectors in America through the Civil War

Americans have long struggled to reconcile their politics, pacifist beliefs, and compulsory military service. In this volume, Peter Brock, one of the foremost historians of American pacifism, presents a rich and varied collection of documents, many drawn from obscure sources, that shed new light on American religious and military history. These include legal findings, church and meeting proceedings, appeals by nonconformists to government authorities, and illuminating excerpts from personal journals (eBook) .

Notable speeches in contemporary presidential campaigns

Friedenberg examines William Henry Harrison's first ever speech by an American presidential candidate on behalf of his own candidacy as a prelude to the detailed examination of notable contemporary campaign speeches. Key speeches by John F. Kennedy, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George W. Bush are analyzed (eBook).

Presidents from Taylor through Grant, 1849-1877 : debating the issues in pro and con primary documents

This resource of primary documents and commentary covers the Taylor through Grant administrations by selecting and describing five to ten of the foremost issues of the day and showing the actual text of the president's position along with the opposing viewpoint (eBook).

The President, roles and powers

This book contains writings that illustrate the workings of the presidency from authors such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and John F. Kennedy.

Readings for Democrats

Contains political essays and speeches by figures like Woodrow Wilson, FDR, John Quincy Adams, Grover Cleveland, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman, JFK, and more.

Readings for Republicans

Contains political essays and speeches by figures like Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Hoover, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Earl Warren, Thomas E. Dewey, and more.

The role of police in American society : a documentary history

Contains ninety-five primary documents, grouped into seven different time periods, that chronicle the history and development of police policy and the role of police in American society from the 17th to 20th cemturies.

To make all laws : the Congress of the United States, 1789-1989

This history of the United States Congress was written in 1989, on its Bicentennial celebration. Although the text in this book is a secondary source, it is full of political cartoons, sketches, and photographs taken from the Library of Congress's historical collection.

The wisdom of conservatism

An anthology of primary source writings on the topic of conservatism from individuals like Aristotle, Machiavelli, Alexis de Tocqueville, Adam Smith, Andrew Carnegie, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, C. S. Lewis, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and many more.

Historical document collections

American diaries : an annotated bibliography of published American diaries and journals

V.1 - Diaries written from 1492 to 1844 -- V.2 - Diaries written from 1845 to 1980. This impressive work expands and revises the pioneer efforts of William Matthews 's American Diaries: An Annotated Bibliography of American Diaries Written Prior to the Year 1861. The authors have increased the scope of the work to include Spanish-American, Alaskan, and Hawaiian material and diaries of American missionaries serving in foreign countries.

An American primer

Anthology of essays, laws, speeches and other writings illustrating the American way of life from the Mayflower Compact to Lyndon B. Johnson's address on voting rights in 1965.

Documents of American history

Documents of American History is a collection of documents that span the time between 1492-1973 that were edited by Historian Henry Steele Commager. Contained within the collection are various types of documents from legislative statutes, Supreme Court decisions, to presidential addresses, party platforms, etc. (Reference books must be used in the library).

Documentary source book of American history, 1606-1926

Includes the charters of Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Carolina, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, as well as acts and treaties spanning American history.

Historical statistics of the United States: colonial times to 1970

This bicentennial edition includes more than 12,500 time series, mostly annual, providing a statistical history of U.S. social, economic, political, and geographic development during periods from 1610 to 1970 (eBook).

Milestone documents in American history : exploring the primary sources that shaped America

Contains thirty-two full-text primary source documents that helped to shape American society from 1763 to 1823 including the Proclamation of 1763, Treaty of Fort Pitt, the Bill of Rights, the Missouri Compromise, and the Monroe Doctrine (eBook). Also available as a Reference book (Reference books must be used in the library).

Our documents : 100 milestone documents from the National Archives

A collection of one hundred documents that were important in the development of the United States from its founding to 1965, including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and lesser-known writings.

Records of our national life : American history at the National Archives

Published in honor of the Archives' 75th anniversary, Records of Our National Life is a highly illustrated volume that takes the reader on a journey through American history, from the struggle for independence to the 2009 tally of electoral votes. Featuring more than 800 documents, maps, photographs, and drawings, as well as essays by some of America's leading journalists, political commentators, and broadcasters, the book provides readers with a glimpse into the extensive holdings of the Archives.

The story of America : essays on origins

In this book, the author investigates American origin stories, from John Smith's account of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural address, in order to show how American democracy is bound up with the history of print. It presents readings of Benjamin Franklin's Way to Wealth, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, and Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, as well as histories of lesser-known genres, including biographies of presidents, novels of immigrants, and accounts of the Depression.

Voices from America's past

The history of the United States told through letters, diaries, memoirs and other contemporary documents from before the Revolutionary War to the 1970's.

The Way we lived : essays and documents in American social history

Uses both primary and secondary sources to explore social history topics and sharpen your interpretive skills. Each chapter includes one secondary source essay and several related primary source documents. Spans American history from before the Revolutionary war to the early 20th century.

We hold these truths; documents of American democracy

This book contains numerous primary sources, like The Mayflower Compact, 1620; First inaugural address, 1789 by George Washington; The Monroe Doctrine, 1823; The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863; War message, 1917 by Woodrow Wilson; and First inaugural address, 1933 by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Resources on the Internet