Press Release
Press Release · Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Press Release
September 16, 2003

New Civics Initiative Launched: The People's Vote: 100 Documents That Shaped America

At a special ceremony tomorrow with President George W. Bush, the Archivist of the United States, John W. Carlin, will officially launch The People's Vote: 100 Documents That Shaped America, a national challenge to engage Americans in a lively and thoughtful debate about which documents in American history are the most influential—which changed the course of history, shaped the United States, and defined us as a people.

The People’s Vote, co-sponsored by the National Archives, National History Day and U.S. News & World Report, invites Americans of all ages and educational backgrounds to vote for 10 documents from the list of 100 milestone documents chosen by historians and the National Archives, or to write in their favorites.

The People’s Vote is part of a larger project created by the National Archives and National History Day in collaboration with USA Freedom Corps titled Our Documents: A National Initiative on American History, Civics and Service. The purpose of this initiative is to provide programs like the People’s Vote to engage Americans in a better understanding of the documents that shaped our country. For more information on Our Documents, go to

By logging onto Americans can see the original 100 milestone documents, ranging from the U.S. Constitution to the cancelled check for the purchase of Alaska; and learn more about each of the 100 documents identified by experts at the National Archives. After making their selections Americans will be able to cast their ballot online. Voters who feel that the documents on the list do not meet their own criteria for the top ten selection, may write in their own choices. Voting kiosks will be placed at the National Archives, Presidential libraries and regional archives nationwide.

The September 22, 2003, issue of U.S. News & World Report includes an editorial package, entitled American Ideals, that will focus on The People's Vote: 100 Documents That Shaped America. Included will be articles about the significance of some of the documents, a full listing of the documents and a paper ballot. U.S. News & World Report will also publish a Collector’s Edition, entitled American Ideals, which will include editorial content about The People’s Vote. The Collector’s Edition will be available on newsstands beginning mid-February 2004.

The Archivist of the United States will announce the results of The People’s Vote and unveil the ten documents that received the most votes in a ceremony in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom on December 15, Bill of Rights Day. Cathy Gorn, Executive Director of National History Day, and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Editor in Chief of U.S. News & World Report will participate in the ceremony.

About The National Archives and Records Administration The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique - to ensure for the citizen and the public servant, for the President, the Congress, and the Courts, ready access to essential evidence. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, ensuring access to records on which the credibility of our government and the accuracy of our history depend. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and on the Internet at

About National History Day National History Day (NHD) is not just one day, but a yearlong education organization that makes history come alive through educator workshops and active student learning. Students annually create documentaries, performances, exhibits, and papers as part of a NHD national contest. For more information, go to or call 301-314-9739.

About U.S. News & World Report Founded in 1933, U.S. News & World Report is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2003. The weekly national newsmagazine is devoted to investigative journalism and to reporting and analyzing national and international affairs, politics, business, health, science, technology and social trends. Through its annual rankings of America's Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools and America's Best Hospitals, and its News You Can Useâ brand, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. Available online at, U.S News was recently named the most credible newsweekly by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

About USA Freedom Corps President Bush created the USA Freedom Corps office at the White House to foster a culture of service, citizenship and responsibility. Through the USA Freedom Corps, President Bush wants to help every American answer the call to volunteer service by strengthening and expanding service opportunities to protect our homeland, support our communities and extend American compassion around the world. For more information about the USA Freedom Corps, please visit or call 1-877-USA-CORPS.

For more information about the People’s Vote or Our Documents, visit or For press information, contact Susan Cooper of the National Archives, 301-837-1700 or; Jennifer Devlin, 202-414-0786 or Mark Robinson at National History Day, 301-314-9542 or Deborah Sternberg for U.S. News & World Report, 212-576-2700 ext. 235 or


This page was last reviewed on January 30, 2013.
Contact us with questions or comments.