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Tutt Library Research Guides


Early Government Documents: Democracy Documents

Publications from the Tutt Collection along with links to core documents.

Core Documents

Democracy in Brief

  • Concise account of the intellectual origins, history, and basic values of democratic systems of government. 
  • The book examines topics such as rights and responsibilities of citizens, free and fair elections, the rule of law, the role of a written constitution, separation of powers, a free media, the role of parties and interest groups, military-civilian relations, and democratic culture. 

Primary Documents in American History: The American Revolution and The New Nation, 1763-1815 

  • Images and descriptions of George Washington's Commission as Commander in Chief (1775),
  • Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), Articles of Confederation (1777),
  • Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), Northwest Ordinance (1787),
  • Washington's First Inaugural Address (1789),
  • Judiciary Act of 1789 (1789), Jay's Treaty (1794), Alien and Sedition Acts (1798),
  • Louisiana Purchase (1803), and more.

NARA's Founders Online

  • Correspondence and writings of Six Major Shapers of the United States:

    • George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.
  • Over 149,000 searchable documents,

Core documents of U.S. democracy - including:

  • Articles of Confederation
  • The Bill of Rights
  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873
  • The Constitution of the United States of America
  • The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
  • Emancipation Proclamation
  • The Federalist Papers
  • The Gettysburg Address

Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy - Avalon Project at Yale Law School -- not only US stuff (has Code of Hammurabi and Communist Manifesto for example), includes the The Federalist Papers - searchable or click on number; state charters, etc.

100 Milestone Documents - highlight key events in U.S. history (1776-1965), each document includes an image, description and transcript. (NARA)

Special Format


Declaration of Independence

Constitution of the United States

  - Articles of Confederation
  - the Bill of Rights
  - Constitution of the United States of America
  - Analysis and Interpretation of the Constitution
  - Interactive Manuscript version

Audio files

Americana Phonic - audio texts from early America:

  • Federalist Paper
  • Declartion of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Aritcles of Confederation
  • Gettysburg Address

U.S. Historical Documents
- also links to Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have a Dream", Lincoln at Cooper Union, Amendments to the Constitution of the U.S.

  • Aritcles of Confederation
  • Constitution
  • Declartion of Independence
  • Gettysburg Address