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What is a Primary Source?

First off, you might be wondering what on earth a primary source is, and that's OK. AP History courses have a lot of weird terminology, so it's completely understandable! 

A primary source describes or depicts events firsthand, such as a photo, a diary entry/letter, a speech, etc. 📜

We are concerned about the analysis of these first-hand accounts, or of history itself. 

We often are already exposed to analyses of primary sources. These are often categorized as secondary sources and include those books or articles about history, including textbooks, that your teacher might have you read to actually learn the history, rather than learning exclusively from original sources. 📚

To learn how to do your own analysis, let's take a look at a sample primary source from the APUSH course manual, found here

👉 As you have probably learned already, the attribution is a good place to begin when reading any document in APUSH. This is because it will usually give a good idea of what the excerpt is about without having to read ALL of the confusing language that most excerpts typically use. 🧐 

This will save you lots of time reading in the future. We can see that it was passed by the British Parliament, so it will probably be anti-revolution. The date is 1766, which is post-Seven Years War, but pre-Revolution. 💂  

👉 We then only have to scan it to confirm our suspicions, and yes, it basically says that the colonies should be British property and dependent on Britain.

Hopefully, this has helped you and will help you in the future, especially on the multiple-choice portion of the exam.

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