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Political Science *: Historical Research and Primary Source Archives

Below are links to databases and scholarly web sites that support the study of political science and its related sub-disciplines.


  • Cold War International History Project -- disseminates new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources on "the other side," the former Communist world.
  • Constitution Finder -- a database that offers constitutions, charters, amendments, and other related documents. Nations of the world are linked to their constitutional text posted somewhere on the Internet.
  • EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History -- contains links that connect to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. They shed light on key historical happenings within the respective countries and within the broadest sense of political, economic, social and cultural history. The order of documents is chronological wherever possible.
  • Middle East Peace Process Documents -- covers Israel and Palestine, Middle East historical and peace process source documents.
  • Repositories of Primary Sources -- a listing of over 5000 web sites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources. Links added or revised within the last thirty days are marked as "new." Includes many international sources.
  • Wikileaks--clearinghouse of classified diplomatic cables and other secret documents obtained by the organization and posted on the web. There is no search engine that allows full-text searching of the documents, but materials can be searched by date, country, or orginating embassy or government entity.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

United States

Archival Collections

  • American Memory -- contains a collection of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures and text from the Library of Congress Americana collections. There are over 70 collections included in the project. You can search a particular topic or browse through the collections.
  • Chronicling America -- this site from the Library of Congress allows you to search and view American newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
  • C-SPAN Archives -- records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming aired since 1987, now totaling over 160,000 hours. All C-SPAN programs since 1993 are digital and can be viewed online for free.
  • Documenting the American South (DocSouth) -- a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes fourteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.
  • Exploring Constitutional Law -- this site explores some of the great issues and controversies that surround the Constitution, including documents and information relating to the history of the Constitution and full-text legal cases, notes, and other materials.
  • History Matters -- this site serves as a gateway to web resources, teaching materials, first-person primary documents, and guides to analyzing historical evidence in American history.
  • New Deal Network -- a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works, public policies, and arts projects of the New Deal.
  • Oyez Project -- a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work.
  • Presidential Recordings Program -- between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties--FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, and Nixon--secretly recorded on tape just under 5,000 hours of their meetings and telephone conversations. This site contains those files.
  • Veterans History Project -- a project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, the project “collects first-hand accounts of U.S. veterans” ranging from World War I through the post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Site includes thousands of digitized interviews and a search tool that allows users to filter search results by the interviewee’s gender, branch of service, and whether the veteran spent time as a prisoner of war.
  • Voices of Democracy -- a project is designed to promote the study of great speeches and public debates. The emphasis of the project is on the actual words of those who, throughout American history, have defined the country's guiding principles, debated the great social and political controversies of the nation's history, and shaped the identity and character of the American people.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 -- a resource site organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S.  The collection includes more than 90 document projects or archives and 2,800 documents and 125,000 pages of additional full-text sources, written by more than 2,240 primary authors. It also includes book, film, and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools.
  • World Newsreels Online -- database containing hundreds of international newsreels produced between 1929 and 1966 that also includes scrolling transcriptions of the audio and the ability to create and export clips.

Public Records and Government Documents

  • 100 Milestone Documents  -- a list of 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings. The documents chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965.
  • Core Documents of U.S Democracy -- core group of current and historical Government publications that define our democratic society.
  • National Archives and Records Administration -- official agency site that allows searching of holdings by federal government organization, media, location, and topics.
  • Senate Executive Journals -- contains the minutes of the meetings of the U.S. Senate, including official record of business on petitions, memorials, motions, bills, resolutions, and the votes on them. The Journals also has occasional excerpts from both speeches on the floor of the chamber and communications sent to Congress by the President and the heads of the Executive Departments. The Executive Session Journal of the Senate is a record of its closed session deliberations, mostly on two principal topics: treaties and nominations.
  • United States Historical Census Data  -- data presented here describe the people and the economy of the US for each state and county from 1790 to 1960.
  • U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1873 -- consists of a linked set of published congressional records of the United States of America from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Historical Newspapers

17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers -- the newspapers, pamphlets, and books gathered by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817) represent the largest and most comprehensive collection of early English news media, and help chart the development of the concept of 'news' and 'newspapers' and the "free press." The collection totals almost 1 million pages and contains approximately 1,270 titles from England, the United States, Barbados, Jamaica, India, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Scotland.

Accessible Archives -- USC currently holds two Accessible Archives collections:

  • African American Newspapers: The 19th Century -- a collection of African-American newspapers that contains a wealth of information about the cultural life and history during the 1800s, and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day, including the Mexican War, Presidential and congressional addresses, Congressional abstracts, business and commodity markets, the humanities, world travel and religion. They also contain large numbers of early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements all of which embody the African-American experience. Newspapers include: Freedom's Journal, The Colored American, The North Star, The National Era, Provincial Freeman, The Christian Recorder, and Frederick Douglass Paper.
  • Civil War 1860-1865: A Newspaper Perspective -- this database contains the full text of major articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 -- database that provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers, from more than 35 states, chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience.

American Periodicals from the Center for Research Libraries -- this collection, which spans the 19th century through the dawn of the 20th century, contains full text and full-color scans of journal content that can be cross-searched with American Periodicals Series Online, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, and other leading historical collections from ProQuest. The collection contains special interest and general magazines, labor and trade publications, scientific and literary journals, and photographic periodicals, as well as other historically significant titles.

American Periodicals Series Online, 1740-1900 -- includes digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals published from colonial days to the dawn of the 20th century. Titles range from Godey's Lady's Book to Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine and America's first scientific journal, Medical Repository; popular magazines such as Vanity Fair and Ladies' Home Journal; regional and niche publications; and groundbreaking journals like The Dial, Puck, and McClure's.Choose Interdisciplinary--APS Online from the Databases list.

America's Historical Newspapers (Archive of Americana) -- includes Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876; African American Newspapers, 1827-1998; Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980; and Selected Historical Newspapers.

Chronicling America: America's Historic Newspapers -- this Library of Congress site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876 -- offers 350,000 fully searchable issues from over 710 historical American newspapers. Focusing largely on the 18th and early 19th centuries, this online collection provides unprecedented access to the nation’s early periods, enabling researchers to explore essential newspapers from 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Ethnic Newswatch: A History -- provides the historical foreground to the ethnic, minority, and native press content in Ethnic NewsWatch, with over 300,000 full-text articles dating from 1959-1989.

Hispanic American Newspapers, 1808-1980  This database covers Hispanic American newspapers from 22 U.S. states published in the period 1808-1980, searchable by dates and "eras", article types, languages, place of publication, and newspaper title.

Historic Mexican and Mexican American Press -- a searchable collection of historic Mexican and Mexican American publications published in Tucson, El Paso, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sonora, Mexico from the mid-1800s to the 1970s.

Historical Newspapers Online -- access to fulltext newspaper articles and to indexes including Palmer's Index to the Times, covering from 1790 to 1905 in The Times; the Official Index to the Times which takes the coverage forward from 1906 to 1980; the Historical Index to the New York Times, covering the New York Times from 1851 to September 1922; and Palmer's Full Text Online, 1785-1870, providing access to the full articles referenced in Palmer's index to the Times.

Paper of Record -- provides access to many Canadian and Mexican newspapers, along with those from the United States.

Periodicals Archive Online -- an archive of hundreds of digitised journals published in the arts, humanities and social sciences, providing researchers with access to more than 200 years of scholarship, spread across a wide variety of subject areas.

ProQuest Civil War Era -- contains the full run of eight newspapers from 1840-1865 and nearly 2000 pamphlets from the Slavery and Anti-Slavery Pamphlets and Civil War Pamphlets collections.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers -- includes the Atlanta Constitution (1868-1939), Atlanta Daily-World (1931-2003), Baltimore Sun (1837-1985), Boston Globe (1872-1924), Chicago Defender (1910-1975), Chicago Tribune (1849-1986), Christian Science Monitor (1908-1994), Guardian & Observer (1791-2003), Hartford Courant (1764-1984), Los Angeles Sentinel (1946-2005), Los Angeles Times (1881-1987), New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), New York Times (1851-2000), New York Tribune (1841-1922), Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002), Wall Street Journal (1889-1988), Washington Post (1877-1990),  and many more. Choose historical newspapers from the Databases menu, or click the Multiple Databases to search several historical newspapers at once.

Readers' Guide Retrospective -- this database provides citations and links to articles, reviews, and more from nearly 400 popular magazines, dating back to the early 20th century.

San Francisco Chronicle, 1865-1922 -- new addition to the ProQuest Historial Newspapers series; choose historical newspapers from the drop-down database menu.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

History Databases

History Databases

  • America: History and Life -- database that covers the history of the United States and Canada. It includes key English-language historic journals, selected historic journals from major countries, state and local history journals, and selected relevant journals in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Historical Abstracts -- this database includes key history journals from major countries, as well as relevant selected journals from the social sciences and humanities. Covers world history outside of the United States and Canada. All abstracts are in English.

Important Databases for Doing Historical Research in Political Science

  • American State Papers, 1789-1838 -- this collection includes over 6,000 publications, including every legislative and executive document of the first fourteen U.S. Congresses, in addition to materials such as speeches and messages of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. Covers historical documents prior to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set in 1817.
  • Declassified Documents Reference System -- full text access to formerly classified documents from a wide variety of U.S. government agencies including the CIA, Department of State, National Security Council, Department of Defense, FBI, etc.
  • ProQuest History Vault -- provides access to primary source materials such as letters, papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and much more from its University Publications of America Collection. Current collections include:
    • American Politics and Society from Kennedy to Watergate
    • Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century: Federal Government Records
    • Black Freedom Struggle of the 20th Century, Federal Government Records, Supplement
    • Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century: Organizational Records and Personal Papers, Part 1
    • Immigration: Records of the INS, 1880-1930
    • OSS State Department Intelligence and Research Reports, 1941-1961
    • Slavery and the Law
    • Struggle for Women's Rights, Organizational Records, 1880-1990
    • Vietnam War and American Foreign Policy, 1960-1975
    • Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from the Schlesinger Library: Voting Rights, National Politics, and Reproductive Rights
    • World War II: U.S. Documents on Planning, Operations, Intelli-gence, Axis War Crimes, and Refugees
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

California History