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Columbia American History Online

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About Primary Sources

This expanding digital library is a resource for students and teachers to explore American History through primary sources. Primary sources allow students to experience close, unmediated contact with historical events, and to actively construct historical narratives using analysis and imagination. These "clues" to the past can be books, personal papers, legislation, letters, oral accounts, diaries, maps, photographs, literature, coins, artifacts, or any other record of the past. Many of the documents in this collection are high-quality reproductions of originals that reside in historical societies and libraries such as Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


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Buddhist Monks Protest
Resource Type: image/photo


Buddhist monks set themselves on fire to protest against the government of Ngo Dinh Diem (1901–63), president of South Vietnam, whose policies, they charged, favored Roman Catholics over Buddhists. It was an extreme measure that horrified the American public.
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