Milestone Documents

Milestone Documents

The primary source documents on this page highlight pivotal moments in the course of American history or government. They are some of the most-viewed and sought-out documents in the holdings of the National Archives.


Revolution and the New Nation



Expansion and Reform


Civil War and Reconstruction


The Development of the Industrial United States


The Emergence of Modern America


The Great Depression and World War II


Postwar United States



A note about the documents included on this page: These documents were originally selected for the project Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives, a national initiative on American history, civics, and service. They were identified to "help us think, talk and teach about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in our democracy...These documents reflect our diversity and our unity, our past and our future, and mostly our commitment as a nation to continue to strive to 'form a more perfect union.'" The original list included only documents created prior to 1965. In the future, this page will be updated with additional documents created after 1965. The original list also included several documents from the Library of Congress (Federalist Paper No. 10Federalist Paper No. 51Gettysburg AddressLincoln's Second Inaugural Address) and the New York Public Library (George Washington's Farewell Address)."