Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Born in Slavery

[Detail] Bill and Ellen Thomas, Ages 88 and 81

Historical Research: Formulating Historical Questions

An interesting historical source can answer questions, but it can also raise them. Examine Jonathan Thornton’s Oath of Amnesty shown below.  Where was the oath sworn? When was it sworn? What did the oath require? What inferences might you make from your analysis of this document? What questions does examining the document raise? For example, looking at the document might raise the question of what benefits Thornton would expect to receive by signing the document.  Research the Oath of Amnesty to find the answers to your questions.