Websites for Primary Sources and Civics Education

By Rulli, Daniel | Social Education, November-December 2005 | Go to article overview

Websites for Primary Sources and Civics Education


Rulli, Daniel, Social Education


The World Wide Web has become an excellent source for facsimiles, images, and transcriptions of primary sources. As it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list of all the sites, this annotated list highlights selective sites that provide access to historic and contemporary primary source documents useful in the civics classroom.

The Milestone Government Documents

For high resolution scans of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights; information about the charters and the founders; and an activity that allows students to sign their own copy of the Declaration, visit: The Charters of Freedom: A New World is at Hand www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/charters.html(*).

For additional information and activities on the Constitution, including an interactive Constitution, citizenship history timeline, lesson plans, information about civics education competitions, and exhibit information visit: National Constitution Center at www. constitutioncenter.org/ and The Center for Civic Education at www.civiced.org. For full color facsimiles and transcriptions of 100 milestone documents in American history, teaching suggestions, and more, visit: Our Documents (National Archives and National History Day) at www.ourdocuments. gov.

Collections of Other Historical Documents

For 124,000 digital images (not transcriptions) of historic federal government documents in a variety of media, conduct a search in Archival Research Catalog (ARC) at www.archives.gov/research/arc/(*).

For access to over 350 data files containing more than 50 million records on topics from Japanese Relocation Centers to Vietnam casualty lists, conduct a search in Access to Archival Databases at www.archives.gov/aad/(*).

For digital images (not transcriptions) of more than nine million historic maps, photos, documents, audio and video recordings, visit American Memory at memory.loc.gov/ammem/(The Library of Congress).

For transcriptions of documents from American history arranged in chronological order from pre-colonial times to 2005, visit AMDOCs: Documents for the Study of American History at www.ku.edu/carrie/docs/amdocs_index. html (CARRIE at The University of Kansas) or A Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents at www.law. ou.edu/hist/ (University of Oklahoma College of Law).

For transcriptions of major historic documents from American and world history visit The Avalon Project at www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm (Yale University).

For images and transcriptions of historic documents from various sites arranged in topical order from African Americans, to Amistad Civil Rights, to House Un-American Activities Committee, to Love Canal, and more, visit Federal Government Resources: Historic Documents at www.lib.umich. edu/govdocs/fedhis.html (Documents Center at the University of Michigan Library).

For uniquely American collections of documents, artifacts, photographs and other archival materials including personal papers, manuscripts, special collections, oral histories, works of art, photographs, sound recordings, films, and other special media materials, from 10 archival repositories, visit The Smithsonian Institution at americanhistory.si.edu/, www.siris.si.edu/, www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/, and siarchives. …

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