Primary Source Documents


The documents in this collection are organized into chronological chapters with a thematic focus for each time period. This organization is intended to provide a narrative arc while also highlighting connections between particular ideas and debates as they intersected with, and shaped, historical events on both sides of the Atlantic.

Note:  Some transcriptions are under editorial review and may contain errors.
Please do not cite or otherwise reproduce without permission.


Iberian Antecedents

Las Siete Partidas (1348)

Romanus Pontifex (1455)

Inter Caetera (1493)

Requerimiento (1513)

Royal Charter of 1518

Early Spanish Slave Trade (1519/20)

Petition to the Portuguese King (1526)

New Laws of 1542

Los Tres Mulatos (1599)

Chapter 6: Tory Reactions

1698 African Trade Act

Virginia Slave Code 1705

Robert Harley’s investigations into Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-1705)

Queen Anne’s speech on the Assiento 1712

Assiento and the Treaty of Utrecht 1710-1713

Cato by Joseph Addison 1712

Hogarth’s South Sea Bubble Print 1720

Yorke Talbot Decision 1729

Chapter 8: Colonial Aftershocks

Sedition Legislation in Congress (1830s-1860s)

Kansas Prohibitions on Anti-Slavery Material and Ending Slavery (1850s)

Corwin Amendment (1860)