Was the American Revolution a mistake?


Preface to the source collection

Most students, especially in the younger semesters and in modern and modern history, approach their field of study through secondary academic literature. This is of course still necessary in view of the large number of documents and texts that have to be used in these epochs for the scientific study of a topic. In addition, until a few years ago, access to sources was in many cases reserved for those scientists who could travel to the archives in which the sources were archived; This has by no means become unnecessary, for example in the context of a doctorate. Other scholars and students had to be satisfied with source editions without being certain that a transcription was actually carried out precisely.

With the increasing spread of the Internet, the opportunities to publish such documents inexpensively on the World Wide Web increased. There is now an enormous number of individual sources for American history in particular. What at first appears to be a great advantage, however, reveals some major problems on closer inspection. It is noticeable that different Internet texts often differ significantly from one another, are incorrect or only exist in fragments, that bibliographical references to the source for a transcription are mostly missing. This is of course extremely problematic for a scientific occupation.

In order to use the possibilities of the Internet and the sources available there, a meticulous check of transcriptions based on original documents is necessary. At the same time, the use of facsimiles, image and map material as well as audiovisual material, which can be integrated into a hypertext publication, allows an understanding of procedures, decisions and processes that is not based solely on written texts. However, individual students are overwhelmed by this in the context of B.A. courses.

With the support of special funds from the university, almost 300 documents could be checked, edited and made available online. The division is based on chronological-systematic sections, as can be found in most overview works on American history. The navigation within the documents and sections takes place via the familiar interface of your web browser, be it “MS Explorer” or the program “Firefox” recommended here. It should be noted that the transcriptions are strictly based on the sources named at the bottom of the pages; Possibly existing pictures or facsimiles can therefore differ from this.

We hope that you can find useful use of the resource book and that it will further stimulate your interest in American history.


Michael Wala


P.S. Please send comments and comments to [email protected]