Political Organizations




Historical Documents

In 1905, George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Worse still, those who have no knowledge of history are doomed to attribute all kinds of things to our founding fathers that would have them turning in their graves!

Pundits say many things in the US; but many of them seem to have failed to do their homework. (Or they are hoping that we haven't done ours, and will simply swallow anything we're told.)

Be one of those who knows what our Founding Fathers actually said, and what kind of men they were. (Hint; they weren't conservatives, they were revolutionaries. That's why we had a revolution.)

Find out who the Emancipation Proclamation really freed. (Hint: no one at all, when it was written. That was actually done by the 13th amendment to the Constitution. Find out why!)

Discover what was really going on. It might surprise you.

The Declaration of Independence - This is the full text, so you can read the often-heard phrases in context, and see what they really meant.

The Constitution of the United States - from the US Government Archives. Read the transcript, and find out what the Constitution actually says about the rights of private citizens. (Hint: almost nothing; it's all about setting up the government and limiting what States can do. The stuff we think of as "Rights" is all in amendments.) Find out if it's really the Christian document that the Right Wing wants us to think that it is. (Hint: no. Religion is never mentioned.)

The Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments to the US Constitution. This is the part that gives us freedom, and responsibility. Read them for yourself, and see what they really say about why we have the right to bear arms (hint: it's so we can serve in a Militia), and whether or not the government is legally allowed to search our homes without saying exactly what they are searching for (hint: they aren't, Patriot Bill notwithstanding.)

Amendments to the Constitution - Amendments 11 through 27, which gave us things like freedom from slavery (1865,) income tax (1913,) the right of women to vote (1920,) and lowered the voting age to 18 (1971.) Find out what they say.

The Federalist Papers - Did you know that for several years before the US had a Constitution it operated under the Articles of Confederation? The Federalist Papers are the arguments put forth by some of the Founding Fathers about the reasons to have the Constitution, instead. They will give you lots of insight into what those men were actually thinking, and why they really did some of the things they did. (Hint: the Electoral college wasn't implemented to make sure that candidates went to outlying states. It was because the founding fathers feared a tyrant manipulating public opinion. See Federalist 68.)

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention - More reading about what actually happened, in the early days of the United States.

Letter to the Danbury Baptists - Thomas Jefferson's letter of 1802 which introduced the phrase "Separation of Church and State." Yes, unfortunately, it's not part of the Constitution at all (although Jefferson's comments make clear that was the intention of the framers of that document.)

Deism - Contrary to what you might hear from the Religious Right, our founding fathers weren't Christians. Most of them were actually Deists. You can find out what that means here.

US Treaty with Tripoli, 1796 - This is a treaty that was unanimously approved by the US Senate, less than 20 years after the Declaration of Independence, when most of the Founding Fathers were still active. So it would be reasonable to assume that it is a true reflection of their aims and desires. Which makes it interesting, to say the least, that article 11 states that "... the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." Read it for yourself, in context.

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson was a prolific writer. Read more of his work here. You'll find he had little patience with people who tried to impose their religious or moral opinions on others.

The Emancipation Proclamation - This is the final version. (You can read the preliminary version here.) As you can see, the only slaves it actually freed are those in the states that were "currently in rebellion." Since those states didn't recognize the authority of the President of the US, it didn't free anyone at all at that time. It did, however, mean that they were free when the North won the war, and it paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment.

Avalon Project - If you find that all of the above has gotten you interested in historical documents, especially those dealing with the establishment of laws and the governing of people, you might want to take a look here. They have documents from the Ancient World (including a translation of the entire Code of Hammurabi) right up to documents from the 21st century.