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Tutt Library Research Guides


Political Science: Primary Sources

library and other key resources in this discipline

Select Print Sources

Early American Imprints

- Full text of books and pamphlets printed in North America
Series I, Evans (1639-1800)
Series II, Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819)

Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment,1474 - 1800's.
  • full text works by 1,400+ authors in the form of letters, diaries, memoirs and accounts
  • encounters between American Indians, Europeans, Americans, and Africans
  • all areas of North America.
  • advanced searching and browsing of people, events, flora, fauna and more
Handbook of Latin American Studies, 1935 - current
  • annotated bibliography of scholarly works on Latin American studies.
  • Multidisciplinary topics in the humanities and social sciences.

Foriegn Relations

Department of State Bulletin (1939-1989) and Dispatch (1990-1999)
See TIGER for print and electronic options.
Foreign Relations of the United States 
Docs South Basement S1.1: [year]; also partially online
Declassified US State Dept. documents covering 1861 to thirty years ago. Wonderful source for diplomatic exchanges, statements, speeches, etc.
Foreign Relations Between Latin America and the Caribbean States, 1930-1944
Organized by country, political, social, and economic issues; includes cables, memoranda, correspondence, reports and analyzes, and treaties. Documents are from the U.S. State Department.
Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
Online from 1991; Docs South Basement AE 2.114: (1929-present) 
Presidential addresses, communications, interviews, proclamations and nominations, and meetings wtih foreign dignitaries.
For documents of other countries, translated into English, search by subject keywords "[country] foreign relations sources" and limit language to English.
Some examples of titles:
Cold War: Primary Sources--in Perkins Reference
Documents of German History--annotated excerpts from official and autobiographical documents
Documents of Soviet-American Relations--4 volumes covering 1917-1945
Soviet Foreign Relations: documents and readings--includes propaganda
Debating the Origins of the Cold War: American and Russian perspectives
Comrade Kryuchkov's Instructions: top secret files on KGB foreign operations, 1975-1985
War and Diplomacy: the making of the Grand Alliance; documents from Stalin's archives--includes telegrams and drafts of treaties
Additional Goverment Publications


The Economist

  • Coverage: 1843-2006. HISTORICAL ARCHIVE 1843-2006. Digitized version of the famous magazine which has analyzed British and global affairs for 150+ years. Recent issues use print or access through EBSCO.

19th Century U.S. Newspapers

  • Provides access to approximately 1.7 million pages of primary source newspaper content from the 19th century, featuring full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S. Coverage: 1800's

What is a primary source?

"Primary source"
        describes material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied that was created in the time under study


  • an artifact, a document, a recording
  • new scientific data, results, and theories
  • official reports, speeches, pamphlets, posters, or letters by participants, and official election returns
  • records created by organizations, such as registers of births, tax records, charters, other legal documents, etc.
  • eyewitness accounts, oral interviews or documents created by a person with direct knowledge of a situation
  • diaries, films, biographies, leading philosophical works, scientific works
  • fictional sources such as novels or plays
  • physical objects like photographs, newsreels, coins, paintings or buildings

Secondary sources:

  • cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources

Note: a primary source may at times be treated like a secondary source

Questions to ask

  • What is the tone?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the purpose of the material?
  • What assumptions does the author make?
  • What are the authors bases (including conclusions)?
  • Does the author agree or disagree with other authors of the subject?
  • Does the content agree with what you know or have learned about the subject?
  • Where was the source made? Does it favor particular outcome?
  • What is the bias?
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