50 Core American Documents
Required Reading for Students, Teachers, and Citizens
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The Ashbrook Center’s 50 Core American Documents is meant to introduce
readers to America’s story as it has unfolded from the American Founding
into the Twentieth Century. Many of the documents emphasize America’s
uniqueness and contributions to the world, but they also present different
views on some of the major issues and disputes in American history and government,
especially on the meaning of liberty, the injustice of slavery, and the
demands of progress. Taken as such, the documents reveal a kind of political
dialogue to readers, an ongoing and profoundly consequential conversation
about how Americans have agreed and often disagreed on the meaning of
freedom and self-government. 50 Core American Documents invites teachers
and citizens alike to join in this American political dialogue.
The Ashbrook Center restores and strengthens the capacities of the American
people for constitutional self-government. The Center teaches students and
teachers across our country why America is exceptional and what America
represents in the long history of the world. Ashbrook is the nation’s largest
university-based educator in the enduring principles and practice of free government
in the United States, offering programs and resources for students,
teachers, and citizens.