These are a handful of the basic documents that underlie the government of the United States of America. I've included them here as a reality check for Americans who visit this site and as an exposition for other visitors who may not be very knowledgeable about our political foundation.
The Declaration of Independence was a statement of intent to be a free self governing people. It's one of our founding documents and it sets forth the principles with which we intended to be guided. But it is also the political culmination of a yearning for freedom from oppression that was documented in the Magna Carta more than five hundred years earlier.
The Constitution forms the legal basis of our government and came about after we had first experimented with a looser confederation. It provides the mechanism for its own amendment and it was almost immediately amended with the so-called Bill of Rights which consists of the first 10 amendments.
The Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address are documents from our Civil War (1860-1865) and were written by President Abraham Lincoln.
The Table of Contents links you with the text of each document stored within this homepage.
|Return to... top of page|
|Or go back to... the Introduction|