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Documents of American History

This is a constantly expanding collection of texts from the great documents of America's past.  Some of the words, phrases, and spellings reflect the times in which they were written, and are not typographical errors.  To access the document texts, select any of the titles below.

Letter from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain

The Mayflower Compact (November 18, 1620)

Patrick Henry's “Liberty or Death” Speech (March 23, 1775)

Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" (February 14, 1776)

The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)

The Constitution of the United States of America

The Bill of Rights (First 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States)

Amendments 11 through 27 of the United States Constitution

President George Washington’s Farewell Address (September 17, 1796)

The Monroe Doctrine (December 2, 1823)

Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, 1861

The Emancipation Proclamation

The Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, 1865

Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” Address to Congress (January 8, 1918)

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address, 1933 (“...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”)

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” Speech to Congress (the day after the Pearl Harbor attack)

Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “Old Soldiers Never Die” Farewell to Congress

Lyndon B. Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin Message to Congress (launching America’s war with Vietnam)

Ronald Reagan’s Address at the Brandenburg Gate of the Berlin Wall (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”)

George W. Bush’s Declaration of War on Terror (following the “911” attacks), Sept. 20, 2001


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