"Fear is the foundation of most governments..."
Creating Republican Governments
"The Power of Government of this State is vested in, and must be derived from the People"
A Bill Concerning Slaves
by Thomas Jefferson (1779)
"Those which shall come into this commonwealth of their own accord shall be out of the protection of the laws."
Native Americans and the American Revolution
by Thomas Jefferson (04/19/1780)
"An expedition must be instantly undertaken into the Indian Country"
Articles of Confederation
"Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled."
What is an American?
by Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur (1782)
"Lawyer or merchant are the fairest titles our towns afford"
Robert Morris to President of Congress
by Robert Morris
The United States labor under many Inconveniences and even Disadvantages which may at present be remedied but which if suffered to continue would become incurable and lead to pernicious Consequences.
The Fate of Loyalists After the Revolution
by Brooks Watson (03/14/1783)
"The Loyalists of this Country are all preparing to leave it to settle in Nova Scotia"
The Newburgh Conspiracy
by Edmund Pendleton (10/12/1783)
"The behavior of the soldiers in their insult to Congress"
The Whiskey Rebellion
by George Washington (08/07/1784)
"And I do moreover warn all persons whomsoever against aiding, abetting, or comforting the perpetrators of the aforesaid treasonable acts."
Slavery in Post-Revolutionary America
by James Pemberton (11/18/1784)
"The case of oppressed blacks commands our attention"
John Adams and Slavery
by John Adams (04/28/1785)
"[Nothing] will ever prevent me from doing all in my Power to obtain Restitution of the Negroes taken from the Southern States"
Relations with Britain
by John Adams (06/02/1785)
"I have done nothing in the late contest, but what I thought myself...bound to do by...Duty"
by John Adams (06/02/1785)
"Congress having...invest[ed] us with full Powers entering into a Treaty...with the Government of Algiers"
Henry Knox on a Well-Regulated Militia
by Henry Knox (1786)
"A proper arrangement of the militia may be regarded as the foundation of the future glory and power of the United States"
Jefferson on France and Britain
by Thomas Jefferson (05/04/1786)
"That nation hates us"
by James Madison (09/02/1786)
"This high-handed offence...must tend to subvert all law and government"
Washington on Slavery
by George Washington (09/09/1786)
"I never mean...to possess another slave by purchase"
The Annapolis Convention
"They are however of a nature so serious, as, in the view of your Commissioners to render the situation of the United States delicate and critical, calling for an exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the Confederacy."
by Benjamin Lincoln (12/04/1786)
"The proportion of debtors runs high in this State"
Letter to Henry Knox about Shays' Rebellion
by George Washington (12/26/1786)
"There are combustibles in every State, which a spark might set fire to"
The Three-Fifth Compromise
"Three-fifths of all other persons"
Should Washington Attend the Constitutional Convention?
by George Washington (02/03/1787)
"My opinion of the energetic wants of the federal government are well known"
James Madison on the Constitutional Convention
by James Madison (02/24/1787)
"The only step of moment taken by Cong[res]s...has been a recommendation of the proposed meeting...for revising the federal articles"
Debates Within the Constitutional Convention
by Pierce Butler (06/13/1787)
"A national government ought to be established consisting of a Supreme Legislature, Judiciary, and Executive"
"Neither Slavery nor involuntary Servitude in the said territory"
A Pro-Slavery Document
"Mr. L[uther] Martin proposed...to allow a prohibition or tax on the importation of slaves"
Fugitive Slaves and the Constitution
by Pierce Butler (08/28/1787)
"Any person bound to service...[who] shall flee"
Objections to the Constitution
by Edmund Randolph (08/30/1787)
"Objections to the Constitution as far as it has advanced"
"We the People of the United States..."
Letter to the Massachusetts State Legislature Explaining His Reasons for Not Signing the Constitution
by Elbridge Gerry (10/1787)
"...it was painful for me, on a subject of such national importance, to differ from the respectable members who signed the constitution. But conceiving as I did that the liberties of America were not secured by the system, it was my duty to oppose it."
by Edmund Pendleton (10/08/1787)
"To expect...unanimity in points of so great magnitude...was contrary to all experience"
Report of the Committee of Style
"ALL legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
The Ratification Debates
by William Blount (12/15/1787)
"We are at the Eve of a Bankruptcy"
Opposition to the Constitution
by Daniel Adams (12/31/1787)
"We must insist that the Continental Constitution contain a Bill of Rights"
The Bill of Rights
by John Jay (1788)
"There never was a time when the public Interest require more attention"
The Ratification Debates
by Henry Knox (02/10/1788)
"The property, the ability, and the virtue of the state, are almost solely in favor of the constitution"
The Ratification Debates
by Walter Stewart (02/20/1788)
"Very extensive Petitions will be laid...against the new Constitution"
Ratifying the Constitution
by George Washington (03/03/1788)
"Congratulations on the acceptance of the new constitution by the State of Massachusetts"
A Sense of New Possibilities
by Benjamin Rush and George Clymer and George Clymer (1789)
"Molasses has shipwrecked New England virtue"
On Becoming President: A letter to Henry Knox
by George Washington (04/01/1789)
"Feelings not unlike those of a culprit...going to the place of his execution"
Address of the Senate to President George Washington
"We, the Senate of the United States, return you our sincere thanks for your excellent speech delivered to both Houses of Congress."
Mercy Otis Warren on the New Republic
by Mercy Otis Warren (09/20/1789)
"We are too poor for Monarchy, too wise for despotism, too selfish & extravagant for Republicanism"
Judiciary Act of 1789
"The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a chief justice and five associate justices."
Memorandum on a Colony in Africa for Manumitted Slaves
by James Madison (10/20/1789)
"In order to render this change eligible as well to the Society as to the Slaves, it would be necessary that a compleat incorporation of the latter into the former should result from the act of manumission."
An Address to the Public (Concerning Slavery)
by Benjamin Franklin (11/09/1789)
"The unhappy man, who has long been treated as a brute animal, too frequently sinks beneath the common standard of the human species."
Postmaster General's First Report
by Samuel Osgood (01/20/1790)
"The postage of a single letter...amounts almost to a prohibition of communication through the post office"
On the Equality of the Sexes
by Judith Sargent Stevens Murray (03/1790 to 04/1790)
"A mortifying consciousness of inferiority"
Alexander Hamilton's Financial Program
by Roger Sherman (03/06/1790)
"The assumption of the debts of the several states...is now under consideration"
Religion in the Founding Era
by Benjamin Rush (03/09/1790)
"I have felt...a sense of my obligations to God"
Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport
"If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail..."
The Birth of Political Parties
by Thomas Jefferson (08/12/1790)
"[The British] view a war as very possible"
Alexander Hamilton's Report on Manufactures
by Alexander Hamilton (1791)
"The expediency of encouraging manufactures in the United States"
Fugitive Slave Law of 1793
"neither party shall proceed to the infliction of punishments on the citizens of the other"
Washington and Europe
by George Washington (03/25/1793)
"The contests of European Nations"
Proclamation of Neutrality
"I have therefore thought fit by these presents to declare the disposition of the United States to observe the conduct aforesaid towards those Powers respectfully."
Opinion on Renouncing the Treaties with France
by Thomas Jefferson (04/28/1793)
"I proceed to give an opinion in writing on the general Question, Whether the US. have a right to renounce their treaties with France, or to hold them suspended till the government of that country shall be established?"
Jefferson on the Haitian Revolution
by Thomas Jefferson (12/01/1793)
"St. Domingo has expelled all its whites"
Tensions with Britain
by John Jay (04/09/1794)
"Britain has acted unwisely and unjustly"
The Whiskey Rebellion
"A daring and cruel outrage has been committed"
The Jay Treaty of 1794
"One Commissioner shall be named by His Majesty, and one by the President of the United States."
Treaty of Greenville
"Henceforth all hostilities shall cease; peace is hereby established, and shall be perpetual; and a friendly intercourse shall take place between the said United States and Indian tribes."
by James Monroe (01/17/1795)
"[Jay's Treaty] excited much uneasiness in the councils of...[the French] government"
by William Paterson (05/29/1795)
"To resist and prevent the execution of the law...by violence...[is] treason"
Washington's Farewell Address
by George Washington (09/17/1796)
"The immense value of your national Union"
The Citizen Genet Affair
by Thomas Jefferson (11/27/1796)
"You have probably heard of a great misunderstanding between Mr Genet and us"
The Election of 1796
by Charles Thomson (12/05/1796)
"Great anxiety prevails...[about] the future President"
Robert Fulton Praises Free Trade
by Robert Fulton (04/14/1798)
"What is more important than a perfect free trade"
The Quasi-War with France: John Jay on America's Obligations to France
by John Jay (06/25/1798)
"It would be both just and proper to declare the treaty with France to be void"
"And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases."
Washington and the Republicans
by George Washington (09/30/1798)
"A profest Democrat...will leave nothing unattempted to overturn the Government of this Country"
by Handsome Lake (1799)
"Three things that our younger brethren [the Americans] do are right to follow."
The Alien & Sedition Acts
by Alexander Addison (01/1799)
"Liberty without limit...is the worst kind of tyranny"
Jefferson on Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars
by Thomas Jefferson (01/21/1799)
"Folly begets folly"
Washington on Political Partisanship
by George Washington (07/21/1799)
"Let [the Jeffersonians] set up a broomstick, and call it a true son of Liberty...and it will command their votes in toto!"
"That it does now unequivocally declare its attachment to the Union,..."
by John Marshall (09/20/1800)
"Seamen who are not British subjects...shall be exempt from impressment"
Treaty of San Ildefonso
"armed and equipped and ready to receive French crews and supplies"
Convention of 1800 between France and America
"There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere Friendship between the French Republic, and the United States of America"
Alexander Hamilton and the Election of 1800
by Alexander Hamilton (12/23/1800)
"If Jefferson and Burr come with equal votes...the former ought to be preferred"
The Election of 1800
by Elizur Goodrich (01/01/1801)
"The votes are even between Jefferson & Burr"
Slavery and Race in Jeffersonian America
by John Adams (01/24/1801)
"The Abolition of Slavery must be gradual"
Jefferson's First Inaugural Address
"Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government."
The Jeffersonians in Power
by Elias Boudinot (04/25/1801)
"The President's inauguration past gave great hope that he would...council[iate] all parties"
by Thomas Jefferson (07/13/1802)
"[The slaves in question] are not felons"
The Haitian Revolution
by Jessica Lange and Charles Victor Emmanuel LeClerc (08/06/1802)
"Show no mercy with anyone"
Draft Changes to the Constitution
by Thomas Jefferson (1803)
"The legislature shall have no authority to dispose of the lands of the province"
Louisiana Purchase Treaty
"The President of the United States of America and the First Consul of the French Republic in the name of the French People having by a Treaty of this date terminated all difficulties relative to Louisiana,..."
Fear of a French Empire in North America
by Thomas Jefferson (02/02/1803)
"None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army"
The Slave Trade
by James Fox and James Monroe (04/09/1803)
"At no period since the slave-trade was prohibited, have all our citizens abstained from...[this] traffic"
Jefferson's letter to Meriwether Lewis
"In all your intercourse with the natives, treat them in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit; allay all jealousies as to the object of your journey;..."
Clearing the Land of Indians
by Henry Dearborn (07/08/1803)
"Introduce among the several Indian Nations...the arts of civilization"
Louisianans React to the Louisiana Purchase: Pierre Derbigney's Memorial to the U.S. Congress
by Pierre Derbigney (1804)
"A Governor is placed over us, whom we have not chosen"
The Hamilton-Burr Duel
by David Hosack (1804)
"he breathed; his eyes, hardly opened, wandered, without fixing upon any object"
The Fantasy Image of the Southwest
by William Shaler (1804)
The Lewis and Clark Expedition: Extracts from the Journals of William Clark
by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (03/03/1804 to 09/26/1806)
"all in health and readiness to set out"
Slavery in the Early Republic
by William Few (06/30/1804)
"Every consideration of justice, humanity and safety, forbids that any more Negroes should be brought into your state"
Slavery in the Early Republic
by John Quincy Adams (07/17/1804)
"Establish an impregnable rampart of Slaveholding power, under the false batteries of democracy"
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
by Meriwether Lewis (05/14/1805)
"Saw immense herds of buffalo today"
John Adams on Alexander Hamilton
by John Adams (12/04/1805)
"Hamilton's schemes to...monopolize power to himself"
Increasing Social Stratification in the Southwest
by Guadalupe Vallejo (1806 to 1807)
"It is necessary, for the truth of the account, to mention the evil behavior of many Americans before..."
Violations of America's Rights on the High Seas
by James Monroe (03/29/1807)
"Nearly the whole of the American Commerce...will fall under the destructive operation of the [British] order"
John Adams on Aaron Burr
by John Adams (09/01/1807)
"I am anxious to see the Progress of Burr's Tryal"
Outrage over Impressment
by John Adams (09/01/1807)
"War? or No War? That is the question"
The Embargo of 1807
by Thomas Jefferson (1808)
"The only honorable expedient for avoiding war"
by Tenskwatawa (1808)
"We ought to consider ourselves as one man."
Madison Becomes President
by John Adams (03/04/1809)
"Jefferson expired and Madison came to Life last night"
by Tecumseh (1810)
"When Jesus Christ came upon the earth you killed Him and nailed Him to the cross."
by Pushmataha (1811)
"You now have no just cause to declare war against the American people."
by William Tecumseh Sherman (1811)
"Shall we, without a struggle, give up our homes."
The Meaning of the French Revolution
by Thomas Jefferson (04/15/1811)
"The fatal errors which have lost to nations the present hope of liberty"
A Glimpse of Texas During the Early 19th Century
by Migual Ramos de Arizpe (1812)
"...each soldier a hero that is worth a hundred ordinary soldiers"
The Fantasy Image of the Southwest - Pedro Bautista Pino
by Pedro Bautista Pino (1812)
"it has been impossible to engage a teacher and to furnish education for everyone"
Declaration of the War of 1812
"he will go into the army for a bounty of $16"
Opportunities and Risks in the Southwest
by William Shaler (05/02/1812 to 10/05/1812)
"Open Mexico to the political influence of the U.S."
Dissent Against the War of 1812
by J.C. Jones (06/11/1812)
"An immense majority of the people are...averse from a conflict...menacing ruin to ourselves"
Criticizing President James Madison's Policies
by Columbian Centinel (09/05/1812)
"The friends of Peace, Commerce and Liberty...are hourly rising"
The War of 1812: The United States Was Woefully Unprepared for War
by Benjamin Rush (11/29/1812)
"Our Northern & Western Armies seemed to be doomed to misfortune and Disgrace"
The Missionary Impulse
by To-Cha Lee and Chu Li-Oa (1813)
"Our mental powers are not by nature inferior to yours"
The New England Threat of Secession
"The sentiment is hourly extending, and in these Northern States will soon be universal, that we are in a condition no better in relation to the South than that of a conquered people."
The Fate of Native Americans
by Thomas Jefferson (12/06/1813)
"They would have...amalgamated with us within no distant period of time"
by William Weatherford (1814)
"I can do no more than weep over the misfortunes of my nation."
The War of 1812
by Charles Grodin and Val Kilmer and Ephraim Hubbard Foster (04/08/1814)
"The great & immortal Jackson, leads the valiant & daring sons of Tennessee to victory & to glory"
Peace with Britain
"What the terms of the peace are, we cannot tell; they will only be made known at Washington, by the dispatches themselves."
The Hartford Convention
by James Monroe (01/11/1815)
"The proceedings at Hartford have excited much anxiety"
The Hartford Convention
"The war...on our part, is entirely defensive"
The Treaty of Ghent
by James Monroe (02/18/1815)
"A treaty of peace was received last night"
by Susan Mansfield Huntington (04/04/1815)
"Dear children! I tremble for you"
British Defiance of the Treaty of Ghent
by John Quincy Adams (08/31/1815)
"The British naval Commanders...have carried away from the United States all the slaves they have taken"
"They neither enjoy the immunities of freemen, nor...the incapacities of slaves, but partook...of both"
by Bushrod Washington (01/14/1817)
"The existence of distinct and separate castes...in an inherent vice in the composition of society"
The Era of Good Feelings
by James Monroe (07/04/1817)
"We are embarked in the same sacred cause of liberty"
The Complexities of U.S.-Indian Relations
by Andrew Jackson (05/04/1818)
"The warriors of that village was [sic] with me fighting the battles of our country"
The Missouri Crisis
"A...deliberate sanction seems to be...given to the continuance of domestic slavery"
John Quincy Adams's Report Upon Weights and Measures
by John Quincy Adams (1821)
"An uniform system of weights and measures"
by John Marshall (12/22/1823)
"To disable the court from deciding constitutional questions"
"Any person may separate from one...Religious Society and join another"
Slavery and Sectionalism
by James Monroe (05/20/1824)
"The policy of liberating the slaves in the W. Indies"
Letter to Lydia Sigourney on Slavery
by Thomas Jefferson (07/18/1824)
"We have the wolf by the ears & feel the danger of holding or letting loose"
by John Quincy Adams (03/04/1825)
"It is a source of gratification and of encouragement to me to observe that the great result of this experiment upon the theory of human rights has at the close of that generation by which it was formed been crowned with success equal to the most sanguine expectations of its founders."
by E.B. Caldwell (10/27/1826)
"No adequate provision...was made for the shelter and comfort of the people"
Education in the Early Republic: Accounts of Two New England Teachers
(08/1831 to 10/1831)
"The school was large, and the pupils rather ungovernable"
Missionary Work and Indian Policy
by William Dickson (05/28/1834)
"I had the pleasure of being introduced to the principal Chief of the Potawatamie Indians"
Zachary Taylor Discusses the Campaign against the Seminoles
by Zachary Taylor (03/25/1838)
"Prevent those people from cultivating the soil"
The Trail of Tears
by John Ross (08/14/1840)
"A conviction of injustice which has characterized the entire proceedings of the war department towards them"
Madison Hemings Comments on the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings Relationship
by Madison Hemings (1873)
"I knew more of his domestic than his public life during his life time."