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A Plantation Mistress Decries a "Monstrous System"

Mary Boykin Chestnut was the wife of a wealthy South Carolina planter who kept a diary during the Civil War. Published long after the war, the diary included many insightful and pointed criticisms of slavery, such as this passage, in which she calls [...]

James Madison Considers the Problems of a New Democracy

The United States Constitution, though ultimately ratified unanimously by all thirteen states, was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. James Madison, a Virginia patriot and later the fourth president [...]

A New York Farmer Outlines His Opposition to the Constitution

The ratification of the United States Constitution was the subject of intense discussion, debate, and dissent during the period 1787-1789. Among those opposed to ratification were many small farmers in the North. As this letter written by "A [...]

A Destitute Famine Victim Sends a Desperate Letter from Ireland

Like many victims of the Great Famine, Mary Rush and her husband Michael had only one place to turn for assistance: parents or other relatives who had already emigrated. On September 6, 1846, the illiterate Mary dictated this desperate letter, [...]

A Salem Resident Cautions New York on the Dangers of Hysteria

Fires were not uncommon in New York in the early 18th century. The city's ever-present fear of destruction by fire was heightened by the suspicion that the fires of 1741 were ignited by rebellious slaves. Arson was used by enslaved New Yorkers in [...]

An Immigrant Writes a Letter Home to Ireland

Mary Ann Rowe emigrated to America from Ireland in 1888 because her father promised to leave his farm to her younger sister as a marriage dowry. Her letter to a friend back home in Dunnamaggan, suggests the homesickness experienced by millions of [...]

A Nativist New Yorker Disparages Irish Arrivals

The following are excerpts from the diaries of George Templeton Strong (1820-1875), a prominent New York lawyer. Written between 1838 and 1857, the entries reveal Strong's undisguised contempt for the Irish immigrants who were then flooding the [...]

The Members of Delta Company Write to President Nixon

This letter to President Nixon was written by the members of Company D, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army to complain about what they saw as an unfair burden of combat duty that they and other infantrymen [...]

Item Type: Diary/Letter
Abigail Adams Reminds John Adams to "Remember the Ladies" (with text supports)

In this famous letter, Abigail Adams, already planning for the war's successful conclusion, admonishes her husband John Adams to consider inequality between men and women when developing laws for a newly independent nation.

A World War II Soldier Finds Segregation on Army Bases

Although over a million African-American men and women served during World War II, they continued to experience discrimination in the armed forces. In addition to being relegated to segregated combat units, often in service-and-supply capacities, [...]

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