History Now 2 (Winter 2004)

Primary Sources on Slavery

From the Editor

Students often ask: How do historians know what happened in the past? How do they know what Frederick Douglass said about slavery, what Abigail Adams thought about American independence, or what happened at Sutter’s mill? As scholars and teachers, we know that primary sources are the building blocks, the “stuff” of history.

Official government documents, political speeches, wills, newspapers, diaries, and letters are just a few of the sources we can draw upon to reconstruct an historical era or an individual life. We can also turn to...More »