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A “Crisis of the American Spirit”  

Jimmy Carter

After eleven days of dialogue and contemplation at the presidential retreat Camp David, President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation on television the evening of July 15, 1979. With unusual ... More

“A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”  

Jean Jaques Rosseau

François-Marie Arouet (who published under the pen name Voltaire) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were two of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Both somewhat cynical about the ... More

“A Jewish Palestine”  

Henry Sacher

In this excerpt from an article in The Atlantic Monthly (July 1919), the British Zionist Harry Sacher (1882–1971) explains to an American audience why the issue of a Jewish homeland is such ... More

“A Procession of Artisans at Istanbul”  

Evliya Çelebi

Born on the Golden Horn and raised in the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul, Çelebi traveled throughout Ottoman domains between 1640 and 1680. He published an account of his travels and ... More

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi on the Scholars of Timbuktu  

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi

Born in Timbuktu in 1596, Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi wrote, in Arabic, a chronicle entitled Tarikh al-Sudan (History of the Sudan). The document addresses the political, cultural, and religious ... More

Abolition of Serfdom  

Alexander II

The defeat of Russia in the Crimean War (1853–1856) convinced the newly enthroned Alexander II (r. 1855–1881) of the need for fundamental reforms in his country. The first institution he ... More

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address  

Abraham Lincoln

On March 4, 1865, at the start of his second term, President Lincoln gave what remains the shortest inaugural address in history. In it, he strove to explain how a merciful God could have ... More

An Account of the Paxton Boys’ Murder of the Conestoga Indians  

Benjamin Franklin

The fullest account we have of the Paxton Boys’ attacks on the Conestoga Indians comes from Benjamin Franklin, who joined with other civic leaders to persuade a force of 250 boys to turn ... More

Account of the Rus  

Ibn Fadlan

Ibn Fadlan was a tenth-century Arab chronicler. In 921 C.E., the Caliph of Baghdad sent Ibn Fadlan on an embassy to the King of the Bulgars of the Middle Volga (present-day Russia). Ibn ... More

“Address in the Haymarket Trial”  

On May 4, 1886, as protestors and police faced off against each other in Chicago, an unknown person threw a bomb, killing seven policemen and wounding others. The police fired on the crowd, ... More

Address to a Meeting in New York  

Malcolm X

The Black Muslims (or the Nation of Islam) were founded by an orthodox Muslim immigrant to America, Wallace Fard Muhammad, in 1931, and made into a powerful movement by Elijah Muhammad. ... More

Address to the Duma concerning the annexation of Crimea  

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer who has dominated Russian political life since 2000, delivered this remarkable oration after annexing the Crimea region from the nation of Ukraine in ... More

Addresses to the German Nation  

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

The beginnings of German national identity were not political but rather cultural. Already in the eighteenth century, Germans had begun to react against the intellectual domination of the ... More

The Adventures of Telemachus  

Francois Fénelon

A Catholic priest and writer, François Fénelon (1651–1715) was enlisted by the church to preach to French Protestants (Huguenots) in order to bring them back to orthodox belief. His ... More

Advice from a Royal Scribe to his Apprentice Middle Kingdom Egypt, Twelfth Dynasty  

Nebmare-nakht

The Papyrus Lansing is a letter of instruction from the royal scribe (and “chief overseer of the cattle of Amun-Re, King of Gods”) Nebmare-nakht to his apprentice Wenemdiamun. It seems to ... More

Against Nature (A rebours)  

Joris-Karl Huysmans

Huysmans (1848–1907) was a French novelist and art critic and one of the early supporters of Impressionism. While he supported himself financially as a member of France’s civil service, ... More

The Alchemy Of Happiness  

Abd al-Hamid, al-Ghazali

Born in 1058 to a family of spinners and sellers of wool in a small village in eastern Iran, Ghazali became one of the most prominent expounders of Islamic theology of his day. Traveling ... More

Alexis de Tocqueville on Voluntary Associations  

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political scientist and historian who traveled the United States in 1831–1832, published his observations in a two-volume book, Democracy in America (Volume ... More

Amulet containing passages from the Qur’an, worn by Muslim slaves who rioted in Bahia, Brazil  

João José Reis

Although slavery was not abolished in Brazil until 1888, slave revolts were frequent and remarkable for their ambitions, success, and diversity of participating elements. Two urban revolts ... More

“An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery,” New York  

New York State Legislatures

After the Revolution, a number of northern states began to abolish slavery within their borders. State legislatures found themselves balancing carefully the rights of slave owners to their ... More

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