Featured Primary Sources

The Early Republic

Nothing can enrich and enliven our understanding of the nation’s past, or dispel apathy about it, more powerfully than primary sources. The primary sources below open up a variety of viewpoints and have been chosen by master teachers specifically for use in the classroom. Affiliate School members can print a packet that includes an image of the document, photograph, or other resource, a transcript where applicable, text to place the document in historical context, and document-based questions. In addition, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

John Adams to George Churchman and Jacob Lindley, January 24, 1801. (Gilder Lehr

John Adams on the abolition of slavery, 1801

Creator: John Adams Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull Jr., July 21, 1799. (Gilder Lehrman Colle

Washington on a proposed third term and political parties, 1799

Creator: George Washington Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Primary Sources from Other Sub-Eras

A Map of the Louisiana Territory, 1814. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

A map of the Louisiana Territory, 1814

Creator: Meriwether Lewis Curriculum Subjects: Geography, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8
Thomas Jefferson to James Maury Esq., June 16, 1815. (Gilder Lehrman Collect

Jefferson on British aggression, 1815

Creator: Thomas Jefferson Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Angelica Schuyler Church to Philip Schuyler, July 11, 1804. (Gilder Lehrman

The duel: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, 1804

Creator: Angelica Schuyler Church Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9