This compact volume offers a broad selection of the most important documents in American history: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Emancipation Proclamation as well as presidential speeches, Supreme Court decisions, Acts and Declarations of Congress, essays, letters, and much more. The compilation of more than 150 documents, dating from 1606 to 1865, starts with the First Charter of Virginia, issued by King James I, and concludes with the abolition of slavery, as stated in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Many of the selections recapture the voices of great Americans, from Powhatan's speech to Captain John Smith at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Mayflower Compact to Benjamin Franklin's Plan of Union, Tecumseh's address to the Choctaws and Chickasaws, Frederick Douglass' "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?", and several orations by Abraham Lincoln. Brief introductions to each document place the works in historical context.