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The Primary Sources in North Dakota History: Introduction

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A new textbook, titled North Dakota History, was published in 2008 to support the study of this state at the high school level. The textbook is an anthology of articles from North Dakota: Journal of the Northern Plains that present an overview of the state’s history.

This web site, designed to accompany the textbook, presents primary documents that enhance the study of the history of this region from the pre-historic era to the present. Primary sources are first person documents, often created by people who were present at the event. These might include letters, diaries, official reports, photographs, maps, or artifacts. Each of the primary sources presented in this web site tells a story of the way the people who lived here brought about changes in their economic activities, social relationships, and political structures.

The documents included here represent only a small portion of the materials held by the archives and museum of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. These primary sources were selected because they offer details about events that happened here, or events, such as international wars, in which North Dakotans participated.

This web site is organized to match the chronological divisions of the textbook. Each unit corresponds to a unit in the textbook. Teachers can choose one or more document sets from each unit to use in conjunction with the textbook. Each document set has a brief introduction which places the documents in historic context. Activities associated with most of the document sets encourage students to develop skill in the interpretation and collecting of historical events as well as competence in both critical and historical thinking. More documents will be added to this digitized collection in the future.

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