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Primary Sources

Common Sense (1776)
This clear-eyed pamphlet outlining the argument for American independence was written by Thomas Paine, although many readers thought it to be the work of John Adams.

The Declaration of Independence (1776)
America's most famous document proclaimed independence from King George's monarchy.

John Adams' "Thoughts on Government" Letter (1776)
In this letter, ardent patriot and future president John Adams described his views on government and democracy.

Abigail Adams' "Remember the Ladies" Letter (1776)
In her most famous letter, Abigail Adams encourages her husband to consider gender equality as he lays the foundations of the United States government.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1780)
Written by John Adams, it was the model for the U.S. Constitution.

The Treaty of Paris 1783
The agreement that officially ended the Revolutionary War with Great Britain named the former colonies as The United States of America.

The Alien Act and The Alien Enemies Act of 1798
These acts aimed to contain the movement of aliens in the United States, but may have violated civil rights instead.

The Sedition Act of 1798
Enacted to punish any person authoring or printing false claims against the Congress or the President, this act limited freedom of speech during the Adams' presidency and came to be considered unconstitutional.

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John & Abigail Adams American Experience

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