There are a couple handouts below. Read them over the break. Write all over them. Answer the questions at the top of the page. This will supplement what you have already done. We will discuss them and their relevance.

If you have not read primary sources before, you might be surprised to find that it is not like reading from a textbook. Primary sources do not speak for themselves—they have to be interpreted. You do not just simply read about the past, you must investigate the past by asking questions.

To help you interpret primary sources, you should answer these questions as you examine the source on a separate sheet of paper:

A. Place the document in its historical context
1. Who wrote it?
2. Where and when was it written?
3. Why was it written?
4. Who was it written for? What do you know about this audience?

B. Understanding the document
1. What are the key words and what do they mean?
2. What point is the author trying to make? Summarize the thesis.
3. What evidence does the author give to support this thesis.
4. What assumptions does the author make?

C. Evaluate the document as a source of historical information
1. Is this document similar to others from the same time period?
2. How widely was it circulated?
3. What problems, assumptions, and ideas does it share with other documents from the time period?

June 4th-8th


June 11th-15th




June 18-22


June 25-29


July 2-6




July 9-13



July 16-20



If you are having trouble printing these primary sources, you can go to The Library of Congress and search their digital media.