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A Guide to the American Revolution, 1763-1783

The horse America, throwing his master
The horse America,
throwing his master
1 print : etching.
Westminster : Pubd. by Wm. White, 1779 Aug. 1.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Digital Collections

American Notes: Travels in America

This collection comprises 253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920.

Among the collection's American Revolution-era books are:

The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies

The maps and charts in this collection number well over two thousand different items, with easily as many or more unnumbered duplicates, many with distinct colorations and annotations. Almost six hundred maps are original manuscript drawings.

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

The Printed Ephemera Collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompassing key events and eras in U.S. history, including the American Revolution.

Examples of broadsides from the American Revolution include:

  • A broadside titled "No Stamped Paper to be had" reports a variety of colonial efforts intended to force the repeal of the hated Stamp Act of 1765.
  • An account of the Boston Massacre printed in 1770.
  • A copy of the Boston Port Act as passed by the British Parliament in March 1774, which closed Boston Harbor.

The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region

This collection comprises 139 books selected from the Library of Congress's General Collections and two books from its Rare Book and Special Collections Division. It includes first-person narratives, early histories, historical biographies, promotional brochures, and books of photographs.

Among the collection's American Revolution-era books are:

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates

This collection contains the records of Congress from 1774 to 1875, including journals, debates, bills, and laws. The Journals of the Continental Congress and Letters of Delegates to Congress can be researched to examine the role of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution.

Highlights from the American Revolution in this collection include the following:

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention

This collection contains 277 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the Declaration of Independence and the preliminary articles of peace ending the Revolutionary War.

This collection also includes a timeline of the American Revolution and the essay "To Form a More Perfect Union".

Early Virginia Religious Petitions

Presents images of 423 petitions submitted to the Virginia legislature between 1774 and 1802 from more than eighty counties and cities. Drawn from the Library of Virginia's Legislative Petitions collection, the petitions concern such topics as the historic debate over the separation of church and state championed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the rights of dissenters such as Quakers and Baptists, the sale and division of property in the established church, and the dissolution of unpopular vestries.

First American West: The Ohio River Valley

Consists of 15,000 pages of original historical material documenting the land, peoples, exploration, and transformation of the trans-Appalachian West from the mid-eighteenth to the early nineteenth century. The collection is drawn from the holdings of the University of Chicago Library and the Filson Historical Society of Louisville, Kentucky.

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Washington documents in the world. Document types in the collection include correspondence, letterbooks, commonplace books, diaries, journals, financial account books, military records, reports, and notes accumulated by Washington from 1741 through 1799. The collection includes a timeline of Washington's service during the American Revolution.

Highlights from the American Revolution in the Washington Papers include the following:

The James Madison Papers

The Madison Papers consist of approximately 12,000 items captured in some 72,000 digital images. They document the life of the man who came to be known as the "Father of the Constitution" through correspondence, personal notes, drafts of letters and legislation, an autobiography, legal and financial documents, and miscellaneous manuscripts. The collection includes a timeline that examines Madison's career during the American Revolution.

The Madison Papers include the following documents from the American Revolution:

The Rochambeau Map Collection

Contains cartographic items used by Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), when he was commander-in-chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution. The maps cover much of eastern North America and date from 1717 to 1795.

The Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606-1827

Jefferson's papers consist of approximately 27,000 documents ranging in date from 1606 to 1827. Correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drafts of documents make up two-thirds of the collection. Jefferson's activities as a delegate to the second Continental Congress, his drafting of the Declaration of Independence in June-July 1776, and his service as governor of Virginia, 1779-81, are well documented. The collection includes a timeline of Jefferson's activities during the years 1774 to 1783.

Highlights from the American Revolution in this collection include the following:

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  September 28, 2015
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