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Government Documents: Primary Sources

The U.S. Government and the state of South Carolina provide citizens with an abundance of information covering a wide variety of topics. This guide will assist users in obtaining government information at both the state and federal level.

100 Milestone Documents of the U.S.

100 Milestone Documents of the United States

The list begins with the Lee Resolution of June 7, 1776, a simple document resolving that the United Colonies “are, and of right, ought to be free and independent states. . .” and ends with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a statute that helped fulfill the promise of freedom inherent in the first documents on the list. The remaining milestone documents are among the thousands of public laws, Supreme Court decisions, inaugural speeches, treaties, constitutional amendments, and other documents that have influenced the course of U.S. history. They have helped shape the national character, and they reflect our diversity, our unity, and our commitment as a nation to continue our work toward forming “a more perfect union.”

The decision not to include milestone documents since 1965 was a deliberate acknowledgement of the difficulty in examining more recent history. As stated in the guidelines for the National History Standards, developed by the National Center for History in the Schools, “Historians can never attain complete objectivity, but they tend to fall shortest of the goal when they deal with current or very recent events.”

Library of Congress Manuscript Collection

Library of Congress Online Manuscript Collection

The manuscript collection includes the digital collections:

African American Odyssey

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Folklore Project, WPA Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940

American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States (Manuscript Division section)

The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, 1862-1939

The Harry A. Blackmun Papers at the Library of Congess

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress

"I Do Solemnly Swear ...": Presidential Inaugurations

The Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress

The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

The James Madison Papers

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party


Veterans History Project

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.