Introductory Materials

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Library of Congress

National Archives and Records Administration

  • The Charters of Freedom Features the Magna Carta, the Declarati on of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

  • The Federal Judicial Center

  • Creating the Federal Judicial System, 2d ed. (PDF) Explains the provisions of the 1789 Judiciary Act and the compromises it embodies; reviews the evolution of the federal judicial system during the 19th century; and analyzes the conditions and debates that led to the passage of the Evarts Act (1891), which established the three-tiered system that characterizes federal court structure today.

  • The Federal Judiciary Homepage Provides general information regarding the federal judiciary; includes links to what's new, frequently asked questions, court links, newsroom, and Judiciary Now newsletter.


  • Making of America Digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.

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