In honor of Independence Day, head over to the American Memory site at the Library of Congress and take a look at actual documents from our country’s founding. Here’s a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand. Freedom wasn’t cheap, as you can see by a look at George Washington’s Revolutionary War Expense Account.
For local history, you can browse the Digital Library of Georgia. Libraries, archives and museums hold unique and precious items but those maps, manuscripts, photographs, etc. are too fragile to be regularly read or viewed by the public that owns them. As these original materials are scanned and added to online archives, Americans get full access to their past. Nothing more democratic than that.