Top Ten Historical Documents

A historical document is one, which provides essential information about an individual, place or an important event. Here we provide top ten historical documents which have been treasured for generations to come

1. Columbus’ Letter Announcing His Discovery

This document is a letter written by Columbus announcing his successful voyage, where he sailed to Indies in 33 days. He describes about the discovery of new islands and his encounter with different people.

2. Mayflower Compact

This document was written by separatists, who travelled aboard Mayflower in order to escape the ill-treatment meted to them, by James I and VI on religious grounds. It was signed in the year 1620 by 41 passengers of Mayflower.

3. Washington’s Farewell Address

It was a valedictory letter written by the President of America, George Washington, which was first published in the year 1769. In this letter, he warns the American citizens of political dangers, which can be avoided, if they stay true to their principles.

4. Monroe Doctrine

This is a policy of U.S. which was introduced in the year 1823. It declared that any further attempts by Europeans to colonize or intervene with U.S. will be treated as aggressive acts. It also stated that U.S. would not interfere with any existing colonies of Europe or meddle in their internal matters.

5. Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

Abraham Lincoln delivered this speech in 1861, when taking the oath of office as sixteenth American President. Lincoln covered several important topics in his address such as his pledge which states “to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government”.

6. Emancipation Proclamation

This is an executive order given by Abraham Lincoln, in the year 1863, at the time of American Civil War. It was a proclamation of freedom to slaves in the ten rebelling states. The announcement did not include compensation to the owners, or outlaw itself of slavery, and did not give citizenship to ex-slaves.

7. American’s Creed

Americans Creed was written by William Tyler Page in 1917 as a patriotic contest entry and was later adopted by House of Representatives of the U.S. in 1918. It includes some prominent statements like “I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; ..”

8 Inaugural address of John F. Kennedy

This was the first and only Inaugural speech delivered by the American President John F. Kennedy in 1961. It is considered as the best of the inauguration speeches by Presidents in the history of America. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” is one of the notable passages in his address.

9. “I Have a Dream”

This is a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. in the year 1963. In his 17-minute speech, Luther King spoke about putting an end to discrimination and racial equality. It was ranked as 20th century’s top American speech, by a poll of scholars.

10. United States Declaration of Independence

Continental Congress adopted this statement in the year 1776, which declared independence to 13 American communities, engaged in war at that time with Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 delegates on July 4th. Independence Day of U.S. is celebrated on 4th of July, the day on which Congress accepted the statement of declaration.

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