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Reconstruction Era Essay

Resources for Zarnesky's ECHS History Class Project

Primary Sources

Primary Sources = Original, Firsthand Evidence

Examples of primary sources . . .

  • Original Documents: diaries, records, autobiographies, letters, interviews, speeches, research reports, photographs, newspaper articles dated near the time of the event, original experiments, raw data, court cases
  • Original Creative Works: novels, paintings, music scores
  • Artifacts: pottery, buildings, clothing, weapons, jewelry, etc.

Primary sources are created during the time the event took place, or created later by those who have directly witnessed what they are describing, and bring us as close to the original event or thought as possible without being filtered, influenced or analyzed through interpretation. 

Primary Sources and Reconstruction

Links to all sorts of primary sources (images, interviews, etc.).

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources = Summary, Evaluation, Analytical Interpretation

Secondary sources analyze or interpret a primary resource and are produced AFTER an event.

Examples of secondary sources . . .

  • textbooks
  • encyclopedias
  • magazine articles
  • biographies written after someone's death
  • newspaper articles analyzing a past event
  • books written about a historical topic

Secondary sources summarize, evaluate, and analytically interpret primary material, often by offering a personal perspective. Use secondary sources to see what others have discussed. They can be a good place to gather background information on a topic. You can also use secondary sources to explore what subtopics have already been explored on a given topic.

Secondary Source Examples

Video Tutorial