Answered By: Erin McDaniel
Last Updated: Feb 25, 2016     Views: 30

We have some great sources in our American History 1763-1820, Revolution & New Nation libguide(see link below). There is a tab for Primary sources.

When you want a primary sources on a specific person your best bet is to search our catalog or our databases.

Catalog: Print and eBooks

In our catalog you can either search for Federalist Papers and look for results with the original authors (Hamilton, et al.) or click on the titles to see the detailed records. If you do this, click on the Description section to read the subjects. Look for the word sources in the subject phrases. You can read the summary or table of contents to see if the original text is included.

Alternatively, search for the author by putting au: in front of the specific persons name (Hamilton) and search to see if we have anything written by them. These would be primary sources. Books written about them would be secondary source, that's why you need to include the au. Your search term in this case would be au:Hamilton. We do have some books that are primary sources.  

 Primary sources include:

  • journals
  • papers
  • correspondence
  • autobiography
  • documents
  • oral history(speaches)
  • eyewitness accounts
  • first hand account
  • archives

Secondary sources: are documents written after an event has occurred, providing secondhand accounts of that event, person, or topic. Unlike primary sources, which provide first-hand accounts, secondary sources offer different perspectives, analysis, and conclusions of those accounts. 

  • biography
  • textbooks
  • articles
  • criticisms
  • commentaries
  • encyclopedias


The best place to find articles on the Federalist Papers is on our Article tab on the American History 1763-1820, Revolution and New Nation libguide. The link is below. This page will connect you will all our databases that we have for history.

Also on the Article tab page in the box labeled History Databases, you can click on the drop down menu to choose which database you would like to search in.  A good database to start with is Academic Search Complete. Select it and click the Go button.

Enter "Federalist Papers" (use the quotes so it searches for the exact phrase) into the search box and click on the search button. When your search results appear check the Full Text box on the left to narrow down your results to only complete articles.(removes ones that only have a description of a article instead a a complete one, these will not help you)

You can start reading the descriptions of the articles that are left and select any that pertain to what you want to write about in your paper, or you can narrow the results much easier by clicking on the Subject:Thesaurus term menu on the left side of the page then click on See More. From here you select only the topics you want to display, like nonfiction, slavery, civil war, or assassination. Once you have made your choices click the yellow update button. You will have greatly narrowed down you result list and can now go through and choose which articles work for you.

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