US History from 1877 to the Present: Historical Documents

The Conquest of the West

Testimony concerning the Sand Creek massacre (local)

“We Will All Be Poor Here Together”: A Young Family Homesteads in Nebraska, 1872 (HistoryMatters)

“Genesee Had Railroads”: Kenneth Platt Recalls the Importance of the Railroad to Late Nineteenth-Century Western Towns (at History Matters)

Ballad to a Massacre: Private Prather’s Portrait of Wounded Knee (at History Matters)

“Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans (at History Matters)

“The White Man’s Road is Easier!”: A Hidatsa Indian Takes up the Ways of the White Man in the Late 19th century (at History Matters)

The Significance of the Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner (at Teaching American History)

“We Are Not the Degraded Race You Would Make Us”: Norman Asing Challenges Chinese Immigration Restrictions (at History Matters)

“We Chinese Are Viewed Like Thieves and Enemies”: Pun Chi Appeals to Congress to Protect the Rights of Chinese, ca. 1860 (at History Matters)

The Battle of Little Bighorn (at PBS)

The Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane (at Virginia)

A Mormon Woman’s Life in Southern Utah (at History Matters)

Mrs. Z. A. Parker, the Ghost Dance at Pine Ridge Reservation (1890) (at PBS)

Trials of the Trail: African-American Cowboy Will Crittendon (at History Matters)

The New South and Civil Rights at the Turn of the 20th Century

A Georgia Sharecropper’s Story of Forced Labor ca. 1900 (at History Matters)

“Their Own Hotheadedness”: Senator Benjamin R.”Pitchfork Ben” Tillman Justifies Violence Against Southern Blacks (at History Matters)

Burned at the Stake: A Black Man Pays for a Town’s Outrage (at History Matters)

Defending Home and Hearth: Walter White Recalls the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot (at History Matters)

Henry Grady Sells the “New South” (at History Matters)

Speech Before the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition by Booker T. Washington (at Teaching American History)

Of Booker T. Washington and Others by W.E.B. DuBois (at Teaching American History)

Reformer Jane Addams Critiques Birth of a Nation

Industrialization, the Rise of Capital, and the Labor Movement

Eugene V. Debs on Industrial Labor

Lament for Lives Lost: Rose Schneiderman and the Triangle Fire (at History Matters)

Minute by Minute: Account of the Triangle Fire (at History Matters)

Slumming Among the Unemployed: William Wycoff Studies Joblessness in the 1890s (at History Matters)

I Can See No Way Out Save in a Complete Overthrow of the Capitalistic System”: Mother Jones Speaks of Working-Class Life in Southern Mills, 1901 (at the University of Pennsylvania)

Was Christ a Union Man? (at History Matters)

“Pure and Simple”: Making the Case for Unionism (at History Matters)

“We ask it; we demand it, and we intend to have it”: Printer Albert R. Parsons Testifies before Congress about the Eight Hour Day (at History Matters)

Andrew Carnegie, Wealth (at Furman)

A Labor Newspaper Derides the Myth of the Self-Made Man (at History Matters)

“I Will Kill Frick”: Emma Goldman Recounts the Attempt to Assassinate the Chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company During the: Homestead Strike in 1892 (at History Matters)

“The Bad News From Chicago”: Labor Organizer Oscar Ameringer Describes the Effect of the Haymarket Bombing on the Knights of Labor (at History Matters)

“A Healthy Public Opinion”: Terence V. Powderly Distances the Knights of Labor from the Haymarket Martyrs (at History Matters)

“His Act is Doublely Despicable”: Albert Parsons Responds to His Condemnation by Terence V. Powderly (at History Matters)

“The Rich Are Good-Natured”: William Graham Sumner Defends the Wealthy (at History Matters)

Horatio Alger’s American Fable: “The World Before Him” (at History Matters)

Mark Twain Lampoons the Horatio Alger Myth (at History Matters)

Two Bits for a Tragic Tale: Walter Fink’sThe Ludlow Massacre (at History Matters)

Camella Teoli Testifies about the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike (at History Matters)

“I Was Not Wanted Any Longer”: A Retail Worker Joins the Union in 1914 and Gets Fired (at History Matters)

“For the Further Benefit of Our People”: George Pullman Answers His Strikers (at History Matters)

Father Knows Best?: Strikers Denounce Pullman (at History Matters)

From now on I had nothing to do but drink booze and study anarchy at close range (at History Matters)

“Our Misery and Despair”: Kearney Blasts Chinese Immigration (at History Matters)

“The Poisonous Occupations in Illinois”: Physician Alice Hamilton Explores the “Dangerous Trades” at the Turn of the Century (at History Matters)

Immigration and Urbanization

No Way Out: Two New York City Firemen Testify about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (at History Matters)

Fair’s Fair: McDonnell Argues for Acceptance of Aliens (at History Matters)

“It is Humiliating to Recognize Them as a Part of the Human Family”: New York Police Chief George W. Matsell Describes the City’s Vagrant and Delinquent Children, 1849 (at History Matters)

The New Middle-Class Housekeeping: “How I Keep House without a Maid” (at History Matters)

Wheel of Fortune: Frances Willard Discovers the Bicycle (at History Matters)

Beyond Bed Pans: The Life of a Late 19th-century Young Nurse (at History Matters)

Chinese Exclusion Act; May 6, 1882 (at Project Avalon)

Politics in the Gilded Age

“I Seen My Opportunities and I Took ‘Em.”: An Old-Time Pol Preaches Honest Graft (at History Matters)

Susan B. Anthony’s Speech After She Was Convicted of the Crime of Voting in the 1872 Presidential Election (at Gifts of Speech)

In Defense of Home and Hearth: Mary Lease Raises Hell Among the Farmers (at History Matters)

“I wonder if There is a Woman in All This Broad Land Who Can Afford to Stay Out of the Alliance”: Elizabeth Mary Lease Celebrates Women Populists, 1890 (at History Matters)

Populist Platform (at Virginia)

Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” Speech: Mesmerizing the Masses (at History Matters)

Is William Jennings Bryan Insane? One Psychiatrist’s View Published in the New York Times, 1896 (at History Matters)

A Cross-Dresser for Twenty Five Years: How a Gilded Age Woman Became A Successful Businessman and Tammany Politician, Married Two Women, and Frequented Cigar and Poker Clubs (at History Matters)

American Imperialism

Josiah Strong on Anglo-Saxon Predominance, 1891

“Shameful Treachery”: Hearst’s Journal Blames Spain (at History Matters)

“The Men Were Fighting Like Demons”: A Black Sergeant Remembers the Battle of San Juan Hill, 1899 (at History Matters)

American Soldiers in the Philippines Write Home about the War (at History Matters)


A. Beveridge: March of the Flag 1898

Sigisbee’s Dispatches regarding USS Maine (PDF)

The Progressive Era

Some reasons why we oppose votes for women … National association opposed to woman suffrage. New York City [1894] (at the Library of Congress)

Theodore Roosevelt, The Conservation of Natural Resources (1907) (at PBS)

Maniac In Milwaukee Shoots Col. Roosevelt; He Ignores Wound, Speaks An Hour, Goes To Hospital (at New York Times)

“No Gods, No Masters”: Margaret Sanger on Birth Control (at History Matters)

“The Great Prevalence of Sexual Inversion”: Havelock Ellis on Gay Life in the American City (at History Matters)

Chicago Vice Crusaders Confront Sexual “Perversion” in the Theater (at History Matters)

The 1910s

“Chicago and Its Eight Reasons”: Walter White Considers the Causes of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot (at History Matters)

“Eight Hours a Day and Better Conditions”: Andrew Pido Explains His Support for the 1919 Steel Strike (at History Matters)

“Please, Let Me Put Him in a Macaroni Box” The Spanish Influenza of 1918 in Philadelphia (at History Matters)

Debs, Statement to the Court

World War I

War Is “a Blessing, Not a Curse”: The Case for Why We Must Fight (at History Matters)

The Zimmerman Note (at the WW1 Document Archive)

Gas and Flame in World War I: The New Weapons of Terror (at History Matters)

Housewives in Uniform: Domesticity as Military Duty (at History Matters)

Sherwood Eddy, With Our Soldiers in France (local)

Hot Chocolate: A World War I “Canteen Girl” Writes Home (at History Matters)

“This Is How It Was”: An American Nurse in France During World War I (at History Matters)

“Get the Rope!” Anti-German Violence in World War I-era Wisconsin (at History Matters)

“Sir I Will Thank You with All My Heart”: Seven Letters from the Great Migration (at History Matters)

“Babes on bayonets.” (at History Matters)

I Did My Bit for Democracy

Calling It Quits: Charles Beard, America’s Most Prominent Historian, Resigns from Columbia Due to WWI Hysteria

The First Red Scare

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer Makes “The Case against the Reds” (at History Matters)

“An Eminently Safe Citizen”: Robert Benchley on “The Making of a Red” (at History Matters)

“I Glanced Up–The Statue of Liberty!”: Emma Goldman Describes Her Deportation in the Era of the Red Scare

The 1920s

A Flapper’s Appeal to Parents (local, PDF format)

“No Snuggling!” Sex Talks to Young Girls (at History Matters)

“Love and Companionship Came First”: Floyd Dell on Modern Marriage (at History Matters)

“Not Rum but Righteousness”: Billy Sunday Attacks Booze (at History Matters)

Should a Catholic Be President?: A Contemporary View of the 1928 Election (at History Matters)

The National Pastime in the 1920s: The Rise of the Baseball Fan (at History Matters)

“Seven All Together Went Down”: A Family Disappears in the 1927 Mississippi Flood (at History Matters)

Kissing Rudy Valentino: A High-School Student Describes Movie Going in the 1920s (at History Matters)

From Cowboys to Clara Bow: A College Student’s Motion Picture Autobiography (at History Matters)

White sheets in Washington, D.C. (at History Matters)

Between the Wars: The Klan

“Shut the Door”: A Senator Speaks for Immigration Restriction (at History Matters)

An “Un-American Bill”: A Congressman Denounces Immigration Quotas (at History Matters)

“Shall the Fundamentalists Win?”: Defending Liberal Protestantism in the 1920s (at History Matters)

“The New Negro”: “When He’s Hit, He Hits Back!” (at History Matters)

“Business . . . the Salvation of the World”: Celebrating Big Business (at History Matters)

“Our Reason for Being”: A. Philip Randolph Embraces Socialism (at History Matters)

Scopes Trial – Day 7

Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928


The Great Depression and the New Deal

Herbert Hoover Predicts Prosperity (at History Matters)

Abolish Jim Crow!

“My Life, Honey, is Jus Been Ups and Downs”: Mrs. Ina B. Hawkes Speaks on Her Life, 1939

FDR Was a Damned Good Man

Letter to President Roosevelt

Savage Blames Labor Unions for the Great Depression

General Motors reacts to the Flint Sit-Down Strike: GM executive Alfred P Sloan to GM employees and the public, Flint Journal, January 5, 1937 [PDF] (via Digital History Reader)

“What He Has Done Is Sickening to Contemplate”: Catholic Liberal John Ryan Denounces Father Charles Coughlin (at History Matters)

A Journalist Describes the 1934 San Francisco Strike (at History Matters)

Genora Johnson Dollinger remembers the Flint Sit Down Strike (via marxists.org) HIST-155 students: Pick any one section, besides the Preface, to write your interpretation. Please read the Preface first for background information

“Share the Wealth”: Huey Long Talks to the Nation (at History Matters)

FDR’s 2nd Fireside Chat

“The Republic Is Imperiled”: John L. Lewis Warns of Ignoring Laboring People (at History Matters)

Hoover Charges Roosevelt ‘New Deal’ Would Destroy Foundation of Nation; 22,000 Jam the Garden, 30,000 Outside

“Treated Like Slaves”: Textile Workers Write to Washington in the 1930s and 1940s (at History Matters)

The Sit-Downer’s Speak: Excerpts from Witnesses and Warriors

The New Deal Was a Failure (at Library of Congress)

World War II

President Roosevelt to the Chancelor of Germany (Hitler), [Telegram], SEPTEMBER 27, 1938

Attack At Pearl Harbor, 1941 – The Japanese View

Attack At Pearl Harbor, 1941 PF

The Battle of Midway, 1942

Letters Home From a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot), 1943-1944

A GI’s Trip to London, 1944

Surviving the Atomic Attack on Hiroshima, 1945

“I Saw The Walking Dead”: A Black Sergeant Remembers Buchenwald (at History Matters)

American Women in the War

The War Labor Board Insists on Equal Pay for Black Workers (at History Matters)

“A Square Deal?”: The Michigan CIO Debates the No-Strike Pledge (at History Matters)

The Cold War

George Kennan’s “Long Telegram”

G.I. Pamphlet Series (at the American Historical Association)

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”: President Truman Announces the Truman Doctrine, 1947 (at the Avalon Project)

“Enemies from Within”: Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s Accusations of Disloyalty (at History Matters)

“Damage”: Collier’s Assesses the Army-McCarthy Hearings (at History Matters)

“Not Only Ridiculous, but Dangerous”: Collier’s Objects to Joseph McCarthy’s Attacks on the Press (at History Matters)

“I do not believe the communists have ever at any time been able to use the motion picture screen as a sounding board for their philosophy or ideology”: Ronald Reagan, President of the Screen Actors Guild, Testifies Before the House Committee on Un-American Activities Committee

“You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves”: Paul Robeson Appears Before HUAC (at History Matters)

“A Damaging Impression of Hollywood Has Spread”: Movie “Czar” Eric Johnston Testifies before HUAC (at History Matters)

America in the 1950s

Do You Want Your Wife to Work after the War?

“Bring Sex Out of the Closet of Fear”: A Psychologist Argues that Sex Education Can Save the American Family (at History Matters)

Governor Adlai Stevenson Describes a Woman’s Place, 1955

“Violent Death in Every Form Imaginable”: A Senate Committee Report Assesses “Crime and Horror” Comic Books (at History Matters)

“Salem, 1950″ by George Marshall (1950)

“Democracy Can’t Live in These Houses”: Senator Paul Douglas Advocates a Federal Housing Program to Clear Slum Areas (at History Matters)

Can 52,600,000 TV Set Owners Be Wrong?: Magazine Assesses American Television in 1960 (at History Matters)

The Civil Rights Revolution

“It stabs at the very heart of the rights and freedom of all races, colors, and sections of our great country”: A Southern Democratic Congressman Reacts to President Truman’s Civil Rights Speech, 1948 (at PBS)

“We Can Control Our Affairs Pretty Well”: Southern Senators Protest Proposed Antilynching Legislation (at History Matters)

“Get on the Ground and We Will Kick Your Head In”: A Reporter Tells of Terrorism in Alabama (at History Matters)

“The Ordeal of Bobby Cain”: Racial Confrontation at a Newly Integrated Southern High School (at History Matters)

Hollis Watkins Describes Police Intimidation in the Voter Registration Campaign (at History Matters)

“What I Tell My Child About Color”: Black and White Fathers in Atlanta Try to Explain Race Relations to Their Sons (at History Matters)

Alabama Archives: Riding the Bus

“Degrading, Humiliating, Completely Unfounded”: The National Council of Negro Women Testifies Before Congress Against Discrimination in Interstate Travel, 1954 (at History Matters)

“Mob Rule Cannot Be Allowed to Override the Decisions of Our Courts”: President Dwight D. Eisenhower”s 1957 Address on Little Rock, Arkansas (at History Matters)

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 1963

“I Can’t Fight Alone”: James Meredith Calls on All Blacks to Participate in the Struggle for Racial Equality (at History Matters)

“I’ve Seen the Promised Land”: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Last Speech, 1968

“Our Nation Is Moving Toward Two Societies, One Black, One White–Separate and Unequal”: Excerpts from the Kerner Report (at History Matters)

Is it Legal for a Black Person to Marry a White Person? The Supreme Court Answers, 1967

“To Determine the Destiny of Our Black Community”: The Black Panther Party’s 10-Point Platform and Program (at History Matters)

“We Must Destroy the Capitalistic System Which Enslaves Us”: Stokely Carmichael Advocates Black Revolution (at History Matters)

“The Only Good Pig Is a Dead Pig”: A Black Panther Paper Editor Explains a Political Cartoon (at History Matters)

America in the 1960s

Eisenhower’s ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ Speech

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., “The New Mood in Politics” (1960)

President Lyndon B. Johnson: The War on Poverty, March 1964(at Fordham)

“I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down”: Ronald Reagan Expounds on the Necessity of Conservatism, 1964

The Vietnam at Home and Abroad

“All Necessary Measures”: President Johnson’s Message to Congress and The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, 1964 (at The Avalon Project)

“The Arrogance of Power, the Tendency of Great Nations to Equate Power With Virtue and Major Responsibilities With a Universal Mission”: Senator J. William Fulbright on the Arrogance of Power, 1966

“how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry to Congress, 1971 (at Modern History Sourcebook)

“You’re damn straight I’m bitter!” Bob Muller, U.S. Marine, Speaks Out Against the Vietnam War, 1971

“I think that America needs to undergo a bout with reality”: Vietnam Veterans Testify to Congress on War Crimes, 1971

Port Huron Statement (at Hanover)

A Yippie Manifesto (at Montgomery College)

13 Point Program and Platform of the Young Lords Party (at The Sixties Project)

The Free Speech Movement: Do Not Fold, Bend, Mutilate or Spindle (at The Sixties Project)

The Women’s Rights Movement

No More Miss America: Ten Points of Protest (local)

Equal Rights For Women by Shirley Chisholm (at Sweet Briar College)

“The Higher, the Fewer”: Discrimination Against Women in Academia (at History Matters)

“Women’s Liberation Aims to Free Men Too”: Gloria Steinem, the Washington Post, 1970

“Rejecting Gender-Free Equality”: Phyllis Schlafly Rejects the Equal Rights Amendment, 1977 (at Duke)

“Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”: Hillary Rodham Clinton to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, 1995

The 1970s

“It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the American hand will be well hidden”: CIA Operative Guidance Cable on Coup Plotting in Chile, 1970

“A grave constitutional battle began yesterday”: Susanna McBee of the The Washington Post Reports on the Watergate Crisis, 1973

“Dean Alleges Nixon Knew of Cover-up Plan”: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, 1973

“Nixon Resigns”: Carroll Kilpatrick of the Washington Post, 1974

“The Process of Coming Back into the World”: An American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) Activist Advocates Cultural and Political Unification (at History Matters)

“At That Point, I Remember Thinking, Being Alive Was a Pretty Good Thing”: United States Embassy Officials Recall the Beginning of the Iranian Hostage Crisis

Jimmy Carter- The Crisis of Confidence Speech

The 1980s

Time Magazine’s 1982 Person of the Year: The Computer

President Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, March 8, 1983

Geraldine Ferraro’s Acceptance Speech for the 1984 Democratic Vice Presidential Nomination

Iran Contra Memos

The 1990s

National Security Directive 45: US Policy in Response to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait (PDF)

“He Commented On What I Was Wearing in Terms of Whether it Made Me More or Less Sexually Attractive”: Anita Hill’s Testimony in the Sexual Harassment Hearings Concerning Judge Clarence Thomas, 1991

“This Is Not a Distant Threat; It Is a Present Danger”: Mary Fisher Addresses the Republican National Convention, 1992

The First Postmodern Presidency – 1993

“They Told Me There Was Nothing They Could Do About It”: Testimony to Congress on Employment Discrimination Against Homosexuals, 1994 (at History Matters)

“Cyberghetto: Blacks are Falling Through the Net”: Frederick C. McKissock, Jr., The Progressive, 1998

The O. H. Krill document

Heaven’s Gate Documents

The 21st Century

The Second Amendment Under Fire: The Uses of History and the Politics of Gun Control (at History Matters)

Review of the book Nobodies detailing modern human trafficking in the US.

Constitutional Whitewash: What House Republicans left out when they read (parts of) America’s founding document.

How the US Lost Out on iPhone Work

Tim DeChristopher’s Statement to the Court, July 26, 2011 (Environmental civil disobedience)