Online Exhibits

Featured Documents

Closeup of document New York Ratification of the Bill of Rights
On September 25, 1790, by joint resolution, Congress passed 12 articles of amendment to the new Constitution, now known as the Bill of Rights.

Treaty of Kanagawa The Treaty of Kanagawa
On March 31, 1854, the first treaty between Japan and the United States was signed. The Treaty was the result of an encounter between an elaborately planned mission to open Japan .

James Whistler Whistler's Survey Etching
One of the known works completed by Whistler during his brief federal service, "Sketch of Anacapa Island," 1854.

Detail of Illustration of Emancipation Celebration The District of Columbia Emancipation Act
On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this act came 9 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.

The Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation
The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

Lt. Henry O. Flipper Lt. Henry O. Flipper
Born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21, 1856, Henry Ossian Flipper was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1873.

Detail of a Woman Suffragette The 19th Amendment
By 1916, almost all of the major suffrage organizations were united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York adopted woman suffrage in 1917 and President Wilson changed his position to support an amendment in 1918, the political balance began to shift.

Detail of Japanese Diplomats Signing the Surrender Document Japanese Surrender Document
... That morning, on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed their names on the Instrument of Surrender. The time was recorded as 4 minutes past 9 o'clock.

Gen. George C. Marshall The Marshall Plan
On June 5, 1947, in a commencement address at Harvard University, Secretary of State George C. Marshall first called for American assistance in restoring the economic infrastructure of Europe. Western Europe responded favorably, and the Truman administration proposed legislation.

Detail of Secretary of State Dean Acheson signs the Washington Treaty, April 4, 1949 The North Atlantic Treaty
This alliance created a military and political complement to the Marshall Plan for European economic recovery by establishing a mutual defense pact against possible aggression from the Soviet Union.


Jackie Robinson A Letter from Jackie Robinson
Having captured the attention of the American public in the ballpark, he now delivered the message that racial integration in every facet of American society would enrich the nation, just as surely as it had enriched the sport of baseball.

Closeup of John Glen in his Space Suit Astronaut John Glenn and the Friendship 7 Mission
With great skill, courage, and grace, Glenn piloted the spacecraft manually as the autopilot function failed, and Mission Control wondered whether the capsule's life-saving heat shield would hold while reentering the atmosphere.

Apollo 11 Flight Plan Apollo 11 Flight Plan
The flight plan describes tasks to be done 102 to 103 hours into the flight. Immediately after landing, Armstrong and Aldrin reviewed their lunar contact checklist and reached a decision on "stay/no stay." Armstrong then reported to Houston: "The Eagle has landed."

The Magna CartaMagna Carta
With Magna Carta, King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law.
(Courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.)