Overview of the Civil War (MP4 Video)
Documents of the Struggle for Independence and Freedom
|The Magna Charta (1215) was the first document stating that the authority of a nation’s ruler was limited by the certain rights of other people in that nation.
|The Mayflower Compact (1620) committed the first Pilgrim settlers to enacting just and equal laws for the general good of the colony.
|Declaration of Rights (1774) of the First Continental Congress claimed the right of each colonial assembly to draw up laws on everything but foreign trade.
|The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms (1775) (drafted by John Dickinson of Delaware) was intended to inform the world of the reasons why the colonies had taken up arms against England.
|The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) was the first Bill of Rights written into a state constitution and served as the basis for the first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution.
|The Declaration of Independence (1776) (drafted by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia) noted that nature’s laws permit a people to declare independence from a corrupt government and went on to specify the corrupt actions of England that had led the United States of America to declare their independence.
|The Articles of Confederation (1781) established the framework of a national government made up of thirteen sovereign states. Originally drafted by John Dickinson of Delaware in 1776, all states but Maryand had signed by 1777. Maryland held out for four years until seven other states agreed to give up their claims to western land.
|The Treaty of Paris (1783) ended the state of war between the United States and England and ceded to the United States all land east of the Mississippi.
|The Federalist Papers (1787-1788) are a series of 85 newspaper articles through which Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay used both logic and prejudice to convince the New York citizens to support ratification of the United States Constitution.
|The Northwest Ordinance (1787) provided for the founding of self-governing states in the area that is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and a bit of Minnesota.
|The Constitution of the United States (1787) in its original form, with no amendments.
|The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) was written by Lafayette (assisted by Thomas Jefferson). It was adopted by the French National Assembly just prior to the French Revolution.
|The Bill of Rights (1791) – the first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution
|Later Amendments to the U. S. Constitution
|The Treaty of Greenville (1795) ended the open hostility in Ohio between the Wyandots, Delawares, and other native American tribes and colonial settlers, which had started when England ceded the land to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
|The Monroe Doctrine (1823) made it the policy of the United States to prevent further colonization of the continent by European powers
Major Collections of Related Documents
|The U. S. National Archives‘ home page provides access to an enormous range of documents (or descriptions of documents) in its possession, many of which deal with the struggle for independence and freedom
|The Library of Congress‘ collection of documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention to now.
|The Gettysburg Address – On November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery in Pennsylvania, honoring those who died in the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg earlier that year.
|Emancipation Proclamation – January 1, 1863 The document that proclaimed slaves in all Confederate states free.