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HNRS285 Hamilton: Then and Now: Home

Alexander Hamilton

The causes of hostility among nations are innumerable.
                                     ~ Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers No. 6

Secondary Sources

Use the Big Red Box
from the library's homepage to find books.

Books will give you the background and overview that will help you put primary documents within historical context.

Things to think about

  • Is there a transcript to help with handwriting and issues of quality?
  • Does the historical language make it difficult to understand?
    • Oxford Dictionary of English Entymology
  • What is the chronology of events?
  • What is the writer's point-of-view?
  • What is the writer's purpose for creating the document?
  • What is the historical context for the document?
  • Do you have all the names of people, places, and events related to the document?
  • Do you have all the pertinent dates related to this document?

Finding Primary Sources

Primary Sources are readily found online, as more institutions fund projects to scan their documents and make them available to the public.  Your best sources for primary documents from the American colonial era are The Library of Congress and the National Archive.  For other online resources, stick to web site from:

  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Archives

These institutions have the expertise to make copies according to archival standard and to organize them in a meaningful way.

Primary Sources

Alexander Hamilton


John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York),1804, Oil on canvas,
Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1881, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

Searching for Primary Documents in the Big Red Box

You can use the following words in your search to try to coax out the primary documents:

  • diary
  • correspondence
  • speeches
  • memoirs
  • autobiography
  • letters
  • interviews
  • journal
  • narrative