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The three documents, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, are known collectively as the Charters of Freedom. They have secured the rights of the American people for more than two centuries and are considered instrumental to the founding and philosophy of the United States.
Links to Government Documents
Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence expresses the ideals on which the United States was founded and the reasons for separation from Great Britain.
The Constitution of the United States
The Constitution defines the framework of the Federal Government of the United States.
The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It defines citizens’ and states’ rights in relation to the Government.
The Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."
The Federalist Papers
A series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name "Publius," in various New York state newspapers of the time. The Federalist Papers are often used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution.
Records of Rights
Various historical documents highlighting America's long battle with discrimination. Includes information on Jim Crow laws, discriminatory voting laws, and school desegregation.