By These Words: Great Documents of American Liberty, Selected and Placed in Their Contemporary Settings

By These Words: Great Documents of American Liberty, Selected and Placed in Their Contemporary Settings

By These Words: Great Documents of American Liberty, Selected and Placed in Their Contemporary Settings

By These Words: Great Documents of American Liberty, Selected and Placed in Their Contemporary Settings

Excerpt

The word "document" has many meanings. It may stand for papers in an old desk drawer--a canceled mortgage, deeds long since recorded, an ancient military commission or discharge. It may, in fact, mean almost any piece of paper. It may represent the published proceedings of governmental bodies ranging from a village school board to the Houses of Congress. And it may signify the charters, compacts, proclamations, and pronouncements that have marked almost every step in the progress of the American people from the beginning of their history to the present. It is in this last sense that the word is used on the title page of this book.

So defined, the document has no isolated existence. It is both result and cause. The Constitution, for example, sprang from experience under the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution has determined the course of the nation ever since its adoption.

Let us admit that the document is often something less than . . .

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