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The Constitution of the United States of America, 1787

This 1787 document defines the rights and responsibilities of federal government of the United States of America.

The Facts of Reconstruction

After the American Civil War, John R. Lynch, who had been a slave in Mississippi, began his political career in 1869 by first becoming Justice of the Peace, and then Mississippi State Representative. He was only 26 when he was elected to the US Congress in 1873. There, he continued to be an activist, introducing many bills and arguing on their behalf. Perhaps his greatest effort was in the long debate supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to ban discrimination in public accommodations. In 1884 Lynch was the first African American nominated after a moving speech by Theodore Roosevelt to the position of Temporary Chairman of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, he was appointed Treasury Auditor and then Paymaster under the Republicans. In 1901, he began serving with the Regular Army with tours of duty in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines. Lynch retired from the Army in 1911, then married Cora Williams. They moved to Chicago, where he practiced law. He also became involved in real estate. After his death in Chicago 1939 at the age of 92, he was buried with military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. He was entitled to this as a Congressman and veteran. After the turn of the century, Lynch wrote a book, The Facts of Reconstruction, and several articles criticizing the then-dominant Dunning School historiography. Dunning and followers had emphasized the views of former slave owners and routinely downplayed any positive contributions of African Americans during Reconstruction, as well as suggesting they could not manage any political power. Lynch argued that blacks had made substantial contributions during the period. Since he participated directly in Reconstruction-era governments, Lynch’s book is considered a primary source in study of the period. (Introduction by Guero and Wikipedia.)

Extracts from ‘The New and Complete Newgate Calendar’, Vol. 1

Volume One of the New and Complete Newgate Calendar, covering the years 1700 through 1723, relates stories of British trials, the persons accused and the crimes committed. It is primarily based upon contemporary newspaper and pamphlet accounts of these trials. Where the criminal is particularly well known, such as the highwayman, burglar and escape artist Jack Sheppard, other sources were used as well. The readings used here are selected to illustrate different aspects of the eighteenth century criminal world and the British legal system.(Summary by Roy Shreiber)

Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire

“It is hard to be an Emperor under such a Chancellor.” lamented Wilhelm I, the first emperor of the German Empire. Otto von Bismarck is probably the most fascinating or the most boring statesman throughout German history depending on one’s perspective. He led 3 victorious wars (against Denmark, Austria and France) and achieved unification of Germany. However, he tried very hard to avoid unnecessary wars. His vision of European political system led to more than 40 years’ peace and prosperity of Europe or to World War I, also depending on one’s perspective. – Summary by SS Kim

Famous Sea Fights

I propose to tell in non-technical and popular language the story of some of the most remarkable episodes in the history of sea power. I shall begin with the first sea-fight of which we have a detailed history?the Battle of Salamis (B.C. 480), the victory by which Themistocles the Athenian proved the soundness of his maxim that “he who commands the sea commands all.” I shall end with the last and greatest of naval engagements, the Battle of Tsu-shima, an event that reversed the long experience of victory won by West over East, which began with Salamis more than two thousand years ago. I shall have to tell of British triumphs on the sea from Sluys to Trafalgar; but I shall take instances from the history of other countries also, for it is well that we should remember that the skill, enterprise, and courage of admirals and seamen is no exclusive possession of our own people. I shall incidentally describe the gradual evolution of the warship from the wooden, oar-driven galleys that fought in the Straits of Salamis to the steel-built, steam-propelled giants that met in battle in the Straits of Tsu-shima. I shall have something to say of old seafaring ways, and much to tell of the brave deeds done by men of many nations. These true stories of the sea will, I trust, have not only the interest that belongs to all records of courage, danger, and adventure, but also some practical lessons of their own. (From the Introduction of the Book)

Famous Affinities of History: The Romance of Devotion

“Famous Affinities of History” is a book of passion-filled accounts of the most famous love affairs of history. The stories of Cleopatra, Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron, George Sand and other famous people of all times (even those of royal blood are not spared), are dealt with in Lyndon Orr’s own interesting and suspenseful style. Written in four volumes, this book makes for an informative, interesting and thoroughly enjoyable read, giving us an insight into the lives and lifestyles of various popular figures of history. (Summary by Neeru Iyer)

Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV

Part five of Francis Parkman’s multi-volume series France and England in North America is but one of the masterful narratives that have earned him the reputation as one of the most notable American historians. Preface excerpt: The events recounted in this book group themselves in the main about a single figure, that of Count Frontenac, the most remarkable man who ever represented the crown of France in the New World. From strangely unpromising beginnings, he grew with every emergency, and rose equal to every crisis. His whole career was one of conflict, sometimes petty and personal, sometimes of momentous consequence, involving the question of national ascendancy on this continent. NOTE: This audio recording does not include footnotes which mostly refer to the original French sources. They can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6875. (Summary by Celine Major) Part 1: Pioneers of France in the New World Part 2: The Jesuits in North America in the 17th Century Part 4: The Old R?gime in Canada Part 5: Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV Part 6: Montcalm and Wolfe Part 7: A Half Century of Conflict

The Scrap Book (volume 1) Sampler

18 works — two non-fic articles & one short fiction or poetry each — from issues March, April, May, June, July, & August 1906 of The Scrap Book, Volume 1, edited by Frank Munsey. As he states in the editorial of the April 1906 issue (Vol 1, Iss 2) this was a sort of supplement to the editor’s popular monthly, Munsey’s Magazine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munsey’s_Magazine. The Scrap Book is very like an American version of Punch with many short, often humorous articles interspersed with at least one short story, some poetry, and several longer non-fic pieces. The Scrap Book ran up to 1912.(Summary by BellonaTimes)

Fathers of Biology

An account given of the lives of five great naturalists (Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius and Harvey) will not be found devoid of interest. The work of each one of them marked a definite advance in the science of Biology. There is often among students of anatomy and physiology a tendency to imagine that the facts with which they are now being made familiar have all been established by recent observation and experiment. But even the slight knowledge of the history of Biology, which may be obtained from a perusal of this little book, will show that, so far from such being the case, this branch of science is of venerable antiquity. And, further, if in the place of this misconception a desire is aroused in the reader for a fuller acquaintance with the writings of the early anatomists the chief aim of the author will have been fulfilled. (Summary is the Preface to the book, adapted by Neeru Iyer)

The Crimes of England

“Second, when telling such lies as may seem necessary to your international standing, do not tell the lies to the people who know the truth. Do not tell the Eskimos that snow is bright green; nor tell the negroes in Africa that the sun never shines in that Dark Continent. Rather tell the Eskimos that the sun never shines in Africa; and then, turning to the tropical Africans, see if they will believe that snow is green. Similarly, the course indicated for you is to slander the Russians to the English and the English to the Russians; and there are hundreds of good old reliable slanders which can still be used against both of them. There are probably still Russians who believe that every English gentleman puts a rope round his wife’s neck and sells her in Smithfield. There are certainly still Englishmen who believe that every Russian gentleman takes a rope to his wife’s back and whips her every day. But these stories, picturesque and useful as they are, have a limit to their use like everything else; and the limit consists in the fact that they are not true, and that there necessarily exists a group of persons who know they are not true. It is so with matters of fact about which you asseverate so positively to us, as if they were matters of opinion.” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

The Book of the National Parks

Robert Sterling Yard was an American writer, journalist, and wilderness activist. Born in Haverstraw, New York, Yard graduated from Princeton University and spent the first twenty years of his career in the editing and publishing business. In 1915, he was recruited by his friend Stephen Mather to help publicize the need for an independent national park agency. Their numerous publications were part of a movement that resulted in legislative support for a National Park Service (NPS) in 1916. Yard worked to promote the national parks as well as educate Americans about their use. Creating high standards based on aesthetic ideals for park selection, he also opposed commercialism and industrialization of what he called “America’s masterpieces”. In 1935, he became one of the eight founding members of The Wilderness Society and acted as its first president from 1937 until his death eight years later. Yard is now considered an important figure in the modern wilderness movement. In the preface to this book, published in 1919, he writes, “In offering the American public a carefully studied outline of its national park system, I have two principal objects. The one is to describe and differentiate the national parks in a manner which will enable the reader to appreciate their importance, scope, meaning, beauty, manifold uses and enormous value to individual and nation. The other is to use these parks, in which Nature is writing in large plain lines the story of America’s making, as examples illustrating the several kinds of scenery, and what each kind means in terms of world building; in other words, to translate the practical findings of science into unscientific phrase for the reader’s increased profit and pleasure, not only in his national parks but in all other scenic places great and small.” (summary from Wikipedia)

The Book of the Dead

The Egyptian Book of the Dead, or the Book of Coming Forth by Day, is an Ancient Egyptian funerary text consisting of spells to protect the soul on its journey to Duat, or Afterlife.

The Book of the Bush

“While the world was young, nations could be founded peaceably. There was plenty of unoccupied country, and when two neighbouring patriarchs found their flocks were becoming too numerous for the pasture, one said to the other: “Let there be no quarrel, I pray, between thee and me; the whole earth is between us, and the land is watered as the garden of Paradise. If thou wilt go to the east, I will go to the west; or if thou wilt go to the west, I will go to the east.” So they parted in peace. (Excerpt)

The Book of Tea

The Book of Tea was written by Okakura Kakuzo in the early 20th century. It was first published in 1906, and has since been republished many times. – In the book, Kakuzo introduces the term Teaism and how Tea has affected nearly every aspect of Japanese culture, thought, and life. The book is noted to be accessible to Western audiences because though Kakuzo was born and raised Japanese, he was trained from a young age to speak English; and would speak it all his life, becoming proficient at communicating his thoughts in the Western Mind. In his book he elucidates such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular aspects of Tea and Japanese life. The book emphasizes how Teaism taught the Japanese many things; most importantly, simplicity. Kakuzo argues that this tea-induced simplicity affected art and architecture, and he was a long-time student of the visual arts. He ends the book with a chapter on Tea Masters, and spends some time talking about Sen no Rikyu and his contribution to the Japanese Tea Ceremony. (Summary from Wikipedia)

A Book of Scoundrels

An ironic history of British criminals, mostly pre-Victorian pickpockets, highwaymen and thieves. Here we meet Moll Cutpurse the Queen of thieves, Jonathan Wild the Thief-taker General, Captain Hind the gallant highwayman and many others. The book begins with an essay on the artistic achievements of thievery followed by a sequence of short biographies. Summary by Greg Lewin

A Book of Discovery

Telling the history of geographical discoveries, “Book of Discovery” is a record of splendid endurance, of hardships bravely borne, of silent toil, of courage and resolution unequalled in the annals of mankind, of self-sacrifice unrivalled and faithful lives laid ungrudgingly down. Of the many who went forth, the few only attained. It is of these few that this book tells. (From the Preface of the book).

A Book of American Explorers

This book tells the story of exploration in America in the words of the explorers themselves. It consists of extracts from narratives of the early discoverers and explorers of the American continent from the Northmen in 10th century to 17th century Massachusets Bay Colony. – Summary by Kikisaulite

The Bomb: The 1945 Test of the First Atomic Bomb

These two publications put out by the U.S. government are about the Trinity site in New Mexico where in 1945 the first atomic bomb was tested. Each publication (about 1984 and about 1995) complements the other, though there is some duplication. These are descriptions of the test itself and of the planning and organization leading up to the test. They also tell what was done with the site after the test and how it became a national historic landmark. – Summary by david wales

Bonaparte in Egypt and the Egyptians of To-day

Knowing the Egyptian as I know him, I cannot but think that he is greatly misunderstood, even by those who are sincerely anxious to befriend him. His faults and his failings are to be found at large in almost any of the scores of books that have of late years been written about him and his country; but, though not a few have given him credit for some of his more salient good points, yet none that I have seen have shown any just appreciation of him as he really is. (From the Preface)

American Leaders and Heroes

Historian Wilbur F. Gordy presents short chapters on well-known American figures from the viewpoint of the early twentieth century, including explorers, political leaders, military figures and inventors. – Summary by Larry Wilson

American History Stories, Volume 2

History is brought to life in the second volume of American History Stories by Mara L. Pratt. It is a wonderful introduction for children to American history, this volume beginning with the causes of the American Revolution. Although each chapter is short, it is full of fascinating information, and so well-written that adults will enjoy it as much as children. (Summary by Laura Caldwell) Reader’s Note: This edition contains patriotic songs of the time period. Where these songs have occurred, the lyrics have been read. The music for these songs may be found in the text.

American History Stories, Volume 1

A children’s book detailing early American history from the Norsemen to the Revolution, meant for educational use.

American Civil War Collection, Volume 1

Compilation of American Civil War related poems and short works of literature. Summary by Bill2147

Amendments to the United States Constitution (version 2)

The Constitution has a total of 27 amendments. The first ten, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified simultaneously. The following seventeen were ratified separately. (Summary from wikipedia.org)

Amendments to the United States Constitution

The Amendments to the Constitution of the USA are a continuously modified document that attempts to secure all basic and other rights for American citizens. The most recent amendment was made in the early 1970’s during the Vietnam war; this amendment lowered the voting age to 18. The first ten amendments (A.K.A. the Bill of Rights) was made by the founding fathers shortly after the actual constitution was made. The Bill of Rights covers all those things that the settlers found wrong with the rule of King George III of England. Such as: Quartering of soldiers, Freedom of speech, and Search and seizure. (Summary by Shurtagal)

An Alphabet of History

An alphabet of historical characters presented in poetical form! In their original form, the contents of this book appeared in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, which newspaper is hereby thanked for the privilege of reproducing this Alphabet (Summary from the Acknowledgment and Ann Boulais) Who frets about the mystery Enshrouding all of history On reading this will, maybe, see We’ve made it plain as A, B, C.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks. Alexander the Great is one of many biographies aimed at young people written by Jacob Abbott and his brother. The biographies are written in such a way that makes them appealing and easily accessible to everyone. – Written by Wikipedia and Lizzie Driver

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was a significant figure in the political and economic development of the early United States. He served in the American Revolutionary War and became an aide to General George Washington. He was one of the authors (along with John Jay and James Madison) of a series of essays know as The Federalist Papers, which were written in support of the ratification of the proposed Constitution. Scholars and others still refer to these essays to this day for interpretation of the Constitution. As the first Secretary of the Treasury in George Washington?s Cabinet, Hamilton was a proponent of a strong centralized government. Hamilton pursued many actions (some controversial) in an attempt to provide financial stability for the new government, including the establishment of the U.S. Mint and a National Bank. Ironically, he may most often be remembered for the infamous pistol duel with Aaron Burr that resulted in Hamilton?s death. (Summary by lubee930)

The Aftermath of Slavery

This work describes conditions and forces the black population of the South faced after freedom was brought by the Civil War. As Sinclair puts it at the outset of his book, “. . . the chief efforts of Southern leadership have been to curtail the freedom of the colored people, to minimize their liberty and reduce them as nearly as possible to the condition of chattel slaves.” – Summary by Jim Locke

Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 006

A collection of fifteen short nonfiction works in the public domain. The essays, speeches and reports included in this collection were independently selected by the readers, and the topics encompass history, politics, medicine, nature and religion. Included in this collection are speeches by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses, several interesting or historic articles from Vanity Fair and the NY times, as well as writings of Eugene Debs, Alexander von Humboldt, Lena Morrow Lewis, Joseph Lister and C. M. Ellis. (summary by J. M. Smallheer)

An Address to Free Colored Americans

The first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women met in New York City in May, 1837. Members at the Convention came from all walks of life and included such prominent women as Mary Parker, Lucretia Mott, the Grimke sisters, and Lydia Maria Child. One outcome of this important event was a statement of the organization?s role in the abolitionist movement as expressed in AN ADDRESS TO FREE COLORED AMERICANS, which begins: ?The sympathy we feel for our oppressed fellow-citizens who are enslaved in these United States, has called us together, to devise by mutual conference the best means for bringing our guilty country to a sense of her transgressions; and to implore the God of the oppressed to guide and bless our labors on behalf of our “countrymen in chains.” This significant event was a precursor to the growing women?s rights movement of the time and to greater female involvement in other political reform movements. (Summary by lubee930)

The 9/11 Commission Report

9/11 Commission Report, formally titled Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was prepared by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (informally sometimes known as the “9/11 Commission” or the “Kean/Zelikow Commission”) at the request of the President of the United States and Congress. The commission convened on November 26, 2002 (441 days after the attack) and their final report was issued on July 22, 2004.

”Tell It All”: The Story of a Life’s Experience in Mormonism

Fanny relates the experiences of a 19th century missionary as she and her young husband proselytize throughout Europe in search of converts to the new Mormon faith. Her religious zeal is sorely tested upon receipt of news from America revealing that their religion has adopted the practice of polygamy as the means to exaltation. The couple is summoned to Utah only to find themselves firmly ensconced in Brigham Young’s inner circle and called upon to practice plural marriage or risk a fall from family, friends, and faith. – Summary by Spiffycat

Americans All, Immigrants All

The United States Department of the Interior, Office of Education partnered with the Columbia Broadcasting System to present a series of 26 dramatic radio broadcast programs detailing the role of immigrants in the development of the USA. This small volume was printed as a supplement to the programs. It contains a great deal of the data concerning the contributions of immigrants to the country, often in condensed or tabular form, which were highlighted in the broadcasts. – Summary by Mark Smith

The Black Experience in America, 18th-20th Century, Vol. 1

This is not the copyrighted work by Norman Coombs currently on Project Gutenberg but a collection of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, drama, and speeches found on Project Gutenberg that are by or about African Americans. Subjects range from late 18th Century epistolary conversations between black Baptist preachers to 1930s testimony by ex-slaves. (Summary by BellonaTimes)

Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 007

A collection of fifteen short nonfiction works in the public domain. The essays, speeches, news items and reports included in this collection were independently selected by the readers, and the topics encompass history, politics, philosophy, science and religion. (summary by J. M. Smallheer) Danger Signals and A Midsummer’s Night Trip were coauthored by Jaspar Ewing Brady

Historical Newspaper Articles, Volume 2

This collection of 20 public domain newspaper articles comprises volume 2 of Historic Newspaper Articles in the LibriVox collection. Both U.S. and U.K. newspapers are represented here. The articles span from 1848 to 1920. Topics covered (e.g., the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire, the troubles of ?Typhoid Mary?, how to dress for the seashore) vary in length and tone. Although the writers display a range of diverse styles, their words give today’s readers a sense of the tenor of the times. (summary by Lee Ann Howlett)

Historical Newspaper Articles, Volume 1

Public Domain newspaper articles in the US span a period of nearly two and a half centuries. Subjects, styles, period, publisher, and length vary greatly. This collection is a sampling of twenty such articles including one from the Journal de Paris. Although some of the works on the LibriVox catalog such as the Federalist Papers were published in newspapers, this is the first collection of newspaper articles. (Summary by James Smith)