Colonial American History

Colonial American History

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered and transmitted from the past.
  Karl Marx

Journal of the American Revolution
An excellent online journal with scholarly and popular articles, book reviews, primary sources and much more.

WWW Virtual Library: Colonial Era
Maintained by the Kansas Heritage Group, this site has links to a wide variety of people, places, maps, and events in the colonail era. It is a good place to start when searching for a topic of interest.

American Revolutionary War Era Maps
More than 2000 hand drawn maps produced between 1750 – 1800 are located at the Boston Public Library. Most maps are of New England and the West Indies.

Common Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life
Self described as a forum for bringing ” together scholars, activists, journalists, filmmakers, teachers, and history buffs to discuss everything from politics to parlor manners.” The features include “investigative reporting, primary research, and essays on methodological dilemmas and disciplinary divides.” Reviews of recent scholarship and films are also included.1

American Journeys
A good place to find primary documents dealing with early North American explorations. The site has more than 18,000 pages of eyewitness accounts that range from 1000 CE to 1800s.

The Archive of Early American Images
Maintained by Brown University, this archive will ultimately have around 6000 images dating from 1492-1825. Many of these images are from relatively obscure works and have not been reproduced until they were housed in this collection. While useful, keyword searches often require several attempts to find suitable images.

Spy Letters of the American Revolution
A project of the Clements Library at the University of Michigan, this site offers “an amazingly complete look at the everyday intelligence operations of both the British and American armies. Many of the letters highlighted in this digital exhibit were pivotal to the success and failures of sieges, battles, and surprise attacks.” Maps. biographies, timelines, prints and narratives supplement and compliment the letters.

Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive
Created by the Electronic Text Center and the University of Virginia, this site contains a comprehensive collection of the views of Jefferson arranged under 9000 titles relating to government, religious freedom, politics, morals, science, art, education etc. There is also a comprehensive annotated bibliography of writings about Jefferson and a collection of his papers and writings.

Founders Online
178,000 fully annotated searchable documents. You might also look at Founding Fathers Info Though geared toward younger students of the late colonial period and early republic, this site does has some useful links and information. An online version of the Federalist Papers is particularly valuable.

Colonial Williamsburg
Online access to the world’s largest living history museum. You might want to first go to the “Explore & Learn” link to learn about the different social and ethnic groups that lived in colonial Williamsburg. Make sure to take the interactive tour of the town.

The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut 1636-1776
An initiative of the University of Connecticut Libraries and supported by the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, the site holds images of all fifteen volumes of the Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776. You may search the site through the A-Z subject index, by date, or by volume and page number.

The Papers of John Jay
A searchable database of the papers of the first Chief Justice and two term governor of New York. There is a biographical essay and four background papers.

Salem Witchcraft Trials
The Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia has put together the most thorough site for researching the Salem Withcraft Trials. You will find full text transcripts, pamphlets, contemporary sermons, maps and more than 500 related documents. You might also look at Seventeenth Century New England which has a number of useful links about colonial New England and an emphasis on the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Mayflower History
A good introduction to to Pilgrims – their voyage and settlement. Useful primary documents and genealogical resources.

Colonial North American Project
A collection of letters, books, official documents, sermons sheet music and other materials collected by the Harvard Library. The site says “these documents reveal a great deal about topics such as social life, education, trade, finance, politics, revolution, war, women, Native American life, slavery, science, medicine and religion.”

Historic Jamestowne
A number of resources for students and educators with links to YouTube videos about ongoing archeological research and other documents.