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Historical Documents

Documents that led to, established, defined, and maintains this Nation of Freedom.

Historical Documents  -  Inauguration Speeches  -  Speeches  -  Party Platforms

Precursors - 17th Century - 18th Century - 19th Century
20th Century - 21st Century - Links
  Last updated August, 2005.  Unless stating the date, events within the year may not be in order.
Precursors to the "rule of law"
1680 B.C. Prior The Code of Hammurabi (circa 1727-1680 BC)
From ancient Mesopotamia. Hammurabi thought himself chosen by the gods.
1500 +-
Prior The Ten Commandments (circa 1600-1200 BC)
The ten laws of  Moses
1164 Prior The Constitutions of Clarendon (1164)
King Henry II defines the royal prerogatives during the beginning of the battle between Henry II and archbishop Thomas a Becket.
1215 Prior The Magna Carta (June 15, 1215)
An English Charter the Magna Carta required the king to relinquish certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and establishes that the king could be bound by law.
1320 Prior The Declaration of Arbroath (April 6, 1320)
Prepared as a formal Declaration of Independence. The declaration urges the Pope to view the Scottish as independent from England.
1492 Prior Privileges and Prerogatives Granted by Their Catholic Majesties to Christopher Columbus (April 30, 1492)
The royal order and commission of Christopher Columbus.
1498 Patents Letters Patents of King Henry the Seventh Granted unto Iohn Cabot (March 5, 1498) and his Three Sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian and Sancius for the the Discouerie of New and Unknowen Lands.
1578 Patents Letters Patent to Sir Humfrey Gylberte (June 11, 1578)
1584 Charter Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh (March 25, 1584)
Charter to found a colony in the New World.
17th Century  -  1600s
1603 Charter Charter of Acadia Granted by Henry IV of France to Pierre du Gast, Sieur de Monts (December 18, 1603)
1606 Charter 1st Virginia Charter (April 10, 1606) - Virginia
"... parte of America commonly called Virginia ..."
1609 Charter 2nd Virginia Charter (May 23, 1609) - Virginia
"... parte of America comonlie called Virginia ..."
1611 Charter 3rd Virginia Charter (March 12, 1611) - Virginia
"... for the First Colonie in Virginia;"
1619 Petition Petition for a Charter of New England by the Northern Company of Adventurers (March 3, 1619)
1620 Compact Mayflower Compact (November 11, 1620)
The charter of a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia.
1620 Charter The Charter of New England (1620) - Massachusetts
1620 Government Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth (1620) - Massachusetts
1621 Charter Charter of the Dutch West India Company (June 3, 1621
1621 Law Ordinances for Virginia (July 24-August 3, 1621) - Virginia
1622 Grant A Grant of the Province of Maine to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason, esq. (August 10, 1622) - Maine
1624 Warrent Warrant for William Ussling to Establish a General Company for Trade to Asia, Africa, America and Magellanica (December 21, 1624)
1626 Charter Charter of Privileges which Gustavus Adolphus Has Graciously Given by Letters Patent to the Newly Established Swedish South Company (June 14, 1626)
1626 Notice Notification of the Purchase of Manhattan by the Dutch (November 5, 1626)
1629 Charter Charter of the Colony of New Plymouth  (November 3, 1629) - Massachusetts
Granted to William Bradford and His Associates
1629 Charter Charter of Massachusetts Bay Colony (1629) - Massachusetts
1629 Grant Grant of Land North of the Saco River to Thomas Lewis and Richard Bonighton by the Council for New England (February 12, 1629)
1629 Patent Sir Robert Heath's Patent 5 Charles 1st (October 30, 1629)
1629 Grant Grant of Hampshire to Capt. John Mason (November 7, 1629) - New Hampshire
1629 Grant Grant of Laconia to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason by the Council for New England (November 17, 1629) - New Hampshire
1632 Charter The Charter of Maryland (June 20, 1632) - Maryland
"... all that Part of the Peninsula, or Chersonese, lying in the Parts of America ..."
1634 Commission Royal Commission for Regulating Plantations (April 28, 1634)
1634 Grant Confirmation of the Grant from the Council for New England to Captain John Mason (February 3, 1634) - New Hampshire
1635 Declare Declaration for Resignation of the Charter by the Council for New England (April 25, 1635)
1635 Charter The Great Charter of New England (June 7, 1635) - Massachusetts
Surrender of rights of Government to His Majesty of England.
1635 Grant Grant of the Province of New Hampshire to John Wollaston, Esq. (April 11, 1635) - New Hampshire
1635 Grant Grant of the Province of New Hampshire to Mr. Mason By the Name of Masonia  (April 22, 1635) - New Hampshire
1635 Grant Grant of the Province of New Hampshire to Mr. MasonBy the Name of New Hampshire (April 22, 1635) - New Hampshire
1635 Grant Grant of the Province of New Hampshire From Mr. Wollaston to Mr. Mason  (June 11, 1635) - New Hampshire
1635 Grant Grant of His Interest in New Hampshire by Sir Ferdinando Gorges to Captain John Mason (September 17, 1635) - New Hampshire
1637 Proclaim Proclamation Against the Disorderly Transporting His Majesty's subjects to the Plantations Within the Parts of America (April 30, 1637)
1637 Commission Commission to Sir Ferdinando Gorges as Governor of New England by Charles (July 23, 1637)
1639 Government The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (January 14, 1639) - Connecticut
"... all that Part of the Peninsula, or Chersonese, lying in the Parts of America ..."
1639 Constitution Constitution of the Colony of New Haven (June 4, 1639) - Connecticut
Fundamental Agreement or Original Constitution.
1639 Prior Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter in New Hampshire (August 4, 1639) - New Hampshire
"... that we may live quietly and peaceably together in all godliness and honesty."
1639 Grant Grant of the Province of Maine (1639) - Maine
1640 Patent Plantation Agreement at Providence (August 27 - September 6, 1640) -Rhode Island
1640 Patent William Bradford, &c. Surrender of the Patent of Plymouth Colony to the Freeman, March 2D (1640) - Massachusetts
1641 Government Government of Rhode Island (March 16-19, 1641) -Rhode Island
1641 Government Combinations of the Inhabitants Upon the Piscataqua River for Government
 - New Hampshire
1643 Patent Patent for Providence Plantations (March 14, 1641) -Rhode Island
1643 Government The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England (May 19, 1643)
Between the Plantations: Massachusetts, New Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven.
1643 Government 1643 - Government of New Haven Colony (1643) - Connecticut
1649 Prior The Maryland Toleration Act (Sept. 21, 1649) - Maryland
Religious rules followed by statement of  toleration between people of differing Christian faiths.
1662 Charter Charter of Connecticut (April 20, 1662)  - Connecticut
"... Our Colony or Plantation of Connecticut, in NewEngland ..."
1663 Charter Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (July 15, 1663) - Rhode Island
"... Rhode-Island, and the rest of the colonie of Providence Plantations, in the Narragansett Bay, in New-England, in America ..."
1663 Charter Charter of Carolina (March 24, 1663) - North Carolina
1663 Charter Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (July 15) - Rhode Island
1663 Declaration A Declaration and Proposals of the Lord Proprietor of Carolina (Aug. 25-Sept. 4, 1663) - North Carolina
1664 Grant Grant of the Province of Maine (1664) - Maine
1664 Patent The Duke of York's Release to John Ford Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret, 24th of June (June 24, 1664) - New Jersey
1664 Commission The Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey (1664) - New Jersey
  Government Concessions and Agreements of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina (1663) - North Carolina
1665 Charter Charter of Carolina (June 30, 1665) - Carolina
"... Carolina, situate, lying and being within our dominions of America; ..."
1669 Government The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina (March 1, 1663) - North Carolina
1672 Declaration A Declaration of the True Intent and Meaning of us the Lords Proprietors, and Explanation of There Concessions (1672) New Jersey
1674 Grant Grant of the Province of Maine (1664) - Maine
1674 Grant His Royal Highness's Grant to the Lords Proprietors, Sir George Carteret, 29th July (July 29th, 1674) - New Jersey
1676 Law The Charter or Fundamental Laws, of West New Jersey (1674) - New Jersey
1676 Prior The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (JUNE 20, 1676)
"a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour"
TimeLine of Thanksgiving
1676 Deed Quintipartite Deed of Revision, Between E. and W Jersey: July 1st (July 1st, 1676) - New Jersey
1680 Commission Commission of John Cutt - New Hampshire
1680 Grant Duke of York's Second Grant to William Penn, ..., for the Soil and Government of West New Jersey (August 6, 1680) - New Jersey
1681 Charter Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania (February 28, 1681) - Pennsylvania
1681 Government Concessions to the Province of Pennsylvania (July 11, 1681) - Pennsylvania
1681 Government Province of West New-Jersey, in America (November 25th, 1681) - New Jersey
1682 Grant Duke of York's Confirmation to the 24 Proprietors (March 14, 1682) - New Jersey
1682 Charter Penn's Charter of Libertie (April 25, 1682) - Pennsylvania
"... ALL that tract of land or province called PENNSILVANIA in America ..."
1682 Government Frame of Government of Pennsylvania (May 5, 1682) - Pennsylvania
1683 Government Frame of Government of Pennsylvania (February 2, 1683) - Pennsylvania
1683 Government Fundamental Constitutions for the Province of East New Jersey in America (1683) - New Jersey
1683 Rights The King's Letter Recognizing the Proprietors' Right to the Soil and Government (1683) - New Jersey
1688 Commission Commission of Sir Edmund Andros for the Dominion of New England (April 7, 1688) - Massachusetts
1689 Prior English Bill of Rights (February 13, 1689)
"An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown"
1690 Prior The Second Treatise of Government (1690)
Written by John Locke
1691 Charter The Charter of Massachusetts Bay. October 7 (October 7, 1691) - Massachusetts
1696 Government Frame of Government of Pennsylvania (1696) - Pennsylvania
18th Century  -  1700s
1701 Charter Charter of Delaware / Charter of Privileges Granted by William Penn, esq.
to the Inhabitants of Pennsylvania and Territories
(October 28, 1701) - Pennsylvania
"... shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind ..."
1702 Government Surrender from the Proprietors of East and West New Jersey, of Their Pretended Right of Government to Her Majesty (1702) - New Jersey
1709 Government The Queen's Acceptance of the Surrender of Government (April 17, 1702) - New Jersey
1712 Grant Charles II's Grant of New England to the Duke of York, 1676 - Exemplified by Queen Anne (1712) - New Jersey
1725 Charter Explanatory Charter of Massachusetts Bay (August 26, 1725) - Massachusetts
1732 Charter Charter of Georgia (June 9, 1732)
"... establishing the colony of Georgia in America;"
1754 Proposal Albany Plan of Union (1754)
A proposal to the parliament that one general government be formed in America, to include all the colonies.
Path to War
1765 to war Resolutions of the Stamp Act (October 19, 1765)
"Duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion, respecting the most essential rights and liberties Of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several late Acts of Parliament."
1770 to war Anonymous Account of the Boston Massacre (March 5, 1770)
"The horrid massacre in Boston," "by soldiers of the Twenty-ninth Regiment which with the Fourteenth Regiment were then quartered there;"
1774 to war Declaration and Resolves (October 14, 1774)
First Continental Congress
1774 to war Articles of Association (October 20, 1774)
"...we will not import, into British America, from Great-Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place, any such goods, wares, or merchandise, as shall have been exported from Great-Britain or Ireland; nor will we, ... "
1775 to war Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death! (March 23, 1775)
"Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry, speech.
1775 to war Mecklenburgh Resolutions : May 20 (May 20, 1775) - North Carolina
1775 to war The Charlotte Town Resolves (May 31, 1775)
1775 to war Call to Arms (July 6, 1775)
"A declaration by the representatives of the united colonies of North America," "..., setting forth the causes and necessity of their taking up arms."
1775 to war Resolution of Secrecy Adopted by the Continental Congress (November 9, 1775)
Labor & Birth of a Nation.
1776 liturature Common Sense - Thomas Paine (1776)
"PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason."
1776 State Constitution of New Hampshire (January 5, 1776) - New Hampshire
"... the necessity of establishing A FORM OF GOVERNMENT to continue during the present unhappy and unnatural contest with Great Britain;"
First constitution of an American commonwealth.
1776 State Constitution of South Carolina (March 26, 1776) - South Carolina
"The colonists were therefore driven to the necessity of taking up arms, to repel force by force, and to defend themselves and their properties against lawless invasions and depredations."
1776 State Preamble and Resolution of the Virginia Convention (May 15, 1776)
1776 to war Resolution introduced in the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee (Virginia) proposing a Declaration of Independence (June 7, 1776)
1776 State Virginia Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776) - Virginia
"I That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
1776 State Constitution of Virginia (Jun. 29, 1776) - Virginia
"By which several acts of misrule, the government of this country, as formerly exercised under the crown of Great Britain, is TOTALLY DISSOLVED."
1776 State Constitution of New Jersey (publication ordered July 3, 1776; amended September 20, 1777 ) - New Jersey
"And whereas George the Third, king of Great Britain, has refused protection to the good people of these colonies; and, by assenting to sundry acts of the British parliament, attempted to subject them to the absolute dominion of that body; and has also made war upon them, ..."
1776 to war The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
"The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,"
- TimeLine of the Declaration of Independence
1776 State Constitution of Delaware (proclaimed September 21, 1776) - Delaware
"The Constitution, or System of Government, agreed to and resolved upon by the Representatives in full Convention of the Delaware State, formerly styled 'The Government of the Counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, upon Delaware,' "
1776 State Constitution of Pennsylvania (September 28, 1776) - Pennsylvania
"AND WHEREAS it is absolutely necessary for the welfare and safety of the inhabitants of said colonies, that they be henceforth free and independent States, ..."
1776 State Constitution of Maryland (November 11, 1776) - Maryland
"THE parliament of Great Britain, by a declaratory act, ..."; "... by force of arms, to subjugate the United Colonies ..." "... ; Therefore we, the Delegates of Maryland, in free and full Convention assembled, taking into our most serious consideration the best means of establishing a good Constitution in this State, ..."
1776 State Constitution of North Carolina (December 18, 1776) - North Carolina
"And whereas George the Third, King of Great Britain, and late Sovereign of the British American Colonies, ..." "... declared the inhabitants of these States out of the protection of the British crown, ..."
1777 State Constitution of Georgia (February 5, 1777) - Georgia
"Whereas the conduct of the legislature of Great Britain for many years past has been so oppressive on the people of America ..."
1777 State Constitution of New York (April 20, 1777) - New York
"Whereas the many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations of the King and Parliament of Great Britain on the rights and liberties of the people of the American colonies ..."
1777 State Constitution of Vermont (July 8,1777) - Vermont
"and the said King has not only withdrawn that protection, but commenced, and still continues to carry on, with unabated vengeance, a most cruel and unjust war against them;"
1778 Treaty Treaty of Amity and Commerce ; February 6, 1778  (February 6, 1778) - France diplomacy
1778 Notes Miller's Notes on the Treaty of Amity and Commerce  (February 6, 1778) - France diplomacy
1778 Treaty Treaty of Alliance (February 6, 1778) - France diplomacy
1778 Treaty Act Separate and Secret  (February 6, 1778) - France diplomacy
1778 Treaty Exchange of Notes Referring to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with France (February 6, 1778) - France diplomacy
1778 State Constitution of South Carolina (March 19, 1778)
"... whereas the United Colonies of America have been since constituted independent States, and the political connection heretofore subsisting between them and Great Britain entirely dissolved by the declaration of the honorable the Continental Congress, ..."
1781 Government Articles of Confederation (March 1, 1781)
"Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states of
New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. "
1782 at war Contract Signed at Versailles (July 16, 1782)  - France diplomacy
Between the King and the Thirteen United States of North America
1783 at war Declaration for Cessation of Hostilities (January 20, 1783)
Suspension of arms and cessation of hostilities. Treaty to end the Revolutionary War
1783 notes Hunter Miller's Notes - Declaration for Cessation of Hostilities (January 20, 1783)
1783 at war Second Contract Signed at Versailles (February 25, 1783) - France diplomacy
Between the King and the Thirteen United States of North America
1783 at war Declaration of Cessation of Arms (April 11, 1783)
Declaring Cessation of Arms
Documents - Defining the Republic
1786 State The Religious Freedom Statute (1786)
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
1786 State Constitution of Vermont (July 4,1786) - Vermont
1786 Law Annapolis Convention (September 14, 1786)
" Commissions to take into consideration the trade and commerce of the United States, to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial intercourse and regulations might be necessary to their common interest and permanent harmony, and to report to the several States such an Act ..."
1787 Report Report of Proceedings in Congress (February 21, 1787)
"... as to the inefficiency of the federal government and the necessity of devising such farther provisions as shall render the same adequate to the exigencies of the Union do strongly recommend to the different legislatures to send forward delegates to meet the proposed convention on the second Monday in May next at the city of Philadelphia "
1787 U.S.


Constitutional Convention:  (May - September, 1787)
- Variant Texts of the Virginia Plan, Presented by Edmund Randolph (May 29, 1787) Text A
- Variant Texts of the Virginia Plan, Presented by Edmund Randolph (May 29, 1787) Text B
- Variant Texts of the Virginia Plan, Presented by Edmund Randolph (May 29, 1787) Text C
- Plan of Charles Pinckney (South Carolina) (May 29, 1787)
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by William Patterson (N.J.)  (June 15, 1787) Text A
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by William Patterson (N.J.) (June 15, 1787) Text B
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by William Patterson (N.J.) (June 15, 1787) Text C
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by Alexander Hamilton (June 18, 1787) Text A
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by Alexander Hamilton (June 18, 1787) Text B
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by Alexander Hamilton (June 18, 1787) Text C
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by Alexander Hamilton (June 18, 1787) Text D
- Variant Texts of the Plan Presented by Alexander Hamilton (June 18, 1787) Text E
- Madison's Notes on Debates (1787)
- Constitution as Recorded in Madison's Notes  (September 12, 1787)
- Notes of Rufus King (1787)
- Notes of Alexander Hamilton (1787)
- Notes of Major William Pierce (Georgia) (1787)
- Papers of Dr. James McHenry on the Federal Convention (1787)
- Notes of William Paterson (1787)
- Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Taken by the Late Hon Robert Yates, Chief Justice of the State of New York, and One of the Delegates from That State to the Said Convention (1787)
- United States Constitution (1787)





Ratification of, & Formation of the New Government as spelled out in the New U.S. Constitution:
- Letter of the President of the Federal Convention to the President of Congress, Transmitting the Constitution (September 17, 1787)
- Resolution of the Federal Convention Submitting the Constitution to Congress (September 17, 1787)
- Resolution of Congress, Submitting the Constitution To the Several States (September 28, 1787)
- Circular Letter of the Secretary of Congress, Transmitting Copy of the Constitution to the Several Governors (September 28, 1787)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Delaware (December 7, 1787)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New Jersey (December 18, 1787)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Georgia (January 2, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Connecticut (January 8, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Massachusetts (February 2, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Maryland (April 28, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of South Carolina (May 23, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New Hampshire (June 21, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia (June 26, 1788)
- Resolution of Congress, Submitting Ratifications of the Constitution to a Committee (July 2, 1788)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New York (July 26, 1788)
- Resolution of the Congress, Fixing Date for Election of a President, and the Organization of the Government Under the Constitution. (September 13, 1788)
- Resolution of the First Congress Submitting Twelve Amendments to the Constitution (March 4, 1789)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of North Carolina (November 21, 1789)
- Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Rhode Island (May 29, 1789)
- The Federalist Papers (1789)
- Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789)
- Virginia Resolution (1798)
- Kentucky Resolutions : Draft (October 1798)
- Kentucky Resolution (1799)
1787 Law North-west Ordinance (July 13, 1787)
"An Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States northwest of the River Ohio."
1787 literature The Federalist Papers (1787)
The Federalist Papers, written under the pseudonym "Publius," are the most definitive resource on the original intent of our Constitution.
1787 liturature The Anti-Federalist Papers (1787)
"The PEOPLE are the grand inquest who have a RIGHT to judge of its merits. The hideous daemon of Aristocracy has hitherto had so much influence as to bar the channels of investigation, preclude the people from inquiry and extinguish every spark of liberal information of its qualities."
1787 U.S.
Constitution of the United States of America (September 17, 1787)
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ..."
1787 Letter Letter Of Transmittal (September 17, 1787)
"Letter from the Federal Convention President to the President of Congress, Transmitting the Constitution"
1788 diplomacy Convention Defining and Establishing the Functions and Privileges of Consuls and Vice Consuls, signed at Versailles (November 14, 1788)
1789 U.S.
Madison's Proposal for the Bill of Rights (June 8, 1789)
"move you, sir, that a select committee be appointed to consider and report such amendments as are proper for Congress to propose to the legislatures of the several States, conformably to the 5th article of the constitution."
1789 define First Thanksgiving Proclamation (October 3, 1789)
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor ..."
1789 U.S.
Bill of Rights Preamble (March 4, 1789)
"Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine. ..."
1789 U.S.
The Twelve Amendments Proposed by Congress (September 25, 1789)
Ten of the twelve proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution became the Bill of Rights.
1791 State Admission of the State of Vermont (February 18,1791) - Vermont
1791 U.S.
The Bill of Rights as Ratified by the States (December 15, 1791)
To make a "more perfect Union" "more perfect," the "Bill of Rights" are added to the Constitution in the form of the first ten Amendments.
1792 literature The Rights of Man - Thomas Paine (1792)
"I present you a small treatise in defence of those principles of freedom which your exemplary virtue hath so eminently contributed to establish. That the Rights of Man may become as universal as your benevolence can wish, and that you may enjoy the happiness of seeing the New World regenerate the Old, ..."  - Thomas Paine, dedication to George Washington.
1792 Act Militia Act of 1792 (May 2, 1792)
"... whenever the United States shall be invaded, or be in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, to call forth such number of the militia ..."
1793 define Proclamation of Neutrality (April 22, 1793)
"... the duty and interest of the United States require, that they should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerant Powers;  ..."
1795 U.S.
Amendment 11 (Passed March 4, 1794; Ratified February 7, 1795)
- Judicial power clarified.
19th Century  -  1800s
1801 Diplomacy Text of the Convention of 1800 (September 30, 1800) - France diplomacy
1801 Diplomacy Senate Resolution (February 3, 1801)
1801 Diplomacy United States Instrument of Ratification (February 18, 1801)
1801 Diplomacy French Instrument of Ratification (July 31, 1801) - France diplomacy
1801 Diplomacy Jefferson's Message to the Senate (December 11, 1801) - France diplomacy
1801 Diplomacy Senate Resolution (December 19, 1801) - France diplomacy
1801 Diplomacy Proclamation (December 21, 1801) - France diplomacy
1801 Diplomacy Hunter Miller's Notes on the Convention of 1800 - France diplomacy
1803 Judicial Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Holds Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 as unconstitutional. The decision defines the role of the Judiciary setting the U.S. Constitution as paramount within American law.
1803 Treaty Louisiana Purchase Treaty (1803) - France diplomacy
1803 diplomacy Louisiana Purchase First Convention (1803) - France diplomacy
1803 diplomacy Louisiana Purchase Second Convention (1803) - France diplomacy
1804 U.S.
Amendment 12 (Passed December 9, 1803; Ratified June 15, 1804.) 
- Selecting a president.
1812 War Declaration of War against Great Britain; War of 1812 (June 18, 1812)
Congressional act declaring war with Great Britain.
1814 War Treaty of Ghent (December 24, 1814)
"Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America."
1814 War Star-Spangled Banner (September 14th, 1814)
Poem by Frances Scott Key, later set to the tune of "Anacreon in Heaven" and becomes America's National Anthem.
1823 War Monroe Doctrine (December 2, 1823)  
"We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety."
1843 Government Constitution of Rhode Island (Text of 1986 Version - Original adopted in 1843) - Rhode Island
1843 Diplomacy Convention of 1843 - France diplomacy
1843 Diplomacy Additional Article to the Convention of 1843 (November 9, 1843) - France diplomacy
1848 War The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (July 4, 1848)
"The United States of America and the United Mexican States animated by a sincere desire to put an end to the calamities of the war which unhappily exists between the two Republics..."
1849 Civil
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau (1849)
 - Original title "Resistance to Civil Government"  "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; ..."
1852 Comentary Frederick Douglass - The Hypocrisy of American Slavery (1852)
1860 Civil War On Liberty (1860)
Essay by John Stuart Mill
1860 Civil War Civil War
1860 U.S.
The Crittenden Compromise - Amendments Proposed in Congress (December 18, 1860)
 Amendments of compromise on the issue of slavery, proposed by Senator John J. Crittenden.
1860 Civil War
South Carolina Declaration of Secession (December 24, 1860)
"... the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled,..." "... have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved. ...."
1861 Civil War
Constitution of the Confederate States of America (March 11, 1861)
"We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity-invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God-do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America." -preamble, Confederate States constitution.
1861 Civil War
Georgia Secession (January 29, 1861)
"The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation."
1861 Civil War
Texas' Declaration of Causes of Seceding States (February 2, 1861)
"... We the delegates of the people of Texas, in Convention assembled, have passed an ordinance dissolving all political connection with the government of the United States ..."
1861 U.S. Constitution
Amendments Proposed by the Peace Conference of 1861 (February 8 - 27, 1861)
Second attempt at a compromise by proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
1862 Civil War

Emancipation Proclamation (September 22, 1862)
"And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. "
1863 Civil War

Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863)
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us --that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. "
1865 U.S.
Amendment 13 (Passed January 31, 1865; Ratified December 6, 1865)
- Abolishes slavery.
1868 U.S.
Amendment 14 (Passed June 13, 1866; Ratified July 9, 1868)
- Defines Citizen, Representative, Senator, and debt for domestic service.
1870 U.S.
Amendment 15 (Passed February 26, 1869; Ratified February 3, 1870)
- Voting right to all races.
20th Century  -  1900s
1913 U.S.
Amendment 16 (Passed July 2, 1909; Ratified February 3, 1913)
- Income tax authorized.
1913 U.S.
Amendment 17 (Passed May 13, 1912; Ratified April 8, 1913)
- Defines the allocation of Senators from each state.
1919 U.S.
Amendment 18 (Passed December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed in 1933)    
- Intoxicating liquors prohibited.
1919 War The Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919)
Ends World War I. Establishes the League of Nations.
1920 U.S.
Amendment 19 (Passed June 4, 1919; Ratified August 18, 1920)
- Gave Women the right to vote.
1933 U.S.
Amendment 20 (Passed March 2, 1932; Ratified January 23, 1933)
- Designates date of terms, further defines succession of the presidency.
1933 U.S.
Amendment 21 (Passed February 20, 1933; Ratified December 5, 1933)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1945 U.N. Charter of the United Nations (June 26, 1945)
"WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, ..."
Charter of the United Nations - Current
1945 Diplomacy International Organizations Immunities Act (December 9, 1945)
"AN ACT To extend certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities to international organizations and to the officers and employees thereof, and for other purposes"
1945 U.N. United Nations Participation Act (December 20, 1945)
"AN ACT To provide for the appointment of representatives of the United States in the organs and agencies of the United Nations, and to make other provision with respect to the participation of the United States in such organization "
1946 Cold War Winston Churchill -- "Iron Curtain" Speech (Mar. 5, 1946)
"The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American Democracy. For with primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future. ..."
1946 UNESCO Participation in UNESCO (July 30, 1946)
"JOINT RESOLUTION Providing for membership and participation by the United States in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and authorizing an appropriation therefor ..."
1949 U.N. Amendment of United Nations Participation Act (October 10, 1949)
"AN ACT To amend the United Nations Participation Act of 1945"
1949 U.N. North Atlantic Treaty (April 4, 1949)
"The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments."
1951 U.S.
Amendment 22 (Passed March 21, 1947; Ratified February 27, 1951)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1954 Race Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
"Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment"
1961 U.S.
Amendment 23 (Passed June 16, 1960; Ratified March 29, 1961)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1963 King Martin L. King -- Letters from Birmingham Jail (Apr. 16, 1963)
"You deplore the demonstrations taking place In Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative."
1964 U.S.
Amendment 24 (Passed August 27, 1962; Ratified January 23, 1964)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1966 Court Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
"This Court is forever adding new stories to the temples of constitutional law, and the temples have a way of collapsing when one story too many is added."
1967 U.S.
Amendment 25 (Passed July 6, 1965; Ratified July 1, 1971)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1971 U.S.
Amendment 26 (Passed March 23, 1971; Ratified January 23, 1964)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1973 Abortion Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973)
The decision that led to the deaths of countless baby lives.
1986 Government Constitution of Rhode Island (1986) - Rhode Island
A Constitutional Convention placed amendments and an updated version to the people.
1987 Reagan Reagan's Executive Order on Federalism (October 26, 1987, revoked by Bill Clinton's EO 13083)
The executive Order on federalism was to "restore the division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the States that was intended by the Framers of the Constitution ..."
1988 Note In 1988 the PoetPatriot, Roger W Hancock looked at both Platforms and asked himself, "Why am I a democrat?"
1992 U.S.
Amendment 27 (Originally Proposed on September 25, 1789; Ratified January 23, 1964)
- Repeals the 18th Amendment, prohibiting Liquior.
1994 GOP Contract with America (Campaign Season, 1994)
"On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government: "
1998 Investigation The Starr Report (September 9, 1998)
1999 Commentary The "General Welfare" - Joseph Sobran (November 23, 1999)
"So Madison, Hamilton, and - more important - the people they were trying to persuade agreed: the Constitution conferred only a few specific powers on the federal government, all others being denied to it (as the Tenth Amendment would make plain)."
21st Century  -  2000s
2001 Commentary 28th Amendment Commentary, Robert P. George (July 2001)
2001 Speech George W. Bush - Speech to Congress After September 11 (2001)
2003 Commentary Constitution for a Moral People - Roger W Hancock (November 2003) -
2005 Commentary Is It Permissible? - Walter E. Williams (September 21, 2005)
1995 Commentary The Unconstitutional Congress - Stephen Moore
2007 Commentary Living Under the Patriot Act: Educating a Society, Paul Ibbetson (February, 2007)
A book explaining the Patriot Act.
© Copyright 2005 Roger W Hancock 




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