Featured Primary Sources

Literature and Language Arts

Nothing can enrich and enliven our understanding of the nation’s past, or dispel apathy about it, more powerfully than primary sources. The primary sources below open up a variety of viewpoints and have been chosen by master teachers specifically for use in the classroom. Affiliate School members can print a packet that includes an image of the document, photograph, or other resource, a transcript where applicable, and text to place the document in historical context. Additionally, you may want to search the Gilder Lehrman Collection itself for other resources to enrich your lessons.

Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment on slavery and the American government, ca. 185

Lincoln speech on slavery and the American Dream, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Inaugural address of President Abraham Lincoln delivered at the National Cap

President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, 1865

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+