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How to Use Legal Documents as Primary Sources

Legal documents, such as statutory laws and court cases, provide historians with a rich primary source base upon which they can draw well documented information for the purposes of reconstructing the past.  But legal decisions do not take place in a vacuum; placing legal documents in their historical context can shed light on the political mood of a particular time and place.  This tutorial walks historians through the processes of reading and interpreting legal documents and extracting from them broader historical context.


Griffin, Kelsey