Credible Sources for Founding Fathers

Primary Sources

Below is a list of great websites for finding historical primary sources, ranging from the Constitution to the Civil War and even WWII.  You will be able to find transcripts, text documents, photos, and other important pieces of history to use in your research papers and assignments. Don’t forget to bookmark this page for easy access!

 

Archives.gov

This resource allows you to browse all primary sources available from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, with topics including America’s founding documents, science and technology, and military records. This is one of the most comprehensive places to find primary sources on for America’s history on the web. Here are some examples of what you will find there:

 

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

This resource provides an enormous collection of American historical documents ranging from letters, diaries, maps, newspapers, and photos.  The sources found here range from the very beginning of American history, the landing of columbus, to Barack Obama’s first inaugural address. Some examples of what you’ll find include:

 

OurDocuments.gov

This resource provides a long list of primary sources that chronicles American history from 1776 to 1965. The documents listed here include:

 

CivilWar.org

This website is dedicated to information about the American Civil War and provides a thorough list of any primary sources available from that period, including speeches, military correspondence, and photos. Here is some of what you’ll find:

 

Famous-Trials.com

Famous-trials.com is a website operated by professor Douglas O. Linder from the UMKC School of Law. The site provides primary documents and information on many very well-known trials throughout history, going all the way back to the Trial of Socrates, and also most recently covering the George Zimmerman case involving Trayvon Martin. Here are some examples of what you can find here:

 

TeachingAmericanHistory.org

Despite the name of the website, this resource is not just for teachers as it does provide access to many primary sources from American history. The page linked to here lists 50 “core documents that tell America’s story” and include the Declaration of Independence and 1944 State of the Union address. Here is some of what you’ll find:

 

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is a major record-keeping entity of the U.S. government and contains many documents of all kinds that are important to American history and culture. The link listed above takes you to a page where you can search, or select from the links on the right side of the page to browse be era. Here are those links, for your convenience:

 

Further Resources

The combination of resources above should do well in meeting any students needs for primary sources on topics relating to American history, but there are still many other resources available to access these kinds of documents. Here is a gigantic list of other websites that can provide a wide variety of primary sources:

 

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CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

https://millercenter.org/president/adams/life-before-the-presidency

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Sample:

“Adams launched his legal career in Boston in 1758. He faced several years of struggle in establishing his practice. He had only one client his first year and did not win his initial case before a jury until almost three years after opening his office. Thereafter, his practice grew. Once his practice started to flourish, he began to court Abigail Smith, the daughter of a Congregational minister in nearby Weymouth. They were married in 1764. Five children followed in the next eight years, although one, Susanna, died in infancy. By 1770, Adams was a highly successful lawyer with perhaps the largest caseload of any attorney in Boston, and he was chosen to defend the British soldiers who were charged in the Boston Massacre in March 1770. Through his able defense, none of the accused soldiers were sent to jail. During these years, he lived alternately in Boston and Quincy, an outgrowth of Braintree, where he had been reared. As success came, Adams wrote extensively, publishing numerous essays in Boston newspapers on social, legal, and political issues.

When the colonial protest against parliamentary policies erupted against the Stamp Act in 1765, Adams was initially reluctant to play a prominent role in the popular movement. With a young and growing family, he feared for his legal practice. In addition, he distrusted many of the radical leaders, including his cousin Samuel Adams. He not only believed the imperial leaders in London had simply blundered but also suspected that the colonial radicals had a hidden agenda, including American independence. Nevertheless, under pressure to act, he did assist the popular movement, writing anonymous newspaper essays and helping to churn out propaganda pieces. In time, as Britain continued its attempts to tax the colonies and to strip them of their autonomy, Adams gradually grew convinced that the radicals had been correct, and he became an open foe of ministerial policy.

In 1774, Adams went to Philadelphia as one of the four delegates from Massachusetts to the First Continental Congress. He was reelected to the Second Continental Congress, which convened in May 1775, just a few days after war with the mother country had erupted at Lexington and Concord. When Congress created the Continental army in June 1775, Adams nominated George Washington of Virginia to be its commander. Adams soon emerged as the leader of the faction in Congress that pushed to declare independence. In June 1776, Congress appointed Adams, together with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, among others, to prepare the Declaration of Independence. Adams served on more committees than any other congressman—ninety in all, of which he chaired twenty. He was the head of the Board of War and Ordinance, the congressional committee that oversaw the operations of the Continental army. He was also an important member of the committee that prepared the Model Treaty, which guided the envoys that Congress sent to France to secure foreign trade and military assistance.”

Description:

Biography of John Adams life before his presidency from the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, with detailed info about his education and career.

Author(s):

  • None.

Title:

  • John Adams: Life Before the Presidency

Publisher:

  • Miller Center, University of Virginia

Date:

  • No date.

Citations:

Need the full citations? Request them in the Study Hall and we will respond with them as quickly as possible. You can also request more research, or get help with other parts of your paper.

CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/johnadams

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Sample:

“When Adams became President, the war between the French and British was causing great difficulties for the United States on the high seas and intense partisanship among contending factions within the Nation.

His administration focused on France, where the Directory, the ruling group, had refused to receive the American envoy and had suspended commercial relations.

Adams sent three commissioners to France, but in the spring of 1798 word arrived that the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand and the Directory had refused to negotiate with them unless they would first pay a substantial bribe. Adams reported the insult to Congress, and the Senate printed the correspondence, in which the Frenchmen were referred to only as “X, Y, and Z.”

The Nation broke out into what Jefferson called “the X. Y. Z. fever,” increased in intensity by Adams’s exhortations. The populace cheered itself hoarse wherever the President appeared. Never had the Federalists been so popular.”

Description:

Biography of John Adams as Vice President and President in his dealings with the French and political opposition, as well as early life and retirement.

Author(s):

  • None.

Title:

  • John Adams

Publisher:

  • whitehouse.gov

Date:

  • None.

Citations:

Need the full citations? Request them in the Study Hall and we will respond with them as quickly as possible. You can also request more research, or get help with other parts of your paper.

CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/VP_John_Adams.htm

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Sample:

“On April 21, 1789, John Adams, the first vice president of the United States, began his duties as president of the Senate. Adams’ role in the administration of George Washington was sharply constrained by the constitutional limits on the vice-presidency and his own reluctance to encroach upon executive prerogative. He enjoyed a cordial but distant relationship with President Washington, who sought his advice on occasion but relied primarily on the cabinet. Adams played a more active role in the Senate, however, particularly during his first term.

As president of the Senate, Adams cast twenty-nine tie-breaking votes—a record that no successor has ever threatened. His votes protected the president’s sole authority over the removal of appointees, influenced the location of the national capital, and prevented war with Great Britain. On at least one occasion he persuaded senators to vote against legislation that he opposed, and he frequently lectured the Senate on procedural and policy matters. Adams’ political views and his active role in the Senate made him a natural target for critics of the Washington administration. Toward the end of his first term, he began to exercise more restraint in the hope of realizing the goal shared by many of his successors: election in his own right as president of the United States.”

Description:

Author(s):

  • None.

Title:

  • John Adams, 1st Vice President (1789-1797)

Publisher:

  • United State Senate, Senate Historical Office

Date:

  • No date.

Citations:

Need the full citations? Request them in the Study Hall and we will respond with them as quickly as possible. You can also request more research, or get help with other parts of your paper.

CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://history.house.gov/Institution/Electoral-College/Electoral-College/

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Sample:

“Established in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College is the formal body which elects the President and Vice President of the United States. Each state has as many “electors” in the Electoral College as it has Representatives and Senators in the United States Congress, and the District of Columbia has three electors. When voters go to the polls in a Presidential election, they actually are voting for the slate of electors vowing to cast their ballots for that ticket in the Electoral College.

Electors

Most states require that all electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the plurality in that state. After state election officials certify the popular vote of each state, the winning slate of electors meet in the state capital and cast two ballots—one for Vice President and one for President. Electors cannot vote for a Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate who both hail from an elector’s home state.”

Description:

Informative page from the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Historian about the U.S. Electoral College with info its background and history.

Author(s):

  • None.

Title:

  • Electoral College Fast Facts

Publisher:

  • Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives

Date:

  • No date.

Citations:

Need the full citations? Request them in the Study Hall and we will respond with them as quickly as possible. You can also request more research, or get help with other parts of your paper.

CREDIBLE SOURCE

URL:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/george-washington-man-of-mystery/462810/?utm_source=SFTwitter

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Sample:

“But one man both literally and figuratively stands above the fray in each of these productions: George Washington. No one seems to have the ability or desire to crack the code on the tall Virginian. Whatever the scenario, the other men squabble and fight, but Washington stands to the side: quiet, dignified, a bit aloof, and probably dressed in his military uniform. In Hamilton, Miranda acknowledges this lack of color when he has General Washington break the fourth wall to beg the audience’s pardon so that he can “let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second.” He briefly shares his concern that the soldiers he commands want to “put him on a pedestal,” and then he quickly returns to that very stand for nearly the balance of the show. For the most part, however, Washington stands much like a statue as the other Founders swirl about him in a frenzy of activity.”

MLA Citation:

Adelman, Joseph M. “George Washington, Man of Mystery.” theatlantic.com. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 15 Feb. 2016.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/george-washington-man-of-mystery/462810/?utm_source=SFTwitter>.

In-Text: (Adelman)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Adelman, J.M. (2016, Feb. 15). The Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/george-washington-man-of-mystery/462810/?utm_source=SFTwitter

In-Text: (Adelman, 2016)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jefffed.html

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Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“Jefferson played a major role in the planning, design, and construction of a national capitol and the federal district. In the various public offices he held, Jefferson sought to establish a federal government of limited powers. In the 1800 presidential election, Jefferson and Aaron Burr deadlocked, creating a constitutional crisis. However, once Jefferson received sufficient votes in the electoral college, he and the defeated incumbent, John Adams, established the principle that power would be passed peacefully from losers to victors in presidential elections. Jefferson called his election triumph “the second American Revolution.””

MLA Citation:

“Thomas Jefferson – Establishing a Federal Republic”. loc.gov. n.d.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jefffed.html>.

In-Text: (“Thomas Jefferson – Establishing a Federal Government”)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Thomas Jefferson – Establishing a Federal Government. n.d. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/jefffed.html

In-Text: (Thomas Jefferson – Establishing a Federal Government)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

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CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/thomasjefferson

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Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello.”

MLA Citation:

Freidel, Frank and Hugh Sidey. “Thomas Jefferson”. whitehouse.gov. n.d.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/thomasjefferson>.

In-Text: (Freidel)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Freidel, F and H. Sidey. n.d. Thomas Jefferson. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/thomasjefferson

In-Text: (Freidel & Sidey)

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CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

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Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“The Bill of Rights: A Transcription

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

MLA Citation:

“Bill of Rights”. Archives.gov. National Archives and Records Administration, 2013. (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). < http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html>.

In-Text: (“Bill of Rights”)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Bill of Rights. (2013).Retrieved (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE), from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

In-Text: (Bill of Rights)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

Read More Comments Off on Second Amendment, Bill of Rights – Archives.gov

CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/story-surrounding-jefferson-and-declaration

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“The first formal proposal for independence was not made in the Continental Congress until June 7, 1776.  It came from the Virginian Richard Henry Lee, who suggested that “all political connection is, and ought to be, dissolved.”[2]    But this was not a unanimous sentiment.  Many delegates wanted to defer independence or avoid it outright.  Still, Congress did nominate a drafting committee—the Committee of Five—to compose a declaration of independence.  Thomas Jefferson, known for his eloquent writing style and reserved manner, became the principal author.”

MLA Citation:

“The Story Surrounding Jefferson and the Declaration”. monticello.org. Monitcello and the University of Virginia, 2013.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/story-surrounding-jefferson-and-declaration>.

In-Text: (“The Story Surrounding Jefferson and the Declaration”)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

The Story Surrounding Jefferson and the Declaration. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/story-surrounding-jefferson-and-declaration

In-Text: (The Story Surrounding Jefferson and the Declaration)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

Read More Comments Off on The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson – Summary

CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/brief-biography-thomas-jefferson

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“Thomas Jefferson — author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia — voiced the aspirations of a new America as no other individual of his era. As public official, historian, philosopher, and plantation owner, he served his country for over five decades.”

MLA Citation:

“Thomas Jefferson, A Brief Biography”. monticello.org. Monticello and the University of Virginia, 2013.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/brief-biography-thomas-jefferson>.

In-Text: (“Thomas Jefferson, A Brief Biography”

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Thomas Jefferson, A Brief Biography. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/brief-biography-thomas-jefferson

In-Text: (Thomas Jefferson, A Brief Biography)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

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CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.ushistory.org/Valleyforge/washington/george2.html

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“Through his 15 years in the House of Burgesses his opinions were solidifying into fixed standards and settled convictions that were to hold him fast and keep him true to the defense of the principles of representative government for the Colonies. He had felt the spell of Patrick Henry’s ringing challenges to the spirit of free-born Englishmen: “If this be treason make the most of it — Give me liberty or give me death.””

MLA Citation:

“George Washington: The Commander in Chief”. ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, 1966.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.ushistory.org/Valleyforge/washington/george2.html>.

In-Text: (George Washington: The Commander in Chief)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

Retrieved from http://www.ushistory.org/Valleyforge/washington/george2.html

In-Text:

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

Read More Comments Off on George Washington, History, Life and Career

CREDIBLE SOURCE:

 

URL:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

Tell us what you’re looking for in the Study Hall and get responses from us, and you’re fellow students. Get help with exactly what you need so you can get this assignment out of the way and move on to better things (or the next assignment).

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Sample:

“He pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion. At 16 he helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indian War. The next year, as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock, he escaped injury although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot from under him.”

MLA Citation:

“George Washington”. whitehouse.gov. whitehouse.gov, n.d.  (PUT DATE OF ACCESS HERE). <http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington>.

In-Text: (“George Washington”)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

APA Citation:

George Washington. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington

In-Text: (George Washington)

***REMEMBER all lines of the citation after the first get indented once***

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