Thousands of documents throughout time have shaped the course of history. The US and other countries have put into words their ideals, their intents and laws that have determined the lifestyle of their citizens and the wars they fought.

Thousands of documents throughout time have shaped the course of history. The US and other countries have put into words their ideals, their intents and laws that have determined the lifestyle of their citizens and the wars they fought. From the Declaration of Independence to the surrender of Japan in World War II, these famous documents provide today’s historians insight into what our forefathers were thinking about and dealing with. The following resources provide the text of several of the world’s most important historical documents.

Pre-Revolutionary Documents

  • Magna Carta: (June 15, 1215) The document that required King John to allow certain liberties, and passed into law in 1225.
  • Letter from Christopher Columbus: (14 March 1493) A letter to Luis de Sant Angel announcing his discovery of America.
  • Mayflower Compact: (November 1620) A written agreement between the settlers at New Plymouth creating the first laws of the New World.
  • The First Thanksgiving Proclamation: (June 20, 1676) The document that set Thanksgiving as a holiday in the colonies.
  • Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges: (28 October 1701) One of the first versions of the liberties allowed citizens of the colonies. 
  • Sugar Act: (April 5, 1764) Began the first tax on the American colonies by the British.
  • The Stamp Act: (March 22, 1765) Parliaments first serious attempt to show authority over the colonies, listing fifty-five resolutions.
  • Announcement of the Boston Tea Part: (December 20, 1773) A public notice announcing the plans for the Boston Tea Party.
  • Quartering Act: (June 2, 1774) An act that allowed British troops to stay in private and commercial properties without compensating the owner.
  • Olive Branch Petition: (July 5, 1775) The colonies last attempt to make peace with the King before the Revolutionary War.

American History

World War I


World War II