Featured Primary Sources

Economics

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, and text to place the document in historical context. Additionally, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

“The Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-man, or Tarring & Feathering,” (GLC04961.01)

A British view of rebellious Boston, 1774

Creator: Philip Dawe Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:
Detail of Jamestown from 1624 map of Virginia engraved by William Hole. (LOC)

A Jamestown settler describes life in Virginia, 1622

Creator: Sebastian Brandt Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Alexander Hamilton to François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois, October 12, 1780 (GLC)

Alexander Hamilton’s “gloomy” view of the American Revolution, 1780

Creator: Alexander Hamilton Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:

An African American soldier’s pay warrant, 1780

Creator: the State of Connecticut Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:
"The Protectors of Our Industries," by Bernhard Gillam, February 7, 1883  (LOC)

Anti-corporate cartoons, ca. 1900

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Inaugural Parade. Michelle and Barack Obama watch the parade from the viewi

Barack Obama’s First Inaugural Address, 2009

Creator: Barack Obama Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Frederick Douglass, National Portrait Gallery

Buying Frederick Douglass’s freedom, 1846

Creator: Hugh Auld, Walter Lowrie, and J. Meredith Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:
Color Voters Read, broadside, 1894. (GLC09000)

Campaigning for the African American vote in Georgia, 1894

Creator: the State Democratic Party of Georgia Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Enlistment poster for the Arizona Civilian Conservation Corps., September 24, 19

Civilian Conservation Corps poster, 1938

Creator: the Arizona Civilian Conservation Corps Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
First Inaugural Address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933. (GLC00675)

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inauguration, 1933

Creator: Franklin D. Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics, Literature Grade Levels:
"Life of George Washington--The farmer,"  by Jumius Brutus Stearns (LOC)

George Washington on the abolition of slavery, 1786

Creator: George Washington Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9
Franklin D. Roosevelt, [Press release of speech delivered on Memorial Day at Get

George Washington would have supported the New Deal, 1934

Creator: Franklin D. Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
George Washington, by Rembrandt Peale, ca. 1852 (GLC09119.01)

George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, 1789

Creator: George Washington Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Literature Grade Levels:
Alexander Hamilton, John Trumbull Copy after: Giuseppe Ceracchi 1806

Hamilton’s Report on the Subject of Manufactures, 1791

Creator: Alexander Hamilton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Herbert Hoover to Louis L. Emmerson, July 10, 1931. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Herbert Hoover on the Great Depression and New Deal, 1931–1933

Creator: Herbert Hoover Curriculum Subjects: Foreign Languages Grade Levels:
Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, ca. 1929 (Library of Congress)

Herbert Hoover’s Inaugural Address, 1929

Creator: Herbert Hoover Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
John Reid Jr., Indenture of apprenticeship with Robert Livingston Jr., 1742 (GLC

Indenture agreement, 1742

Creator: John Reid Jr. Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
John F. Kennedy, [Portion of an address], ca. August 12, 1952 (GLC02313)

JFK on the containment of Communism, 1952

Creator: John F. Kennedy Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: 13+
John Mosby, ca. 1870 (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

John Mosby on the silver issue, 1895

Creator: John S. Mosby Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment on slavery and the American government, ca. 185

Lincoln speech on slavery and the American Dream, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Lowell Offering, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Lowell Mill Girls and the factory system, 1840

Creator: Orestes Brownson and "A Factory Girl" Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:
Mary Todd Lincoln, ca. 1863 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Mary Todd Lincoln on life after the White House, 1870

Creator: Mary Todd Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels:
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.... (London, 1794).

Olaudah Equiano

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Hooverville in Portland, Oregon, photograph by Arthur Rothstein, July 1936. (Lib

Photograph of a “Hooverville,” 1936

Creator: the Farm Security Administration Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Abandoned farm in the Dust Bowl, Dalhart Texas, by Dorothea Lange

Photograph of an abandoned farm in the Dust Bowl, 1938

Creator: Dorothea Lange Curriculum Subjects: Art, Economics, Geography Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“Americans All” poster, War Manpower Commission, Washington DC, 1942. (GLC09530)

Preventing labor discrimination during World War II, 1942

Creator: War Manpower Commission Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Ronald Reagan to Harold Ward, May 26, 1962. (GLC00782.17)

Ronald Reagan on economics and political parties, 1962

Creator: Ronald Reagan Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
“$2,500 Reward!,” Mississippi Co., Missouri, broadside, August 23, 1852. (Gi

Runaway slave ad, 1852

Creator: John Means and R. E. Stanley Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Enoch M. Duley, “Two Hundred Dollars Reward!” broadside, KY (GLC06377.01)

Runaway slave ad, 1860

Creator: Enoch M. Duley Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Freedmen’s contract between Isham G. Bailey and freedmen Cooper Hughs and Charl

Sharecropper contract, 1867

Creator: Isham G. Bailey Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Sir Francis Drake’s attack on St. Augustine, 1586

Creator: Baptista Boazio Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels:
“178 Sugar and Cotton Plantation Slaves!” J. A. Beard & May, New Orleans, LA, 18

Slave auction catalog from Louisiana, 1855

Creator: J. A. Beard and May Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
John P. Zenger, New-York Weekly Journal, March 11, 1733[/4] (GLC08724p3)

Slave revolt in the West Indies, 1733

Creator: John Peter Zenger Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, World History Grade Levels:
Stephen Bayard to Robert Livingston, November 12, 1725.

The death of slaves on a voyage, 1725

Creator: Stephen Bayard Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“I feed you all!” lithograph by American Oleograph Co., Milwaukee, ca. 1875. (Li

The Grange Movement, 1875

Creator: Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:

The Haymarket Affair, 1886

Creator: Dyer D. Lum Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Detail from U.S. Capitol

The Monroe Doctrine, 1823

Creator: James Monroe Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:
Daniel Horsmanden, A Journal of the Proceedings . . . 1744. (GLC04502.01)

The New York Conspiracy of 1741

Creator: Daniel Horsmanden Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Franklin D. Roosevelt, ca. 1935 (GLC04675.06)

The origins of FDR’s New Deal, 1932

Creator: Franklin D. Roosevelt Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
A Memorial of the State of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (detail)

The Province of Massachusetts Bay requests aid from Queen Anne, 1708

Creator: Thomas Oliver Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Stamp Act, pamphlet, published in London, 1765. (GLC03562.11)

The Stamp Act, 1765

Creator: George III Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:

The Supreme Court upholds national prohibition, 1920

Creator: Wayne B. Wheeler Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Alexander Hamilton to Governor Thomas Mifflin, September 20, 1794. (GLC07920)

The Whiskey Rebellion, 1794

Creator: Alexander Hamilton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Joseph Rumshinsky, “Mamenu” or “The Triangle Victims,” 1911. (GLC06225)

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 1911

Creator: Joseph Rumshinsky Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Foreign Languages, Literature, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels:
William C. Bryant to Hamilton A. Hill, February 11, 1876. (GLC02595)

William Cullen Bryant opposes the protective tariff, 1876

Creator: William Cullen Bryant Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
William Jennings Bryan, 1896 (Library of Congress)

William Jennings Bryan and the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, 1895

Creator: William Jennings Bryan Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
US Food Administration. Food Will Win the War, ca. 1917. (GLC09522)

“Food Will Win the War,” 1917

Creator: United States Food Administration Curriculum Subjects: Economics, World History Grade Levels:
“Roosevelt or Reaction?” campaign poster, Democratic National Campaign Committee

“Reelect Roosevelt—Friend of Labor,” 1936

Creator: Democratic National Campaign Committee Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: