Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Douglass, Frederick (1818-1895) [Douglass quotation on each citizen's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01116 Author/Creator: Douglass, Frederick (1818-1895) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph quotation signed Date: 22 August 1879 Pagination: 1 p. ; 14.5 x 12.4 cm.

Summary of Content: Reads "A government that cannot, or does not protect the humblest Citizen in his right to life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be reformed or overthrown without delay."

People: Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895.

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Keywords/Subjects: African American History, Slavery, Civil Rights, Freedom and Independence, Government and Civics

Sub Era: The Gilded Age